Marshall was 62 years old at the time. What : " John Sutter born in February 15, 1803, spent most of his life in Switzerland and eventually moved to California.There John made a new life and built "sutter's Fort" which lead him to an idea of creating a water sawmill. If I sought employment, I was refused on the reasoning that I had discovered the goldmines, and should be the one to employ them; they did not wish the man that made the discovery under their control….Thus I wandered for more than four years.’. In 1844, he arrived in Oregon by wagon train. News of the discovery, however, soon spread, and they were besieged by thousands of fortune seekers. The original nugget he found, which has long belonged to the Bancroft Library at the University of California in Berkeley, is called the Wimmer Nugget after Peter L. Wimmer, Marshall’s assistant in supervising the Indians and others who dug the tailrace of Sutter’s Mill. Ironically, he has been remembered in death as one of California’s more influential–though accidental–history-makers. Our cookies are delicious. Though he tried to keep it a secret, the word spread quickly and triggered the California Gold Rush of … If luck were a critical factor in the discovery of gold that initiated the California Gold Rush, probably the unluckiest man of that period was no other than the original discoverer himself, James Wilson Marshall. Ironically, neither Sutter nor Marshall ever profited from the discovery that should have made them independently wealthy. Other articles where James W. Marshall is discussed: California Gold Rush: On January 24 his carpenter, James W. Marshall, found flakes of gold in a streambed. Born in 1810, Marshall followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a skilled carpenter and wheelwright. James Marshall is a similar character in history. Marshall was the oldest and only male of four children. However, his identity was so widely and well known that miners hounded him wherever he went. Ironically, the subsequent gold rush actually harmed the man who had begun it. According to the late California historian W. H. Hutchinson,’such minor amounts…did not stimulate any gold seeking expeditions of consequence…because the Franciscans had seen the evils wrought by mining upon the native population of Mexico and did not wish to see such havoc repeated in California.’. By 1853, Marshall could stomach no more. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Kelsey, a few miles east of Coloma, where he used the money to open a blacksmith shop. Surprisingly, their orders to remain silent generally were followed. To accommodate the flood of '49ers(as these new, would-be gold miners were called), gold mining towns sprung up all over. When he returned to his land, he found his cattle had been stolen and he was forced to sell his land. An Eyewitness to the Gold Discovery. In 1847, having been discharged, he returned to Sutter’s employ. The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill by James W. Marshall. In 1846, he joined John C. Fremont’s California Battalion and participated in the Bear Flag Revolt, a bid to seize control of California from Mexican control. Every financial setback he suffered he interpreted as a conscious effort by somebody to deprive him of what he considered to be his divine rights. On January 24th, 1848 Marshall found several shiny gold colored nuggets in the American River. John Bidwell, one of Sutter s clerks, drew up a contract for the two men on or about August 27 of 1847. Though Marshall tried to secure his own claims in the goldfields, he was unsuccessful. James Wilson Marshall (October 8, 1810 – August 10, 1885) was an American carpenter and sawmill operator, who reported the finding of gold at Coloma on the American River in California on January 24, 1848, the impetus for the California Gold Rush. I… Go to discoveryplus.com to get the greatest real-life entertainment plus exclusive originals, all in one place. We use cookies. This Day In History: January 24, 1848. Before taking samples to Sutter, who had financed the building of the mill, Marshall conducted crude tests to better determine the authenticity of his find by comparing flakes with a $5 gold piece and pounding a nugget on an anvil. The California Gold Rush that his little discovery ignited cost Marshall his new business. However, when a brandy bottle dropped from his pocket and rolled on the floor, no additional pension was awarded. When his father died in 1834, he headed westward, spending some time in Illinois and Indiana before settling in Missouri. Just forty-six (46) years ago to-day the great and memorable discovery of the California gold was made at Capt. Padre Luis Antonio Martinez of Mission San Luis Obispo did, however, operate a modest gold mine in his district in 1829. Marshall and his men set out for the millsite that September. The events that set the world in motion to the new El Dorado began almost by accident–John Sutter decided to build a sawmill in partnership with his employee, James Marshall, in 1847. El Dorado County His sawmill also failed, as every able-bodied man took off in search of gold. Even before his famous discovery, he was known as a person who told tales about spiritual visions and claimed to have heard strange voices. They decided to keep the discovery as secret as possible. