Volunteer Forty-niners: Tennesseans and the California Gold Rush

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Vanderbilt University Press, 1997 - History - 324 pages
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Other than the Civil War, no single event of the nineteenth century affected so many Americans as did the California Gold Rush of 1849. Responding with the same enthusiasm shown by the Mexican War volunteers, Tennessee gold seekers rushed to be among the first from the South to reach the California mines. In Volunteer Forty-Niners, Walter T. Durham provides the first comprehensive examination of the role Tennessee and Tennesseans played in creating a new state and a new society on the West Coast. Drawing from such archival sources as personal narratives in letters and diaries, public records, and newspaper reports, Durham has woven a wealth of information into his recounting of their adventures. He follows many of the emigrants into the mines and details the activities of others in commerce and government. In the process, he shows that Tennesseans made an enormous contribution to the beginnings of government in California. Among the many offices they held were governor, assemblyman, sheriff, state senator, secretary of state, state treasurer, controller, U.S. senator, U.S. marshal, U.S. surveyor general, and Indian commissioner.
 

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Contents

California Gold
3
By Land and Sea in 49
17
Going for the Gold
26
Trailing Southern Routes
39
Via Fort Smith and Santa Fe
55
The California Trail in 49
64
Slow Passage
82
The Thing Must Have Its Run
96
Not for the Faint of Heart
149
Beyond the Mines
172
Statesmen and Filibusters
191
Gold and the Gospel
213
Home Again
226
Appendix
237
Notes
245
Bibliography
295

The Birth of a State
116
Political Gold
132

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About the author (1997)

Walter T. Durham is the author of seventeen books, including Balie Peyton of Tennessee: Nineteenth-Century Politics and Thoroughbreds and Volunteer Forty-niners: Tennesseans and the California Gold Rush. He has been the Tennessee state historian since 2002.

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