George Hearst: ‘The Boy That Earth Talks To’
George Hearst was the first emigrant to establish the legend of the Washoe millionaires. Born in 1820 in Illinois, Hearst was a child of the wilderness, working on his parents' farms, handling every conceivable chore, and learning a basic lesson in life -- the land did not yield its bounty without a struggle. With few schools around, his formal education was limited. But there were several mines nearby and they attracted Hearst like a magnet. He was a quick learner and had a nose for ore, so much so that the natives in the region named him "Boy That Earth Talks To." When his father William died, the duty of caring for the heavily mortgaged farms fell on Hearst's shoulders, but kindly neighbors, the Randolph Apperson family, helped. Apperson's daughter, Phoebe, was exquisite as porcelain but until later in life had little known affect on Hearst.