When news about the Gold Rush in California arrived in Japan, most people did not believe it at first. Only a few curious people travelled to America to find out how accurate the gold discovery was (Isaacs 26). However, within a few months’ time, news came back home with the confirmation, and more people decided to set sail for California. My family and I packed our belongings and formed part of that exodus. When we got to America, we settled along the Sacramento River, in the Northern part of California.
Naturally, my husband joined other miners, but the kind of wage he was earning was too little to sustain our family. Therefore, I had to look for an activity that would help put some food on the table while at the same time earning me some extra money. I discovered that, while the gold rush brought in more miners and business people, there was less food for consumption. Since there were very few farmers around that area, I decided to make use of the water and rich soils of the land to grow vegetables, which I would in turn sell at the local market.
At first, I only planted onions, tomatoes, spinach, and cabbages, but with time I added potatoes, yams, carrots, and arrow-roots to satisfy the growing demand. My vegetables were quite popular to the buyers as they were of very high quality. Since the profits I received from the sales were quite high, I resulted to leasing a larger piece of land, where I increased the quantity of the vegetables. Having a larger piece of land meant more work for me, which I could no longer handle alone. Consequently, I had to look for more workers to assist me. This increased the yield ten-fold.
With the success of my venture and the unreliability of the mining business, my husband resolved to quit his mining job and join me. Our partnership boosted our farming venture to the extent that we ended up becoming the main vegetable supplier in the region. Being one of the first farmers in the region helped me to maintain my customers, and the high quality of my products ensured that I attracted more clients as time went by. When the gold ran out and most people moved back to Japan with nothing much to show (O’Donnell 57), we resolved to reside in California and carry on with our business.
Isaacs, Sally Senzell. The Gold Rush. California: Paw Prints,
O'Donnell, Kerri. The gold rush: a primary source history of the search for gold in
California. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2003.