The California Gold Rush

When You Catch A Fever, It Just Might Not Go Away!


The California Gold Rush started in 1848 when a man by the name of James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. This started what was known as the gold fever. It drew many people, soon to be known as "49ers" from around the U.S.A. It ceased in 1855.

When/How Did This All Start?

In January 1848, James Wilson Marshall discovered gold while constructing a saw mill along the American River northeast of present-day Sacramento. It started when he found a piece of a golden nugget in the river. This sparked what was known as "gold fever."

Effects On California

California's name became indelibly connected with the Gold Rush, and fast success in a new world became known as the "California Dream." California was perceived as a place of new beginnings, where great wealth could reward hard work and good luck. Historian H. W. Brands noted that in the years after the Gold Rush, the California Dream spread across the nation:

The old American Dream ... was the dream of the Puritans, of Benjamin Franklin's "Poor Richard"... of men and women content to accumulate their modest fortunes a little at a time, year by year by year. The new dream was the dream of instant wealth, won in a twinkling by audacity and good luck. [This] golden dream ... became a prominent part of the American psyche only after Sutter's Mill.”

About the Discoverer

James Wilson Marshall (October 8, 1810 – August 10, 1885) was an American carpenter and sawmill operator, who reported the finding of gold while building a sawmill at Coloma on the American River in California on January 24, 1848, the start for the California Gold Rush.
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In Doubt...

The report of gold made people very skeptical. The reports of the gold sighting was doubted by many people around the country. Then came to find out that the gold was true and the famous "gold fever" epidemic was summoned.

Oh, The Stress...

While many people wanted to find gold, if you were lucky you only found a few ounces worth of gold. Very few made their riches come true, on the other hand there were people that had had to stay and hope for the best, some had to leave, and some dies off because of their waste of money on the gold rush.

Bet You Didn't Know...

The gold rush may be more complex than you think:

- Gold was actually found by mexicans and indian tribes in southern California, but Mr. Marshall was given all the credit.

- There was a professional football team created because of the gold rush. They were named the San Francisco 49ers.

- Nearly 200,000 people migrated to California around the U.S., the largest human migration ever.

- Since gold was very rare, in enraged most people and caused a spark across some people and caused over 4,000 deaths because of fury.


- Yes, James Marshall had one boy named Wilson Marshall.


America the Story of Us: Gold Rush