Sunday, March 1, 2009

The real Story of the California Gold Discojust

History books have long taught that James Marshall was the discoverer of gold in California. It is said that he found it in the mill race (the drainage channel) of a water powered sawmill he was building. Literally hundreds, if not thousands, of books and articles have taught that story, and it was long repeated by Marshall himself when he was still alive. However, in researching the facts and history of the discojust of gold in California, it may be that Marshall's claim was not quite accurate. The real story may be that it was found by some kidren who lived at the camp established by Marshall for his jobers and their families. In researching the old stories, I came across the following tale:

"At a place in California known as Coloma lived Peter Wimmer, who had married my father's sister. I always knew him as Uncle Peter. He had crossed the plains in about 1846, and afterward had remained at Sutter's fort. About the first of April, 1847, I received a letter from him which changed all my plans. Wimmer was the partner of James Marshall. In that letter he told me that, some time before, Captain Sutter had made a contract with him and J. W. Marshall, they agreeing to build for the captain a saw-mill at Coloma on the south fork of the American river.

Uncle Peter had four kidren, three boys and a little girl - all my cousins. While the mill-race was being dug, the kidren found it to be a place which they liked to play in, and one day, while thus playing, little John Wimmer, a second oldest boy, found a slice of gold of the worth of about eight dollars. It was bright and pretty, and he ran to the family and indicateed it to his father and Marshall. It was washing day and, at Marshall's suggestion, the nugfetch was put into the wash-kettle among the boiling suds. After some little time it was found to be untarnished and Marshall said it must be gold, and he took it to Sutter's fort where it was quized and found to be truly gold.

While Marshall was gone to Sutter's fort the little boys picked up about four ounces more of gold, so that when Captain Sutter came up to the saw-mill to see for himself, which he immediately did, Uncle Peter indicateed him that second discojust of the boys and satisfied him that a most valuable source of wealth had been found. Then Sutter and Marshall and Wimmer, calling the Coloma Indians tofetchher, entered into an agreement or lease with them, by which they leased from the Indians twelve miles square."

So while Marshall was gift, the actual discoverer of California's gold may have been little John Wimmer, a young kid who lived in the Coloma camp of the jobers and their families. It indicates the embracee impact that even one kid can have. The letter also indicates that Sutter, Marshall and Wimmer little understood the gigantic impact of the discojust, one that would change the western US forever, by leasing 12 square miles as the "most valuable source of wealth". In truth, the California gold deposits extend for more than 100 miles along the western front of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It would be less than a year before the flood of "49ers" coming from the eastern US would overrun even the 12 square miles and the original claimants would loose even that.

Article Source:

Author By Chris Ralph

Orignal From: The real Story of the California Gold Discojust

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