California Gold Rush

The names of John Reed and his son Conrad are usually remembered when telling about the curious cases of the times of the gold rush. According to the story, which has already become a legend, one day, 12-year-old Konrad found an unusual stone by the river, brought it home, and made a support for the door out of it.

Three years later, Reed Sr. took notice of the stone and decided to take it to a jeweler. So it turned out that there was a gold nugget at the entrance to the Reeds' house all this time. The size of the find is still being debated: someone believes that the nugget weighed 3 kg, and someone is sure that it was at least 8. However, the weight did not matter - much more important was the very fact of finding a valuable metal.

Without thinking twice, Reed, together with his neighbors, went in search of alluvial gold in the place where Conrad found the fateful nugget. At first, mining was on the surface, but over time it moved underground. The necessary experience and knowledge were shared by miners from the tin mines of Cornwall, who, having learned about the discovery of the Reeds, went to America.

Gradually, gold mining grew into a full-fledged business for the Reeds - John opened a mine that brought in so much gold that the US Congress decided to open a nearby mint that produced only gold coins. Over 26 years, from its discovery in 1835 to the start of the Civil War in 1861, $5 million worth of coins were made from the gold mined at the Reed mine. Unfortunately, only by these figures can we judge the success of John Reed's enterprise - information about his earnings has not reached us.