|Name||William H. "Coin" Harvey|
Monte Ne, Arkansas , United States
|| August 16, 1851
|Died||February 11, 1936
Sep 25, 2016 07:33pm
|Info||William Hope Harvey (1851-1936), better known as "Coin" Harvey, was a teacher, lawyer, silver miner, resort owner, presidential candidate and author. Most of his ventures were unsuccessful, except for his writing. Although mostly forgotten today, his "Coin?s Financial School," published in 1894, sold more than a million copies. |
Born at Buffalo in Putnam County, Harvey was the fifth of Robert and Anna Harvey?s six children. At age 16, he tried his hand at teaching school but, dissatisfied, went on to read for the law and was admitted to the bar at 19. He practiced briefly in Barboursville, then moved to Huntington and went into practice with an older brother, Thomas.
The entire Harvey clan was now living in Huntington. Another brother, Harry, had bought a store in Huntington and, impressed by the growing town, had persuaded his father to move the family off the farm.
In 1874, seemingly intending to settle down in Huntington, William Harvey built on 3rd Avenue a handsome house of his own design. He was restless, however, and the very next year moved to Gallipolis, Ohio, where he met and, in 1876, married Anna Halliday. The couple soon moved to Cleveland. In 1883, when Harvey went to Colorado on behalf of a client, he became interested in silver mining. The next year he moved his family there and started working silver claims. In Colorado, Harvey was introduced to the "free silver" political movement. Increased production and a decision by Congress to stop minting silver coins had combined to send the price of silver plunging. Harvey and other silver miners were the first to demand "free" -- that is, unrestricted -- silver coinage. But poor farmers in the South and West quickly took up the cause.
Returning to Chicago, Harvey began printing and selling by mail a series of pamphlets promoting "free silver." The first two pamphlets sold poorly, but the third -- "Coin?s Financial School" -- was a phenomenal success. It purported to be an account of a school where a boy called only "Professor Coin" -- the source, of course, of Harvey?s nickname -- painstakingly explains the superiority of silver coinage, as opposed to gold. Harvey gave his little paperback such an air of authenticity that many readers were convinced the school and "Professor Coin" were real.
In 1896, William Jennings Bryan captured the Democratic nomination for president by stampeding the party?s Chicago convention with his oratory. "You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold!" he thundered. William McKinley, of course, defeated Bryan in 1896 and although Bryan tried for the White House again in 1900 and 1908, "free silver" was a dead issue.
By then an embittered Harvey had abandoned Chicago for Arkansas, where he opened a mountain resort. Initially successful, the Mount Ne resort soon fell on hard times. Harvey, convinced that civilization was on the verge of collapse, embarked on building a giant pyramid intended to house the history of mankind?s rise and fall. Only the amphitheater planned for the pyramid?s base was built. In 1932, Liberty Party delegates from 26 states met in the amphitheater and nominated the 80-year-old Harvey for president. He did no campaigning but received more than 50,000 votes.
In 1936, Coin Harvey died, proud but penniless. The resort had to be sold to pay his debts.