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William T. Sherman
Johann August Suter was born in Kandern, Germany, in February, 1803. He
emigrated to the United States in 1834 and changed his name to John Sutter.
He went with trading parties to Sante Fe (1835), Oregon (1838) and San
Francisco Bay (1839) before purchasing 49,000 acres at the junction of the
American and Sacramento rivers in 1841.
The Sutter Fort frontier trading post was completed in 1844. Sutter also
established the colony of Nueva Helvetia, which became a centre for
trappers, traders and settlers in the region.
On 24 January, 1848 gold was discovered on Sutter's land. This started the
Californian Gold Rush Sutter was now unable to protect his property. His
sheep and cattle were stolen and his land was occupied by squatters. In 1852
Sutter went bankrupt and it was not until 1864 that he received compensation
from the state of California. John Sutter died on 18 June, 1880.
William T. Sherman visited Sutter in July, 1848. And made these notes;
”Already the gold mines were beginning to be felt. Many people were then
encamped, some going and some coming, all full of gold-stories, and each
surpassing the other. We found preparations in progress for celebrating the
Fourth of July, then close at hand, and we agreed to remain over to assist
on the occasion; of course, being the high officials, we were the honoured
guests. People came from a great distance to attend this celebration of the
Fourth of July, and the tables were laid in a large room inside the
storehouse of the fort. A man of some note, named Sinclair, presided, and
after a substantial meal and a reasonable supplies of brandy we then began
the toasts. All that I remember is that Folsom and I spoke for our party;
others, Captain Sutter included, made speeches, and before the celebration
was over Sutter was enthusiastic, and many others showed the effects of the
Is any one in the San Francisco able to visit the museum of the City of San
Francisco and find out who this Sinclair was?
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