Grabbed detectors and my wife with her new Vanquish 540 and headed back to the gold rush site. We spent a nice day together digging up some serious history. I had never dug a gold rush era buckle 3 weeks ago now, I have a collection. She found the seated dime and something older but almost wiped clean. It’s slightly larger than the dime and I can see a shield so if you guys could help with ID that would be great. She also found the old key but I was the buckle master. I also found a few beads while digging targets and some buttons.
The California Gold Rush is, forgive the pun, the gold standard of gold rushes in the United States. Indeed, California is known as the “Golden State” both because of its beautiful natural scenery, but also because of this gold rush that absolutely changed the face of American history in a short period of time. A great way to explain the changes is to compare California before the gold rush — a sparsely populated area inhabited mostly by Indians and Mexicans — to a state important enough that the first Republican Presidential candidate, John C. Fremont, hailed from the state.
It all began on January 24, 1848, when James W. Marshall, a sawmill entrepreneur, and carpenter, discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California in the northern central portion of the state. California was still technically a part of Mexico at this time, as the Mexican-American War was still underway, but it had been claimed by the United States since the Bear Flag Revolt in 1846. When all was said and done, 300,000 people had poured into the region and the population demographics of the territory — a state by 1850 — were changed forever. Tens of billions of dollars were extracted from the mines in the state, which helped the United States on its road to becoming an economic powerhouse.
Who Was James W. Marshall?
As is often the case with a gold rush, the California Gold Rush had very inauspicious beginnings. James Wilson Marshall didn’t own the land where he discovered the gold and thus joins the long list of people who came close to grabbing the golden ring but were unable to do so due to circumstances outside of their control.
The land itself was owned by John Sutter, born Johann August Sutter, an immigrant from one of the many small states that made up the Holy Roman Empire. Marshall was examining a channel on the land when he noticed the shiny flecks that often meant there were large deposits of gold. For his part, Sutter was far more concerned with the completion of his sawmill than he was with panning for gold, so he simply allowed the workmen to hunt for gold on his land in their spare time.california gold rush
Ironically, the discovery of gold on his land led to Sutter’s economic ruination. Though he attempted to keep the find quiet, the discovery of land was exposed to a mass audience by newspaper publisher Samuel Brannan. When news of the gold spread throughout his crew, they all left the steady work of building a sawmill to hunt for gold. Eventually, the hordes of prospectors drove Sutter off of his own land. His son, John Augustus Sutter Jr., had no small success rebuilding the land, but the prospectors destroyed virtually everything of value that lay on the land. The elder Sutter eventually received a $250 monthly pension as reimbursement for his land.
Marshall, too, was economically ruined by the army of squatters who destroyed crops and cattle as they went. However, he returned to business in Coloma in 1857, running a vineyard that saw some success in the 1860s before being ruined by higher taxes and increased competition. He then returned to prospecting, which was largely unsuccessful. He died broke in a cabin on August 10, 1885. A monument was eventually erected to him and visitors can still go see the cabin where he spent his final days.
Going to California
It bears repeating that going from a “western” American city of the time, such as St. Louis, to California, was not anywhere near as easy as it is today. Indeed, there was not even rail transportation out to California at this time. And it was the California Gold Rush that changed all of that.
Most of the 49’ers, in fact, didn’t even travel over the land. They got to California by sea. Remember that this was prior to the construction of the Panama Canal. The journey went all the way around Tierra del Fuego and took between four and five months. That was a total of 18,000 nautical miles (21,000 land miles or 33,000 kilometers). The other option was to go to the thinnest part of Panama, cross the jungle, and pick up another boat on the other side. Companies such as the U.S. Mail Steamship Company, the Pacific Mail Steamship Company (which enjoyed federal subsidies), and the Accessory Transit Company allowed for men who weren’t prospecting to make their fortunes off of the California Gold Rush.
Of course, some adventure and treasure seekers did use an overland route, with most utilizing the California Trail, a 3,000-mile trail that ran from the Missouri River to California. It was one of a series of so-called “pioneer trails” that were built by enterprising settlers on their way out west during the 19th Century.
Supplies were likewise needed in California, but it was difficult to keep crews because men generally deserted to go hunt for gold in the fields. Some abandoned ships were converted into warehouses, taverns, hotels, and other structures, including at least one jail. But when all was said and done, it was the merchants who made out like bandits during the California Gold Rush, not the miners.
Continue reading The California Gold Rush at KellycoDetectors.com.
I return to the Family Home site this time to Sift through the dirt looking for Family artifacts.
Filmed in the Fall of 2019 we uncover a Chauffeur's pin that belonged to my Great Aunt Kathryn's husband William Ernest Thrower.
The pin dates back to 1935-36 # 51927 from California.
a little bit about William Thrower he was a World War I United States Army veteran having served from March 26 1917 to July 2 1919.
Sergeant William E. Thrower 81 Division 324 Infantry, Company K of the American Expeditionary Forces .
Buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, Ca 1895-1965
Good mornin' y'all-
I have done several hours of solid research this morning about lode staking and I have not found conclusive answers to theae two questions yet. These questions are only for the initial time you actually discover the lode area and place the monument on the diacovery, before sending in any paperwork/filing forms/fees, etc. If you have any experience with these specific areas of lode claim staking here in CA, I would very, very much appreciate any advice, experience, and or details you have to share. Thank you very much for your time, experience, and your help.
1. Does the discovery monument need to have a written/filled-out notice of discovery paper/sign attached to the actual monument or posted anywhere around it on day-1, or, does it simply just have to be a bare monument with no posted notice/wtitten sign?
2. If a written/filled-out notice of discovery paper/sign is required on the center monument at the initial staking of said Lode claim, do I need to list my personal address of residence with my full name posted on the sign? I'd like to maintain whatever privacy I am allowed to keep while also following all of the related rules/regulations/laws. I do not have a separate business set up that I could put on the sign either.
Thanks again and have a rockin' day!