Death Valley '49ers

Death Valley '49ers

Death Valley '49ers

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The Death Valley '49ers were a group of pioneer from the Eastern United States that endured a long difficult journey during the late 1840s California Gold Rush to prospect in the Sutter's Fort area of the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada in California. Their route from Utah went through the Great Basin Desert in Nevada, and Death Valley and the Mojave Desert in Southern California, in attempting to reach the Gold Country. "Lost 49ers; article by Roger Brandt; Ranger, National Park Service; public domain U.S. government NPS website

The Gold Rush

On January 24, 1848 James W. Marshall and his crew found gold at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. This discovery would lure tens of thousands of people from the United States and foreign nations. People packed their belongings and began to travel by covered wagon to what they hoped would be new and better life. Since the first great influx of these pioneers began in 1849, they are generally referred to as 49ers.

The Start

One of the supply points along the trail was Salt Lake City, where pioneers prepared for the long journey across the Great Basin desert before climbing over the High Sierra Mountains to the gold fields of California. It was important to leave Salt Lake City and cross the desert before snow began to fall on the Sierra Mountains, making them impassable.

Only a couple of years before, a group of pioneers called the Donner......
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