In 1849, Zachary Taylor began his term as President of the United States. Elizabeth Blackwell became America’s first woman doctor. Stagecoach service began between independence, Missouri, and Santa Fe in the Southwest. And the steamship California arrived in San Francisco with the first gold seekers from the East.
The great California gold rush was onl
Actually the precioius metal had been first discovered in California a year earlier on January 24, 1848. At John Sutter’s sawmill on the American River, a worker named James Marshall found a yellow nugget of what he thought was gold. He showed it to Sutter, who said, “Well, it lks like gold. Let us test it.” The nugget passed all the tests. There was gold in California =- mre gold than anyone had ever imagined.
The news was slow to reach the rest of the US, but by 1849 people by the thousands were hurrying to California from every corner of the country. They came by ship and they came by wagon train, and they were called forty-niners. Gold was found all thrugh the mountains and many forty-niners Gold was found all through the mountains and many forty-niners became rich. But not James Marshall. His search for more gold failed and he died a poor man.
In 1849, when the gold rush began, there were 14,000 people in California. Three eyars later there were 250,000.