1858, Fraser River gold rush: “Chenook” beats a college degree

I’m very fond of the contemporary reports telling of the moment when Chinuk Wawa suddenly propagated into the British Columbia interior.


(Image credit: Wikipedia)

Most of the newspapers in existence on the West Coast in 1858 were published in California, due to the 1849 gold rush there.

Which sets the stage for the inevitable demise of many of those California boomtowns. Have you ever even heard of Rocklin?

That’s where we find some timely advice to the northward-bound gold bug…

topic 1

topic 2

Topic of the Day.

“Gold, Gold, Gold,” — like the cry of “fire,” every one exclaims where?” “Up on Frazer [sic] river,” is now the answer, and to that that distant spot, where mountain torrents most do congregate, every person not possessed of a large amount of the world’s goods, seems to be turning his footsteps. None count the cost, for there is a general belief that there is gold enough to pay the score. So in steamers and in schooners, in ships and sloops, away they go; an army with rockers ready to take any risk for money.

Frazer river has banished almost every other topic. Kansas is eclipsed — Black Republicanism sunk into African darkness, and Know-Nothingism is bound for the new mines. Wherever our footsteps tend there we find exciting groups, impracticable gold-rockers and Munchausen narratives of mining millionaires who are lords of claims of untold wealth — barring the high water. — How long this confusion is to prevail, none can tell — perhaps the very next steamer from the North may allay the fever. At present the hubbub is a draw-back to many kinds of business, and a serious detriment to contractors and builders. In the interior, the effect is still more disastrous. Quartz mills and ditches are losing their laborers, and traders their debtors. The columns of the interior press are filled with accounts of the exodus, and steamers and stages arrive daily with crowds of goldseekers en route for the place where Chenook canoes are better paying stock than ocean steamers, and a knowledge of the “jargon” a more desirable accomplishment than the lore of universities.                    S.F. Globe.

— from the Rocklin (CA) Placer Herald of June 19, 1858, page 4, column 2

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