Despite prior appropriation, the greedy miners in their furious rush to get rich quick showed Marshall and Sutter no respect or restraint. The peak year of the gold rush, 1852, 100,00 miners had produced nearly $80 million in gold. John Bidwell, one of Sutter s clerks, drew up a contract for the two men on or about August 27 of 1847. This small piece of yellow metal is believed to be the first piece of gold discovered in 1848 at Sutter's Mill in California, launching the gold rush. In 1857, he returned to Coloma and started a vineyard in the early 1860s. The statue is located at the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma at the end of Highway 153 (the state's shortest highway) off of Highway 49. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines. Marshall never did marry. Marshall’s gold discovery more than 150 years ago arguably began the modernization of California. When his father died in 1834, he headed westward, spending some time in Illinois and Indiana before settling in Missouri. The best-known of the latter is The Bonanza Kings: The Social Origins and Business Behavior of Western Mining Entrepreneurs, 1879-1900. Discover and share James Marshall Gold Rush Quotes. Sutters Mill, Coloma, California by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. As everyone knows, James Wilson Marshall was noted for discovering gold at Sutter's Fort, and beginning, what was later known as, the California Gold Rush. The mill was owned by John Sutter, a Swiss immigrant that arrived in California in 1839. James Marshall at Sutter’s Sawmill, Coloma, California, 1851. He enlisted the services of local Indians and Mormon veterans of the Mexican War to build the mill, which was nearly complete by late 1847. James Wilson Marshall (October 8, 1810 – August 10, 1885) was an American carpenter and sawmill operator, who reported the finding of gold at Coloma on the American River in California on January 24, 1848, the impetus for the California Gold Rush. Many libraries and archives across the country from Yale University to the Henry E. Huntington Library preserve formidable collections of Gold Rush material, but the State Library's direct relationship to Marshall's earthshaking discovery gives it a unique role. Within two months, about 100 miners, mostly Mexican, were working the diggings, which produced gold for several years. Although most Californians who heard of the strike doubted its significance, by May 1848 word had reached San Francisco when a Mormon merchant, Sam Brannan, waved a quinine bottle filled with glittering dust at San Franciscans. In 1846, the restless Marshall joined the Bear Flag Rebellion and served under John C. Frémont as the Mexican War spread into California. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Kelsey, a few miles east of Coloma, where he used the money to open a blacksmith shop. Born in 1810, Marshall followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a skilled carpenter and wheelwright. Harassed and unappreciated throughout much of his adult life, Marshall was a tragic victim of nature’s great lottery. Hoping to get on with his life under better circumstances, young James headed west, drifting into the Ohio Valley during the 1830s and for a while settling in Missouri. However, his identity was so widely and well known that miners hounded him wherever he went. While likely apocryphal, the story shows that Newton was simply a mathematician and alchemist until a falling apple landed on his head and helped him make important realizations about gravity. By 1853, Marshall could stomach no more. Marshall’s gold discovery more than 150 years ago arguably began the modernization of California. However, when a brandy bottle dropped from his pocket and rolled on the floor, no additional pension was awarded. Initially profitable, his endeavors as a vintner would also fail when, by the end of the decade, increased competition and less demand put him out of business once again. © Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated November 2018. In 1848, James W. Marshall found shining flecks of gold in the tailrace of the sawmill he was building in partnership with John Sutter. He also was taught his father’s trade as a carpenter and wheelwright. John Phillip Holland, inventor of the modern submarine. Required fields are marked *. Our cookies are delicious. It was displayed at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. But seen from other angles, the gold rush was no… The nugget weighed approximately one-third of an ounce with a value of $5.12. He then formed a partnership with John Sutter to build a sawmill. Even before his famous discovery, he was known as a person who told tales about spiritual visions and claimed to have heard strange voices. In 1844, he arrived in Oregon by wagon train. I… In time, failed mining and other business ventures deeply embittered Marshall. He believed that the world–or at least the state–owed him something for his remarkable discovery. The mill property was owned by Johan (John) Sutter who employed Marshall to build his mill. In 1872, he received some compensation for his contribution to California’s gold-crazed growth. As word quickly spread, some 80,000 miners flooded the area, extending up and down the length of the Sacramento Valley, and overrunning Sutter’s domain. His refusal to reveal the location of these so-called rich diggings only angered resentful miners, who even threatened to lynch him if he did not lead them to new sources of treasure. Just forty-six (46) years ago to-day the great and memorable discovery of the California gold was made at Capt. Every financial setback he suffered he interpreted as a conscious effort by somebody to deprive him of what he considered to be his divine rights. Surprisingly, their orders to remain silent generally were followed. For whatever reasons, he began to claim supernatural, mystical powers that allegedly allowed him to locate the richest gold deposits. He noticed several flakes of metal in the tailrace water and recognized them to be gold. I have had to carry my pack of thirty or forty pounds over the mountains, living on China rice alone. 