California’s Gold Rush Mrs. Myers Feb. 2007
Routes to California • Travelers from the East took many routes Westward. • Some traveled by water, but most took the overland trails.
Settlements • Sutter sold supplies in the hopes to raise enough money to begin a large farming operation. • Aid sent to Donner Party. • Sutter’s Fort became a resting spot for travelers who had crossed the Sierra Nevada.
Johann (John) Sutter • Immigrated to California from Switzerland in 1839. • Built one of the largest settlements in the Sacramento Valley. • New Helvetia was located where the American and Sacramento Rivers meet. Photo Credit historichwy49.com
James Marshall • Marshall was hired by Sutter to build a sawmill in 1847. Photo Credits historichwy49.com
James Marshall was building a sawmill to cut lumber for Sutter’s Fort. It wasn’t long before Marshall discovered a gold nugget in the tailrace* of the mill. (January 24, 1848) These structures are all that are left of the original mill located next to the American River. A Golden Discovery
His Own Words • The first piece of gold was noticed by James Marshall early on the morning of January 24, 1848. His own words describe the event: "I went down as usual, and after shutting off the water from the race I stepped into it, near the lower end, and there, upon the rock, about six inches beneath the surface of the water, I discovered the gold. I then collected four or five pieces and went up to Mr. Scott (who was working at the carpenter's bench making the mill wheel) and the pieces in my hand and said, 'I have found it.''What is it?' inquired Scott.'Gold,' I answered.'Oh! No,' returned Scott, 'that can't be!'I replied positively, 'I know it to be nothing else.'" www.coloma.com/gold
News Spread • Marshall took the news to Sutter who asked his men to keep the gold a secret. • Sam Brannan helped spread the news and became California’s first millionaire. • News of Marshall’s discovery soon spread “Gold Fever” across the world. • People from all over traveled to California in search of gold.
James Marshall Remembered • Marshall is pointing to the site of the mill where he made his great discovery.
A Hard Life • A miner spent all day bent over cold running streams. • Exposed to the elements. • Lived in tents. Photo Credit historichwy49.com
A replica (copy) of a miner’s cabin Small in size Used after miners realized they would be staying in CA longer than they planned A Hard Life
Inside the Cabin Photo Credit historichwy49.com
A Common Mining Tool • A sluice box (rocker type) used for separating gold from sand and gravel
Later Techniques Used to Find Gold • A sapling stamp was one of the first techniques used to crush rock.
Later Techniques Used to Find Gold • Mexican immigrants introduced the arrastre to miners. It was a device with a large stone wheel which was pulled over the gold ore by mules.
Later Techniques Used to Find Gold • One of the most devastating techniques used was hydraulic mining.
Devastation Caused by Hydraulic Mining • http://www.museumca.org/goldrush/qtvr-malakoff.html Photo Credits www.parks.ca.gov http://Hydraulic Audio
Final Thoughts • The Gold Rush was a period of great wealth for very few people. • It was a source of frustration and disappointment for many others. • The rush of American citizens into California in 1849 is directly linked to California’s statehood on September 9th, 1850.