It was on this date back in 1848 when James Marshall discovered gold at a sawmill he was constructing to provide lumber for building John Sutter’s town he called New Switzerland.

Although Sutter owned thousands of acres in the area, the mill was located on public land.  And at the time of the discovery California was in the process of changing from a possession of Mexico to the United States.  So, he had no way to get legal ownership of the land around the mill.

Neither Sutter nor Marshall were excited about the discovery of gold and tried to keep it a secrete.  Obviously the word got out.

It’s interesting that although Sutter and Marshall discovered the gold, they never profited from it and died broke.


The picture is of James Marshall at the saw mill.