Gold Rush

525 Words3 Pages
In the Early 1840’s a wealthy man by the name of John Sutter headed West to a place very few people had ever seen or heard of, called California. His plans were to start his own private empire. He was well on his way building his kingdom, until January 24th 1848 when one of his workers James Marshall caught something glittering in the riverbed on the American River. Marshall reached down and grabbed the shiny pea sized rock and after taking one look at it he was certain it was gold. He tried to forget about it and go back to work, but kept stumbling into more gold. Unable to believe that it was actually gold that he found he took samples back to Sutter. Sutter confirmed that his findings were gold, but wasn’t happy about it. He didn’t want the word to get out to people that there was gold in the river because he knew that crowds of people would come and destroy his empire. Marshall and Sutter decided to keep it a secret, but it didn’t last long. Rumors of a gold strike spread across the country fast. Sam Brannan, a merchant in California, saw opportunity in the situation. After buying every pick axe, pan, and shovel in the region, Brannan ran through the streets holding up a bottle of gold dust shouting about the gold strike. “It was a masterstroke that would spark the rush for gold and make Brannan the richest man in California” (www.isu.edu/~trinmich/discovery.html). In 1849 thousands of people from all around the world left their families and...

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