Friday, March 20, 2015

Wednesday Words: James Marshall


This time of day was just about the only part of life that James Marshall enjoyed: Seeing the West reflected into the East, changing the sky into a sky of molten gold.

James chuckled bitterly…molten gold… His own gold, now long gone, was only brass in his mind.  His mind was filled with what-ifs about the past, when he found gold flakes which had ruined his life, ruined his life but good.
Where Marshall found gold flakes

If only John Sutter had been just a smidgen parsimonious.  Sutter spent money he did not have, borrowed money he could not repay, and lost his own fortune.

Marshall clenched his misshapen hands when he thought about Sutter.  All the work Marshall had done, breaking bones in his hands, and for nothing.  No blessings showered on me then.  Or now.

With all that could have been, Marshall could not gain any traction in keeping his sawmill running. His workers had dropped their tools and picked up pans, went to the American River.  Penniless again.

He pleaded with the California State Legislature and they awarded him with a two-year pension.  What he really desired was some investigative search into the theft of his future.

What if..what if...
 Re-creation of James Marshall's homesteader cabin at the end of his life--
While on a field trip of middle-schoolers, I saw this.  Pretty sparse.

So here he sat, gazing at the dusky sky disappear, before he arose and went into his homestead shack.  If only, if only…

monument to James Marshall in Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
Source


Thanks go to Delores at Under the Porch Light for challenging writers to create poems, prose, fiction, etc.  Each week Delores provides six unrelated words with which to create something comprehensible, or not.  The underlined words above are the words provided. Please click on the lone grapefruit in the right sidebar to access her site. Interesting stuff, there.

23 comments:

  1. another great story.....molten gold in itself

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    1. Thanks for choosing such challenging words!

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  2. I love history and you have given it such a personal touch.

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    1. History is so fascinating, and having seen the place where the Gold Rush started made it more so.

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  3. All the work to end up with nothing had to weigh on him

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    1. His entire life was spent on this. Sutter married and had children (which he pretty much abandoned). Marshall did not.

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    1. Whatever he hoped to happen in his sawmill, ended with the Gold Rush. Sadly.

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  5. James Marshall and Sutter's Mill were part of the American history I both studied in school and read about, voraciously, as a child. It is a passing reference in my granddaughter's school books. History recedes, with every generation.

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    1. The farther in time, the less importance the pass gains. In the H.S. history book, WW11 has about 2 or 3 pages.

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  6. Gold rushes the world over have stories like this. Some succeed, and many, many more fail. Dismally. And their lives, and those of their families are ruined.

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    1. So true. The winners are overwhelmed with their riches that they spend it all.

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  7. What a forlorn scene. I feel for him... that's not a good way to live.

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    1. No, no way to live at all. sad way to live.

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  8. History beautifully woven into the Wednesday Words formula. The property I was born on was purchased by my grandfather from J. Sutter Jr.'s holdings --who never got squat from the sales conducted by Sam Brannan, a thief after whom many Ca. schools are named. A strange and tumultuous time.

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    1. Sutter was such a poor business man, that he was easily made penniless. You were born on part of Sutter holding? Did spend much time there?

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    2. Thank you for asking, Susan. I spent my 1st 9 years in the Portuguese and Japanese community along the Pocket at Garcia Bend. These were little truck farms into which my grandfather invested prior to 1914, and were later annexed into the city of Sacramento. When I was born, the elementary school at which I would spend 3 years, was still in the Sutterville District. It became a Sacramento school in 1955, I think --perhaps a year or two earlier. At this point, a synagogue was built close by and we were joined by a new group that, at that time anyway, always lived within walking distance of their churches. So I had diverse friends and playmates and learned a lot --much as I do now!

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    3. 1914...that time period was so expansive. Thanks for sharing your stories. I would love to hear more about your California days, what Sutterville was truly like after the rush ended,

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  9. That was a nicely written history lesson. The guys we maybe can blame for giving us today's California?

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Wrote By Rote


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    1. California has such a juggling history starting with Spain, subjugation of natives, France, Mexico, war of 1848, Gold rush, greed, to now. Gold and these guys were part of a great adventure,

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  10. I like this very much.John Sutter sounds like a politician, spending what he doesn't have etc.
    The father of one of my brothers was named James Marshall, everyone called him Jimmy.

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    1. Spending what you don't have? Yup! Politics at its finest.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!