The Dow of Dow-Jones is Charles Henry Dow, born Nov. 5, 1851, in Connecticut. He went into journalism, working for New England newspapers. His work impressed Charles Danielson, editor of the Providence (R.I.) Journal, and so in 1879 he assigned Dow to join a group of bankers and reporters who were going west to examine the silver mines of Leadville. After a four-day train trip, Dow wrote nine “Leadville Letters.” He described the mountains and the mining companies, as well as Leadville’s notorious gambling joints, saloons, and dance halls.
He described the disappearance of the individual mine-owners and the role of financiers who underwrote shares in large mining consortiums. Dow warned, “Mining securities are not the thing for widows and orphans or country clergymen, or unworldly people of any kind to own. But for a businessman, who must take risks in order to make money; who will buy nothing without careful, thorough investigation; and who will not risk more than he is able to lose, there is no other investment in the market today as tempting as mining stock.”