Monday, March 16, 2020

The Rush for Gold in the Middle of the Nineteenth Century

Two of my Proxy Brides books have some of the hero’s riches coming from gold found further West. The existence of their holdings out west actually cause problems between hero and heroine in both A
Bride for Ransom and my new book releasing next week, A Bride for Hamilton. Ransom’s claim was in Oregon and he was anxious to get back to it. Hamilton keeps his claims a secret from his bride which leads to all sorts of complications. I found it fascinating to research the Gold Rush. Here’s a little of what I found:

The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) was a gold rush that began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The news of gold brought approximately 300,000 people to California from the rest of the United States and abroad. The sudden influx of gold into the money supply reinvigorated the American economy, and the sudden population increase allowed California to go rapidly to statehood, in the Compromise of 1850.
The effects of the Gold Rush were substantial. Whole indigenous societies were attacked and pushed
off their lands by the gold-seekers, called "forty-niners" (referring to 1849, the peak year for Gold Rush immigration). Outside of California, the first to arrive were from Oregon, the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), and Latin America in late 1848. Of the approximately 300,000 people who came to California during the Gold Rush, about half arrived by sea and half came overland on the California Trail and the Gila River trail; forty-niners often faced substantial hardships on the trip. While most of the newly arrived were Americans, the gold rush attracted thousands from Latin America, Europe, Australia, and China. Agriculture and ranching expanded throughout the state to meet the needs of the settlers. San Francisco grew from a small settlement of about 200 residents in 1846 to a boomtown of about 36,000 by 1852. Roads, churches, schools and other towns were built throughout California. In 1849 a state constitution was written. In September 1850, California became a state.

At the beginning of the Gold Rush, there was no law regarding property rights in the goldfields and a system of "staking claims" was developed. Prospectors retrieved the gold from streams and riverbeds using simple techniques, such as panning. Although the mining caused environmental harm, more sophisticated methods of gold recovery were developed and later adopted around the world. New methods of transportation developed as steamships came into regular service. By 1869, railroads were built from California to the eastern United States. At its peak, technological advances reached a point where significant financing was required, increasing the proportion of gold companies to individual miners. Gold worth tens of billions of today's US dollars was recovered, which led to great wealth for a few, though many who participated in the California Gold Rush earned little more than they had started with.

Shortly after the discovery of gold in the Sutter’s Mill in California (which started the California gold rush), another state also started its own lust-for-gold movement: Oregon. Reports of gold discovered in Oregon date back to 1850, but it was not quite enough to spark the Oregon gold rush. Two years later, however, the discovery of rich gold deposits by a group of sailors who headed for Crescent City did the job. The area where the deposit was found is now called Sailors Diggings. Prior to the first documented gold discovery in Southwestern Oregon, the region was pretty much uninhabited, with the exception of Native Americans, fur trappers, and gold prospectors travelling to Mother Lode Country.

In 1854, the Oregon gold rush was on its full-scale. A ditch that stretched about eleven miles long was constructed to deliver water to the rich-placer ground. Soon after that, large deposits were found in three different river drainages including the Rogue, Applegate, and Illinois Rivers. Althouse Creek
was considered one of the richest; some said that it was prospected by more than 10,000 men during the first decade of the gold rush. Many of those men had been in the Northern California before they came to the creek; unfortunately for them, rich grounds had been already claimed by the time they arrived.

The drive for fortune seemed to know no bounds, and it took only a little while until prospectors realized that there were richer grounds in the area. Nearly every tributary for as long as 50 miles north of California border contained gold. The first period of the Oregon gold rush lasted until 1861, but it continued right away as soon as the discovery of gold in Eastern Oregon. The old mining towns in Southwest Oregon were abandoned, but you can still find them today.

A Bride for Hamilton releases March 24th. You can pre-order it now.

Marry in haste, repent at leisure…

Sadie Fitzsimmons must choose between total destitution and marriage by proxy with someone she’s never met.

When Sadie steps off the train to meet her new husband for the first time, life in Nebraska is not at all what she had expected. Torn between honoring the vows she spoke to a stranger, and her desire to be free of all obligations, Sadie must face the consequences of her choices.

Hamilton Foster had worked hard for his successes. All that was missing from his perfect life was a family of his own. Sending home to Boston for a wife seemed like a good idea until she arrived and she was too pretty to be trusted.

Follow along to see if these two can find their happily ever after.

Included in your KU subscription:

Ransom is just looking for a mother for his orphaned niece. The fact that she’s from Boston is a

Hannah needs a husband. Her new name will protect her siblings. The fact that he lives in the back of beyond gives them a place to hide. She hadn’t counted on him being so appealing.

But what happens when they realize how very permanent their proxy marriage truly is?
bonus. Their arrangement allows him to get out of town.

Included in your KU subscription:

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~ Happy Reading ~

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I had no idea Oregon had a gold rush, too. Thanks for putting one of your proxy bride books on sale. Best wishes for continued success.


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