"Gold mine found. In the newly made raceway of the Saw Mill recently erected by Captain Sutter, on the American Fork, gold has been found in considerable quantities … great chances here for scientific capitalists."
— The Californian newspaper, March 15, 1849
THE 1849 Gold Rush in California was a unique time in history. The gold in California did not belong to any government, king or church. If you found it, you could keep it. Sailors deserted their ships. Soldiers deserted their posts. Thousands of people came from all over the world and from all walks of life to seek their fortunes.
Imagine what it must have been like living in Ohio and loading up all your belongings into a covered wagon and setting out for California. A pair of oxen pulled your wagon. You had to walk because the wagon was so loaded down. It took five months to get to California, walking 20 to 25 miles each day. Danger lurked everywhere, either from suspicious tribes, dangerous snakes or poisonous water. You had to know how to hunt for food and find fresh water or you would die. There were no telephones, televisions, trains, movies or automobiles. When you got to California, mail came by steamship only.