On August 19th, 1948, The New York Herald broke the news of discovery of gold in California, marking the beginning the California Gold Rush. A mass migrated ensued, drawing hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children from New York and other American cities to try their luck panning for gold in California's rivers and streams. Many people sailed from New York in ships, but a hardy few make the cross-country trek in covered wagons. These migrants were known as forty-niners, due to the fact that most of them didn't get moving for several months after the Herald announcement. While some of them did strike it rich in California, many more returned to their home cities with little more money than they left with.
Laurel Billings, EVHP Staff