Friday, January 07, 2011
the gold fever
Grandma told me of an uncle whither on mothers side or fathers i know not. One day Uncle took a gun, a squirrel dog and took him self off on a journey to the gold fields if he arrived or perished along the way we no not because he was never heard from again.
California Gold Rush In January 1848, James Marshall discovered a small nugget of gold in the American River, sparking the California Gold Rush. It is estimated that about two-thirds of the male population in Oregon went to California in 1848 to cash in on the early gold discoveries. To get there, they helped build the Lassen Branch of the Applegate-Lassen Trail by cutting a wagon road through extensive forests. Many returned with significant gold which helped jump-start the Oregon economy. Over the next decade, gold seekers from the Midwestern United States and East Coast of the United States started rushing overland and dramatically increased traffic on the Oregon and California Trails. The "forty-niners" often chose speed over safety and opted to use shortcuts such as the Sublette-Greenwood Cutoff in Wyoming which reduced travel time by almost seven days but spanned nearly 45 miles (72 km) of desert without water, grass, or fuel for fires. 1849 was the first year of large scale cholera epidemics in the United States, and thousands are thought to have died along the trail on their way to California—most buried in unmarked graves in Kansas and Nebraska. The 1850 census showed this rush was overwhelmingly male: the ratio of women to men in California over 16 years was about 1:18. After 1849 the rush continued for several years as the California miners continued to find about $50,000,000 worth of gold per year at $21 per ounce.