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The "Forty-Niners" took their name from the year the gold rush began. On Jan. 24, 1848, James Marshall discovered gold in the mill race of his employer, John Sutter, while making his daily inspection.
The news was told in a short paragraph in the March 15, 1848, issue of “The Californian.” In 1849 alone, it was estimated that 9,000 men traveled the southwestern route by way of Santa Fe, while 22,500 traveled the emigrant trails.
St. Joseph and Independence, Mo., as well as Council Bluffs, Iowa, were staging areas for the westbound wagon trains.
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