Utah History Encyclopedia


By Allan Kent Powell
John Judge was born on 6 May 1845 in County Sligo, Ireland. He immigrated to the United States with his parents, John and Annie Judge, in 1846 because of the potato famine. The family took up a farm at Moriah, New York. As a boy, John Judge worked in the iron mines near the farm, and at the outbreak of the Civil War he joined the Second New York Cavalry. He was wounded, captured, and imprisoned until the end of the war. He then returned to New York where he met Mary Harney, born in 1841 in Alexandria, Canada, to Irish immigrants James and Elizabeth Harney.

John and Mary were married in 1867 and five children were born to the couple--Elizabeth, Agnes, Frances, Katharine, and John Francis. In 1876 John came to Salt Lake City at the suggestion of friends. He worked first as a guard at the territorial penitentiary, then went to Park City to work in the mines. In Park City he met David Keith and Thomas Kearns and became a part owner with them in the Silver King Mine. Like many miners of his day, John Judge suffered from miner's consumption and died of the lung disease on 9 September 1892 at the age of forty-eight.

Unlike most miners, however, John Judge left his family considerable wealth, and Mary Judge proved a capable businesswomen. She expanded the income from the Park City properties through other mining investments, particularly in White Pine County, Nevada, real estate investments, and the construction of business buildings in downtown Salt Lake City--notably the Judge Building on the southeast corner of Main Street and 300 South. In 1896 she had a fine mansion built at 737 East South Temple.

A philanthropist, Mary Judge donated to many causes, which included the construction fund for the Cathedral of the Madeleine and a ten-thousand-dollar contribution to the Young Men's Christian Association. She financed the construction of the Judge Memorial Hospital in memory of her husband. The hospital and chapel were built under the direction of Bishop Lawrence Scanlan on property she purchased between Sixth and Seventh South on Tenth East. The hospital was to provide care and medical treatment for aged and infirm miners. It opened under the direction of the Sisters of Mercy in the spring of 1910. Few miners took advantage of the hospital, however. The expense in operating the hospital given the availability of Holy Cross Hospital a few blocks away led to its closure in 1915. The building was used to house victims of the 1918 flu epidemic and then remodeled and opened as the Judge Memorial School, a Catholic parochial school, in the fall of 1920.

Mary Judge died in 1909. In 1913 the South Temple mansion was demolished when the family did not wish to see it become a boarding house. The Judge Building and Judge Memorial High School remain as Salt Lake City landmarks to John and Mary Judge.

See: Margret D. Lester, Brigham Street (1979).