Who got rich during the GOLD Rush? – Some Things Are Not Quite What They Seem!

Discover the GOLD Rush TRUTH on how one man made equivalent to $890,000.00 in just nine weeks in 1848

The GOLD Rush, an end to the simple life and birth of the New American Dream

An accidental discovery near the obscure American River would forever change a young nation and re-define the American Dream. The simple life would no longer be enough. In its place would come a new kind of lifestyle: entrepreneurial, wide-open, free. The new American dream: to get rich; to make a fortune–quickly.

Instant wealth was here for the taking. All across America, young men made the decision to go to California.

Every city, every hamlet would send its brightest, its strongest, to California–and eagerly await their triumphant return home. They came from Europe, Asia, and South America in search of instant riches.

It was one of the greatest adventures the world had ever seen.

In the early 1840s, California was a distant outpost that only a handful of Americans had seen. The sleepy port that would become San Francisco had just a few hundred residents.

John Sutter was one of the wealthiest people in the region–an affable Swiss immigrant who came to California in 1839, intent on building his own private empire. Sutter soon built a fort, amassed 12,000 head of cattle, and took on hundreds of workers. However, his most prolific crop was debt. He owed money to creditors as far away as Russia. But Sutter was a man with a dream; a dream of a vast agricultural domain that he would control.

By the mid 1840s, more and more Americans were trickling into California by wagon and ship. Sutter welcomed the newcomers–he saw them as subjects for his self-styled kingdom. But Sutter had no idea that the trickle would become a flood–a deluge of humanity that would destroy his dream.

Sutter’s undoing began 50 miles northeast of his fort on the American River. In late 1847, James Marshall and about 20 men were sent to the river by Sutter to build a sawmill–to provide lumber for Sutter’s growing ranch. The sawmill was nearly complete when a glint of something caught Marshall’s eye. It was January 24th, 1848.

Quote from James Marshall

“I reached my hand down and picked it up; it made my heart thump, for I was certain it was gold. The piece was about half the size and shape of a pea. Then I saw another.”

After making the greatest find in the history of the West, Marshall and the other workers went back to work. But they kept stumbling upon more gold.

Still in disbelief, Marshall took samples back to Sutter’s Fort. Sutter and Marshall tested the shiny metal as best they could–a tattered encyclopedia gave them clues. It was gold, they concluded–but neither man was happy about it. Sutter was building an agricultural fiefdom–he didn’t want the competition that gold-seekers might bring. And Marshall had a sawmill to build–gold hunters would just get in his way. So they made a pact to keep the discovery a secret.

But it wasn’t long before stories of gold filtered into the surrounding countryside. Yet there was no race to the American River. The news of Marshall’s gold was just another fantastic tale–too unlikely to be believed.

The gold rush needed a booster, and Sam Brannan was the man. A San Francisco merchant, Brannan was a skilled craftsman of HYPE. Eventually, the gold rush would make him the richest person in California–but Sam Brannan never mined for gold.
He had a different scheme–a plan he set into motion by running through the streets of San Francisco shouting about Marshall’s discovery. As proof, Brannan held up a bottle of gold dust. It was a masterstroke that would spark the rush for gold–and make Brannan rich.

Brannan keenly understood the laws of supply and demand. His wild run through San Francisco came just after he had purchased every pick axe, pan and shovel in the region. A metal pan that sold for twenty cents a few days earlier, was now available from Brannan for fifteen dollars. In just nine weeks he made thirty-six thousand dollars.

Sam Brennan the king of the wheeling and dealing who pulled the trigger on the gold rush was expanding his sphere of influence–and earning unheard of profits. While miners talked of gold, Brannan shrewdly bought up carpet tacks– every tack in California. By cornering the market, he could extort huge profits, a technique he executed flawlessly–over and over.

But Brannan was only the first in a long line of entrepreneurs who made their fortunes without digging for gold.

In 1853–according to legend–a man stitched a pair of pants out of canvas; sturdy pants that later became popular with the miners–very popular. His name: Levi Strauss.
But during the gold rush, Strauss was best known for his prosperous dry good business. It wasn’t until 1872 that he added a critical innovation to canvas pants, the metal rivet–a breakthrough that would change the course of American fashion.

Levi Strauss
This New York butcher decided one day to walk to California. Eventually, he opened a meat market in Placerville–and later took his profits to Milwaukee, where he set up a meat processing plant. His name was Phillip Armour, and the Armour meat packing company became one of the nation’s largest.
Phillip Armour
Armour’s neighbor in Placerville, was an enterprising wheelbarrow maker who dreamed of bigger things. After saving every dime for six years, he left California for his home in Indiana. There, he plowed his profits into the family wagon-making business. The man’s name was John Studebaker–and the family enterprise would go on to build covered wagons for the Oregon-bound pioneers, and later–automobiles.
John Studebaker
Two businessmen also looked west and saw opportunity. Sensing the unsettled atmosphere in California–they offered what many miners desperately wanted: stability. The offered secure, honest banking, transportation, even mail delivery. They were Henry Wells and William Fargo. Their company, Wells Fargo, became a giant in the banking industry.
Henry Wells and William Fargo
The most famous celebrity of the gold rush era came to California as a complete unknown and took a job writing for the San Francisco Call. It wasn’t long until his fanciful story about a frog jumping contest in nearby Calaveras County thrust him into the national spotlight. His name: Samuel Clemens–Mark Twain.
Clemens boss at the Call was also destined to become a best-selling author, Brett Harte. Unlike Clemens, Harte wrote almost exclusively about western characters–colorful stories about miners, bandits, and gamblers. His tale of an orphaned baby adopted by a group of rough miners would make him famous and rich.
Samuel Clemens–Mark TwainFor every famous success, there were a thousand smaller stories of people who used their wits, not their shovels– to find a fortune. Creative entrepreneurs were everywhere–looking for a new angle–a new way to make money, more money.In 1848 and early 49, everyone was making money–but the party didn’t last forever. For most miners, it didn’t last very long at all.

Well partner, today we are in the middle of a modern day Online GOLD Rush.  Just as in the 1800’s, HYPE and misdirection was the planned scheme of the famous GOLD Rush that took the world by storm and left many of that generation with empty promises and broken dreams.

Folks, pay attention so you don’t lose your loot to these modern day GOLD Rush hype men that sell tools and services ONLY to pad their pockets!

In the coming weeks we will be providing a “WANTED” list of these Online and Offline HYPE Men and companies.

Watch your billfolds hombre’s.


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