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The Cave of Gold A Tale of California in '49   By: (1862-1929)

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THE CAVE OF GOLD

A Tale of California in '49

by

EVERETT McNEIL

Author of "Fighting with Fremont," "In Texas with Davy Crockett," "With Kit Carson in the Rockies," Etc.

New York E. P. Dutton & Company 681 Fifth Ave.

First Printing, January, 1911 Second Printing, August. 1919 Third Printing, June, 1926 Printed in the U.S.A.

TO THE DESCENDANTS YOUNG OR OLD OF THE HARDY FORTY NINERS THIS STORY OF THE EXCITING DAYS OF THE DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN CALIFORNIA IS HOPEFULLY DEDICATED

[Illustration: "YOU LIE!" AND THE HARD FIST LANDED SQUARELY ON THE MAN'S CHIN.]

FOREWORD

On a cold January morning of 1848, James Wilson Marshall picked up two yellow bits of metal, about the size and the shape of split peas, from the tail race of the sawmill he was building on the South Fork of the American River, some forty five miles northeast of Sutter's Fort, now Sacramento City. These two yellow pellets proved to be gold; and soon it was discovered that all the region thereabouts was thickly sown with shining particles of the same precious yellow metal. A few months later and all the world was pouring its most adventurous spirits into the wilderness of California.

This discovery of gold in California and the remarkable inpouring of men that followed, meant very much to the United States. In a few months it cleared a wilderness and built up a great state. In one step it advanced the interests and the importance of the United States half a century in the policies and the commerce of the Pacific. It threw wide open the great doors of the West and invited the world to enter. It poured into the pockets of the people and into the treasury of the United States a vast amount of gold alas! soon to be sorely needed to defray the expenses of the most costly war of the ages. Indeed, when the length and the breadth of its influence is considered, this discovery of gold in California becomes one of the most important factors in the developing of our nation, the great corner stone in the upbuilding of the West; and, as such, it deserves a much more important place in the history of the United States than any historian has yet given to it.

In the present story an attempt has been made, not only to tell an interesting tale, but to interest the younger generation in this remarkable and dramatic phase of our national development, possibly the most picturesque and dramatic period in the history of the nation: to picture to them how these knights of the pick and the shovel lived and worked, how they found and wrested the gold from the hard hand of nature, and to give to them something of an idea of the hardships and the perils they were obliged to endure while doing it.

The period was a dramatic period, crowded with unusual and startling happenings, as far removed as possible from the quiet commonplaceness and routine life of the average boy and girl of to day; and the reader is cautioned to remember this if disposed at any time to think the incidents narrated in the present tale too improbable or too startling to have ever happened that they could not happen to day, even in California; but they might have all happened then and there in California.

The author is one of those who believe that the boys and the girls of to day should know something of the foundation stones on which the superstructure of our national greatness rests, and how and with what toils and perils they were laid; and, it is in the hope that the reading of this story will interest them in this, the laying of the great corner stone in the upbuilding of the West, that this tale of the Discovery of Gold in California has been written.

No nation can afford to forget its builders.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. El Feroz

II. Death of the Miner

III. The Skin Map

IV. At the Conroyal Rancho

V. Off for the Gold Mines

VI. The Sign of the Two Red Thumbs

VII... Continue reading book >>




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