How many prospectors got rich during the California gold rush?

Carl Justice
Baltimore, Maryland

Hard to say, but it’s probably about the same percentage as those who win the big lottery today. Most who boasted “California or Bust” came home saying “Busted by God.”

Certainly, folks like George Hearst made fortunes from their mining efforts.

Others got rich by “mining the miners.”  Levi Strauss sold clothing, John M. Studebaker offered wagons and Henry Wells and William Fargo provided shipping and banking. Each made money by thinking outside the box.

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