It is early in the year 1849 in Baltimore, Maryland. You are a white male named Paul Williams from this growing city on the east coast. You are 28 years old and are married to a woman named Charolette. You guys have two beautiful children, a little boy named Sam and a girl named Abby.
You and your whole family live in one small farm home. Your home is a little bit outside of the town from where you work. However, you choose to live farther because its less expensive and you are saving money for a new home.
You are working as a blacksmith in the city so you can provide for your family. You work exremely hard every day.
While heading to work one day, you hear people talking in the town and sharing that gold has been discovered on the west coast. It took awhile for the news to reach the town of Baltimore on the east coast. You go to read the news paper and you find out there is a chance to go.
Who in the world would be happy that their father and husband are leaving for gold?
Try again. You and your wife get into a long arguement. She does not want you to leave her alone with the children. She is afraid she can't provide for them. This brings a lot of tension into your marrige. You tell her that you have already decided to go. You explain to her that the risk will be worth it because it will provide future opportunities for your children.
You now have to decide in which way is you are going to travel to the west. You have researched and found that there are three ways.
[[You can take on overland wagon trail.]]
[[You could travel to New York and take a steamship from NY to Cape Horn and then North to San Fransisco. ]]
[[Combo Trip where you will take a ship and travel by land.]] You must turn around and return to your family. You will take a different way to the West. Go back.
Many of your group is first wiped out by a disease. There are many cases of smallpox and cholera. You guys do not want to slow down the journey. YOu are all hungry to go strike it rich. Those who die of disease are left on the way. While passing through the Mid West a tribe of Native Americans ambushes the crew. You all die. ): Try a different route.
[[They are devastated and argue with you to stay]] You instantly decide you are going to take the jourey to the west. You run home to tell your family. You are worried about how your family will react. This means that you will be leaving them for over a year long journey. It also means you have to use your savings to pay for this trip. Do they take this okay?
[[They are so excited in hope of you returning rich]]
[[They are devastated and argue with you to stay]]There is a lack of roads on this trail. The group he is with wonders far from the trail. There is a large wind storm going through the midwest.
Do they continue forward?
[[Yes, to the West!! ]][[Continue to New York]]You have arrived in New York from Pennsylvania ready to embark on this long journey. You pay the extra fee it takes because it has now become your only way to the west. You embark on your journey to find gold.
Aboard the ship you have to stay on the lower level. You had to bring your own food. It is crowded and smelly and sweaty. You do have the choice to upgrade to the upper deck. However, it is going to cost more. Are you willing to spend even more money for simple comforts of your own room?
[[Buy an upper level room]]
[[Save the money and bare the crowds]]Uh oh, while you are on your way to New York to catch the steamship, you are passing through the Pennsylvania and you hear that the steamship had a broiler explosion. However, you can still continue to on to catch another steamship but this one goes to Panama. It is going to cost more. Which option do you choose?
[[Combo Trip where you will take a ship and travel by land.]]
[[Go back ]]
Double-click this passage to edit it.You are in your own room. You recieve complimentary dinner while in your room. Unfortunately the upper level of the ship is farther from the broiler so your room is quite cold. However you do not have enough blankets to warm yourself up. Would you like to purchase some?
[[No]] [[Continue on]] Well tough luck... you already got to move to the upper level, therefore you cant afford more blankets if you want to still have some money left before getting to Nicaragua.
[[No]]Each night it gets easier to bare the cold. You realize the decision to save money didn't negatively impact the rest of your trip.
Throughout the span of the next three months, there is a deadly outbreak of measles on the ship. Quite a few men didn't survive the outbreak. You are still left with several men that you have to travel with on this journey.
[[Continue on]] You and the other men have landed in Nicaragua. You are all on your way to catch the next steamship. You guys encounter a group of natives and realize there is a language barrier. Will you try to communicate with them or continue on your way?
[[We will try our best]]
[[We are in a rush, no time to waste]]You are able to use hand gestures enough to get by. They bring you to their village. They offer to let you stay in their shelter. On the morning you guys are ready to depart, they were dissapointed you had to leave.
[[You are still moving along ]] [[You are still moving along ]] You and the other men eagerly board the next steamboat ready to get on to San Fransisco. But wait...will you pay again for an upper class room?
[[Yes, I'm not staying with the animals]]
[[Time to save money]] You cannot afford this option.
[[Time to save money]]
You are with the animals now.
This sucks but the trip is what you make of it. You are on the last stretch of the journey.
[[Stay optimistic,think about your family]]
[[Complain and be miserable]] Your poor attitude caused the trip to be a long and dreadful experience. You still miss your family but starting to have doubts about if it will be worth it.
[[Go to bed, hope you have better attitude soon]]
You have arrived in San Fransisco. Your trip was better than the first one because you remembered your reason for going. Although you miss your family, it will all be worth it in the end.
[[Get some rest tonight, you have some big days ahead]]
You are with two other men that are also motivated by their family and ready to work hard. There is a community of miners nearby.
[[Ask them join]]
[[Keep looking for another community]]They do not want more competition and do not want to split the wealth with more people.
[[Keep looking for another community]] You guys spent a few weeks in search of where you can set up camp. You are headed towards Sacramento to a town called Nevada City. You all want to find somewhere to stay before actaully heading out to the mill in hopes to find gold.
[[Keep traveling on]]
<img src="http://www.malakoff.com/goldcountry/miningcampmap.gif" "alt="Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 11.09.57 AM.jpg">
[[You wake up in a better mood and hopeful for what today will bring.]]Finally!! (Thank goodness)
You have found a community to live in and be a part of. Along the way you passed through many cities that were full very greedy, scheming, and sly people.The reason you guys chose to settle in Nevada city is because this town has men that are trustworthy and open to welcoming people who share the same values.
