October 18th, 2017
| On Jan. 24, 1848, James W. Marshall, an employee of John A. Sutter, discovered gold in the tail race of a mill he was building for Sutter. News spread slowly in those days, and gold had been seen in California earlier, but news of Marshall’s discovery sparked more interest. Since most people could not get to California in less than 5 months, few were able to arrive in 1848. |
1849, however, would prove to be the beginning of the Gold Rush. Among those leaving for California in Jan. 1849, was a 49 year-old man from Will County (near Joliet), Illinois. Joe Zumwalt came west to seek his fortune.
While passing through Bowling Green (Pike County), Missouri, Joe and his partner C.W. Wright stopped at a newspaper office to ask about the condition of the road to California. While there, they picked up some copies of the ritual of “E Clampus Vitus.” Some 8 months after leaving Illinois, the party reached the Diggins in Sept. 1849. Settling his family in Sacramento, Joe and others returned to the Diggins.
Joe Zumwalt visited Camptonville, Downieville, Sierra City, Hangtown and many other locations. He tried to start Chapters of E Clampus Vitus in some of these places, but due to the restlessness of the miners, no success was attained.
As the Placer mining became harder, and the focus of the search for gold turned from the rivers and streams to the quartz outcroppings from which the gold came, partnerships were formed, companies became employers and many men worked for others, rather than trying their luck on their own. The miners were finally coming together and settling down. In 1851, at Mokelumne Hill, Chapter 1001 of E Clampus Vitus was formed. Perhaps it was the more stationary population, but check this time the idea took. Soon, Chapters were springing up all along the Mother Lode and all over California.
Delivered to the brethren, this date, October 18th, 6022
by “Who Me”
John A. Sutter Chapter Historian
Submitted by NGH Paul “Sparks” Laue on October 19th, 6022