In 1849 a man named John A Sutter moved to California were he had a large grant of land in the Sacramento valley.He was going to use it to start up a saw mill. Little did John Know that he was sitting on a gold mine of disaster.
Once news broke out that Gold was in California, men and a couple women fled from every corner of the country to get a portion of gold for themselves. Young men with a pick and wash pan in hand left there wives and children to move to California. For that reason the biggest migration in history took place. Infact the trail of the gold rush was said to be so smooth that highway engineers used it to construct highway
I think Rhoda Blumberg in Great American Gold Rush said it best when she said
"the yellow metal was a magnet that pulled people from all over the world"
Soon California was full of Boomtowns, mining camps, and men. Boom towns were formed were crossroads and rivers joined and people would try to"boom" or promote the town. Fires, murders,and new houses were every day activities in boom towns. Soon most boom towns and mining camps became ghost towns but some like Sacramento were turned into huge cities.
More and more men and women were coming to California and most of them returning home empty handed
People weren't the only one's suffering.What about the land? People were poring in from every which way and just tearing up the Sierra area.
Men used dams and flumes to expose stream and river beds for mining. Because of that the entire river and stream courses were destroyed. Water from the rivers were used in giant jet streams that blasted on the side of the Sierra mountains in desert areas.
Water in desert areas also caused huge climate problems in the area. Animals fled from their homes because of the loss of water and change in habitat.
Men used 700ft. shafts to find ore, quartz, and of course gold. People tore up the Sierras and all for one Greedy reason GOLD.
-Rhoda Blumbergs Great American Gold Rush
- L.A Times Played out Bob Galbrath
-Time Life books "The Forty-Niners" William Weber Johnson, 1974.
-gold rushes, the Readers Companion to American History, 1Jan. 1991.
-IBM World Book 1997 multimedia Encyclopedia Disc1 "gold rush"