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Elusive Eden: A New History of California, fourth edition

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Presentation on theme: "Elusive Eden: A New History of California, fourth edition"— Presentation transcript:

1 Elusive Eden: A New History of California, fourth edition

2 May 12, 1848, Sam Brannan announced gold discovery
--Emptied San Francisco

3 The Great Discovery 1847 Sutter, James Marshall began building sawmill Marshall joined wagon train Ohio to Oregon --Came to California, worked for Sutter --Joined Bear Flag revolt, California Battalion

4 Sited mill at South Fork American River
--30 miles from New Helvetia --Near Maidu village Cullumah --Crew Maidu, Mormon Mexican War veterans --Let river clear millrace

5 January 24, 1848, Marshall found gold in millrace
--Tests proved gold --Swore workers to secrecy --Rumors surfaced, few believed

6 Disaster for Sutter --Died broke in 1880 --Squatters, speculators stole land

7 Disaster for Marshall --Lost investment, land claims --State refused pension died broke

8 Sam Brannan gained, lost fortune
1846 brought 200 Mormons to Yerba Buena Brigham Young planned to relocate church to Cal Brannan started 1st newspaper, California Star Made fortune in SF real estate with church money, labor 1847 started store at Sutter's Fort 1848 workers paid in gold Confirmed strike, stockpiled goods May 1848 announced discovery in SF Daily gross $5,000 1861 bought land in Napa, called Calistoga Divorce, bad debts, speculation consumed fortune 1889 died broke

9 Sources of La Bonanza Most California gold "placer" --Placed by water Formed in Mesozoic Era (200 to 70 million years ago) Rivers redistributed gold 70 to 3 million years ago beds shifted Created band 100 miles long, +20 miles wide on western slope of Sierras, Feather-Yuba River, Trinity-Shasta-Siskiyou

10 Spaniards looking for gold since 1519
1841 Francisco Lopez found gold near Mission San Fernando --Minor gold rush --Quickly ran out Missionaries downplayed

11 The Gold Rush of 1848 Word leaked out when Sutter registered claim in Monterey --Employees used gold nuggets as currency --Sutter told John Bidwell, Mariano Vallejo Newspapers discounted --March small news item Californian --California Star compared to earlier small strike

12 Visitors to Sutter's mill investigated, went home to look for similar features
--Mill worker found gold, told friends in Mormon Battalion --Searched near Mariposa, found gold --John Bidwell found gold near home in Chico, set off Feather River rush --Pierson B. Reading found gold on Trinity River, Mt. Shasta --Charles M. Weber prospected on Stanislaus, Mokelumne rivers

13 Sutter's mill barely finished
--By April, mill workers gone --Logging crews prospecting --Flour mill, tannery abandoned --Lost clerks, teamsters, carpenters Local miners dominated January to May

14 Brannan emptied SF in May
--Businesses shuttered --Soldiers left posts --Same in LA, San Diego

15 Spreading the News Word out by end of 1848 Closest arrived first: Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Mexico, Hawaii, China --Most from Hawaii, Mexico --December 1848 non-Indian population 20,000

16 Few Americans from East Coast
Eastern newspapers discounted --September 1848 New Orleans Picayune published interview Lt. Edward F. Beale --Bringing confirmation, gold samples to Washington DC

17 December 7, 1848, messenger delivered report from Col. Richard B
December 7, 1848, messenger delivered report from Col. Richard B. Mason, 230 ounces of gold --President James K. Polk sent report to Congress --Displayed sample in War Office --Convinced Americans discovery real By December 1849 non-Indian population 100,000 census: + 200,000

18 By Sea to California East Coast miners traveled by sea Two routes: around Horn, across Isthmus of Panama Horn journey 5 months, 17,000 miles Isthmus shorter, open year round --40 miles up Chagres River, 20 overland to Pacific --Passengers easily reached eastern side --Too few ships available on western side

19 February s stranded More ships available 1850 Isthmus rr completed 1855 to 1869, easterner's preferred route to California Many east-coast groups formed joint-stock companies --Bought ships, merch to sell in SF --Abandoned in SF Bay

