GOLD!! The treasure of treasures second only perhaps to diamonds!
Can you imagine the reflection, reaction in a man's eyes as they mirrored shiny gold flecks embedded in a rocky creek bed? What if the nugget itself turned out to be pure gold?
In 1848, it happened...someone struck GOLD!! James W. Marshall was employed to build a sawmill on property owned by Johan (John) Sutter. On this early January morning, Marshall stopped to examine the channel below the mill when he noticed some shiny flecks in the channel bed.
As later recounted by Marshall:
I picked up one or two pieces and examined them attentively; and having some general knowledge of minerals, I could not call to mind more than two which in any way resembled this, sulphuret of iron, very bright and brittle; and gold, bright, yet malleable. I then tried it between two rocks, and found that it could be beaten into a different shape, but not broken. I then collected four or five pieces and went up to Mr. Scott (who was working at the carpenters bench making the mill wheel) with the pieces in my hand and said, "I have found it."
"What is it?" inquired Scott.
"Gold," I answered.
"Oh! no," replied Scott, "That can't be."
I said,--"I know it to be nothing else."
|Panning for gold |
on the Mokelumne River
|Marshall's cabin in Coloma, California.|
|California State Parks|
Rest in peace, James Marshall. While you may not have enjoyed any of the luxuries or wealth brought about by your discovery of gold, it certainly impacted the course of history! What a totally different world this would be had gold never been discovered...