Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park Brochure

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Our Mission Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park The mission of the California Department of Parks and Recreation is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. “Monday 24 . This day th some kind of mettle was found in the tail race that looks like goald, fi
  Marshall Gold DiscoveryState Historic Park P.O. Box 265Coloma, California 95613(530) 622-3470 © 2004 California State Parks (rev. 9/07) Printed on Recycled Paper Our Mission The   mission   o    the   Caliornia   Department o Parks and Recreation is to provide or thehealth, inspiration and education o thepeople o Caliornia by helping to preservethe state’s extraordinary biological diversity,protecting its most valued natural andcultural resources, and creating opportunitiesor high-quality outdoor recreation.   ”  Caliornia State Parks supports equal access.Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities whoneed assistance should contact the park atthe phone number below. To receive thispublication in an alternate ormat, write tothe Communications Oce at the ollowingaddress.For inormation call: 800-777-0369916-653-6995, outside the U.S.711, TTY relay service CALIFORNIA STATE PARKSP. O. Bo 942896Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 Discover the many states of California.™ Marshall GoldDiscovery State Historic Park   onday 24 th . This daysome kind o mettle was ound in the tail racethat looks like goald, frst discovered by James Martial,the Boss o the Mill. —From Henry Bigler’s Diary January 1848   “M    A long California’shistoric Highway 49,  tucked neatly into a beautiullyorested valley in the Sierraoothills, Marshall GoldDiscovery State Historic Parkstraddles the South Fork o the American River. Here,on January 24, 1848, JamesMarshall ound some goldfakes in the streambed andsparked one o history’slargest human migrations. PARK HISTORY Native People For thousands o years, the Nisenanand oothill Miwok people built their dome-shaped houses in villages alongthe streams and tributaries that drainedthe American, Cosumnes, Bear and YubaRivers. They called their home alongthe American River “Cullumah,”now known as Coloma. Prior tooreign intrusion, they lived on adiet o animals, acorns, seeds andruits. The hollowed out holes in alarge bedrock in the park—the lastremaining evidence o the nativepeople’s presence here—showhow they processed the acorns thatormed their main diet. As “river people” they enjoyed an abundanceo reshwater sh as well as waterowl,elk, deer and small game.Until they met ur trappers in thelate 1820s, the native people had little contact with the outside world. However, by the late1830s, diseases introduced by the newcomersnearly decimated them. When gold wasdiscovered along the American River in theColoma Valley, hordes o gold-seekers seizedcontrol o the Caliornia Indians’ shing andgathering sites. By 1849 theremaining native people whohad survived the combinedhardships o disease andconficts with settlers haddispersed to more remoteareas o the Gold Country. Aew turned to mining, and aew worked or John Sutter. JANuARY 24, 1848—THE GOLD DISCOVERY  John Sutter was ounder o “New Helvetia,”—later named Sacramento—and a vastagricultural empire in the SacramentoValley. He partnered with James W.Marshall to go into the lumber business.They selected Coloma Valley, 45 mileseast o Sutter’s ort, as a mill site becauseit had a river or power and stands o largeponderosa pine trees or lumber. As equalpartners, Sutter would urnish the capital,and Marshall would oversee the mill’sconstruction and operation.In the all o 1847, Marshall beganconstruction o the mill with a labor orcethat included both Indians and memberso the U.S. Army Mormon Battalion. A lowdam was built across the river to unnelpart o the stream into the diversionchannel that would carry it through themill. By January o the next year, the mill was ready to be tested. However, thetailrace, which carried water away rom themill, was too shallow, backing up water and preventing the mill wheel rom turningproperly. To deepen the tailrace,each day the Indian laborersloosened the rock. At night, water was allowed to run throughthe ditch to wash away the loosedebris rom that day’s diggings.On the morning o January  24 , 1848, while inspecting the watercourse, Marshall spottedsome shiny fecks in the tailrace.He scooped them up, and ater bending them with his ngernailand pounding them with a rock,he placed them in the crown o his hatand hurried to announce his nd tothe others. He told the mill workers, Watercolor o an Eastern Miwokwoman ashioning a seed gathering basket by Seth Eastman     P     h   o    t   o   c   o   u   r    t   e   s   y   o     f     C   a     l    i     f    o   r   n    i   a    S    t   a    t   e    L    i     b   r   a   r   y ,    S   a   c   r   a   m   e   n    t   o ,    C   a     l    i     f    o   r   n    i   a  Artwork courtesy o W. Duncan and Nevin MacMillan, and Aton Historical Society Press  John A. Sutter  The Marshall Monument    o a “Chinese invasion.” Hostilities amongthe miners helped spark discriminatorytaxes and laws enorced only against“oreign” miners.The easy-to-nd placer gold at Colomaplayed out early. By 1857 many miners hadlet, but a ew Chinese miners remainedto work the played-out placer sites. Twostructures used by the Chinese remain inthe park today—the Man Lee building, which housed a Chinese trading andbanking company as well as a hardwarestore, and the Wa Hop Store, once leasedto a Chinese merchant o that name.They currently house exhibits o goldmining techniques and the mercantilegoods needed by the Chinese miners.