Ordeal By Fire

San Francisco in the early years must be considered, aside from the interest of its picturesqueness and aside from its astonishing growth, as a crucible of character. Men had thrown off all moral responsibility. Gambling, for example, was a respectable amusement. People in every class of life frequented the gambling saloons openly and without thought …

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The discovery of gold–made, as everyone knows, by James Marshall, a foreman of Sutter’s, engaged in building a sawmill for the Captain–came at a psychological time. [1]January 24, 1848, is the date usually given. The Mexican War was just over and the adventurous spirits, unwilling to settle down, were looking for new excitement. Furthermore, the …

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The American Occupation

From the earliest period Spain had discouraged foreign immigration into California. Her object was neither to attract settlers nor to develop the country, but to retain political control of it, and to make of it a possible asylum for her own people. Fifty years after the founding of the first mission at San Diego, California …

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The Diggings

The two streams of immigrants, by sea and overland, thus differed, on the average, in kind. They also landed in the country at different points. The overlanders were generally absorbed before they reached San Francisco. They arrived first at Fort Sutter, whence they distributed themselves; or perhaps they even stopped at one or another of …

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W. L. Marcy

William L. Marcy

  It was the brains and statesmanship of Wm. L. Marcy, when he was secretary of war under President Polk, that inaugurated and generaled the movements that resulted in our securing possession of California–by his expeditions, sent by sea and by land, of regular forces, followed by the volunteer regiment of one thousand men, under …

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Across The Plains

The overland migration attracted the more hardy and experienced pioneers, and also those whose assets lay in cattle and farm equipment rather than in money. The majority came from the more western parts of the then United States, and therefore comprised men who had already some experience in pioneering. As far as the Mississippi or …

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On my return, in looking over my finances, I was no poorer than when I left. It must be evident to the reader that I had acquired no wealth to astonish my friends with my riches, which was the visionary expectation of the early pioneers to the gold Eldorado. I have been writing from personal …

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