You are settling in to the town and getting to know your way around. It has been a long journey there. Are you tired yet?
[[Yes, I am ready for bed]]
[[No way, there is a saloon here and Im going to get a drink]] [[Continue to next steamboat]] [[Okay goodnight]]The "bartender" asks you what you want to drink...
[[Beer]]You have had a good night and felt more relaxed than you have in months. There was live music at the saloon. You had more than enough to drink. You are excited to actually begin mining for gold.
[[Okay goodnight]]The guys laughed at you, so you actually get
[[Whiskey]] You are up bright and early. You get up earlier than most of the town and you make sure you are one of the first to start working each day.
For the first couple weeks you are figuring out how the process works and looking daily with the guys that made it with you. However, not long after you guys get the hang of it you are all sought out by a rich and well known mine owner. His name is Jeffrey Lawler. He offers you guys a job working for his mining company, SYG (also known as Spotted Yellow Giraffe) . Do you trust this man? Do you take the job?
[[Yes, atleast I know I will get something]]
[[No, he will most likely take all the fortune]]Yikes...
Your friends who have been through the whole journey with you up until now have decided to decline taking the job. You are upset about splitting up with them after everything you have gone through, but ultimately it will be worth it... it is for your family and their future.
[[Off to your new job]] The mine owner really convinces you that he is an upright man and wants to take care of his employees. Your attitude changes.
[[Yes, atleast I know I will get something]] Jeffrey has some of the more experienced employees teach you the methods they use to be the most efficient. They are equipped with tools that you did not have access to before. You work hard every single day and do your best in hope to make the most for your family. You made $20.00 dollars today.
[[Would you like to keep working and make some overtime?]]
[[Go home and get some sleep, you are sleep deprived]]
[[Good job you made some overtime money!! An extra five whole dollars coming your way. ]][[On to the next day]] [[On to the next day]] Today you are missing home extra. There is a new group of really young guys that started at the mine. They remind you of your son. You decide to go and write your family a letter.
[[View the letter]]*Dear Charolette, Sam, and Abby,
I am writing to you let you know how much I miss you all and that I made it to California,alive. The trip was cold and long. I met some great men along the way. I am now working for a mining company for a man named Jeffery Lawler. I have learned so much and I am earning more money than my previous days working alone. If all goes well, I hope to be heading back to you guys in a few short months. I hope to bring back enough to provide a better future for all of us. I will write you again soon. Take care each other.
With much love,
[[Dad]] *When you arrive at the post office, James the post man asks you...
"How are you doing today Paul? I have received a letter for you that came earlier today. Let me go and grab it for you. "
You say, "Thank you so much, I really needed this."
You immediately [[open]] the letter. *Dear my darling husband,
I am sorry to be writing you on this occasion. Sam has fallen ill. It has been since you left and slowly he has gotten much worse. I know you will not receive this for some time. However, when you do, please do not worry about us. We will be okay. Sam will be okay. Please do not come back early. We still support you. We need what you are looking for. We [[love]] you.
Charolette*You drop to your knees after reading this. You cannot wrap your mind around it. You immediately go to your place and pack up your things. You do not want to waste any time. You are ready to leave your job and search for fortune to go home. However, in the middle of your panic and packing, you take a moment to [[think]] about if you are making the right choice. You dont know what to do. Your kids mean everything to you. If something happens to Sam and you are not there, you will never forgive yourself. You are going back and forth between...
[[Listen to Charolette and stay]]
[[Go home and take what you have]] You decided that Charolette is right and what you are looking for is worth it to stay. You decided to just keep going for a few more months. You are very cautious of what you spend and save as much as you can to take home.
You head back the same way that you came. It is the fastest and least dangerous way to travel back to your family.
You arrive at home, Sam is still sick but seems to be recovering. The money that you earned while in California has helped pay for some of Sam's treatment. You are grateful for your journey and the time in California, but your heart is full now that you are home with your family.
[[Game over]] You take the soonest trip back to Baltimore. You make it there safe.
You come home to find out that Sam's illness has killed him. You are devastated and cannot believe it. Your wife is upset that you did not listen to her. She is greiving and taking her anger out on you. You are now left with a broken family and no fortune.
Aiello, Jo Ann, and George Aiello. “The California Gold Rush: In Their Own Words and Images.” Letters Writings and Photographs from the California Gold Rush, The Land of Glittering Dreams, 1997, glittering.com/letters/index.html.
Clark, Michael S. “History of & Geology of Placerville .” Placerville History & Geology, Bella Vista Ranch, 2 Dec. 2019, www.bellavistaranch.net/genealogy/placerville.html.
Koeppel, Elliot H. “The Mining Camps.” The California Gold Country: Highway 49 Revisited, 2000, www.malakoff.com/goldcountry/campmap.htm.
Lieffring, Christina. “Steamboat Travel Was Dirty And Dangerous, Especially On The Missouri River.” KCUR, 2019, www.kcur.org/post/steamboat-travel-was-dirty-and-dangerous-especially-missouri-river#stream/0.
Pierce, Hiram D. “Washington Flat 33 Miles above Capt Cutlers on the Mersais.” Received by Jas Harlow, 28 Apr. 1850, Ca.
Root, Horace. “My Dear Wife.” Received by Eliza Root, 11 Oct. 1851, Ca.
Starr, Kevin. California: a History. Modern Library, 2015.**