14 Lithographic Views of the California Gold Rush 1850-1857 in PowerPoint (900 Kb) Capt. He spotted a gleam in the bottom of the ditch, scooped up a handful of gravel, examined it closely and concluded that he had found what appeared to be gold. The gold discovery site, located in the still visible tailrace of Sutter's sawmill in present day Coloma, California, is one of the most significant historic sites in the nation. A quotation from his memoirs suggests his plight at the time: ‘I was soon forced to again leave Coloma for want of food. This Day In History: January 24, 1848. Before taking samples to Sutter, who had financed the building of the mill, Marshall conducted crude tests to better determine the authenticity of his find by comparing flakes with a $5 gold piece and pounding a nugget on an anvil. Miners extracted more than 750,000 pounds of gold during the California Gold Rush. (Last Privacy Policy Update July 2020), Byways & Historic Trails – Great Drives in America, Soldiers and Officers in American History. It was at the sawmill that, on January 24, 1848, he discovered gold in the water flow through the mill’s tailrace. Born in 1810, Marshall followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a skilled carpenter and wheelwright. Your email address will not be published. California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties Collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell. Excerpts of John Sutter's Diaries 1838-1848. At that point, the bewildered, depressed Marshall seriously undermined his own future. Suggested for further reading: James Marshall, a Biography, by Theressa Gay; Sutter’s Fort, Gateway to the Goldfields, by Oscar Lewis; The California Gold Discovery, by Rodman Paul; and The Gold Discovery Journal, by Azariah Smith. During 1848, Marshall and Sutter tried in vain to claim ownership of the Coloma property and charge a commission for any gold found by other miners. In 1846, he joined John C. Fremont’s California Battalion and participated in the Bear Flag Revolt, a bid to seize control of California from Mexican control. Days after Marshall’s ... mill for local landowner John Sutter. Ironically, the subsequent gold rush actually harmed the man who had begun it. The metal was mined at least as early as the beginning of the 19th century, if not before. Chaos and disorder were common, as were gambling, prostitution and violence. Marshall and his men set out for the millsite that September. We use cookies. During his last years, Marshall, who had become an obvious alcoholic, was forced to live by handyman jobs, handouts and the sale of his autograph on special cards for 50 cents each. San Francisco became the center of the booming new economy. Sutter tells of the Gold Discovery - 1854. LEARN MORE Don Abel Stearns, a native of Massachusetts who became a naturalized Mexican citizen and large landowner in California, shipped 20 ounces of gold to the East. Little is known, however, about the one person present who was able to recognize the shiny rock which others believed to be mica or fool's gold. They decided to keep the discovery as secret as possible. According to the legend, Marshall then went to visit the legislative assembly in person to get the pension renewed again. According to legend, Lopez fell asleep under an old oak tree after tending cattle on a nearby rancho. The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill by James W. Marshall. Marshall convinced Sutter that a partnership in a sawmill in the Sierra Nevada foothills would be a profitable venture, and he set out to find a suitable location. Sutter and Marshall agreed to become partners and tried to keep their find a secret. By the end of 1848, he was forced to sell one third of his timber and mill rights to raise money. When he returned to his land, he found his cattle had been stolen and he was forced to sell his land. El Dorado County It is estimated about $80,000 in gold was taken from the canyon before the shallow deposits played out. Watch Rick and Jack recreate the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in California!Check us out at https://www.rarecollectiblestv.com/ He knew that real gold was soft and malleable and would not shatter like fool’s gold–iron pyrite or mica. After testing the nuggets Marshall and Sutter realized the nuggets were indeed gold. James Wilson Marshall, the oldest of four children and the son of Philip Marshall, was born in Hopewell Township, Mercer County, on 8th October, 1810.When he was a child the family moved to Lambertville.. Marshall decided to move west and after spending time in Indiana and Illinois, he settled in Missouri in 1844 and began farming along the Missouri River. A final irony is that Marshall was not, as is generally assumed, the original discoverer of gold in California. Though he tried to keep it a secret, the word spread quickly and triggered the California Gold Rush of … This was an ironic turn of events, since at one time large numbers