By David Vaught
"It is an excellent country," exclaimed Stephen J. box, the longer term U.S. perfect courtroom justice, upon arriving in California in 1849. Field's pronouncement was once greater than simply an expression of exuberance. For an electrifying second, he and one other 100,000 hopeful gold miners discovered themselves face-to-face with anything commensurate to their skill to dream. so much did not hit pay dust in gold. Thereafter, one illustrative workforce of them struggled to make a residing in wheat, cattle, and fruit alongside Putah Creek within the decrease Sacramento Valley. Like box, they by no means forgot that first "glorious" second in California whilst whatever appeared attainable. In After the Gold Rush, David Vaught examines the hard-luck miners-turned-farmers -- the Pierces, Greenes, Montgomerys, Careys, and others -- who refused to confess a moment failure, confronted flood and drought, continued huge disputes and confusion over land coverage, and struggled to return to grips with the vagaries of neighborhood, nationwide, and international markets.Their dramatic tale exposes the bottom of the yank dream and the haunting effects of attempting to strike it wealthy. (2007)
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Extra resources for After the Gold Rush: Tarnished Dreams in the Sacramento Valley (Revisiting Rural America)
The ﬁrst Putah Creek farmers cultivated grain only within a mile or so of the riverbed and often determined where to stop at the point where native plants no longer reached the height of their horses’ withers. They also regarded periodic overﬂows as beneﬁcial to their land—in essence, an inexpensive substitute to artiﬁcial irrigation—not yet realizing that severe ﬂooding could literally drown a growing crop in a matter of hours. 30 Making a Settlement While they sensitized themselves to the ecology to some degree (enough to reap the beneﬁts), they were not ecologically sensitive.
Chiles, whose reputation as a “trail-blazing pioneer” was second only to Frémont’s. ) Chiles took a liking to his fellow overland adventurer and, seeing that Davis was down on his luck, proposed a business partnership. They started a dairy in the town of Washington, just across the river from Sacramento in Yolo County, as well as a rope ferry (where the I Street bridge stands today) to capitalize on the many people traveling to the mines. With milk selling for a dollar a quart and with tolls as high as $6 per wagon, gross earnings from the two enterprises soared to as much as $10,000 a month.
As the year wore on, letters from Marion County gold rushers published in the local newspaper every week dwelled on “sad news”: names of “our worthy citizens” reported dead from cholera, gruesome descriptions of the thousands of rotting oxen and mule carcasses on the overland trail, and story after story from discouraged miners ready to call it quits. “My advice to you is, stay where you are,” wrote one. Yet, the occasional letter of triumph seemed to trump all the others. “A few days ago a man dug out a chunk of gold which weighed 22 pounds, and Removals 25 gambled it away at monte during the night, and the next day he went to digging again in his hole and found more,” wrote one astonished farmer.