Wednesday, August 18, 2021


 Post by Doris McCraw

writing as Angela Raines


In 1848 gold was found in California. Although there had been some placer gold found in the southeast, this was a game-changer. When word arrived back east of the Mississippi the rush was on.  Unfortunately, many of the thousands who sailed around the southern tip of South America crossed at Panama or traveled across the country in wagons and carts failed to find enduring riches.

SS California, the first ship of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company. This ship was used between Panama and San Francisco between 1848 and 1894, when she was wrecked off the coast of Peru. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then in 1859, another rush was on. Gold was found in 
Colorado. Many of those who missed the first rush headed west across the Great American Desert to the Rocky Mountains. From 1859 on gold was found in a number of the Western states, the Dakotas, Nevada, Montana, etc. The last rush was in the 1890′s in the Cripple Creek region of Colorado and Alaska. Many people followed one rush after another, most to no avail.

In their haste, so many rushed across or destroyed what many would call true wealth. In California some of the pristine areas were forever blighted as the gold was extracted from the earth. The Great American Desert, which many spent months crossing,  was, in reality, to become part of the breadbasket of the nation. Forest, mountains, rivers all were all sacrificed to the need for quick wealth.

Quick wealth was the pipe dream many sought. While some miners found gold nuggets just lying around, but most of the prospectors and miners worked hard, long hours, barely breaking even. It was those who supplied the gold seekers, or processed the gold ore that won the prize.

Denver in 1859 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Perhaps you are wondering why the history lesson. For me, it's the lessons learned that make it worthwhile. Many times we search for the quick answer and the bonanza strike of gold in our lives and work.  We dream of bestselling books, an easier life, more money. Those dreams can come true. The thing we need to watch for; not rushing by and missing the true gold. Friends, family, home. Savor the journey and those we share it with. In the end, they will be the ones who help us find our own gold.

It is friends who come to Clara's aide when the past catches up to her in "Home For His Heart". Below is an excerpt:

    Clara hummed as she put the finishing touches on the venison roast. In the two years

since arriving in Agate Gulch she prepared an annual special meal for friends. The past year was

especially wonderful. Even the gingham curtains on the restaurant windows smiled with her

tune. She felt she could finally put Henrietta 'Ettie' Heath to rest. Clara Cross was her life now.

Oliver was in the past and would stay there.

    Sensing someone behind her, as she turned her friend Sally was standing in the door.

    “You know you should sing in the church choir,” said Sally.

    “Oh I couldn't sing in public. The idea of all those people looking at me and judging, I

couldn't stand it,” replied Clara with a shudder.

    Sally's millinery shop was next to the restaurant. They both lived in homes behind their businesses.

 During the past winter, she and Sally developed a strong friendship. Still, how could Sally, who

 was petite and pretty, understand Clara's fear of being laughed at. Music was her special place

and any criticism would destroy that. Something most people didn't understand.

    “Clara, they would love you. Just as they love your cooking and your kind heart.”

    “I feel pretty lucky. To have so many customers who are friends, and of course you.”

    “Thank you for including me in that list,” replied Sally with a smirk.

    “You know what I mean. This meal is just my way of saying thank you for all the kindnesses 

 everyone has shown since I arrived, especially Fred.”


Doris Gardner-McCraw -

Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Telling Stories Where Love & History Meet

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