In Memory of Seeley Wintersmith Mudd

b. 16 AUG 1861, d. 24 MAY 1926

Services held at 

First Congregational Church

Los Angeles, California

November the Twenty-first 1926



We discover slowly how rich we are in memory and in hope.  We are met this afternoon to honor the memory of a great engineer, a distinguished fellow citizen, whose contribution to his country in time of peace and of war was notable; of a great-souled man who had won a clarity of judgment, a breath of understanding, a capacity for friendship, which makes his memory an inspiration.  Four institutions greatly benefitted and enriched by his thought for them are to be represented in the addresses this afternoon.


Col. Seeley Wintersmith Mudd, Engineer of Mines, was born on August 16th, 1861, in Kirkwood, Missouri.  He graduated from the public schools of St. Louis, entered Washington University, received its degree of Mining Engineer in 1883 and at once began the practice of his profession, first at the copper smelter of the St. Genevieve Copper Company and next as assayer for the St. Louis Smelting and Refining Company.  In 1885 he went to Leadville where for twenty-five years he was general manager of the Small Hopes Consolidated and Boreel Mining Companies.

In 1901 he moved to Los Angeles where he became Consulting Engineer for the Guggenheim Exploration Company serving them until 1905 when he resigned to carry on his work independently.  For five years he was president and manager of the Queen Esther Mining and Milling Company and at the same time was actively associated in developing the Ray Consolidated Copper Company and the United Eastern Mining Company at Oatman.  Next he and his associates acquired and developed the great sulphur properties of the Texas Gulf Sulphur Company.  One of his great undertakings was the Cyprus Mines Corporation, redeveloping and working the ancient copper mines in the Island of Cyprus.  When the United States entered the World War Mr. Mudd joined the army as an engineer officer with the rank of Major and later was detailed as assistant director of explosives plants with the rank of Colonel.  He was voted the degree of Doctor of Engineering by his Alma Mater on May 7th last.  He died in St. Louis on May 24th.

But such words as these are utterly inadequate to tell the greatness of the man.  The Mining and Metallurgical Society of America, of which he was one of the founders, by resolution characterized him as "Pre-eminent in his chosen profession, a leader of men, gifted with foresight, sagacity, courage and rare ability, he was withal so modest and unassuming that his associates held him in the highest esteem and regard whilst his staff assistants served him with whole-hearted loyalty and devoted affection."

Mr. Sherwood Aldrich, writing to Mr. Harvey S. Mudd under date of June 3, 1926, says:  "Your father made one of the greatest contributions to the mining camp of Cripple Creek, Colorado--and consequently to the gold production of the United States and the world--that could possibly be given, when, under an engagement from the Elkton Mine, of which I was then an officer, he made a study of the underground water flows, which had almost closed down one-half the mines of the camp (or at least had limited them to the ground above water level), and soon determined that these flows were not only connected but that they could be readily drained by driving a tunnel from a lower altitude through Beacon Hill and tapping any of the main water courses.  There was very little established data available and quite a number of the mine owners were hostile.  By clever work, however, your father not only established the connection of the water flows in the various mines, but worked out a conclusion that lowering the water level would require the removal of 44,000,000 gallons per vertical foot.  Careful measurements of the flows from the various drainage tunnels since that time have proven the accuracy of is forecast.  As you well know, the shafts and workings of the district could never have been carried to their present great depths had it not been for these determinations and for the drainage tunnels."

There you see the mining engineer at work.  It is proper to complete the record by recalling that another eminent engineer, Mr. D. W. Brunton was associated with Mr. Mudd in that work.  "I never expect," Mr. Aldrich continues, "to again meet a man whom I might consider his equal for integrity, judgment, technical, business and general ability, and with his death there is lost a rare personal charm which was beyond description."  All of his friends speak of his gentleness, his quiet force, his courage.  Physical bravery he had, to go to every part of the camp where his duty called him unarmed and unattended in the midst of crowds of striking and rioting miners, but courage of an even rarer nature as well.  His was a life, as every miner's is, of great business hazards.  He had the rare fortitude, having put his hand to the plow, not to turn back until that particular adventure had been pushed to a conclusion.  At such times he supplied bravery to his associates.  With such qualities it is not surprising that he prospered.

By his insight and his daring he enlarged the material wealth of the world and in the process he increased its spiritual wealth also.  He lifted the standing of the mining engineer.  The Greeks distinguished between the acquisitive life and the productive life.  The acquisitive life is a getting, a taking and a keeping, without enlarging.  It is a cornering and withdrawing of human goods.  It proceeds by subtraction.  The productive life on the contrary, is  throughout an addition to the wealth of the world.  Art, agriculture, mining, education, medicine, discovery, invention, are examples.  Law, orderliness, goodness, are its greatest expressions.  A world of difference divides the man who has set himself to be creative from the man who merely gets without giving, takes without restoring, subtracts without adding.  Mr. Mudd's was a creative spirit.  He was eager to enrich.  He regarded all that he had as means for further and yet further production of human good.  In my association with him I sometimes felt that he believed that the one use for wealth was to bring opportunity to young people.  Never in my life have I met a man who encouraged me to believe so completely in my own work in education as he did.  "We must see to it," he said, "that the young men and women of America get the spirit of philosophy and of religion as well as technical training else our country will fail.  They must know with what companionship they walk."  He had a passion for the welfare of the young.  He was quicker to give than we were to ask him to give.  One evening at the Club I chanced to say that we had just been offered the refusal of John Fisk's private library.  Instantly he said, "We must get that for our young people," and at once, got a piece of paper and began to figure out how it could be done.

Often in my last talks with him he spoke of a matter that was heavy on his patriotic heart, a fear lest anything should separate our young men from instant and eager compliance with every request that our government might make of them.  "They should give gladly," he said, "and should love much a country that has done so much for them."  Moral beauty cannot, like physical beauty, be given.  It is always the produce of yearning, yearning for the good of folks.  All his life Mr. Mudd had that yearning, and with a radiant devotion to the welfare of his fellow men, he passed to the Beyond.

"He leave behind him,
Freed from grief and fears
far nobler things than tears;
The love of friends
Without a single foe,
Unequalled lot below."