In the history books we learn that gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill and that precipitated the famous Gold Rush of 1849. Someone told me that gold was actually discovered much earlier in the West. Is that true?

In the history books we learn that gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill and that precipitated the famous Gold Rush of 1849. Someone told me that gold was actually discovered much earlier in the West. Is that true?

Lorette Warren
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Yes, it’s true. Jose Ortiz discovered gold south of Santa Fe in 1832. The boomtown of Delores sprang from the strike and it is credited with being the first strike in the West.

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu or Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.