“WARE, FRANK ELLSWORTH, Mining Engineer and Operator, San Francisco, was born in West Gardiner, Maine, February 25, 1864, the son of Ezekiel and Jane (Smith ) Ware. Both his parents and maternal descent is English, with a blend of French blood. His American ancestors were among the early settlers of New England, and a number of them fought for their country in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Mexican War, and the Civil War. The French strain in the family was derived from the marriage of a member of one of General Lafayett’s officers, F.E. Ware, by yielding to the objection of his relatives and declining the offer of an appointment to West Point, missed the chance of continuing the military traditions of his family. He came to California, from Seattle, on January 6, 1896, and on January 30, 1901, was married in San Francisco to Miss Lillian Rae. The children of this marriage were Harley Scribner Ware, born September 22, 1904, and Virgil Rae Ware , born September 23, 1906, both of whom are dead.
From 1870 to 1878 Mr. Ware attended the public schools of West Gardiner, Maine, and then entered the Classical Academy at Hallowell, Maine, from which institution he was graduated in 1882. He then became a student at Bowdoin College, in the class of ’86, but transferred thence to Colorado College, Colorado Springs, leaving thee to engage in mining in Butte, Montana.
Then began a career full of incident, which in any other day than the present, when even the mos tstartling experiences and achievements are accepted as a matter or course, would have been declared romantic. It was the typical search for the fortune of the present-day American, a search which led into the unknown wilderness, to contact with savages and the rough characters of the frontier, and at one time or another by way of contrast into the palatial drawing rooms of New York clubs and hotels. In any situation Mr. Ware found himself at home, even like the storied characters of Richard Harding Davis. Not even the imagination of the latter conceived enterprises and climaxes more unusual. But he himself has never imagined that his life was out of the ordinary.
After four years in Montana, with varying success, Mr. Ware went to Washington Territory, and for the next seven ot eight years operated in that country and in British Columbia, acquiring a fortune, which was lost in the panic of 1893. In both of these countries he was one of the pioneer mining operators, as well as the first trail and road builder, and thereby contributed considerably to the development of the districts wherein he worked.
In Okanagan County, Washington Territory, a touch of romance was added to his experience by the part he played in the trouble that arose between some ex-convicts and the Indians, in 1894. One of the former who had killed and Indian, was given a hearing by the United States Commissioner, who was to decide whether or not the culprit was to be bound over to the United States Courts. Feeling ran high between the factions engaged. The ex-convicts were determined that if the decision were adverse to their comrade they would resist the law and start a rebellion. The Commissioner did decide against them, but Ware and his men ‘got the drop’ that quelled the threatened insurrection, and prevented an Indian was. The Indians heartily congratulated Mr. Ware and his men for their good service in the matter.
In 1896 Mr. Ware devoted his energies largely to the acquisition and the development of gold and copper mines in Shasta County, which at the time was adding to its fame for mineral wealth by the discoveries there of the latter metal. By 1905 he matured his plans to combine all the copper mines of Shasta County into one company, having a smelter of five thousand tons daily capacity. To this end he secured options on all but one of the copper mines in that county, not already controlled by himself, and had $3,000,000 of bonds underwritten in New York to finance the project. His health failing at that time, the execution of the plan was left to his associates, who, as seems to be almost customary under such conditions, quarreled among themselves, and thereby defeated their own interests, as well as his, in the great enterprise.
Another chance was given Mr. Ware to perpetuate his military traditions in a startling way. In 1905 he was offered unlimited backingm by a New York Syndicate, to organize an army of Spanish war veterans, take Nicaragua and become Dictator thereof in the interest of this ambitious syndicate. He was to have command of twenty thousand soldiers, under whose protection he was to develop the mines, rivers, transportation and other industries of the company–a combination, in short similar to that now about to operate in Guatemala. He declined the offer and the concession was lost through delay.
Mr. Ware is now chiefly occupied in the development and financing of mining, irrigation and water power enterprises in California of which in this State his investigations have revealed to him. Although he is an engineer by profession and has had many offers to engineer for others, he has always preferred to operate on his own account, his strong sense of initiative and confidence in his own judgment promoted him to this course. Formerly a deep student of economic questions, he regards industrial development as a practical solution of many of the problems presented by such a study. He has no found time to devote to clubs and fraternal life, but was at one time a member of the Rainer Club of Seattle and of the Reform Club of New York.”
Source: Notables of the Southwest, published by the Los Angeles Examiner, Los Angeles, California, 1912, page 251