Through my travels, it never fails to amaze me how incorrect, bad and just plain wrong my high school history instruction was. Unlike science, that changes and grows as we learn new things, we expect it to evolve and change. Conversely, history is an account of what already happened in the past and should be relatively static. I’m not so nieve that I can’t recognize that History can be skewed to a certain agenda but sometimes I just scratch my head and wonder, what’s up with that? A good example is what I learned in California, about Nikola Tesla last year. Last year was the first time I ever heard his name, as we were passing the car manufacturer. This was a bit distressing to me. I’m a bit of a science geek, I would have thought I would have been exposed to him much earlier than at age 51. It would seem Mr Tesla is just now getting some much over-due recognition. Who knew he was also an inventor of electricity along with Thomas Edison? I read somewhere that someone asked Albert Einstein how it felt to be the smartest man alive and he said, I don’t know, you have to ask Nikola Tesla. Who doesn’t love Albert Einstein?, but that’s a blog for another day. Can I just say, besides being brilliant, the man was a stone cold nugget, in my humble opinion, it would have been nice to see a little picture or 2 of Mr Tesla in the history books, no offense to Mr Edison, just saying. Another shining example of high school History not really resembling real history, is when I spent time in South Dakota and learned that General Custer is not really a war hero as we are taught in school, but was a very mentally unbalanced, sadistic, butcher of women, children and the elderly that he personally engaged in, performed and ordered many atrocities against the native peoples in some cases indiscriminately without orders, just because. At any rate, in high school everyone learns about the California gold rush that started with the discovery of gold 1848 when James Marshall found gold in the river at Sutter’s Mill that started the famous 1849 gold rush right? Ohhhh nooo!!!! I just had an enlightening conversation with an 83 year old woman who is a native of California (rare) and taught school for 30 years in the California school systems. I was asking if she knew how the town of Coarsegold got it’s name. Evidently, it got it’s name because instead of Gold dust that the miners and prospectors would generally find in the rivers, they’d find gold nuggets. Coarse gold was the term used for gold nuggets. They ultimately named the town after it.
The truth about the gold discovery in California is way more fun than the old Sutter Mill discovery and I wonder why kids aren’t taught the real deal about gold being discovered in CA. The truth of the matter is, that gold was discovered on March 9, 1842 by a man named Jose Francisco De Gracia Lopez. It was Mr. Lopez’s birthday. He was taking a siesta one day while out ranching. He woke up and decided to dig out some wild onions and when he pulled the onions out of the ground he discovered that there were gold nuggets clinging to the roots of the onions!!! How fun of a story is that? When I did some web search, it turned out that many people went there and mined up to 13,000 pounds of gold from the area. One person speculated that the reason that the story had not broke out like it did in 1948 was not due to prejudice but laziness for the press did not check the facts and evidently neither did all subsequent history books. Because this is my blog and I can pretty much do what I want, I’m going to take creative license and make up my own conspiracy theory regarding how the California gold rush got misrepresented. Although I also believe laziness was attributed to this story, I’m going to say it was way easier and shorter to type set John Marshall vs Jose Francisco De Garcia Lopez. 🙂
Coarsegold CA sunset