By David Vaught
"It is an excellent country," exclaimed Stephen J. box, the long run U.S. best 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 came upon themselves face-to-face with anything commensurate to their potential to dream. so much did not hit pay airborne dirt and dust in gold. Thereafter, one illustrative team of them struggled to make a dwelling in wheat, cattle, and fruit alongside Putah Creek within the reduce Sacramento Valley. Like box, they by no means forgot that first "glorious" second in California while 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, persevered huge disputes and confusion over land coverage, and struggled to come back to grips with the vagaries of neighborhood, nationwide, and international markets.Their dramatic tale exposes the bottom of the yank dream and the haunting results 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)
The natural environment of the Sacramento Valley was indeed exceptionally rich, but much more volatile and much less familiar than it had ﬁrst appeared to these “Westerners” in the Far West. Bounded on the west by the Coast Range, on the north by the Klamath Mountains, on the east by the southern Cascades and the northern Sierra Nevada, and on the south by the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, the valley was essentially one vast ﬂoodplain, 150 miles long and 10 to 50 miles wide. ) Down its center, the deep-ﬂowing Sacramento River dominated the scene.
Eunice clearly was just as concerned as her husband about their family’s economic and emotional well-being. She may have insisted that the team that worked so well together on the farm should not be broken up—that together they could work a claim that much more proﬁtably and then return home to start anew that much more quickly. She may have insisted more generally that where her husband went, she went. 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.
And the sheer temptation of gold—intensiﬁed seemingly every day by stories of unimaginable wealth ﬁltering back from California—became increasingly diªcult to resist. 13 Sometime during the winter of 1851–52, Washington made the gut-wrenching decision that confronted so many men of his generation and their families. It was time to go to California. More unusual was Eunice’s insistence that she accompany him. While several thousand women participated in the gold rush—some with their husbands, some alone—it was predominantly a male phenomenon.