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California Gold Rush summary: The California Gold Rush was the largest mass migration in American history since it brought about 300,000 people to California. Marshall found gold on his piece of land at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma. People from Oregon, Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii) and Latin America were the first to hear the breaking news, so they were the first to arrive in order to test their luck in California by the end of 1848.
Louise may have met Amherst residents Emily Dickinson and Helen Hunt (Jackson), but Louise, as historian Rodman Wilson Paul notes, was 11 years older than her literary neighbors.
Someone with whom Louise did exchange letters was Alexander Hill Everett.
Soon the others from the rest of US, Europe, Australia and China followed and since they mainly arrived during 1849 they were called the “forty-niners”.
In many other places in California, doctors and lawyers were already in abundance. Clapp, prospects at Rich Bar were good on all counts.
Alexander Everett was a widely traveled diplomat 30 years her elder. Everett died in Macao, China, in June 1847, the same year he received a letter from Louise announcing her engagement to a young doctor.
The man Louise Smith married was five years her junior.
Harte was influenced by the Shirley letters when he wrote The Luck of Roaring Camp and other California Gold Rush stories.
Nineteenth century historian, philosopher and writer Josiah Royce said the Shirley letters ‘form the best account of an early mining camp that is known to me.’ And in the 20th century, when the Book Club of California invited 16 leading authorities to list the 10 best primary sources on the California Gold Rush, 13 named the Shirley letters. Louisa Amelia Knapp Smith was born on July 28, 1819, in Elizabeth, N. Her father was the schoolmaster at the local academy.