California’s Rush of Gold
By: Katie Corbett
Who discovered the first piece of gold that started
the Gold Rush?
James Marshall was hired to
make a saw mill on the American
River. While he was working on
one of the machines on January 24,
1848 he discovered a small piece of
gold at the bank of the river. He
decided it would be best to keep his
findings a secret, but as little as two
weeks later his discovery was
published in the popular
newspaper, The California Star.
Little did he know that his discovery
would soon bring over 300,000
people to California from all over
the world. James Marshall
Where was the first piece of gold which started the Gold Rush
The first piece of gold
found was in Coloma, California. It
was discovered on the land owned
by John Sutter. John Sutter hired
James Marshall to build a saw mill
for him on the American River.
James Marshall brought his
findings to Sutter after the
discovery, and the two of them
started testing Marshall’s
What is the largest amount of gold found by one
person during the Gold Rush?
In 1854, a 195-pound mass of gold, the largest known to have been
discovered in California, was found at Carson Hill in Calaveras County.
At that time one ounce of gold was worth $15 so back then that large
piece of gold was worth $46,800. Finding a piece of gold worth that much
in that time would have instantly made you rich because people rarely
earned $1 a day.
What was life like trying to find gold?
While trying to find gold, many men, and the few women, worked
all day from when the sun rose until it set. From sitting on their knees
for such long periods of time on rocks and dirt many had scratches
and bruises on their knees all the time.
Levi jeans got its start
because the thick material
they were made out of
made them very durable
How did people find the gold?
One way people found
gold was by a technique called
panning. In the process of
panning people would scoop up
the small rocks at the bank of a
river and search for small gold
specks in the rocks.
Why was the Gold Rush such a big
I think the Gold Rush was such a big deal because gold was very
rare back then. At the time people made about $1 a day and even a
small speck of gold was worth a lot of money. Even if you didn’t come
to California to search for gold, some made money from selling tools
and clothes for the minors. This kind of discovery was new for America
and it brought hundreds of thousands of people west to California.
What were the effects of the Gold Rush?
The effects of the Gold Rush were huge for California. Because
of the sudden population increase, California was able to become a
state. Many people moved West who might not have otherwise moved.
Also, Levi jeans also got its start due to the minors’ need for durable
clothes. Also without the Gold Rush California may have never gotten
it’s state motto “Eureka,” which means “I found it!”
The California Gold Rush
May McNeer / Paperback / Published 1997