Brown, James Stephens. California Gold. An Authentic History of The First Find with the Names of Those Interested in the Discovery. Published by the Author James S. Brown, Salt Lake City, Utah. Oakland, Cal. Pacific Press Publishing Company, 1894. Collation:  blank,  front. (port. of James S. Brown), title, copyright, 5-20 text. 7 x 4 3/4 in. Binding: Buff colored wrappers, stapled. Ornamental cover title. Front wrapper, slightly loose. Handwritten notes in pencil. Inserted into protective green cloth over boards slip case; dark red leather label on spine, gold stamped: CALIFORNIA GOLD *BROWN* 1894 with gold stamped ornaments. References: California Printing II:6, Cowan I, p.25; Cowan II, p.77; Descker 27: 58a; Eberstadt 104: 28; Graff 425; Holliday 134; Howell 328; Howes B-848; Kurutz 85; Rocq 1809; Sloan, Gold Rush, 13; Streeter 3018; Wheat, Books 22 (note).
Edward Eberstadt notes: "Of vital historical importance being the only printed relation - aside from that of Marshall himself - by an eyewitness of an participant in the gold discovery." Brown's recollection described his employment by Captain Sutter and his work with J.W. Marshall on building the mill on the American River. His account features a lively dialogue between Marshall and himself concerning the discovery. On January 24, 1848, after Marshall gathered several flakes, Brown related: "I picked up the largest piece, worth about fifty cents, and tested it with my teeth; as it did not give, I held it aloft and exclaimed, 'Gold, boys, gold!'" Brown told how six Mormons found gold an hour later, how the news spread, and how various early techniques were used to find the precious nuggets. With a tinge of bitterness, he recalled that Sutter never paid him for his work and that Sutter cursed Marshall and his discovery. Brown concluded with letters from historian John S. Hittell and Hubert Howe Bancroft's History Company "showing the relation of the writer to the gold discovery" and an affidavit by five fellow members of the Mormon Battalion. Brown, as a member of the battalion, reached California in early 1847. Brown's story was published on the occasion of a visit to San Francisco's Midwinter Fair in 1894. Only fifty five copies were printed although the number of copies continue to surface suggesting a larger printing. A previous and anonymous owner of the McClatchy copy wrote two notes in pencil. The first states: "I paid $30 or so for it. Have since traced the [Brown] family and secured the last copy." The last note simply identifies Brown as being with Marshall at the golden moment.
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Witherell's strives to provide as much information and photographs as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Condition statements are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Witherell's. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms and Conditions. Methods of payment are cash, check, money orders, or wire transfer for foreign payments. Please note we do not accept credit cards. This auction has a buyer's premium of 21% when bidding through witherells.com.
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