News & Tall Tales. 1800s.

To California Gold.

New York of the Pacific: Gold Fever

Thursday, January 4, 1849, The Fort Wayne Times, Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S.A.

From California -- the Latest Yet.

The Gold fever besets the Press, as well as the Public. All the newspaper columns glitter with "Gold, Gold, Gold." The "Boston Herald" (and no other paper has the news) thus discourses:

"Highly important from California! -- great excitement among the people!! -- Gold region inexhaustible!!! -- a new people, and a gold forest!!!!

Satire on Gold Fever.
Satire on Gold Fever 
The World Has Gone Crazy for Gold!
Franz Juttner.

"By the arrival of the bark Ariel, Capt Tudacher, we are placed in possession of despatches from California to the very latest date, and a little later. The Ariel sailed from Provincetown on a whaling voyage, but has returned with a cargo of gold dust, valued at $7,300,000, besides a quantity of hide and tallow.

"When Capt. Tudacher left San Francisco the people were returning from the gold washings.

"Not finding vacant store-houses in which to place the precious metal, the people were piling it up in the public streets as cods used to be of yore, in the streets of Watertown, Mass. Barricades erected of solid ingots of gold actually impeded the travel.

"Iron had become scarce, and nails and bolts, manufactured out of pure gold were common use.

"Several whale ships, their bottoms having been scraped in crossing the bar of the harbor, had been refitted with gold sheeting, in place of copper.

'A railroad from San Francisco to the washings was already begun, the rails of which were fabricated out of the purest gold. (Some fears were entertained by Gov. Mason, that they would not prove of sufficient strength.

"A golden gridiron is among the most common articles of domestic economy.

"The Californian buffaloes are killed with golden bullets cast in golden moulds (with a trifling alloy), the California ducks and pigeons are brought down with golden hail shot. A foundry of golden cannon balls is about to be established under the direction of Col. Stevenson, the celebrated pipe laying engineer.

"The stories in circulation in the United States respecting the extent of the gold region are not a circumstance to the real state of the case. Capt. Tudacher informs us (and his word is as good as any of the Tudachers on Cape Cod) that a Gold Forest and a new race of beings had actually been discovered. This marvelous forest lies due east from Ciudad de Los Angeles about seven hundred miles, in a district of country which has hitherto been considered impassable by travelers, and consequently unexplored.

"This golden forest has been ascertained to comprise a region of two hundred forty miles square; the people are extraordinary specimens of humanity. The riches of this district cannot be conceived by the wildest imagination. They are really incredible -- The El Dorado of Sir Walter Raleigh was a fool to it. Diamond mines, who depths have never been discovered, exist in abundance. They are said to undermine the golden forest, and to be far more extensive than the coal mines of Pictou, and are so brilliant that the whole country is illuminated at night as if by millions of Drummond lights.

"The buildings in this extraordinary country are large and massive, (none less in size than the Tremont House in Boston of a conical shape, and built of solid gold cemented by diamonds, (paste probably.) The trees of this forest average about a hundred feet in belt all solid gold! Their height is enormous. They are fell by means of a sort of triangular saw with diamond teeth, worn to a sharp edge. A single tooth of this instrument would be considered a princely fortune in Europe or the United States.

Gold Mining in California. Poster by Currier and Ives.
Gold Mining in California
Currier & Ives.

"The people have a language of their own; but all that could be comprehended relative to their origin was that they were "Children of Gas." In the vernacular of the natives, their country is called Aurifera." The ladies are of an amorous complexion, and extremely partial to red hair; and additional inducement to emigrate thither. The boys play at law with huge diamonds instead of marbles -- one of which would pay the whole expense of the introduction of Cochituate water into Boston, and leave a sufficient surplus to build a gold fence around the Common.

"We could scarcely believe the above accounts were they not substantiated by the crew of Capt. Tudacher. And that gentleman himself being one whose veracity we never yet heard questioned, contributes to strengthen us in the opinion that his statements, astounding as they, are, are really true and correct.

"P. S. Capt. Tudacher says that while in Aurifera, he saw a criminal executed for stealing a ten-penny nail, who was stuffed to death with diamonds, administrated with a golden ladle as large as a kettle drum!"

From the Merchant's Ledger.

The following was handed to us by a friend who though he makes use of the filthy weed, which is here condemned, seems to be sensible of the bad practices attending the use of it. It is copied from an old Ohio paper.


Come old and young and hear me tell
How strong tobacco smokers smell,
Who love lo smoke their pipe so well, 
That for tobacco they will sell
Their right to social union.

They always scent the atmosphere,
And you may know when they are near--
Though not a word from them you hear--
Their breath grows stronger every year
While in this smoking union.

They clean their pipe stem with a wire,
Then fill the bowl land put in fire,
And smoke till it does quite expire,
Nor do they every seem to tire
In this laborious union.

Sometimes from three to six you'll see
Collected in one company ,
every fellow in good glee;
That they must have a smoking spree--
A footed smoking union.

And then the fumes and smoke will rise
Like morning mists towards the skies;
Then woe to him who has weak eyes,
Unless he takes his leave and flies
Away from such union.

With impudence they oft presume 
To vex all persons in-the room, _
Who can't endure tobacco flume 
And they must bear this wretched doom, 
Or leave the smoking union.

Some keep their money from the poor,
And send the hungry from their door,
And haste away to some one's store,
And spend it for tobacco more
To burn in smoking union.

Those who in utter darkness lie, 
May in their error live and die,
Before those persons e' er will try,
Them with the gospel to supply,
To teach them heavenly union.

I wonder how such folks can say
They have religion every day,
And love the Lord and love to pray,
When they His money smoke away
In guilty conscience union.

There are some who tobacco chew,
And though it often made them spew
And made them drunk as Bacchus too,
The practice they did still pursue,
At the expense of social union.

Sometimes within their neighbor's doer,
They'll cast their quids, some three or more,
And spit on carpet, hearth or floor,
Sometimes a gill, or even more,
And talk of social union.

Oft times within the church you'll view,
That persons there will sit and chew,
And spit upon the floor or pew,
Until it spreads a foot or two,
And sing of heavenly union.

When they are mad they'll chew much more
Until the angry fit is o'er,
Than they were known to chew before,
Their anger then is much too sore!
To think of heavenly union.

The quid is oft so large within,
The juice runs out and stains the chin,
And then I always have to grin,
And think there is no little sin
In this tobacco union.


Tobacco Ad, c.1867

100 Maps That Changed the World. Jeremy Harwood.To the Ends of the Earth: 100 Maps That Changed the World100 Maps that Changed the World.
Jeremy Harwood
Illustrated with one hundred beautiful and fascinating maps. An expert author and consulting team deliver a rich and authoritative history of cartography focusing on 100 key maps that changed human understanding of the world, changed the course of map-making itself, or directly influenced the path of history. Explores the human fascination with maps, addressing how maps have been used for navigation, exploration, wartime propaganda and planning, to project national goals, and how different people saw their world.

The Naval Order of the United States has a history dating from 1890. Membership includes a wide range of individuals, many with highly distinguished career paths.

The San Francisco Commandery meets the first Monday of each month at the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club in San Francisco, California and holds two formal dinners each year.

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.




Kindly Contribute to help us provide new information for you.


DALevy @
164 Robles Way
Suite 237
Vallejo, CA 94591

Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

Please inform us if you link from your site. Please do NOT link from your site unless your site specifically relates to immigration in the 1800s, family history, maritime history, international seaports, and/or California history.