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  • Major Enos L. Christman, (USA) (1828 - 1912)
    4th Pennsylvania Reserves, Co K. The 4th Pennsylvania Reserves lost 2 officers and 76 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 1 officer and 60 enlisted men to disease during the Civil War. The regi...
  • James Madison Lea (1827 - 1901)
    James was born to Isaac Lea and Frances McKinney, both of Tennessee. After the discovery of gold in California, he went across the plains to there in 1851. James is enumerated in Sacramento, California...
  • John B. Barham (1800 - 1864)
    John B. Barham was a true California 49er who was born in Stokes County North Carolina, lived in Logan County Kentucky then moved with his pioneer family to Coles County Illinois, erecting the first ca...
  • Sherman Houghton, U.S. Congress (1828 - 1914)
    He was born in New York City on April 10, 1828 He completed preparatory studies and attended Collegiate Institute in New York. During the Mexican-American War, Houghton enlisted in the First Regi...
  • Samuel B. Axtell, Gov. of the Territories of New Mexico & Utah (1819 - 1891)
    Samuel Beach Axtell (October 14, 1819 – August 7, 1891). Notable for: being the most controversial Chief Justice of the New Mexico Territorial Supreme Court; his corrupted administration as Go...

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