By David Vaught
"It is a wonderful country," exclaimed Stephen J. box, the longer term U.S. ideally suited court docket justice, upon arriving in California in 1849. Field's pronouncement used to be greater than simply an expression of exuberance. For an electrifying second, he and one other 100,000 hopeful gold miners stumbled on themselves face-to-face with anything commensurate to their means to dream. such a lot didn't hit pay dust in gold. Thereafter, one illustrative crew of them struggled to make a dwelling in wheat, farm animals, 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, persisted enormous 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 outcomes of attempting to strike it wealthy. (2007)
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Extra info for After the Gold Rush: Tarnished Dreams in the Sacramento Valley (Revisiting Rural America)
Vaca and Peña had been members of the Workman-Rowland party, most of whom settled in southern Cal- 34 Making a Settlement ifornia. Enticed by stories of the lush cattle feed and inviting climate in the Sacramento Valley, many emanating from Vallejo himself, Vaca and Peña moved on, following the El Camino Real northward. Vaca, a widower, brought his eight children with him, and Peña was accompanied by his wife and six children. Vaca was also Peña’s compadre (godfather). After building several dwellings and stocking the land with cattle, Vaca and Peña petitioned Vallejo and in January 1843 received a grant of ten square leagues.
Or, she may simply have been hungry for gold herself. Washington may have resisted at ﬁrst, but he was no match for his wife’s strong will. Once the decision was made, the sense of adventure must have been exhilarating for them both. 14 Leaving George Jr. behind with Jonathan, Electra, and Elijah, Washington and Eunice left Kenosha on April 19, 1852. True to character, Washington kept a diary, intent on recording every last detail. For the ﬁrst month, he made daily entries as his party made its way south and west across northern Illinois, through the Mississippi Valley, and on to the Missouri River.
The drought at the end of the decade, however, brought ﬁnancial ruin followed by scandal—“the most disgraceful event in the early history of Southport,” locals insisted for years. When farmers brought what little grain they had to Hutchinson’s warehouse in the fall of 1849, they demanded cash instead of the usual receipts, whose value had greatly diminished. Hutchinson, strapped for cash himself, gave his word that all accounts would be settled when navigation opened up the following spring. But when several vessels full of wheat left the docks on April 6, 1850, no one had been paid.
After the Gold Rush: Tarnished Dreams in the Sacramento Valley (Revisiting Rural America) by David Vaught