Old West Lifestyle & Stories

Newspapers Report on the Discovery of Gold

discovery of goldThe year was 1848. The headline was the discovery of gold. The West would never be the same.

The California and California Star newspapers were the first to run stories about the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill. But they ceased reporting on the gold fields after a couple of months.

It was January of 1848 when James Marshall, working at John Sutter’s sawmill, discovered a couple of gold-colored rocks in the race that could be beaten into different shapes, but not broken. It was gold.

The first mention of the discovery of gold in a newspaper was on May 3. Admitting that the discovery was just a rumor, the Californian newspaper said that “Seven men with picks and spades could gather $1,600 worth of gold in fifteen days.” That’s the equivalent of more than $280,000 in today’s money.

Then, on May 6 Samuel Brannan, a reporter for the California Star, returned from the gold fields stating that the diggings had “full flowing streams, mighty timber, large crops, luxuriant clover, fragrant flowers, and gold and silver.” He concluded by saying, “Great country, this.”

By May 26, according to the Californian, “The whole country, from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and from the seashore to the base of the Sierra Nevadas, resounds with the sordid cry of gold! Gold!! GOLD!!! While the field is left unplanted, the house half built, and everything neglected, but the manufacture of shovels and picks.”

That was the last report the Californian newspaper made on the gold field, because three days later the Californian closed its doors. All the employees, including editor Benjamin Beckelew, went to seek gold.

With great joy the California Star reported that their competitor was dead. And the verdict of the inquest was gold fever. But, the California Star didn’t have long to gloat, because in less than a month, the California Star’s editor, Edward Kemble, headed out to the gold fields and the California Star also folded.

Comments are closed.