Louise Hungerford Mackay



Marie Louise (Hungerford) Mackay (1843-1928) was born in Brooklyn and moved to Downieville, California, with her family at the age of ten. At age sixteen she married the local doctor, Edmund Gardener Bryant (1836-1866). In 1863 they moved to Virginia City, Nevada, following her father who was lured by the silver mines there. Dr. Bryant became disconsolate at the death of one young daughter suffering from fever and at the serious injury of his older daughter in a fall down stairs, blaming himself. He abandoned his wife and remaining daughter in 1864 and was only reunited with Louise in 1866 when he was ill, near death, and succumbed to his illness. Louise met John W. Mackay (1831-1902) and they were married in 1867. In 1873 he struck it rich in the Comstock Lode, becoming one of the four "Bonanza Kings". They moved to New York but Irish Catholics were not accepted in New York society so they moved to Paris in 1876 where Louise became a prominent society hostess. In 1884 they moved on to London. Her husband was investing in laying transatlantic cable for telegraphy and invested in and founded several telegraph companies providing both domestic and transcontinental telegraph services to compete with Western Union. Louise continued to live in London after her husband's death in 1902, finally returning to the U.S. when her oldest daughter, Eva, died in 1920. She took up residence and eventually died at Harbor Hill, Roslyn, Long Island, New York, the estate that her husband had given to their son Clarence in 1898 as a wedding present.

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