A Gold Miner’s New Year

During the early Gold Rush years, the fever to find riches was too hot for most gold miners to take time out to relax and celebrate New Year’s Day, although some of them did spend a few hours visiting friends in other camps. If their claims were below the snow line, many just fired their pistols in tribute and went on prospecting.

News from Home

During the California Gold Rush, lonely miners in remote regions were often desperate for letters from home, but leaving their claims for a long journey to post offices at San Francisco, Sacramento or Stockton wasn’t practical. An enterprising young man named Alexander Todd came up with a solution, which he Continue reading News from Home

Golden Flakes

The term “gold dust” conjures an image of a sand-like or coarse salt substance, but this was merely a convenient Gold Rush name for various-sized, small gold particles that included pea-sized nuggets and fish-scale-sized flakes. Miners typically carried their gold dust in leather pouches or rolled in handkerchiefs, using it as Continue reading Golden Flakes

A Gold Rush Libation

As legend has it, the martini was invented for hard-fisted California gold miners in 1849, only back then it was called a “Martinez.” San Francisco was the major port, and gold-seekers journeyed from there to the gold fields on steamboats that plied the Sacramento River. Steamboat travel was heavy and speed was essential, if the ship lines wanted to make money. The fastest ship Continue reading A Gold Rush Libation

Gold Rush Christmas

Before the Gold Rush, Christmas was just another working day tending livestock or repairing equipment for those Americans who had settled in California, although many took time out for a few hours of quiet celebration. On December 24, 1845, Captain John Sutter’s logbook records that a worker completed a pump Continue reading Gold Rush Christmas