Coloma in El Dorado County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
200th Anniversary of James W. Marshall's Birth
After his discovery of gold in 1848 Marshall found some success operating a ferry, hotel and a vineyard but by the 1860s fell on hard times and relocated to Kelsey. At the time of his death August 10th, 1885 Marshall was penniless, living in a small cabin. His body was brought to Coloma for burial. Immediately thereafter, Placerville Parlor #9 of the Native Sons of the Golden West in 1887 successfully advocated for the construction of the monument you see here today, the first such monument erected in California. Re-dedicated
By Grand Parlor
Native Sons of the Golden West
James L. Shadle, Grand President
Erected 2010 by Grand Parlor, Native Sons of the Golden West. (Marker Number 2010-03.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Native Sons/Daughters of the Golden West series list. A significant historical month for this entry is October 1945.
Location. 38° 47.807′ N, 120° 53.657′ W. Marker is in Coloma, California, in El Dorado County. Marker can be reached from Marshall Park Way (California Route 153). This marker is a few yards from the James W. Marshall monument. A short drive up Marshall Park Way from State Highway 49 leads to a parking lot. The monument is a short walk up the steps at the back of the parking lot. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Coloma CA 95613, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. James W. Marshall (within shouting distance of this marker); Cabin of James Marshall (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Mining Ditches (about 400 feet away); Saint John’s Cemetery (about 500 feet away); Emmanuel Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); El Dorado County Jails (approx. Sutter Mill Cemetery – 1848 (approx. ¼ mile away); Pioneer Cemetery (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Coloma.
More about this marker. The marker is located within the boundaries of the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. Marshall Park Way (California 153) is California's shortest state highway.
Also see . . .
1. James Marshall: California's Gold Discoverer. If luck were a critical factor in the discovery of gold that initiated the California Gold Rush, probably the unluckiest man of that period was no other than the original discoverer himself, James Wilson Marshall. Few people know about Marshall's ironically tragic life after he made his great discovery, from which he did not profit; he died with assets barely sufficient to cover his funeral expenses. (Submitted on February 1, 2014, by James King of San Miguel, California.)
2. James Wilson Marshall. Born in Lambertsville, New Jersey, on October 8 of 1810, James Marshall left home for good at the young age of twenty-four. Missouri was his first stop; there he settled down along the banks of the Missouri River and took to farming. Several years later he caught one of the malarial fevers that plagued the residents of the low-lying bottom lands. His recovery was slow but when he felt well enough to travel, he decided it was time to head west to seek a healthier climate. Joining an emigrant train on its way to the Oregon Territory in 1844, Marshall was not content (Submitted on February 1, 2014, by James King of San Miguel, California.)
3. James W. Marshall's account of the first discovery of the Gold. Being a millwright by trade, as there was a ready cash sale for lumber, I concluded to seek a location in the mountains and erect a mill, to supply the valley with lumber. Some time in April, 1847, I visited New Helvetia, commonly known as the "Fort" where I made my resolution known to John A. Sutter, sen., and requested of him an Indian boy, to act as an interpreter to the mountain Indians in the vicinity of the American river or Rio del los Americanos, as it was then called. At first he refused, because, he said that he had previously sent several companies, at various times and by different routes, for that purpose, all of whom reported that it was impossible to find a route for a wagon road to any locality where pine timber could be procured, and that it was the height of folly to attempt any such thing.
Capt. Sutter at length, however, promised me the desired interpreter, provided I would (Submitted on February 1, 2014, by James King of San Miguel, California.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 3, 2019. It was originally submitted on January 30, 2014, by James King of San Miguel, California. This page has been viewed 642 times since then. Photos: 1. submitted on January 30, 2014, by James King of San Miguel, California. 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on January 31, 2014, by James King of San Miguel, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.