As most folks do, when I think of the term “Gold Rush”, it conjures up images of the West! Images of cowboys and crusty old miners ruthlessly and savagely staking their claims. Immigrants coming by boat, folks on foot, horseback, and covered wagon form all over the US to rape and pillage the land that was newly acquired from Mexico through the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo… California. But let me tell you about a gold rush of another kind, in another place, even more significant. It was the actual first documented discovery of gold in the United States! Fifty years earlier…in North Carolina!
In 1799 young Conrad Reed, a 12 year old boy, found a big shiny rock in Little Meadow Creek on the family farm in Cabarrus county North Carolina. Conrad lugged it home but the Reed family had no idea what it was and used it as a clunky door stop. Thinking that it must be some kind of metal, John Reed, Conrad’s father, took it to Concord North Carolina to have a silver smith look at it. The silver smith was unable to identify it as gold. John Reed hauled it back home. Three years later in 1802 he took the rock to Fayetteville North Carolina where a jeweler recognized it for what it was right away. The jeweler asked him if could smelt it down to a bar for him, John agreed. When John returned to the jeweler had a gold brick measuring six to eight inches long. It’s hard to believe but John Reed had no idea of the metals worth. The jeweler asked him what he wanted for it and John thought that a week’s wages would be fair so he sold it to the jeweler for $3.50. It is rumored that John purchased a calico dress for his wife and some coffee beans with his wi...
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(Lewis, 2006) (cite in text) Tar Heel Junior Historian 45, no. 2 (Spring 2006) copyright North Carolina Museum of History.
North Carolina Gold Foundation - http://www.ncgold.org/
Mint Museum of Charlotte – personal visit -Personal visit. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mintmuseum.org/
The North Carolina Gold Rush
First in the Nation - Boitnott , D. W. (n.d.). The north carolina gold rush first in the nation . Retrieved from http://dboitnott.home.mindspring.com/Articles/nc_gold_rush.html
History Chanel – California gold rush
Metamorphosed melange terrane in the eastern Piedmont of North Carolina
Morton, J. W. (n.d.). Metamorphosed melange terrane in the eastern piedmont of north carolina. Retrieved from http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/content/14/7/551.abstract
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