William Hope Harvey was born the fifth of six children on August 16, 1851 to Colonel Robert Trigg Harvey and Anna Limbroux. Called Billy in his youth, Harvey went to school in a log house during the civil war, taught a term at sixteen, and graduated law school at nineteen. The book, “Coin Harvey, Prophet of Monte Ne” by Lois Snelling, was commissioned by the Benton County Historical Society to chronicle Harvey’s life from his birth on a farm in Buffalo, Virginia to the impact he would have on the Northwest Arkansas area well after his death on February 11, 1936 in Monte Ne, Arkansas. This book explores, briefly, the lives of Coin’s neighbors, past and contemporary.
On a stop in Colorado during a business trip to California in 1883, Coin became fascinated with silver and took up a pick to try his hand at mining. Calling his mine “Silver Bell,” Harvey’s mine was the second largest producer in the area; however, due to the increase in transportation costs, increasing labor unrest, and the plummeting market value of silver, Harvey abandoned his mine. From Coin’s mining days, he formed an interest in silver as opposed to gold as the U.S. monetary system standard. In 1891, he became the chairman of the Trans-Mississippi Congress, whose interest was in promoting legislation that would benefit the states west of the Mississippi.
After moving to Chicago, Harvey established a printing press and published a weekly magazine called “Coin”. Although his printing company was unsuccessful, he wrote and published a series of inexpensive books called “Coin’s Financial School,” dedicated to the idea of replacing gold with silver as the monetary system. These books not only gave Harvey the nickname he would be known as for the rest of his life, but also made him well known across the United States. Coin reportedly said “vote for gold standard is a vote for England. A vote against it is a vote for America;” these books were well received and granted him some respect in the political arena. In 1895, he was invited to debate with Roswell G. Horr of the New York Tribune, who argued for keeping gold as the monetary standard. The debate between the two men broke the record for overall length of time and total number of words; even though Harvey was not seen as a great speaker, his intensity and sincere belief in his cause gave others the impression of his faith in his cause.
Coin in Arkansas
Coin revised the small town of Silver Springs into a resort town and renamed it Monte Ne. The quaint town sported: two hotel; a golf course; a scandalous (for the time) enclosed swimming pool; newspaper; bank; and a 25-mile railroad that would leave the visitor at a platform to wait for the gondola which was imported from Italy where the guest would be ferried across the water by a gondolier to the hotel. The two hotels, Oklahoma Row and Missouri Row held the record for the longest log buildings in the world.
Purchasing the 320 acre tracks of land that Silver Springs sat on,...