20 Horn travelers disappointed
--Seasickness, bad weather, spoiled water, food --Often arrived sick --Opportunity to write about adventure 1849 about 40,000 traveled by sea

21 Crossing the Plains Smart overland miners joined large groups, waited until spring Journeyed to "jumping off points" in Missouri Assembled wagons, provisions, hired guides --Always took too much --Trails littered with supplies, furniture, graves

22 Fatalities on trail common
--cholera from New Orleans, infected water holes --accidents with weapons, wagons --drownings --"short-cuts"

23 1849 25,000 to 30,000 crossed Great Plains
--Stopped at govn posts, Salt Lake City more from Mexico, Southwest 1850s, +200,000 traveled overland Created diverse society --Most young (-30) --Male (+90%) --Expected brief stay, great wealth

24 Searching for La Bonanza
Few professional miners Most professionals back home --Too expensive for working poor --Transportation, equipment $750 to $1,000 ($20K-$25K in 2010 dollars) --most unused to manual labor

25 learned from experienced miners
--gold miners from Mexico, Georgia, Carolinas --coal miners from Pennsylvania and Britain Easy to find 1849 --Equipment simple: pan, pick --Process simple but uncomfortable

26 Georgians, Carolinians introduced "rockers"
By 1852, surface deposits gone Long-toms, teams of men processed tons of dirt --Organized companies --Investors supplied capital Built dams, flumes, sluices

27 Mechanized Mining 1852, Anthony Chabot attached cloth hose to flume --water pressure removed topsoil 1853 Edward E. Matteson added tin nozzle Result: Hydraulic mining --Washed away mountainsides --Revealed buried ore

28 Tunnel or quartz mining too expensive
--Sunk shafts into hillsides --Used Mexican arrastra to crush ore --Mercury, quicksilver extracted gold

29 Required machinery stimulated iron works
--San Francisco's Risdon, Union, Vulcan plants sold drilling, tunneling equipment --More important when silver discovered in Nevada

30 Life in the Mines Mining hard on newcomers Camps boring, crude Miners tried to reproduce familiar society --Drafted mining camp codes --Created rules for staking, protecting claims --Elected judges, officials Extra legal punishments: fines, banishment, flogging, hanging

31 Crime, competition increased miner demands for justice
--January 1849 Dry Diggings (Placerville) mob flogged 5 French, Hispanic men for theft, then lynched 2 --July Downieville mob hanged Josefa similar episodes in San Francisco, Los Angeles --Most frequent targets people of color

32 Bonanza to Borrasca 19th c gold worth $16 an ounce Men in mines steadily increased: --5,000 in 1848 --40,000 in 1849 --50,000 in 1850 --100,000 in 1852 1852 to 1860, number of miners stabilized, but gold production fell

33 Best discoveries Gold mining comparable to eastern wages -- $ $1.25 / day for skilled worker --Living costs 10x higher in California Individual prospectors replaced by wage-earning employees Frustrated Argonauts blamed Californios, Chinese, Indians

34 Californios in the Mines
Americans brought "Manifest Destiny" to California Many veterans of US-Mexican War --Considered land in California theirs --Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo said different

35 1848 about 1,300 Hispanic miners at work
--Coronel, Sepulveda, and Carrillo families prospected on Stanislaus River -- Antonio Coronel found 45 ounces in one day --Sold claim, new owner found 52 pounds in one week --Went home for winter -- A third owner of the site also became rich

36 By 1849, Americans controlled gold fields
--Bear Flagger attacked Coronel party, injured one --Americans threatened "foreigners" --Coronel observed Placerville lynching --Gave up mining Hispanics who stayed employees of Americans Mining camp codes forbade mining by "foreigners"

37 The Foreign Miners' Tax Law of 1850
Miners convinced first state legislature to exclude "foreigners" 1850 law charged $20 license fee Selectively enforced --non-English speakers common targets --Spanish-speakers refused to pay --Hispanic workers, restaurant, hotel, store patrons left gold fields

38 Merchants, mine owners petitioned legislature to repeal
--Late 1850 governor reduced fee --Early 1851 law repealed --Too late --Failed to bring back Hispanics

