Perry, Howard Everett (1858–1944)

By: Kenneth B. Ragsdale

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: May 1, 1995

Howard Everett Perry, businessman, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on November 2 1858, the son of Lansford and Nancy (Wilson) Perry. He attended Oberlin College and worked in his father's business, the Woods-Perry Lumber Company in Cleveland. In 1879 Perry went to Chicago, where he continued in the lumber business. On February 7, 1897, he married Grace Henderson. They had no children. Perry later joined C. M. Henderson and Company, a Chicago shoe-manufacturing firm headed by his wife's father; Perry accumulated considerable wealth. In 1887 he purchased 4 ½ sections of land in Brewster County, Texas, for $5,760. After the discovery of mercury on this property, he incorporated the Chisos Mining Company in the state of Maine on May 8, 1903; the company reported the first production that same year. Recovery continued for four decades, during which time the mine became one of the largest quicksilver producers in the nation. Though secrecy surrounded the operation, it was estimated in 1934 that the company had marketed over $12 million in the liquid metal. After 1936 production declined, and on October 1, 1942, the company admitted insolvency. The mine was sold in bankruptcy on March 15, 1943, to the Texas Railway Equipment Company for $81,000. Operated as the Esperado Mining Company, the firm continued production until 1945, when surface installations were sold for salvage. Details of Perry's life are obscure. He maintained residence in Chicago and seldom visited the mine, but he administered absolute control through daily correspondence and a loyal administrative staff. At the beginning of World War I he moved to Portland, Maine. He died on December 6, 1944, in Boston, Massachusetts. See also MERCURY MINING.

Kenneth B. Ragsdale, Quicksilver: Terlingua and the Chisos Mining Company (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1976).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Kenneth B. Ragsdale, “Perry, Howard Everett,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 05, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995