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Online Quiz (Worksheet A B C D)

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American History
4.5 Sparkling Gold Dust

At the time when Professor Morse sent his first message by telegraph from Washington to Baltimore (1844), Captain J. A. Sutter, an emigrant from Switzerland, was living near the Sacramento River in California. California then belonged to Mexico. The governor of that part of the country had given Captain Sutter an immense piece of land; and the captain had built a fort at a point where a stream which he named the American River joins the Sacramento River. People then called the place Sutter's Fort, but to-day it is Sacramento City, the capital of the great and rich state of California. In his fort Captain Sutter lived like a king. He owned land enough to make a thousand fair-sized farms; he had twelve thousand head of cattle, more than ten thousand sheep, and over two thousand horses and mules. Hundreds of laborers worked for him in his wheat-fields, and fifty well-armed soldiers guarded his fort. Quite a number of Americans had built houses near the fort. They thought that the time was coming when all that country would become part of the United States.

About forty miles up the American River was a place which the Mexicans called Coloma, or the beautiful valley. There was a good fall of water there and plenty of big trees to saw into boards, so Captain Sutter sent a man named Marshall to build a saw-mill at that place. The captain needed such a mill very much, for he wanted lumber to build with and to fence his fields. Marshall set to work, and before the end of January, 1848, he had built a dam across the river and got the saw-mill half done. One day as he was walking along the bank of a ditch, which had been dug back of the mill to carry off the water, he saw some bright yellow specks shining in the dirt. He gathered a little of the sparkling dust, washed it clean, and carried it to the house. That evening after the men had come in from their work on the mill, Marshall said to them, "Boys, I believe I've found a gold mine." They laughed, and one of them said, "I reckon not; no such luck."

A few days after that Marshall went down to the fort to see Captain Sutter. Are you alone? he asked when he saw the captain. Yes, he answered. Well, won't you oblige me by locking the door; I've something I want to show you. The captain locked the door, and Marshall taking a little parcel out of his pocket, opened it and poured some glittering dust on a paper he had spread out. "See here," said he, "I believe this is gold, but the people at the mill laugh at me and call me crazy." Captain Sutter examined it carefully. He weighed it; he pounded it flat; he poured some strong acid on it. There are three very interesting things about gold. In the first place, it is very heavy, heavier even than lead. Next, it is very tough. If you hammer a piece of iron long enough, it will break to pieces, but you can hammer a piece of gold until it is thinner than the thinnest tissue paper, so that if you hold it up you can see the light shining through it. Last of all, if you pour strong acids on gold, such acids as will eat into other metals and change their color, they will have no more effect on gold than an acid like vinegar has on a piece of glass. For these and other reasons most people think that gold is a very handsome metal, and the more they see of it, especially if it is their own, the better they are pleased with it. Well, the shining dust stood all these tests.[4] It was very heavy, it was very tough, and the sharp acid did not hurt it. Captain Sutter and Marshall both felt sure that it was gold. But, strange to say, the captain was not pleased. He wished to build up an American settlement and have it called by his name. He did not care for a gold mine—why should he? for he had everything he wanted without it. He was afraid, too, that if gold should be discovered in any quantity, thousands of people would rush in; they would dig up his land, and quite likely take it all away from him. We shall see presently whether he was right or not.


Directions: Answer the following multiple choice questions. Also, answer the following questions on a sheet of paper:
  1. How did Captain Sutter leave in California
  2. Write down three interesting things about Gold

Q 1: Where was gold found?
at California
at Sacramento
at Coloma

Q 2: You can hammer a piece of gold until it is thinner than the thinnest tissue paper- What is this quality of gold termed as?
Malleability
Longevity
Ductibility

Q 3: Who discovered gold?
Marshall
Captain Sutter
Columbus

Q 4: The capital of California is ----------
Sacramento
Oregon
Florida

Question 5: This question is available to subscribers only!

Question 6: This question is available to subscribers only!


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