The First Gold Rush in American history wasn’t at Sutter’s Mill in the Sierra Nevada as most think, it took place near Charlotte, South Carolina in 1799. A youngster named Reed found a large nugget, weighing 17 lbs. and didn’t know what it was. For 3 years the family used as a door stop. One day a local jeweler saw it and bought it for $3.50. It was worth some $3,500. at the time. There was an instant gold rush to the area. Nuggets found were unusually large, some weighing a pound or more. Prospectors found 155 lbs. of pure gold in one spot.
Thirty years later, in 1829, Georgia also had a discovery of gold, however, it was on Cherokee Land. Whites took over the land, put it up for lottery and Indians were not allowed to play. The Cherokee took them all the way to the Supreme Court and won but President Jackson arrogantly defied the court. (Wooster vs. Georgia). In 1838 Cherokee were evicted on the infamous Trail of Tears.
In 1842, a rancher named Francisco Lopez found placer gold 35 miles north of Los Angeles in a small shaggy canyon branching out of the Santa Clara River. Mexican prospectors scratched out some $10,000 by the end of the year. Next year they took out $43,000. But shallow placers were soon exhausted and no more was found until 1848 at Sutter’s mill on the American River.