of miners had been willing to follow him anywhere in search of gold. After spending a long, wet winter doing carpentry in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Marshall soon wandered south to California where he worked for Sutter, making tools, furniture, spinning wheels, looms and virtually anything else that could be made from wood. Between the years 1848, when James W. Marshall discovered gold in the American River, and 1850, the population of San Francisco grew from 1,000 to … The statue shows the former carpenter pointing at the spot where he allegedly found the first flakes of gold. Suspecting it was gold he took them to John Sutter. But, the “news” was just too big, and in no time it leaked out. Still, small shipments of gold dust turned up in the trade between merchants in New England and missionaries and rancheros in California. Overlooking the south fork of the American River, a monument was erected over the grave site in 1890. Marshall continued to live in Kelsey, in a spartan homesteader’s cabin, earning money from a small garden until his death on August 10, 1885. Primary Sources James Wilson Marshall. Wilhelm Carl Grimm, compiler, with his brother of fairy tales. There, he contracted malaria and at the advice of his doctor, he moved westward again. According to the story, the discovery found him instead of the other way around. Though Marshall tried to secure his own claims in the goldfields, he was unsuccessful. John Marshall, (1859-1908) was an adventurer, journalist, public figure and Digger’s leader on the Coolgardie-Kalgoorlie gold field who wrote of the early days on West Australia's gold fields in "Battling For Gold." Each night Marshall directed the river’s flow through the millrace to allow erosion to deepen the channel and carry away the debris from the previous day’s work. Additional tests at Sutter’s Mill convinced the partners that Marshall indeed had found gold. The state Legislature awarded him a $200-per-month pension. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma also commemorates the gold discovery and contains artifacts and memorabilia regarding the man himself. In July 1845, he arrived in the Sacramento Valley and began to work for John Sutter as a carpenter. On this day in history, 1848, James W. Marshall was checking on the progress made the night before in expanding a drainage channel at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California (which at the time was part of the Mexican territory, but just 9 days later would be ceded to the U.S.). Padre Luis Antonio Martinez of Mission San Luis Obispo did, however, operate a modest gold mine in his district in 1829. This small piece of yellow metal is believed to be the first piece of gold discovered in 1848 at Sutter's Mill in California, launching the gold rush. News of the discovery, however, soon spread, and they were besieged by thousands of fortune seekers. Though he tried to keep it a secret, the word spread quickly and triggered the California Gold Rush of … Chester Nimitz, U.S. admiral who commanded naval forces in the Pacific during WWII. My property was swept from me, and no one would give me employment. The California State Library got its start during the height of the Gold Rush. The wave of gold seekers turned everyone’s attention away from … August Derleth, writer (Still is the Summer Night, The Shield of the Valiant). In 1872, Marshall had a turn of luck when the California State Legislature awarded him a two-year pension in recognition of his role in an important era in California history. An Eyewitness to the Gold Discovery. On January 24th, 1848 Marshall found several shiny gold colored nuggets in the American River. The original nugget he found, which has long belonged to the Bancroft Library at the University of California in Berkeley, is called the Wimmer Nugget after Peter L. Wimmer, Marshall’s assistant in supervising the Indians and others who dug the tailrace of Sutter’s Mill. He worked there and lived in the Union Hotel until his death on August 10, 1885. Honus Wagner, baseball shortstop known as "The Flying Dutchman.". Charles V, king of Spain and the last Holy Roman Emperor to be crowned by the Pope. Sutter and Marshall agreed to become partners and tried to keep their find a secret. On the south fork of the American River, 45 miles northeast of Sutter’s Fort, near a Maidu Indian village called Cullumah (Coloma), Marshall began construction. Oddly enough, the first gold sent from California to the U.S. mint in Philadelphia did not come from James Marshall or Coloma but from Placerita Canyon. He noticed several flakes of metal in the tailrace water and recognized them to be gold. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. The pension was renewed in 1874 and 1876 but lapsed in 1878. Soon, the area surrounding Sutter’s Mill became the first mining boomtown in California – Coloma. His body was then taken to Coloma and buried on the property where he had owned his vineyard. Much has been written about James Marshall's discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in 1848, thereby precipitating the California Gold Rush. HistoryNet.com is brought to you by Historynet LLC, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. If I sought employment, I was refused on the reasoning that I had discovered the goldmines, and should be the one to employ them; they did not wish the man that made the discovery under their control….Thus I wandered for more than four years.’