39 1848 Col. Mason reported 5,000 men digging for gold
"Diggers" in the Mines 1848 Col. Mason reported 5,000 men digging for gold --Half were Indians --Most worked for Marshall, Sutter, Californios Early settlers employed most Indian miners --Charles M. Weber had 1,000 Indians workers

40 --John M. Murphy put 600 Indians to work on Stanislaus
--John Bidwell's Indians worked his Feather River claim Some Indians mined for themselves --Exchanges usually favored Europeans

41 Solving the "Indian Problem"
Americans objected to Indians in the mines Oregonians among early arrivals --Familiar with 1847 Whitman massacre at Walla Walla, Cayuse wars --March 1849 attacked Maidu village on American River

42 --Maidu killed 5 Oregonians
--Oregonians attacked another village, killed residents, took 7 captives to Coloma for execution Many Americans genuinely feared Indians Governor Peter Burnett claimed 100,000 armed braves preparing to exterminate whites --Whole native population fewer than 100,000

43 Indian resistance exacerbated fears
--Bear Flagger beat Suisun man with a cat-of-nine-tails --Sinao lassoed him, dragged him out of town --Two whites killed in assault on Clear Lake Pomo In Napa American shot Manuel Vera, he returned fire

44 Americans responded forcefully
--Clear Lake killing brought U.S. Army, killed Pomo men, women, children --Americans in Napa lynched Manuel Vera Lost cattle provoked raids --In Napa, settlers attacked Wappo-, Patwin-, and Pomo-speaking villages, rancherías --Killed entire communities of men, women, children --Napa newspapers commended white hunters

45 1850, state legislature adopted Law for the Protection and Government of the Indians
--Solved ranchers' labor/cattle thieving problem --All Indians must prove local employment --Those who couldn't arrested, fined as vagrants --White settlers could pay fines, indefinitely indenturing Indians

46 --White settlers could "adopt" minors, hold to age 21 or older
Federal govn, state legislature raised militias to control Indians --By 1860s militias killed + 15,000 Indians --Paid $5 per head, $0.50 per scalp

47 1850 U.S. Indian Bureau sent treaty commission to California
--Commissioners to meet with leaders of main tribes --Negotiate treaties exchanging valuable land for lands elsewhere --Dozen + tribes accepted treaties

48 Californians protested
--Gave too much land (12,000 sq. miles) to Indians --exchange lands too valuable --Indians only available labor force --Preferred system of missions to assimilate Indians! --convinced Congress to leave Indians to California

49 1852 U.S. Senate rejected treaties
1853 Congress approved plan by Edward F. Beale --U.S. Indian Superintendent for California --established series of small reservations --most successful Fort Tejón in San Joaquin Valley --abandoned 1868 --System mismanaged, underfunded, looted

50 Some Natives resisted reservations
Modocs refused relocation --Chief Kientepoos (Captain Jack) led 50 warriors and families into lava beds near Tule Lake --US Army sent 400 soldiers to deliver to Klamath reservation --Modocs held out for months, 75 soldiers, 5 Indian men, dozens of Indian women, children killed --Jack captured, executed By 1870, Indian population reduced to 30,000

51 John Sutter Sutter and Marshall were, quite unexpectedly, among the losers in “Nature’s great lottery scheme.” Courtesy of The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

52 James Marshall Sutter and Marshall were, quite unexpectedly, among the losers in “Nature’s great lottery scheme.” Courtesy of The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

53 Sam Brannan Courtesy of The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

54 Gold Regions of California

55 Routes to the Gold Fields

56 Wells Fargo & Company Express Office, Columbia
Beginning in 1852, Wells Fargo & Company offices such as this one in Columbia provided residents of remote mining communities with banking, transportation, and mail services to keep them in touch with the outside world. Photograph by William A. Bullough.

57 A Fight with the Indians
An engraving from a Sacramento newspaper depicts a Trinity County incident in which residents reportedly avenged the murder of a local butcher by slaughtering more than a hundred local Indians. It also illustrates the attitudes of most settlers in California during the Gold Rush era. Collection of Peter E. Palmquist.

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