« AnteriorContinuar »
the water had carried down before it. All at once
Like an emperor in their expense.". it flashed upon him that this might be gold. Gath
The effect was magical. Within a short three ering up what he could without risk of detection, he
months most of the houses in San Francisco and had started off for the fort without making his dis
Monterey were shut up. Blacksmiths left their anvils, covery known to any one. Sutter saw his happy
carpenters their benches, sailors their ships, soldiers pastoral life of the past on the point of vanishing.
were every day deserting from the garrisons of San He made an idle effort to keep the discovery a secret,
Francisco, Sonoma and Monterey. The two newsat least till he could set his house in order. It was
papers then printed in the country suspended their soon known in the household and at the mill. From
issue indefinitely Everybody was off for the mines, this little mountain nook it was borne on the wings and nothing else was talked of but gold. of the wind to the sea-coast, and from the sea-coast
It it needless to describe to Amerito the four quarters of the globe. Captain Sutter's men deserted him in a body. The American set- cans 'the effect this discovery had upon
the material and political fortunes of the great west.*
The story of Texas and of the war with Mexico, forms a thrilling and ro
* Within the past five years—the exact date not therefore gave up his farm and began arrangements being at hand--the man who made this great dis- to start in the lumber business at Coloma, Amador covery passed away from life, poor, and almost for- County, as active partner with General Sutter, who gotten by the generation for which he had done so undertook to furnish the necessary capital. Work much. From a newspaper account of his life, the was begun on the mill in August, 1847. following is taken : Last Monday there died at his The eighteenth of January following, Marshall was home, in Coloma, California, a poverty-stricken, superintending the building of the mill-face. After disappointed old man, four years past the allotted shutting off the water at the head of the race he three-score and ten, who laid the foundation of Cal- walked down the ditch to see what sand and gravel ifornia's wealth by bis intelligence and sagacity. had been removed during the previous night. He This man, whom California has so shamefully strolled to the lower end of the race and stood looktreated, was James W. Marshall, who in January, ing down at the mass of debris. At this juncture 18.48, made the discovery of gold at Sutier's fort, his eye caught the glitter of something that lay and worked such a revolution in a wilderness coun- lodged in a crevice on a riffle of soft granite. He try that in less than three years thereaf.er it was re- stooped and picked up the substance. It was heavy, ceived into the sisterhood of states. The history of of a peculiar color, and different from anything Marshall's life reads almost like a romance.
he had ever seen in the stream before. He born in Hope township, New Jersey, in 1812. After was satisfied that he had indeed made an important receiving a plain education he learned the trade of discovery. In several days be collected a few a coach and wagon builder. He was smitten with ounces of the precious metal, and as he had occathe " western sever" when about twenty-one years sion to visit Sutter's fort in a short time, he took the old, and, having traveled in Indiana and Illinois, specimens with him. He informed Sutter of his bought a farm on the Platt purchase, near Fort discovery, but the general was incredulous, and it Leavenworth, Kansas. His health was poor, and was not until chemical experiments had settled the his doctor said he must either die or seek a change question beyond all doubt, that he would admit the of air. May 1, 1844, he joined a train of one hundred mineral was gold. At last all doubts faded, and the wagons bound for that, at that time, almost unknown excitement began to spread. The news flew over land, California. The party reached its destination the country like wildfire, and those whites who were in June, 1845, and camped at Cache creek, about then in California went into the quest for goid with forty miles from where Sacramento now stands. great ardor and energy. Additional revelations From that point its members took their several ways. were made daily, and the news of the discovery was Marshall and a few others went to Suiter's fort, Sac- spread. Then came the mad rush from the east ramento county, where he entered the service of and the old world. It was a surious race for wealth. General Sutier. About a year after this, and after In 1849 every sailing vessel and steamer landing at Marshall had begun life in the stock business on a
San Francisco was crowded with adventurers. They farm of two leagues in area, the Mexicans made an
knew that gold had first been found in Coloma, and
many went thither. Without inquiry or negotiation attempt to prevent a body of American emigrants
they squatted upon Marshall's land about ihe mill, from entering California. This led to the Bear Flag seized his work oxen for food, confiscaled his war, in which General Sutter, Marshall and others horses, and marked the land off into !own lots and assisted, as volunteers, General Fremont of the
distributed them among themselves. Thus robbed
of his property he perforce became a prospector, United States military post at Sutter Buttes in the
but never succeeded in finding much gold. The defense of their countrymen. Fighting was frequent neighbors who had spoiled his possessions added and severe. Marshall took part in all the engage
insult to injury by presuming that he knew the
whereabouts of rich deposits of gold and refused to ments of the campaign, which resulted in a treaty
give information to them, and persecuted him on signed March, 1847, recognizing the independence these false suppositions. To add to his trouble his of California. Marshall procured his discharge and
title to the land he had purchased prior his great returned to Sutter's fort. Upon bis arrival he found
discovery was questioned and he lost it all. "The
state has helped him a little, but only a little, in his that most of the cattle he had left on his farm had
hard fight against poverty, all the more severe by been stolen or strayed during his absence. He reason of advanced age.
mantic chapter in the history of our cited in connection with the above. land. Mexico threw off her allegiance The long struggles that were a conseto Spain in 1821, while Texas followed quence of slavery and that led up to the her example and proclaimed her inde- final outburst of 1861 ; the Kansas-Nependence of Mexico fourteen years braska trouble ; the deeds of John later. The revolution was successful Brown, and that little band who be. and the conflict bloody. The desper- came so wrought up in the bloody days ate work of the Mexicans at the Alamo, of border warfare that they dreamed where seven-score brave men were put the wild dream and formed the desperate to death in cold blood, and the resolve of Harper's Ferry; the found
act that the new state. possessed many ing of a Morman empire in Utah ; Americans among its members, won the taking of California ; the conquest sympathy in an unmeasured degree of New Mexico; the building of the in the great republic to the north, iron highways across the continent; and it was a foregone conclusion that these are a few of the things that, acthe two states should become as one. cording to Mr. Drake, are parts of no General Samuel Houston was the first small moment in the making of the president of the new republic, and when great west. His well told story closes annexation was completed, he was “ with the National domain completed elected to a seat in the senate of the within limits grander than even the United States. War with Mexico was sagacious Jefferson had hoped for. the result of these events.
Though peace hath her victories, Many other stirring events might be peaceful development, such as has fol