Amethyst and Adobe

Sutter's Fort

Sutter’s Fort

What do amethysts and adobe bricks have in common? A tale told by John Bidwell about Sutter’s Fort and a treasure thrown in the dust.

In January 1892 John and Annie Bidwell visited old Sutter’s Fort, which by then was falling down and melting away. A move was on to restore the fort, and contributions had been solicited from the public by the Native Sons to buy the land and begin restoring the fort to its former glory.

According to the Sacramento Bee, in an article reprinted in the Chico Enterprise, General Bidwell and his wife toured the site of the old fort and inspected the progress of the restoration. The General pointed out his office in the central adobe building.

The sight of the restored fort brought back vivid recollections of the days when the fort was in its prime.

“Over in the corner of the garret,” said the General . . . “I had stored away a box of valuable stones which General Sutter had received as gifts in the Sandwich Islands and given to me. A magnificent amethyst was among them. When the first gold came down to be assayed, everything was turned upside down, and somebody threw the box of stones out of the window that you see there into the corral below. Most of them became lost, but when I discovered they were gone I made a search and recovered the amethyst and brought it to New York, where it was mounted and pronounced to be one of the finest stones of the kind ever seen.”

My thanks to John Rudderow, who found this article in the Chico Enterprise for January 22, 1892.


About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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