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  • Brev. Brig. Gen. (USA) James Freeman Curtis, II (1825 - 1914)
    Wikipedia James Freeman Curtis II (December 19, 1825 – March 1, 1914), participant in the 1849 California Gold Rush, Chief of Police of San Francisco, officer in the California state militia and volu...
  • Archibald McNeill (c.1796 - 1849)
    Archibald McNeill, congressman and militia colonel, was born in Moore County. He represented Moore in the House of Commons in 1808 and 1809 and in the senate in 1811 and 1815. In 1821 he ran for Cong...
  • John Evans Brown (1827 - 1895)
    John Evans Brown, land developer, was born in Lewiston, Pa., the son of William John Brown (1803–84). He attended school in Wilmington, Del., and afterward studied medicine and law until ill health l...
  • James Alexander Terwilliger (1809 - 1892)
    James Terwilliger (October 3, 1809 – September 1, 1892) was an Oregon pioneer and one of the first residents of Portland, Oregon. He is the namesake of Portland's Terwilliger Boulevard and Terwilliger ...
  • Andrew Jackson Query (1836 - 1925)
    Andrew Jackson Query was born 01/22/1836 in Westmoreland Co., Pa. Andrew crossed the plains from Missouri to California in 1859, with others in a wagon train. He made a second trip across the plains ...

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.