Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Finding Gold

by Doris McCraw 

In 1848 gold was found in California. Although there had been some placer gold found in the southeast, this was a game changer. When word arrived back east of the Mississippi the rush was on. Unfortunately many of the thousands who sailed around the southern tip of South America, crossed at Panama or traveled across country in wagons and carts failed to find enduring riches.

Then in 1859 another rush was on. There was gold found in Colorado and many who had missed the first rush headed west across the Great American Desert with Pike's Peak or Bust painted on their wagons. From 1859 on gold was found in most of the Western states, the Dakotas, Nevada, Montana, etc. The last rush was in the 1890′s in the Cripple Creek region of Colorado and in the Alaskan territory. Many people followed one rush after another, most to no avail.

In looking at the pattern, so many rushed over true wealth. In California some of the pristine areas were forever blighted. The Great American Desert was in reality part of the breadbasket of the nation. Forest, mountains, rivers all were all sacrificed to the need for quick wealth.

The quick wealth was another matter altogether. Some miners found gold nuggets just lying around, but most prospectors and miners worked hard, long hours and barely broke even. In the long run it was those who supplied the gold seekers, or processed the gold ore that won the prize.

Perhaps you are wondering why the history lesson. For me it is the lessons learned that make it worthwhile. Many times we search for the quick answer and the bonanza strike of gold in our lives and work. We dream of bestselling books, an easier life and more money. Those dreams can definitely come true. The thing we need to watch for; not rushing by and missing the true gold. Friends,family, home are the true gold. In our rush to find gold, savor the journey and those we share it with. In the end, they will be the ones who help us find our own gold.
written and copyrighted by Doris McCraw


C.M. Mayo said...

So true, so true.

P.S. My favorite account of the California Gold Rush actually has much to do with Mexico's Baja California peninsula, and it is a gem beyond any gold anyone might have panned out of the rivers (!) It is E. Gould Buffum's Six Months in the Gold Mines. An original edition is quite a rare collector's item, but one can read it online here:

Sadly, Buffum committed suicide in Paris, I think in 1867, an overdose of laudanum. He really was a brilliant writer and he left us such a treasure.

Renaissance Women said...

Thank you for the kind comments and the link to such a treasure. WOW, you truly did find a rare treasure. Doris