Introduction | Discovery | The Journey | In the Diggings and Towns | Those Who Came
Those Who Stayed Behind | Gold Rush Women | Families | Framed Art

M. Bates
Letter to J. Slocum, Esq.
Troy, NY: August 21, 1849.

While the news of the gold discovery spurred many people to action, not everyone was prepared to rush to California. Bates apparently felt that his interests lay in staying where he already had all the business he could handle. In response to an apparent offer to include him in a "California Expedition," his last line states that "I have not the time to give though[t] or enter into any new business transactions."

Thomas T. Seward
Letter to Mrs. Lucy F. Seward.
San Francisco, April 12, 1853.

The broadside attached to this letter contains the news of the explosion of the steamer Jenny Lind. Broadsides were used to provide breaking news stories. While the news of the explosion began the letter, the real concerns of the writer are seen on page three where he writes of monetary concerns for his wife, his child, and his mother.

Mary Martha Sherwood
Allen Crane, the Gold Seeker.
Troy, NY: Merriam, Moore & Co., [1850?].

Among the tales and poems of this children's book is the story of Allen Crane, a man who wants to get wealthy without the usual hard work. The story tells of his consistent problems and hard luck in gold rush California. Returning home to find his wife dead and his children destitute, Allen Crane, "was afterwards contented with his lot, having learned that making haste to be rich is a road to poverty and suffering." Written at a time when a great debate was raging over the number of men leaving their families behind and dashing to California, the book takes the position of "staying the course" as the moral and responsible way for fathers and husbands.

[Alonzo Delano]
The Miner's Progress; or, Scenes in the Life of a California Miner.
Sacramento: The Daily Union Office, 1853.

This pamphlet used the talents of Alonzo Delano and Charles Nahl to satirize the gold miner's life. One owner of this particular edition has added his own annotation to the text. Apparently home was near the Kennebeak River and the miner was working at the "Honcut diggins - near Wyandot." Honcut Creek was named after the Maidu Indian village, Hoan'kut, which was located on the Yuba River just below where the Honcut Creek enters the Yuba.

Cousin Alice [Alice Bradley Haven]
"All's Not Gold that Glitters;" or the Young Californian.
New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1853.

The fourth in a series of books called the "Home Books" by Cousin Alice, this novel portrays the life of Sid Gilman, who ventures to California with his father, a man who succumbs to temptation regularly. Sid's resourcefulness eventually gains him a quantity of gold, but he does not find happiness.

Elisha Lord Cleaveland
Hasting to be Rich. A Sermon occasioned by the Present Excitement Respecting the Gold of California, Preached in the Cities of New Haven and Bridgeport.
New Haven: Published by request, 1849.

Using the text. "He that maketh haste to be rich, shall not be innocent" (Proverbs 28:20), Pastor Cleaveland warned his congregation of the dangers of following the multitudes headed for the California gold fields. While recognizing the importance of California to the United States, he worries about the effect on those who leave behind the "wholesome restraints of New England Society" and travel to California to mingle with "the filth and scum of society, gathered and poured in there to seethe and ferment in one putrid mass of unmitigated depravity."

H. de Chavannes de la Giraudiere
Les Petits Voyageures en Californie.
Tours: Ad Mame et Cie, Imprimeurs - Libraires, 1853.

The gold rush impacted the imaginations of people around the world. As adventurers departed their homes for the gold fields writers began to supply the home countries with literature. This novel, intended for the juvenile market, describes the adventures of a Frenchman by the name of M. Canton. His voyage takes him to New York, to Panama, to San Francisco, and then to the mines. The short, last chapter describes the California Missions.

Elton's Californian Comic All-My-Nac, 1850.
Nassau, N.Y.: Elton, Publisher, 1850.

Interspersed with an almanac are humorous comments and cartoons satirizing the gold fever caused by the rush to California.

Outline History of an Expedition to California Containing the Fate of the Get All You Can Mining Association.
New York: H. Long & Bro., 1849.

Many people had misgivings about the headlong rush to get to the gold field. In this cartoon, "Death" fills the gold excavations with the bones of the people who died during the journey or in the mines. The author is unknown, although one authority has ascribed it to the engraver, S. F. Baker.

A. L. Lee
The Dying Californian, or The Brother's Request.
Boston: Oliver Ditson, 1855.

One of the main concerns of both those who stayed behind and those who came was whether they would ever see their loved ones again. In this plaintive ballad a miner makes his last requests to be remembered by his loved ones who stayed at home.
Introduction | Discovery | The Journey | In the Diggings and Towns | Those Who Came
Those Who Stayed Behind | Gold Rush Women | Families | Framed Art


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