The Coloma Gold Discoverer

James Wilson Marshall was a skilled carpenter and general jack-of-many-trades who spent his early adult life in Missouri before ill health convinced him to move west.  He traveled to Oregon Territory in 1844, but he found the winters too wet for his liking. The following year, he arrived in California’s Sacramento Valley in mid-July. There, Marshall quickly found employment at Sutter’s Continue reading The Coloma Gold Discoverer

Sacrificed to Gold

Jared Dixon Sheldon, a Vermont native and carpenter by trade, is thought to have arrived in California, then a province of Mexico, in 1839. When authorities at Monterey, the capital, hired him to build a customhouse for them, he asked for payment in the form of a future land grant at such time as he found land he wanted.   Continue reading Sacrificed to Gold

Grave-site Mystery

The brass plaque inscription on the Maiden’s Grave marker is wordy: “Broken dreams and hope, carried 2,000 miles through scorching deserts and over Loft Mountains. At last, the sight of the Promised Land. Those of you who visit this grave carry a torch of love and hope (which this young girl lost), and pass it on, to generations unborn. Rechall Melton was laid to rest here, on a Continue reading Grave-site Mystery

Bitter Endings

James Wilson Marshall, the renowned discoverer of California gold, never profited from his find.  For a time he retained a one-third interest in the sawmill he had originally built for John Sutter,  until a series of altercations with miners, and lawsuits filed by his new sawmill partners, forced him to sell his other real estate Continue reading Bitter Endings

Redding or Reading?

Pierson B. Reading, the head fur trapper for Captain John Sutter in the early 1840s, was well known and respected in early California. He was the first known permanent settler in Shasta County, where he established a ranch on a 26,632- acre land grant awarded by Mexican Governor Micheltorena. Reading took part Continue reading Redding or Reading?