The Gold Rush

In 1849 the gold rush in California began. Many saw wealth beyond the horizon, imaginations were running wild, hearts were thumping in excitement, and emotions were high with mirth! The gold rush brought in the lucky ones and the unlucky others, they were all anticipating, hoping on that one chance, they were called prospectors or 49rs. They were old, young, women, men, doctors, teachers, lawyers, entrepreneurs; it called on any one. Many didn’t have to strike gold to be successful because not many did. There was a lot to lose during the gold rush but believe me there was more to gain. If you saw the potential it was there.

John Fremont was one of those prospectors; he was an army officer who bought a piece of land near San Francisco where goldfields were located. He actually bought land in foothills of Sierra Nevada, the wrong land he intended to purchase. Infuriated but undaunted he decided to proceed with his plans; he went digging for gold and behold his persistency paid off. He found a hundred pounds of gold and much more!

Well that was pure luck, some would argue. This kind of luck encouraged others to persist in their search. During the day, prospectors worked twelve to sixteen hour days six days a week. During the day the energy was intense, there were devoted prospectors, entrepreneurs. There was motion everywhere, drifting from lively souls filled with passion. There was no time to waste, daylight hours were precious.

Mostly men were seen mining these lands of gold but sometimes wives came along and so did their children. Everyone had a part to do here. Men mined, wives cooked and did laundry, and children either helped the men or found jobs in the nearby town to supplement the family with income. Miners sometimes banded together if one got sick they took care of each other, they shared tents, expenses and even work. What comradely! When night, though everything looked calmed and quiet, spirits still ran high some spent it to dream of their fortunes, others gambled, sang songs and even enjoyed the entertainment of musicians and actors that came to their camps. Hope was never abandoned nor did anyone think of defeat; it was about progress.

That is how life should be. There are lessons to be learned at every turn of our lives. We have a lot to gain from the trails of failures and success while we acquire the experience to be prosperous. M. Stieg