Seeds of Hope: The Gold Rush Diary of Susanna Fairchild, California Territory 1849 (Dear America Series)
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Susanna Fairchild and her family are on board a ship sailing from New York to the West, where they plan to start a new life in Oregon. But tragedy strikes when Susanna¹s mother is lost to the sea. Hearing stories of great wealth, Susanna¹s physician father decides he wants to join the hordes of men rushing to California to mine for gold.
gold he had mined. He didn’t know exactly how much each sack weighed, but he figured each was as heavy as a frying pan. A few pounds, he knew, probably worth four thousand dollars total. Since Jesse’s own claim had run dry and he was penniless, Papa told him he could have five ounces of dust for himself, each time he went to the assayer. Clara and I were speechless. For all of our father’s hard work she and I were given just one ounce. Papa stared out the door, shaking his head. Clara burst into
prick of light in the distance could mean a torch coming our way. But it is dark. MORNING I am writing this in between sips of strong hot coffee. The campfire smells wonderful from the sausage and hotcakes some of Rosita’s brothers are cooking, and the billowy smoke has chased away the mosquitoes. 109 One of the men just took out his pocket watch, clicked it open, then showed me it is 9:20. Poor Rosita! She has been laboring for eighteen hours, her voice is hoarse. How I wish her mother or
hear the creak of the rope as she swung. FRIDAY, THE 27TH OF JULY During the day the heat is fierce, but by sundown it cools off. I love living in the mountains. My favorite time is supper, when the five of us sit around the campfire. The smoke blows this way and that, it stings our eyes and makes us cough, but it is a refuge from mosquitoes and, we hope, wild animals. This is when Captain Clinkingbeard tells stories. Tonight I learned my father has tales of his own. After the hanging we
took out his guitar after supper. He sang only in Spanish this time. Clara and I went to bed without our usual late-night chatter. We weren’t angry with each other, just sad. We don’t know what Papa will decide. NEXT DAY I love to sit outside after chores. For some reason the stool Papa made is a comfort to me. Often I just listen to the river and watch animals. A flash of blue up in a tree means a blue jay has landed. Squirrels leap 140 from branch to branch, chasing one another in circles
It would dig a hole several inches deep and lie down. From this hole 170 it would fight, either in a prone or sitting position. The bull would stand. Thus, in America’s financial centers a bull market means stocks are going up; a bear market means stocks are going down. **Hoosegow is slang for a guardhouse or jail. It comes from the Spanish word, juzgado, meaning court of justice. 171 When President James Polk confirmed that gold had been discovered in California, the newly acquired