Gold Rush, Female Immigration, marriage


In September on 1848, subscribers of the New York Herald read a fanciful description of a place that had "rivers whose banks and bottoms [were] filled with pure gold," and made the legendary El Dorado seem nothing "but a Sand bank." The work sounded easy, and the potential returns appeared limitless. A bucket of dirt "with a half hour's washing in running water" would produce "a spoonful of black sand, containing from seven to ten dollars' worth of gold." This golden country was California. Beginning in 1848, similar accounts of the gold discoveries in California began to appear in numerous eastern newspapers. The writers, seemingly incredulous themselves, provided fantastic descriptions of the vast wealth to be had for the taking in California. The forty-niners who followed these siren calls numbered nearly 50,000 in a single year, and were predominantly male.