James Graham Fair (1831-1894)

James "Slippery Jim" Fair, 'Silver King' & U.S. Senator from Nevada

He was one of the "silver kings" who became a multi-millionaire over night having invested in silver mines in Nevada. He later became a real estate investor and railroad baron in California. In 1881, he was elected United States Senator from Nevada. Despite his success, he was not well-liked and earned the nickname "Slippery Jim". In 1883, his wife divorced him on the grounds of "habitual adultery" and she brought up their children alone - though financially well taken care of. Fair was not sent an invitation to the high-profile wedding of his daughter, Tessie Oelrichs, though he still gave her $1 million as a wedding present. He left $40 million in trust to his daughters, the younger of whom, Birdie, married William Kissam Vanderbilt II.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 11/10/2018 and last updated on 13/09/2022.