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New PDF release: After the Gold Rush: Tarnished Dreams in the Sacramento

By David Vaught

"It is an excellent country," exclaimed Stephen J. box, the long run U.S. preferrred courtroom 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 across themselves face-to-face with anything commensurate to their means to dream. such a lot did not hit pay dust in gold. Thereafter, one illustrative crew of them struggled to make a residing 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 whilst 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, continued enormous disputes and confusion over land coverage, and struggled to return to grips with the vagaries of neighborhood, nationwide, and global markets.Their dramatic tale exposes the bottom of the yankee dream and the haunting outcomes 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)

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Determined to make the best of it, Wolfskill built himself a house made of poles and tule rushes (inspired by the now-empty dwellings of a nearby Patwin village), purchased more stock, and began planting a few fruit trees and grapevines. In the grand tradition of the California rancheros, he also began cultivating a reputation for greeting travelers with enthusiasm and hospitality. It was his solitude, however, that he valued the most. He liked to boast that he could go weeks at a time without seeing another human being and that his nearest neighbors were John Marsh, at the foot of Mount Diablo, about forty miles to the south; George Yount, in the Napa Valley, just east of Sonoma; and John Sutter, at the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers, thirty miles to the east.

This did not constitute chain migration in the strict sense of the term—just enough personal connections to help ease the pain of isolation. Moreover, wages were astronomically high—$75 a month each and upwards of $4 a day during the harvest season, three to four times the going rate in Wisconsin. 18 Champion I. Hutchinson, on the other hand, had no intention of going back, even though he had once been the most revered man in Kenosha. He too was a Yankee, but a di¤erent breed from the Pierces and their peers.

Expeditions into the Sacramento Valley dated back to the 32 Making a Settlement Spanish colonial period, but their purposes were to evaluate the perceived Indian menace and to search for intruding foreigners—Russian, British, or American— not to encourage settlement. North of the San Francisco Bay, the metropolis was Sonoma, where the last of the Franciscan missions in Alta California had been established in 1824. But even in the 1840s, after Mariano G. Vallejo, commandant general of the northern district of California, had acquired vast landholdings in the area, including Rancho Petaluma (66,000 acres), laid out a town plaza, and built a military post, Sonoma’s population was no more than a few hundred.

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