. Born on October 8, 1810, in New Jersey, where his great-grandfather had served as a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the young Marshall received an adequate education for that era. Only a few of the most naive newcomers paid Marshall any money or respected his self-proclaimed property rights. Marshall and Sutter managed to keep their discovery secret for several months, but once word leaked out the California gold rush was underway. A vaquero named Francisco Lopez is credited with making the first commercially significant, well-documented gold discovery on March 9, 1842, in Placerita Canyon about 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles. If luck were a critical factor in the discovery of gold that initiated the California Gold Rush, probably the unluckiest man of that period was no other than the original discoverer himself, James Wilson Marshall. It was another six years before James Marshall made the discovery that created his reputation, mistakenly, as the original discoverer of California gold. The mill property was owned by Johan (John) Sutter who employed Marshall to build his mill. On January 24, 1848, during his regular morning inspection, he made the discovery that would change the course of California and even American history. Who: James Wilson Marshall and John Sutter, main people of the first discovery of gold in California. Despite the involvement of others in determining that Marshall indeed had discovered gold, one would think that the nugget should have been named in his honor–the oversight being just one more of the many ironic twists of fate that plagued Marshall’s troubled life. James Marshall’s discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in California in 1848, started the California Gold Rush. Peterson has published extensively in the mining history of California and the West, including numerous book reviews, articles and three books. She carried it around in a buckskin pouch. It was a member of the battalion, Henry Bigler, who recorded the date of the discovery in his diary. An attempted lecture tour failed to sustain a profit, in part because Marshall was a poor speaker. John A. Sutter – Boom & Bust in California, Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. ‘Gold,’ he shouted, ‘Gold, gold from the American River!’ Within days, half of the city’s population had departed, and within weeks, the news had spread as far south as distant, sleepy San Diego. Terms apply. What : " John Sutter born in February 15, 1803, spent most of his life in Switzerland and eventually moved to California.There John made a new life and built "sutter's Fort" which lead him to an idea of creating a water sawmill. For example, take the popular story of Isaac Newton and the famous falling apple. Wimmer’s wife tested the metal by boiling it with homemade soap to assure that it would emerge untarnished. He soon partnered up with another miner in a gold mine near Kelsey, California. The events that set the world in motion to the new El Dorado began almost by accident–John Sutter decided to build a sawmill in partnership with his employee, James Marshall, in 1847. Shops, saloons, brothels and other businesses set up in these towns to serve the '49ers and make money of their own. John A. Sutter and James W. Marshall’s sawmill, on American Fork River, California. Go to discoveryplus.com to get the greatest real-life entertainment plus exclusive originals, all in one place. Few people know about Marshall’s ironically tragic life after he made his great discovery, from which he did not profit; he died with assets barely sufficient to cover his funeral expenses. Atop the monument is a bronze statue of Marshall, pointing to the spot where he changed California history. Marshall then returned to prospecting and wandering about the state. Unlike the earlier discoveries, however, his find was like a shot heard around the world. California Indians gave gold to the mission padres in return for trading goods. James W. Marshall was building a sawmill for Captain John Sutter, using water from the South Fork of the American River. Fairing well there, he improved his economic prospects, purchasing a ranch, and began to raise cattle. James Wilson Marshall (October 8, 1810 – August 10, 1885) was an American carpenter and sawmill operator, whose discovery of gold in the American River in California on January 24, 1848 set the stage for the California Gold Rush. Ironically, he has been remembered in death as one of California’s more influential–though accidental–history-makers. John Stone With Gold Mining Pan… August, 1939. Marshall was forced to flee for his life and try to start over as just another prospector. According to the late California historian W. H. Hutchinson,’such minor amounts…did not stimulate any gold seeking expeditions of consequence…because the Franciscans had seen the evils wrought by mining upon the native population of Mexico and did not wish to see such havoc repeated in California.’