California eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 127 pages of information about California.
brought with me a couple of howitzers, from which one night, when these thieves were hemming me in on all sides, I discharged a shell right over their heads.  The mere sight of it, when it bursted, was sufficient to give them a very respectful notion of the fighting means at my command.  But though this saved me from any direct attack, it did not secure me against having my horses and cattle stolen on every convenient occasion.”  The Captain went on to say, that he at last brought the Indians pretty well under control; and that, by promises of articles of clothing, they became willing to work for him.  He took good care to trust very few of them with rifles or powder and shot.  Nearly every brick in the buildings of the Fort, he tells me, was made by the Indians, who, moreover, dug all the ditches dividing his wheat-fields.  These ditches are very necessary, to prevent the large number of cattle and horses on the farm from straying among the crops.

On our way to the house, I got the Captain to speak to the head blacksmith about our horses, after which we went in to breakfast, when I saw his wife and daughter for the first time.  They are both very ladylike women, and both natives of France.  During the meal, I found Captain Sutter communicative on the subject of the discovery of the gold mines, which I was very glad of, as I was anxious to learn the true particulars of the affair, respecting which so many ridiculous stories had been circulated.  One was to the effect that the mines had been discovered by the Mormons, in accordance with a prophecy made by the famous Joe Smith.  Another tale was, that the Captain had seen the apparition of an Indian chief, to whom he had given a rifle (the possession of which he only lived three months to enjoy, having been trampled down by a buffalo in the neighbourhood of the Rocky Mountains, on his way with his tribe to make an attack on the Pawnees), when the ghost in question told the Captain that he would make him very rich, and begged that, with this promised cash, the Captain would immediately buy a ship-load of rifles, and present one to every member of his tribe.  Such were the absurd stories circulated.  The true account of the discovery I here give, as near as I can recollect, in the Captain’s own words.

CHAPTER VII.

  Captain Sutter’s account of the first discovery of the gold
  His surprise at Mr. Marshall’s appearance at the Fort
  Mr. Marshall’s statement
  The mill-wheel thrown out of gear
  The water channel enlarged
  Mr. Marshall’s attention attracted by some glittering substance
  Finds it to be gold
  First imagines it to have been buried there
  Discovers it in great abundance
  Takes horse to Sutter’s Fort
  Captain Sutter and Mr. Marshall agree to keep the matter secret
  They start off to the mill
  Proceed up the Fork
  Find the gold in great abundance
  Return to the mill

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California from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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