Alonzo Delano – Grass Valley Champion & Gold Rush Correspondent

At age 43, after being sick with consumption, Alonzo Delano left his home and loved ones to join the mass of gold-seeking emigrants making the overland journey to California (1849). In Illinois, he sold bank stocks and commodities and lived with his wife and two children; Fred an invalid son of 16 and Harriet, a six-year-old daughter.  After surviving the …

Gold Rush Stories – Book Review

“History, warts and all,” is the essence of what Gary Noy delivers. Noy’s meticulous research, ferreting through dusty archive boxes for photos and first-person accounts, makes his gritty, sometimes enormously disturbing, and often entertaining Gold Rush story vignettes radiate with life. In the lawless immigrant melting pot of California dreams, “accidents, disease, murder, natural disasters, [and] mob violence, … took …

1852 Flood Destroys Jenny Lind Theater

First published June 1, 2018 From the time the Gold Rushers arrived, entertainment became a part of life in the mining town. 1851: Summer “A theatre was erected by C. Lovell and others over Deer Creek, on the lower line of Main Street.” – Nevada, Grass Valley and Rough and Ready Citizens Directory 1856, A. A. Sargent March 1852 “The storm changed …

Scurvy in California’s Food Capital

First published June 9, 2018 Well before the Gold Rush (by the 1750’s) it was known that eating citrus fruit prevented scurvy scur·vy | ˈskərvē/ | noun – a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C, characterized by swollen bleeding gums and the opening of previously healed wounds, which particularly affected poorly nourished sailors until the end of the 18th century. “Yet …

Fleas & Disease in the California Gold Rush

First published July 4, 2018 Fleas were a frequent irritant during the California Gold Rush.   Migrants from all over the world transported more than possessions. They also carried parasites and disease. Overcrowded, unclean living conditions were ideal breeding grounds many nasty bugs. Disease such as cholera, tuberculosis, and smallpox was deadly especially for Native American populations with no previous …

Grizzly Entertainment & California Bear Extinction

First published June 15, 2018 The largest and most powerful of bears, the California grizzly, thrived in New Spain when European explorers first set eyes on the land.  At their peak, approximately 10,000 grizzlies lived in California making the population one of the densest in the Pacific Northwest. “The grizzlies are the commonest kind of bear found in California, and are …