Today marks the 171st anniversary of the gold discovery in California. The discoverer was a carpenter named James Wilson Marshall, who was building a sawmill on the South Fork of the American River for his employer, John Sutter. The pair tried to keep the discovery a secret until the mill was finished—but word soon got out. The California Gold Rush, which drew thousands from all over the globe and energized the world’s economy, effectively began in May 1848.
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
The circular saw was introduced in 1820 by the Shakers, a religious group that formed in 18th century England and immigrated to America in 1774, who allegedly took the idea from the ratchet wheel of a clock. Because it did its cutting continuously instead of by the slow up-and-down method, the Continue reading CA Places: Sutter’s Sawmill
James Wilson Marshall was a skilled carpenter, wagon-maker and general jack-of-many-trades who spent his early adult life in Missouri before ill health convinced him to move to the West Coast. Going first to Oregon Territory in 1844 (where he found the winters too wet for his liking) he arrived in the Sacramento Continue reading The Pioneers: James Marshall
America’s English Puritan settlers made it illegal to mention Saint Nicolas’ name, light candles, or exchange gifts, practices customary in England since Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660–coincidentally, in the same Continue reading The Legend of Santa Claus