san francisco history & the James C. Flood collection
The 1906 earthquake has been called the greatest ,the worst ,the strongest and the most deadly natural diaster in american history,on april 18 ,1906 5:12 in the morning a 7.8 earthquake hit sf for 55 seconds this was equal to 100 million tons of dynamite, when the smoke from the fire cleared the city was gone.the death toll is now a hot debate, the offical count is 478 researchers saying it more like 3,000 to 5,000. Living on the edge is a way of life in San Francisco last year the city was reminded of the 100 year anniversary of the great quake.
On January 24, a carpenter James Marshall found gold in the American River. Marshall was building a sawmill in the Sierra Nevada foothhils for John Augustus Sutter, who left debts and family behind in Switzerland and dreamed of creating a colony call New Helvetia around his fort in present-day Sacramento Ca.
Note: Marshall and Sutter did not profit from gold the 49ers horned in on Marshall mining claim and didn't find much gold beyond the first nugget.He tried writing and public speaking with little sucess,turned to drinking, and died in poverty.Sutter's land was overrun with fortune-hunters squatter,who trampled his crops,stole his lilvestock,and tore down his buildings for lumber.he left california a runied man and died in Washington D.C. after congress refused to pay him peparations for the damage to his property.
While searching for gold on the Nevada side of the sierras,prospector James Finney and Henry Comstock came upon quantieies of thick,bluish mud that turned out to contain silver.another mining rush, this time to Washoe and the Comstock Lodge near Virginia City Nevada.Unlike the Gold Rush, the Washoe strike wasn't for the average fellow with a pick and shovel.Heavy machinery was neeeded to get the ore out,that required capital: bankers and speculators reaped most of the million produced by the Comstock mines.Finney and Comstock sold their claim early ,for a few thousand dollars. The great mining find was known as the "Big Bonanaza" the "silver king" were James Fair,James Flood,John Mackay and William O'Brien and they were all Irishmen.