Gold, gold, gold, from the American River!
January 24, 1848. Sutter's Mill, California. "Monday 24th this day some kind of mettle was found in the tail race that looks like goald first discovered by James Martial the Boss of the Mill."
This simple entry, written by Henry Bigler in his diary on January 24, 1848, records the momentous discovery of gold at the edge of the South Fork of the American River by James W. Marshall.
May 12, 1848. San Francisco, California. Sam Brannan, a San Francisco entrepreneur and newspaperman, walked the streets of San Francisco, holding up a bottle filled with gold nuggets, and shouted, "Gold, gold, gold, from the American River." The Streets of San Francisco were soon empty as almost every citizen -- some 800 in total -- headed for the gold fields.
James W. Marshall discovered the gold. Sam Brannan created the rush.
Gold Discovery Site on the American River
December 5, 1848. Washington, D.C. President James K. Polk, in his annual message to Congress, wrote:
The accounts of an abundance of gold are of such an extraordinary character, as would scarcely command belief were they not corroborated by the authentic reports of officers in the public service.
Supported by words from the President of the United States, Americans began to go west to California by land and by sea. In 1849, the year of the 49ers, more than 90,000 Americans made the journey to California's gold fields. The Gold Rush was on!(Left) Poppies Along American River
(Right) Stagecoach at Columbia State Historic Park
James W. Marshall's discovery of several small gold nuggets in the tailrace of Sutter's Mill at Coloma, on the South Fork of the American River, on January 24, 1848, changed the course of world history. Hundreds of thousands of gold seekers from all over the world joined in the rush to California to try their luck at finding gold in its creeks and rivers on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada.
Carson River on California Trail
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