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines. She carried it around in a buckskin pouch. In 1848 alone, $10 million in gold was produced by 6000. The state Legislature awarded him a $200-per-month pension. Chester Nimitz, U.S. admiral who commanded naval forces in the Pacific during WWII. A vaquero named Francisco Lopez is credited with making the first commercially significant, well-documented gold discovery on March 9, 1842, in Placerita Canyon about 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles. He believed that the world–or at least the state–owed him something for his remarkable discovery. Fairing well there, he improved his economic prospects, purchasing a ranch, and began to raise cattle. The pension was renewed in 1874 and 1876 but lapsed in 1878. It is estimated about $80,000 in gold was taken from the canyon before the shallow deposits played out. California Indians gave gold to the mission padres in return for trading goods. Still, small shipments of gold dust turned up in the trade between merchants in New England and missionaries and rancheros in California. His body was then taken to Coloma and buried on the property where he had owned his vineyard. The wave of gold seekers turned everyone’s attention away from … The news of gold brought approximately 300,000 people to California from the rest of the United States and abroad. Wimmer’s wife tested the metal by boiling it with homemade soap to assure that it would emerge untarnished. The statue shows the former carpenter pointing at the spot where he allegedly found the first flakes of gold. Harassed and unappreciated throughout much of his adult life, Marshall was a tragic victim of nature’s great lottery. Marshall would build and supervise the operation of the mill, while Sutter would find provisions, teams, tools, and pay for the workmen s wages. The mill property was owned by Johan (John) Sutter who employed Marshall to build his mill. On May 3, 1890, a monument of the man whose discovery unleashed the force and fury of the California Gold Rush was officially dedicated with an elaborate program attended by thousands. Each night Marshall directed the river’s flow through the millrace to allow erosion to deepen the channel and carry away the debris from the previous day’s work. It was displayed at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. James Marshall’s discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in California in 1848, started the California Gold Rush. Embittered, Marshall left the area, drifting from place to place in California, looking for yet another rich strike. He knew that real gold was soft and malleable and would not shatter like fool’s gold–iron pyrite or mica. He packed a few supplies on his back and sought to hide out in the hills. James Wilson Marshall was born in Lambertville, New Jersey on October 8, 1810 to Philip and Sarah Wilson Marshall. He also was taught his father’s trade as a carpenter and wheelwright. John A. Sutter – Boom & Bust in California, Your email address will not be published. However, the development of the mine proved expensive and yielded nothing, leaving the unlucky Marshall once again close to bankruptcy. James W. Marshall was building a sawmill for Captain John Sutter, using water from the South Fork of the American River. In 1848, James W. Marshall found shining flecks of gold in the tailrace of the sawmill he was building in partnership with John Sutter. It was at the sawmill that, on January 24, 1848, he discovered gold in the water flow through the mill’s tailrace. For example, take the popular story of Isaac Newton and the famous falling apple. According to the story, the discovery found him instead of the other way around. John Marshall, foreman of the mill, gave Jennie the gem while dubbing it the "Wimmer Nugget". On the south fork of the American River, 45 miles northeast of Sutter’s Fort, near a Maidu Indian village called Cullumah (Coloma), Marshall began construction. Margaret A. Kelly, Marshall’s friend during his embittered old age, wrote that ‘probably no man ever went to his grave so misunderstood, so misjudged, so misrepresented, so altogether slandered as James W. Marshall.’ Although possibly true, it should be noted that Marshall’s self-destructive, often bizarre behavior contributed to his misfortune. By the end of 1848, he was forced to sell one third of his timber and mill rights to raise money. August Derleth, writer (Still is the Summer Night, The Shield of the Valiant). At that point, the bewildered, depressed Marshall seriously undermined his own future. Overlooking the south fork of the American River, a monument was erected over the grave site in 1890. There, he contracted malaria and at the advice of his doctor, he moved westward again. In 1848 John Sutter was having a water-powered sawmill built along the American River in Coloma, California, approximately 50 miles (80 km) east of present-day Sacramento.On January 24 his carpenter, James W. Marshall, found flakes of gold in a streambed. On January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold on the property of Johann A. Sutter near Coloma, California.A builder, Marshall was overseeing construction of a sawmill on the American River. © Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated November 2018. Sutter received a land grant of fifty-thousand acres near former Colluma Valley, a constantly renamed area of land. Soon, the area surrounding Sutter’s Mill became the first mining boomtown in California – Coloma. Many libraries and archives across the country from Yale University to the Henry E. Huntington Library preserve formidable collections of Gold Rush material, but the State Library's direct relationship to Marshall's earthshaking discovery gives it a unique role. Despite prior appropriation, the greedy miners in their furious rush to get rich quick showed Marshall and Sutter no respect or restraint. Additional tests at Sutter’s Mill convinced the partners that Marshall indeed had found gold. HistoryNet.com is brought to you by Historynet LLC, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. In 1872, Marshall had a turn of luck when the California State Legislature awarded him a two-year pension in recognition of his role in an important era in California history. When he awoke, he unearthed some wild onions–with which to season his lunch of dried beef or jerky–and found glittering gold flakes clinging to the roots. He haggled with the eager prospectors so forcefully that they became enraged to the point of finally attacking the millhands and driving Marshall from the site of his discovery. Much has been written about James Marshall's discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in 1848, thereby precipitating the California Gold Rush. 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