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  • Isaac Best (1805 - 1850)
    This Isaac is often confused with his famous cousin Isaac Best , of the Old Three Hundred Settlers of Austin Texas , and who died in Texas in 1837, son of Stephen Best . This Isaac instead appears to...
  • Capt. John M. Cunningham (1812 - 1873)
    The name of Cunningham comes from the union of two Saxon words, “Koenig,” meaning King, and “Hanie,” meaning home, or literally, Kings Home. The name can be traced back to early British history and his...
  • Gen. John Bidwell (Calif. Militia), US Congress (1819 - 1900)
    John Bidwell (August 5, 1819 – April 4, 1900) was known throughout California and across the nation as an important pioneer, farmer, soldier, statesman, politician, prohibitionist and philanthropist....
  • Thomas Bowles Shannon (1827 - 1897)
    Thomas Bowles Shannon, a Representative from California; born in Westmoreland County, Pa., September 21, 1827; attended the public schools; moved to Illinois in 1844 and to California in 1849; engage...
  • James Sheakley, Governor (1829 - 1917)
    James Sheakley (April 24, 1829 – December 11, 1917) was an American Democratic politician who was the Governor of the District of Alaska from 1893 to 1897. He was also a member of the United States H...

The Gist:

All people associated with the California Gold Rush era.

Brief History

In January of 1848, James Marshall had a work crew camped on the American River at Coloma near Sacramento. The crew was building a saw mill for John Sutter. On the cold, clear morning of January 24, Marshall found a few tiny gold nuggets. Thus began one of the largest human migrations in history as a half-million people from around the world descended upon California in search of instant wealth.

The first printed notice of the discovery was in the March 15 issue of "The Californian" in San Francisco. Shortly after Marshall's discovery, General John Bidwell discovered gold in the Feather River and Major Pearson B. Reading found gold in the Trinity River. The Gold Rush was soon in full sway.

In 1849, quartz mining began at the Mariposa mine in Mariposa County. Gold deposits were often found inside quartz veins. In 1850, California became a state. Also that year, gold-bearing quartz was found at Gold Hill in Grass Valley. This led to the development of the great underground mines in that district and a major industry the continued for more than 100 years.

In 1851, Gold was discovered in Greenhorn Creek, Kern County. This discovery led to the rush to the upper Kern River region. By 1852, California's annual gold production reached a then all-time high of $81 million.

California Gold Rush Links