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  • Col. Samuel Hess, (USA) (1823 - 1901)
    Col. Samuel Hess was born in Union County 1823. He was reared in his native county and early learned the tailor's trade which he followed several years opening a shop in Marion for a short time. He cam...
  • Brig. General Theophilus T. Garrard (USA) (1812 - 1902)
    Theophilus Toulmin Garrard (June 7, 1812 – March 15, 1902) was a politician, Union general in the American Civil War, farmer, and businessman. Early life and career Garrard was born in Clay Count...
  • Capt. J. Litton Bostick, CSA (1826 - 1864)
    "Litton was born on May 6, 1826 in Williamson County, TN, where his parents were living on a farm near Hardeman Cross Roads. Litton received his early education in private schools, one of which was M...
  • John Christmas McLemore (1790 - 1864)
    West Tennessee land speculator John C. McLemore was born January 1, 1790, in Orange County, North Carolina. In 1809 he moved to Nashville, where he became a surveyor's clerk. Five years later, he succe...
  • Napoleon Hill (1830 - 1909)
    The merchant prince of Memphis, Napoleon Hill was born in 1830, the second of eleven children of Duncan and Olivia L. Bills Hill. Hill's physician father died in 1844, leaving his widow an estate val...

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.