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Francis Marion “Borax” Smith

Western Businessman. Born in Richmond, Wisconsin, at the age of 21 he went west to seek wealth and became known as the “Borax King”. In 1872, he discovered a rich supply of ulexite at Teel’s Marsh, Nevada. He staked a claim, started a company with his brother Julius and established a works at the edge of the marsh to convert the ulexite into borax. By 1877, the Smith Brothers shipped their product in a 30-ton load using two large wagons with a third wagon for food and water drawn by a 24-mule team over a 160-mile stretch of desert from Teel’s Marsh to and Wadsworth, Nevada. He bought out his brother Julius in 1884, gained control of all major borax production in western Nevada and established the Pacific Coast Borax Company with the ’20 Mule Team Borax’ trade mark. Settling in Oakland, California, he built America’s first reinforced concrete building, which was a borax refinery on an island in San Francisco Bay. Smith Mountain in Death Valley, California, is named after him. (bio by: John “J-Cat” Griffith) ¬†Family links: ¬†Spouses: ¬†Mary Rebecca Thompson Smith (1846 – 1905)* ¬†Eveline/Evelyn Kate Ellis Smith (1877 – 1957)* ¬†Children: ¬†Mary Evelyn Smith Beck (1907 – 1987)* ¬†Francis Marion Smith (1913 – 1987)* *Calculated relationship


  • February, 02, 1846
  • USA


  • August, 08, 1931
  • USA


  • Mountain View Cemetery
  • California
  • USA

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