. Explore our collection of motivational and famous quotes by authors you know and love. The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) was a gold rush that began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. James Wilson Marshall was born in Lambertville, New Jersey on October 8, 1810 to Philip and Sarah Wilson Marshall. In the meantime, his state pension had been cut in half after 1874 and eliminated entirely in 1876. His sawmill also failed, as every able-bodied man took off in search of gold. To accommodate the flood of '49ers(as these new, would-be gold miners were called), gold mining towns sprung up all over. On May 3, 1890, a monument of the man whose discovery unleashed the force and fury of the California Gold Rush was officially dedicated with an elaborate program attended by thousands. He haggled with the eager prospectors so forcefully that they became enraged to the point of finally attacking the millhands and driving Marshall from the site of his discovery. In 1848 John Sutter was having a water-powered sawmill built along the American River in Coloma, California, approximately 50 miles (80 km) east of present-day Sacramento.On January 24 his carpenter, James W. Marshall, found flakes of gold in a streambed. Sometimes, important or momentous discoveries are made by people who aren't even looking for them. Sutter received a land grant of fifty-thousand acres near former Colluma Valley, a constantly renamed area of land. However, the development of the mine proved expensive and yielded nothing, leaving the unlucky Marshall once again close to bankruptcy. For more great articles be sure to subscribe to Wild West magazine today! And in 1841, Baptiste Ruelle, a French Canadian fur trapper who had worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company, uncovered a gold deposit near Los Angeles, according to John Bidwell, organizer of the first emigrant wagon train from Missouri to California. In 1848 alone, $10 million in gold was produced by 6000. Note: An abbreviated version of this article was published in the January 1997 issue of the International California Mining Journal, and this version appears here with the permission of that publication’s publisher/editor. Marshall was 62 years old at the time. His early years were marked by conflicts with his stern Baptist father and rejection by two young women, each of whom he had hoped to marry. It was financed by the Native Sons of the Golden West and an appropriation by the state legislature. When he awoke, he unearthed some wild onions–with which to season his lunch of dried beef or jerky–and found glittering gold flakes clinging to the roots. Embittered, Marshall left the area, drifting from place to place in California, looking for yet another rich strike. He packed a few supplies on his back and sought to hide out in the hills. Margaret A. Kelly, Marshall’s friend during his embittered old age, wrote that ‘probably no man ever went to his grave so misunderstood, so misjudged, so misrepresented, so altogether slandered as James W. Marshall.’ Although possibly true, it should be noted that Marshall’s self-destructive, often bizarre behavior contributed to his misfortune. Early gold discoveries such as these generally were unpublicized and were of only local interest. This article was written by Richard H. Peterson, Ph.D. and originally appeared in the December 1997 issue of Wild West. James W. Marshall was building a sawmill for Captain John Sutter, using water from the South Fork of the American River. The news of gold brought approximately 300,000 people to California from the rest of the United States and abroad. John Marshall, foreman of the mill, gave Jennie the gem while dubbing it the "Wimmer Nugget". Coloma, California 2009 by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. In 1847, having been discharged, he returned to Sutter’s employ. Marshall was the oldest and only male of four children. An authentic replica of the sawmill still operates, and a few old gold rush buildings remain intact from Coloma’s glory days. He immediately advised Sutter, who swore all his employees to secrecy. His eccentric behavior alienated all but a few friends, leaving him a virtual recluse. Marshall would build and supervise the operation of the mill, while Sutter would find provisions, teams, tools, and pay for the workmen s wages. James Marshall was the foreman overseeing the construction of Sutter saw mill on the American river in California. On January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold on the property of Johann A. Sutter near Coloma, California.A builder, Marshall was overseeing construction of a sawmill on the American River. The California Gold Rush that his little discovery ignited cost Marshall his new business. James Marshall’s discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in California in 1848, started the California Gold Rush. The events that set the world in motion to the new El Dorado began almost by accident–John Sutter decided to build a sawmill in partnership with his employee, James Marshall, in 1847. Other articles where James W. Marshall is discussed: California Gold Rush: On January 24 his carpenter, James W. Marshall, found flakes of gold in a streambed. For the time being at least, workers at the mill continued to perform their usual tasks, remained reasonably silent and prospected individually on their own time. Ironically, neither Sutter nor Marshall ever profited from the discovery that should have made them independently wealthy. James Marshall is a similar character in history. Brought to you by Historynet LLC, the bewildered, depressed john w marshall gold rush seriously undermined his own in! Contribution to California from the rest of the California gold Rush was no… Discover and share Marshall... Living on China rice alone, California remain silent generally were unpublicized and were of only interest... He noticed several flakes of gold at Sutter ’ s sawmill, on American Fork River,.! This site we will assume that you are happy with it set out for the two men on or August. Would give me employment, inventor of the Golden West and an appropriation by the end of,... 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