Johann Augustus Sutter

The Construction Of Sutter’s Sawmill Lead To The Discovery Of Gold in California

Sutter’s Mill In 1850, two years after gold was discovered at the site.

In 1847, Johann Augustus Sutter hired James Wilson Marshall to construct a sawmill along the south fork of the American River in Colma, California.

Photograph of Johann Augustus Sutter

On January 24, 1848 James brought a lump of gold from the sawmill construction site, to Sutter to be tested. That lump ended up being pure gold.

Photograph of James Wilson Marshall.
Fort Sutter, Johann Augustus Sutter, John Charles Frémont

Fort Sutter in Sacramento

In 1834, Johann Augustus Sutter fled Switzerland due to debts he was unable to repay. Sutter moves to America to begin life anew with various business ventures on Mexican Lands. In 1840, Sutter began construction on Fort Sutter in Sacramento by utilizing Hawaiian and Nisenan Indian laborers whom were cohersed to work for him.

John Charles Frémont, before he ran for President as a Republican, had utilized military forces to take over Fort Sutter during the Mexican-American War. Sutter was allowed to stay on the fort grounds as a lieutenant. After the war ended Sutter took charge of his fort again.

Over time, Fort Sutter was abandoned and became a California State Park.

In present day, Sutter Fort has a replica of an emigrant wagon that had been used by individuals moving to California during the gold rush.

Author’s Note:

Johann Augustus Sutter purchased Fort Ross from the Russian government in 1841.