“Boys, by God, I believeI’ve ound a gold mine.” When Mr. Scott—acarpenter working on themill wheel—disputed hisclaim, Marshall repliedpositively, “I know it to benothing else.” Marshallpounded it on a rock, andthe cook, Jenny Wimmer,boiled it in lye soap. Itpassed all their tests—it was pure gold.Four days later Marshallrode to the ort withsamples o the gold.Sutter consulted hisencyclopedia, tried various tests, andconrmed Marshall’s conclusion. Mindulo their investment in the mill, they agreedto keep the news secret until the mill was in operation. Ater all, this was notthe rst time gold had been discoveredin Caliornia, and there was no reasonto assume that this nd was particularlyimportant.But it was a secret that could not bekept. In a letter to General MarianoVallejo, Sutter bragged about thediscovery. Mormon elder Sam Brannan, who operated a general store at the ort, went to the mill to see or himsel. SeveralMormon mill workers readily gave him atithe o the gold they had ound. WhenBrannan visited San Francisco in May,he paraded the streets waving a quininebottle ull o gold, shouting, “Gold! Gold!Gold rom the AmericanRiver!” By the end o May,San Francisco was reportedto be “hal empty” as theable-bodied men departedor the mines. The excitementgrew when an army ocer carried a tea caddy ull o goldto Washington, D.C. Shortlyater President James K.Polk conrmed the rumors,thousands came to join thetrek to the Gold Country. CHINESE IMMIGRANTS News o the gold discoveryspread throughout the world.In China, Caliornia was calledGum San—“Gold Mountain.” Chinese workers,lured to Caliornia by a promised goldenmountain rom which they could literally carveout their ortune, were feeing years o war andpoverty. Chinese miners at Coloma—thoughtto have numbered about 50—were so ecientat nding gold that other miners complained     P     h   o    t   o     b   y    B   e    t    t   y    S   e     d   e   r   q   u    i   s    t   The Wah Hop building—a Gold Rush-era Chinese store    E arly drawing o Sutter’s Mill, c. 1849Living history program at the park’s 49er Family Festival   “A renzy had seized my soul... piles o gold roseup beore me at every step; castleso marbel…thousands o slaves…myriadso air virgins...the Rothschilds,Girards, and   AFRICAN AMERICANSETTLERS According to the Gooch-Monroe amily’s oral history,Peter and Nancy Goochcame to Coloma as slavesin 1849. The ollowing year Caliornia became a reestate. Peter Gooch workedin construction and atodd jobs, and Nancy diddomestic chores or theminers. By 1861 Nancyhad saved enough moneyto buy the reedom o her son, Andrew Monroe, who was still a slave in Missouri.Andrew brought his wie, Sarah, and their three children to Coloma, where they becamerespected armers. In the 1940s the Statepurchased some o the Monroe landholdingsrom Andrew Monroe’s son, Pearley, whichincluded the srcinal site o Sutter’s Mill and thesite o Marshall’s gold discovery—the oundationo today’s park. The entire Gooch-Monroe amilyare buried in the park’s Pioneer Cemetery. COLOMA, QuEEN OF THE MINES In the wake o the hopeul gold seekerscame merchants, doctors, lawyers, gamblers,ministers—all the services required to supply aminer and relieve him o his burdensome golddust. From Coloma the miners moved up thecanyons and into the mountains. With each newstrike, and as the placer gold gave out, Colomadeclined in population. By1857 the El DoradoCounty seat had been transerred to nearbyPlacerville. By then the Chinese were almostthe only miners working thegravel bars near the discoverysite, and Coloma again becamea peaceul community, withagriculture and transportationits economic base. THE DISCOVERER In the late 1830s, NewJersey native JamesMarshall traveled west to Missouri, where he workedas a carpenter andarmed along theMissouri River. Whenhis doctor advisedhim to seek a healthier climate, Marshall joined a wagontrain bound or Oregon in 1844,and in June 1845 he headed or Caliornia with a small party o settlers.He arrived at Sutter’s ort in July and wasimmediately hired as a wheelwright andcarpenter. Cratsmen with his experience were scarce in Caliornia. Marshall purchaseda ranch on Butte Creek, but ater ghtingalongside the Americans during their conquesto Caliornia in 1846, he returned home todiscover his cattle strayed or stolen. He metagain with John Sutter, who gave him the tasko nding a site to build their new sawmill. With the gold discovery, the sawmill atColoma quickly lost its sleepy, peaceulaspect. In July 1848 Colonel Richard B. Masonvisited the mill site and estimated the area’spopulation at 4,000. By December 1848,fooding caused Sutter to sell his interest in  James Wilson Marshall as sketched in 1849  the mill, and Marshall took on two newpartners. Later, management problemsentangled the mill in legal diculties, andater 1850 it was abandoned. Marshallspent the next ew years searching or gold, with little success. In 1857 he boughtteen acres o land in Coloma or $15 andbuilt a cabin near the Catholic church.Investing in new and exotic varietieso grapevines, he planted a vineyardon the hillside above the cemetery,dug a cellar, and began to make wine or sale. By 1860 his vines were doing so well that his entry inthe county air received an award,but in the late 1860s, a series o setbacks sent him prospectingagain. During this time Marshallbecame part owner o a quartz minenear Kelsey. Hoping to raise undsto develop the mine, he went on alecture tour, only to nd himsel stranded  Astors appeared to me but poor people.”  Diary o J. H. Carson, 1852 The Monroe amily: William, Grant, Pearley, Andrew Jr. (top); Cordelia, James, AndrewSr., Sarah (middle); Garfeld (bottom)
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