By David Vaught
"It is a wonderful country," exclaimed Stephen J. box, the longer term U.S. ultimate court docket justice, upon arriving in California in 1849. Field's pronouncement was once greater than simply an expression of exuberance. For an electrifying second, he and one other 100,000 hopeful gold miners came across themselves face-to-face with anything commensurate to their capability to dream. so much didn't hit pay airborne dirt and dust in gold. Thereafter, one illustrative team of them struggled to make a dwelling in wheat, cattle, and fruit alongside Putah Creek within the reduce Sacramento Valley. Like box, they by no means forgot that first "glorious" second in California while whatever appeared attainable. In After the Gold Rush, David Vaught examines the hard-luck miners-turned-farmers -- the Pierces, Greenes, Montgomerys, Careys, and others -- who refused to confess a moment failure, confronted flood and drought, continued enormous disputes and confusion over land coverage, and struggled to come back to grips with the vagaries of neighborhood, nationwide, and global markets.Their dramatic tale exposes the bottom of the yank dream and the haunting effects of attempting to strike it wealthy. (2007)
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Additional resources for After the Gold Rush: Tarnished Dreams in the Sacramento Valley (Revisiting Rural America)
Bounded on the west by the Coast Range, on the north by the Klamath Mountains, on the east by the southern Cascades and the northern Sierra Nevada, and on the south by the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, the valley was essentially one vast ﬂoodplain, 150 miles long and 10 to 50 miles wide. ) Down its center, the deep-ﬂowing Sacramento River dominated the scene. Fed by the American, Feather, Yuba, and other rivers cascading down from the high Sierra (which boast the nation’s deepest snowpack), the Sacramento’s normal ﬂow was large—about 5,000 cubic feet per second—but in ﬂood could swell to an astounding 600,000 cubic feet per second.
Hogs, not cattle, provided the best way to make money quickly, especially when ﬁrst getting started. Hogs could run free and fend for themselves, as long as their ears were marked and the mark registered with the county, and pork preserved much better than beef. Very quickly, however, the Davis family learned that cattle could defend themselves much better than hogs against Sacramento Valley predators—grizzly bears, in particular—and that the demand for fresh beef was so high that butchers did not have to limit their purchases to only a few cattle each week to avoid spoilage.
Natural levees ten to thirty feet high arose along the riverbanks, built up over the centuries from the heavy silt deposited by the overﬂows. On the slopes of those levees, riparian vegetation, up to ﬁve miles deep, grew so thick and lush that ecologists prefer jungle rather than the standard forest to describe it. On the lowlands beyond the levees, the overﬂow left behind sloughs, swamps, and marshes—including “the Tule” (or “the tules”), the dense expanse of large bulrushes, ﬁfteen to twenty feet high and encompassing approximately 100,000 acres, where the Pierces bogged down on their ﬁrst day in Yolo County.
After the Gold Rush: Tarnished Dreams in the Sacramento Valley (Revisiting Rural America) by David Vaught