John Sutter… and the power of Gold…

German born, and Swiss raised, Johann Augustus Sutter walked ashore in New York City in 1834 seeking a new life. Soon after settling in California, in 1841, Sutter received the title to lands of almost 50,000 acres - upon which he then fortified in his name.
 
Six years hence, in 1847, an event that should have changed John Sutter’s (as he was now calling himself) life for the better, in fact ruined it. During the initial construction of a saw mill on Sutter’s land, a trusted employee, James Marshall…
 
…found gold.
 
Recognising the potential of the find, Sutter immediately attempted to further secure up his titles and advised all staff to maintain secrecy. Of course though, the secret quickly emerged and Sutter’s land was overrun with prospectors – kick starting the now infamous Californian Gold Rush! Seeking their own fortune, the rush of miners destroyed everything Sutter owned and, amazingly, he was never able to cash in on the gold found on his own land.
 
Following the devastation, Sutter spent his life seeking compensation for the damages caused to his family by gold and the gold rush. He died, ultimately unsuccessful in that goal, at age 77 in 1880.
Whilst John Augustus Sutter’s story is a sad tale, it certainly demonstrates the power of gold. Today though, Sutter’s legacy lives on with street names and schools amongst the many things in Sacramento now named in his honour. 

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