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  1. #1
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    Post FortyNiners, FortyEighters--FortyTwoers?!?!?



    Saw a video bit by a Brit the other day quizzing members of the teams as to where their name came from, & in passing he noted that the actual gold strike at Sutter's Mill occurred not in 1849 but the year before, so why shouldn't they be the 48ers?

    Now I have been working my way through The Americans: A Social History of the United States, 1587-1914 by J. C. Furnas, a massive (911 pages of text) and massively informative & entertaining tome from 1969 obtained free at The Book Thing, & as serendipity would have it, early this morning came upon the following passage (pp.372-3):
    It often does look as if history has stacked the deck....[C]onsider that the fateful gold find of 1848 was not California's first. In 1842, with the Mexican War still some years away, a Southern Californian ranch hand dug up a clump of wild onion in the hills northeast of Los Angeles and saw gold in the dirt they grew in. In the next three years some $8,000 [not chump change in those days] in gold was washed out of local soil; 20 ounces of it were sent around the Horn to the Philadelphia Mint, the first California gold seen Back East. It caused strangely little stir, whereas Sutter's gold struck fire all over the Western world. The reason must have been that the man who dug the onions was named Francisco Lopez--and history preferred to postpone the gold rush until it could occur under gringo auspices.
    LA 42ers?? No wonder history disapproved...





  2. #2
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    Interesting. I guess the forty niners comes from the gold rush itself ramping up to full speed in forty nine, despite the initial strike occurring a year earlier.




  3. #3
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    Re: FortyNiners, FortyEighters--FortyTwoers?!?!?

    Quote Originally Posted by callahan09 View Post
    Interesting. I guess the forty niners comes from the gold rush itself ramping up to full speed in forty nine, despite the initial strike occurring a year earlier.
    In a word, yes.

    It's funny how some things sit around for years before they suddenly take off. In physics, special relativity is summed up by a 4x4 matrix known as the Lorentz transformation--which was first published by a guy named Voigt in 1887--& everyone knew the equations worked but no one understood why or what it meant until this clerk in a Swiss patent office showed them--in 1905.

    And speaking of Einstein, he's the godfather of the laser--having floated the idea of "stimulated emission of radiation" & thereby established its theoretical foundations in 1917--but the first demonstration of the lasing principle didn't occur until 30 years later, & the first device based on it wasn't built until 1953.




  4. #4

    Re: FortyNiners, FortyEighters--FortyTwoers?!?!?

    Quote Originally Posted by callahan09 View Post
    Interesting. I guess the forty niners comes from the gold rush itself ramping up to full speed in forty nine, despite the initial strike occurring a year earlier.
    After they jumped on the bandwagon, just like their fans.




  5. #5
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    Re: FortyNiners, FortyEighters--FortyTwoers?!?!?

    lob-
    I think I read somewhere that Lopez was using illegal immigrants from "back East" (you know...citizens from the colonies!) to harvest onions and other vegetables on the ranch, and didn't want to tip off the authorities...




  6. #6
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    Re: FortyNiners, FortyEighters--FortyTwoers?!?!?

    If you glance at the history of the gold rush, you'll note that Sutter originally tried to keep the discovery (on January 24, 1848) hushed up, but the rumors surfaced in SanFran in March. But communication from Cali to anywhere else sucked in those days--there were no telegraph lines in the territory, let alone leading to the outside world, before 1853--& as a result the word had to make its way to the rest of the country by land or sea, a minimum of 3 months' journey. The first report of the discovery in a major East Coast newspaper didn't appear till August 19, & was only confirmed by President James Polk in an address to Congress on December 5. By the time significant numbers of prospectors got underway (let alone arrived) in Cali, it was 1849.




  7. #7
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    Re: FortyNiners, FortyEighters--FortyTwoers?!?!?

    Quote Originally Posted by RavenusMaximus View Post
    After they jumped on the bandwagon, just like their fans.
    The guys who made out like bandits from the Gold Rush weren't the prospectors but the merchants who sold them gear & provisions at the jumping-off point in Sacramento, e.g., the Big Four (Mark Hopkins, Charles Crocker, Collis P. Huntington, & Leland Stanford)--not to mention one Levi Strauss, who started his SanFran dry goods business in 1853 (& had already made a killing before the famous copper-riveted denim trousers were born in 1873).




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