The 1848 discovery of gold on the American River by New Jerseyan James W. Marshall set off an international migration. Jersey Gold—The Newark Overland Company’s Trek to California, 1849 (University of Oklahoma Press, $34.95) by Margaret Casterline Bowen and Gwendolyn Joslin Hiles concerns a group of 30 New Jerseyans who embarked upon, what promised to be, the adventure of their lives.
In California, the Newarkers learned that gold mining was not easy, but other opportunities abounded. Some made fortunes providing goods and services to miners. Newarkers stayed, disappeared, emigrated to further adventures or returned to the East. The book uses little-known sources and provides rich details about politics, mores and historical contexts. Jersey Gold will be a welcome addition to many libraries.
— Terry A. Del Bene, author of the Donner Party Cookbook: A Guide to Survival on the Hastings Cutoff.