O'Brien, William Shoney, c.1826–1878, American silver magnate, b. Dublin, Ireland. He was brought to the United States as a child and worked in a New York grocery store before going to California in the gold rush of 1849. He ran a saloon in partnership with James Clair Flood, and the two of them through speculation in silver stocks built fortunes and joined John William Mackay and James Graham Fair in exploiting silver mines in Nevada.
See O. Lewis, The Silver Kings (1947).
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