James Douglas Jr.

James Stuart Douglas (1867–1949), popularly known as Rawhide Jimmy, was a Canadian-American businessman and mining executive.

James Stuart Douglas
James Stuart Douglas

Megantic, Quebec, Canada
Died2 January 1949 (aged 8081)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Other namesRawhide Jimmy
Height5 ft 8 in (173 cm) (CONVERT)
Political partyDemocrat
Spouse(s)Josephine Leah Williams (18911941)
ChildrenLewis Douglas
James Douglas
Parent(s)James Douglas

Early life

Douglas was the son of James Douglas, a Canadian mining engineer and executive. Born in Quebec, Jimmy Douglas grew up in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, where his father managed the Chemical Copper Company. Douglas left home at 17 and moved west to Manitoba, where he homesteaded. Suffering from asthma, he moved to the Arizona Territory, in the United States, in the hope that the drier climate might provide relief.


After a year in Sulpher Springs Valley, where he cultivated strawberries, he moved to Bisbee at his father's request to work as an assayer for the Copper Queen Mine.[1]

In 1892 Douglas moved to Prescott to work for the Commercial Mining Company, an affiliate of the Phelps Dodge mining company. Eight years later he was transferred to Sonora, Mexico, to manage the copper mine and smelter at Pilares and Nacozari; and directed construction of a railroad from Douglas, Arizona to Nacozari. While at Pilares, he acquired his nickname, "Rawhide Jimmy", because of his technique of using rawhide to protect the rollers on mining equipment.[2] Afterward, he moved to Cananea, Sonora, to manage the copper operations there. His tenure was marked by riots and labor problems, which were endemic to the Cananea mines.


In 1912, Douglas returned to central Arizona, where he took an option on the United Verde Extension (UVX) property, a speculative venture to find the down-faulted extension of the great "United Verde" ore body near Jerome, Arizona. In 1914, with funds near exhaustion, an exploration drift cut bonanza copper ore. The UVX became a profitable mine. During 1916 alone, the mine produced $10 million worth of copper, silver and gold, of which $7.4 million was profit.[3] The UVX paid $55 million in dividends during its life (1915–1938), making Douglas a wealthy man.

Retirement and death

In 1939, Douglas retired to Canada, where he died of heart failure in 1949.


Douglas' Jerome mansion is open to the public as the Jerome State Historic Park.

Douglas' son, Lewis W. Douglas, who also entered the mining business, went on to a successful political career as a Congressman from 1927 to 1933; and the Ambassador to the United Kingdom (1947–51). The copper-roofed cottage on the hillside adjacent to the Douglas Mansion was built as a wedding present for Lewis.

See also


  1. Robert Paul Browder and Thomas G. Smith; Independent: A Biography of Lewis W. Douglas; Alfred A. Knopf Co.; New York; 1986; p. 10.
  2. Herbert V. Young (1964), quoting Lewis W. Douglas
  3. Arizona Bureau of Mines Bulletin #180; 1969; Mineral and Water Resources of Arizona; p. 128.

Further reading

  • Young, Herbert V. (1964). Ghosts of Cleopatra Hill: Men and Legends of Old Jerome. Jerome [AZ] Historical Society.
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