Monthly Archives: January 2021

Best-Sellers at Bidwell’s Bar

Take a guess — What were the best-selling items at John Bidwell’s store? When I wrote a biography of John Bidwell in 2010, I wanted to include a photo of a page from his 1849 store ledger. I paged through … Continue reading

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Jennie Wimmer and the Gold Discovery

Happy Gold Discovery Day! January 24, 1848 is the date usually given for the discovery of gold at Coloma on the American River, where James Marshall found those first few flakes of gold in the millrace. It may have been … Continue reading

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Gold Rush Medicine

Say you’re a young miner, come to Bidwell’s Bar to dig for gold in 1849. You are generally a strong and healthy young man, but the work is hard and your meals are not exactly mom’s home cooking. Beef and … Continue reading

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Merchants of Sacramento

When John Bidwell or his partner George McKinstry went shopping for goods to supply their store at Bidwell’s Bar, Sam Brannan & Co. wasn’t the only business they patronized. There were a number to choose from, and they went to … Continue reading

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Sam Brannan, Gold Rush Capitalist

When news of the gold discovery on the American River reached Sutter’s Fort, John Sutter did his best to keep it quiet. He knew if word got out his sawmill would never be finished and his crops would never be … Continue reading

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John Bidwell, Storekeeper

A great many people have crowded upon this stream since you left. About 300 people have arrived from Oregon inpressly [sic] for Gold digging.  I have heard of the arrival of several companies from the States – and have seen … Continue reading

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A Wicked War

I do not think there was ever a more wicked war than that waged by the United States on Mexico. I thought so at the time, when I was a youngster, only I had not moral courage enough to resign. … Continue reading

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