American history is a deeply woven story of new discoveries, seemingly endless frontiers and dogged perseverance. Stories of events and movements that shaped our world and helped build our country can be heard from coast to coast and everywhere in between: the Industrial Revolution that sprouted in the northeast and moved outward, tales of revolution and martyrdom in the South. However, it is to the west that we find one the most colorful and truly American sagas of sacrifice and adventure.
The California gold rush holds a special place in history as being responsible for the some of the most widespread migration from across the country.
While tales of fabulous wealth are the stuff of legend, the pioneer miners of California faced huge obstacles and most barely made enough to eat, let alone get wealthy. The weather during some times of the year was pleasant and conductive to their mining and prospecting, but other times it was bitter and inclement. To eat, they had to work in the rain and cold.
The winter of 1852-53, was perhaps the roughest time ever seen to that time in California. The long spell of rain leading to high water in the rivers and streams utterly prevented the transportation of provisions from the cities, and there was much want, though no actual cases of starvation. Many men lived for weeks on boiled barley. Beans, without even a ham-bone to season them, furnished, in some cases, the only food available to the gold miners for weeks.