California Gold Rush: True Tales Of The Forty-niners

Beginning in 1848, brave men from all over the world came to seek their fortune in California. This is a collection of their stories – the good, the bad, the rich strikes and the failures. These are the true stories of the men who tamed the west by the work of their hands. The history of California, before this influx of the gold-seekers brought it out prominently before the eyes of the world, may be told in a few words. Cabrillo had skirted it some forty odd years after the discovery of the continent by Columbus. Francis Drake had brought his ships to anchor in a bay a few miles north of San Francisco in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and the Spanish galleons, making their yearly voyages to the Philippine Islands, had, on their return trips, regularly, for nearly two hundred years, raised the headlands at Cape Mendocino. The event which changed the history of California was the discovery of gold by James Marshall, in January of 1848, that find opened California to forge a new era for the western US. It took some time, but the famous discovery set off one of the most wonderful migrations ever known. The 49ers came in from all parts of the Atlantic states when the news of the discovery slowly reached the population centers east of the Mississippi - It was the great California gold rush.

Below is a collection of 68 true tales of adventure and history from the early gold mining days:



True Tales Of The Forty-niners

1. Finding The Biggest Gold Nuggets                             
2. The Nugget That Was Split in Two

3. Finding A Huge Nugget While Digging A Grave….

4. Huge Nuggets That Were Not Well Substantiated….

5. Finding Big Nuggets In Unexpected Places
6. Finding Gold While Cleaning Up Old Workings

Captain Sutter’s Own Story Of The Gold Discovery:
10. The Financial Situations of Those Who Dug For Gold
11. The Adventures of  “Portuguese Joe”
12. Great Finds Around Hangtown (aka Placerville)

13. Great Finds Around Georgetown

14. Great Finds Around El Dorado County
15. Prospecting Methods of The Inexperienced Miners
16. Placer Digging In 1850 and 1851
17. Thieves and Cheats in the Early Mining Camps
18. Advancement of Mining Techniques
19. River Mining for Gold
20. Gold Mining Turns Into A Big Business
21. Robbery And Road Agents in the Gold Country
22. The Old Cabins Of The 49ers
23. The Luck of The Old Time 49ers
The Infamous “Chili Gulch” Incident
26. Gold Strikes Near Mokelumne

27. The Wandering Spirit of the Old 49ers
28. Gold Digging in the Days of 1849
29. The Gold Towns and Mining Regions Grow and Mature
30. The Great and Mysterious Gold Lake Excitement
31. Colonel Mason’s Report On the California Goldfields

32. The California Gold Rush As Told by the Newspapers
33. Adventures in California, by William Redmond Ryan

34. Gold Mining Experiences of the Old Timers

True Tales Of The Forty-niners

35. Sights in the Gold Region, by Theodore T. Johnson
36. The Great California Gold Rush of 49
37. The Gold Rush Discoveries Spread
38. Discoveries in the Southern Sierra
39. The California Mining Days of 1848
. More Of The Discoveries of 1848
. Life In The Mining Camps
. Gold Deposits and Gold Mining In the Early Days
43. Diary of a 49er, Part I : July 4th, 1849.
44. Diary of a 49er, Part II: July 7th, 1849
45. Diary of a 49er, Part III : Aug. 7th, 1849.
46. Diary of a 49er, Part IV : Aug. 25th, 1849.
47. Diary of a 49er, Part V : Oct. 27th, 1849.
48. Diary of a 49er, Part VI : Dec. 3rd, 1849.
49. Diary of a 49er, Part VII : Dec. 27th, 1849.
. Diary of a 49er, Part VIII : February 2nd, 1850.
. Diary of a 49er, Part IX : February 20th, 1850.
. Diary of a 49er, Part X : April 1st, 1850.
3. Diary of a 49er, Part XI : July 30th, 1850.
4. The Advice of a 49er to New Prospectors:
55. The Discovery of Gold, By Marshall’s Partner, Peter Wimmer
57. Gold Rush Days At Volcano, Amador County
58. Looking For Gold At Hangtown
59. Gold Prospecting Around Old Hangtown (Placerville)
. The 49er days in Old Downieville
3. Working A Mountain Of Gold
4. Sources of the Gold: Quartz Veins
65. The Dead Rivers of California
66. The Bull and Bear Fight
67. Hunting The Fearsome California Grizzly Bear
68. Practical Jokes in the Mines



In April, 1769, the San Antonio sailed into the splendid harbor of San Diego. The ship had been sent out from Mexico and had a few friars on board, a detachment of soldiers and a handful of colonists. Juan Crespi, an intrepid friar, marched overland until in October he reached San Francisco Bay, which had before been unknown to civilized man. Then followed the expedition of Father Junipero Serra, who founded Missions from San Diego to Monterey. The domination of the Missions, of which there were twenty-one, lasted till 1822, when Mexico declared her independence from Spain. But during all this time almost nothing was known about the matchless and beautiful mountain country of California that we now hold so dear, until the discovery of gold. Once hearing of the great strike, by sea and land they flocked in untold numbers to the new El Dorado, and all parts of the civilized world sent contributions of their people to California to seek for gold. The way was difficult and the majority knew little of gold mining when they arrived. Most of the people who rushed off to California in 1849 and later, went to get a start in the world. Money was difficult to obtain in the East. Everybody wanted to make a big strike and get rich all at once. What actually happened was that a great many steady and honest men became comfortably well off from the gold they dug. Millionaires, however, were scarce. Others who came there in '49 stayed on for decades and lived just as poor as they were on the day they arrived.

The full and permanent effects of the California gold discovery cannot be estimated. All over the world impulse was given to industry, values changed, and commerce, social economy, and finance were revolutionized. New enlightenment and new activities succeeded these changes, and yet again followed higher and broader developments. It was the forerunner of like great discoveries of the precious metals elsewhere, in Australia, in Nevada and Idaho and Montana, in British Columbia and Alaska. There had been nothing like it since the inpouring of gold and silver to Europe, following the discovery of the New World by Columbus. In its fullest, broadest sense, the experiences of the California gold seekers changed both the state and the world. The grand results can only be appreciated as we proceed in our examination of this history.

With the discovery of famous nuggets and other large quantities of gold are associated stories tinged with romance, pathos and cupidity. Personally, I would love to be able to travel back in time and see those days for myself. It would be interesting to travel back in time and see the sights and hear the tales of the days gone by, but those days are long gone and the old timers who participated in that great gold rush of California are all long gone as well. However, we can still hear their words – because some of them wrote down their experiences. Still others had their tales put down in ink by various authors who interviewed them. I have collected a bunch of stories - 66 in all - written down by and about those who participated in the gold rush, and it is through these true stories that we can see what those times were really like. I didn’t write these or make them up - all of these stories are true tales taken from old books that date from the 1800s - times when many of the 49ers were still alive. Here is a collection of 67 very real and true stories of the early day miners and their exciting experiences digging for gold, as told in their own words. As you read through these tales, remember that gold was priced at $20 per ounce, so a $4,000 nugget contained 200 ounces of gold. See the links above for the stories of the gold rush pioneers as they experienced it.



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