The Journey to Gold Country

Heather Miller

Kelly Hatch

Erica Rosendahl


The year is 1849 and you have just received confirmation from President Polk that gold has been discovered in the mountains of California.  Swarms of people are moving West to strike it rich, well hopefully.  

  • Have you ever wondered what it would be like to "strike it rich?"
  • How do you think these pioneers found their gold?
  • What lengths would you go to to claim your fortune?

Read aloud John S. Tatchin's 1852 Letter.  Discuss the letter with a partner.

The letter was written from John Tatchin to his mother on December 27, 1852.   Can you answer these questions after reading the letter:

  • How long did he expect the journey to be?
  • What tone does his letter portray?  Why do you think he writes with this tone? What evidence do you have?

The following web sites are sites for you to navigate in order to get more familiar with the topic of the Gold Rush.