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General John A. Sutter

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Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 381
Location: Monterey County, California

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:18 pm    Post subject: General John A. Sutter Reply with quote

Monterey—Alvarado—Sutter—Marshall—"GOLD." That is the foundation of the gold discovery in California. Had not Governor Juan B. Alvarado at Monterey granted land to John A. Sutter, Marshal would not have made the great discovery that opened the gates of the world out of which poured the multitude of people that changed a territory into a state in the space of ten years.

John A. Sutter arrived at Monterey in July, 1839, and presented letters of recommendation to Governor Juan B. Alvarado, together with a petition for a large tract of land as an empressario colonizacion. Although Governor Alvarado was not in a position to grant this petition at once, he advised Sutter to apply for naturalization papers and suggested that he select a tract of land which might be granted to him one year later.

Sutter selected his land at what is now the city of Sacramento and there built Sutter's Fort. At the end of a year he received his final papers of citizenship, together with the grant of eleven square leagues of land. Sutter's Fort thus established grew to be an institution of considerable importance upon the Sacramento frontier.

In accordance with the plans of John A. Sutter, a sawmill was being constructed at Coloma, with James W. Marshall in charge of construction, assisting him were Peter L. Wimmer, his wife, Elizabeth Jane, and two sons, John and Martin Wimmer, Henry W. Bigler* seven other members of the Mormon Battalion and some Indians.

* (Prom Bigler's diary we quote: "Monday 24th, this day some kind of metal was found in the tail race that looks like goald, first discovered by James Martial, the Boss of the Mill'*).

The simple words quoted above by the young Mormon laborer, described an event of such momentous consequence as to change the current of history; not only did Marshall's memorable discovery in '48 affect the history of California—its influence was felt throughout the world.

Colton said: "When the gold fever reached Monterey every servant in the place deserted; none are to be trusted in their engagement beyond a week .... General Mason, Lieutenant Lanman, and myself, form a mess, we have a house, and all the table furniture and culinary apparatus requisite; but our servants have run, one after another, till we are almost in despair; and this morning for the fortieth time, we had to take to the kitchen, and cook our own breakfast. A general of the United States Army, the commander of a man-of-war, and the Alcalde of Monterey, in a smoking kitchen grinding coffee, toasting a herring, and peeling onions."
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