History of Thomas Kearns, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia. (Links Added)
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Thomas Kearns was born in 1862 in Oxford County, Ontario, Canada, to Margaret Maher and Thomas Kearns. He moved with his Irish immigrant parents to a farm in Nebraska and there obtained a grammar-school education. The development of mining in the West drew him in 1883 to Park City, Utah, where he worked, prospected, and developed with others the Silver King mine that made him a millionaire. He married Jennie Judge, with whom he had three children. Elected alderman in Park City, he was also a delegate to the 1895 state constitutional convention where he advocated an eight-hour work day.

The Democratic majority in the 1899 legislature had failed to elect a U.S. senator, leaving the seat vacant for two years. In late 1900 Kearns announced his candidacy and was elected the following year by a Republican-controlled legislature. Some accused LDS Church President Lorenzo Snow of engineering the election of Kearns, a Catholic. Well-informed on mining law, Kearns also won recognition in the Senate for his support of Theodore Roosevelt's conservation/irrigation programs. He worked to secure regimental post status for Fort Douglas and for opening the Uintah Indian Reservation to settlement. When he failed to receive support for reelection, he bitterly denounced the power of the Mormon Church in a Senate farewell speech in 1905.


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