1848-Gold Discovered in California, discoverer gets screwed-Almanac of Absurdities for 1.24.2012

Every year on this day it comes up…James W. Marshall discovered Gold in the outflow of the Water Driven Sawmill near Coloma California that he operated for Land Owner John Sutter on January 24, 1848, and started the Gold Rush. But actually Marshall got screwed in the deal. Marshall, working with John Sutter had big plans to become a farming Baron in Central California, and he knew immediately that an influx of miners scouring the land for the suddenly discovered gold would interfere with those plans…squatters, claim jumpers, all bad for the farming business. In fact James Marshall went to great lengths to keep the discovery of gold on the property quiet. The fellow who ruined those plans was Samuel Brannan, a merchant and newspaper publisher in San Francisco. Brannan found out about the gold as a slow trickle of employees of the sawmill began showing up in San Francisco, paying their bills with small amounts of Gold. Brannan did more than publish the gold strike in his newspaper…he was known to march up and down the streets of San Francisco, yelling at the top of his lungs “Gold found at the American River.” He did this AFTER he had gone through the entire city and bought up every pick and shovel he could find, to sell to those struck with gold fever…sell them, of course, at a huge markup. Once the news of the gold strike hit, people came from throughout the world to strike it rich…and most did not. History shows that Marshall, who found the gold, and Sutter, whose property it was on were ruined by the gold rush Marshall was right to worry…but Brannan made a fortune, and became the first California Millionaire.

Click here for the Audio Almanac!


Album Notes:  Grateful Acknowledgments to Mike Koenig, and Drum 8.  “Mr. Mealey’s Mediocre Machine” Written and Performed by Kevin McLeod,  Licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution 3.0″ http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ and used here by permission, and with appreciation and thanks.  Some audio may be used under the Fair Use Doctrine.

About denniscmichael

Voice Artist, Writer, Journalist, even sometime actor. For 18 years the writer and voice for CNN's Hollywood Minute.
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