Marshall, James Wilson, 1810-1885

Alternative names
Birth 1810-10-08
Death 1885-08-10

Biographical notes:

California Pioneer. Arrived in California in 1845. He selected site for Sutter's Mill at Coloma in May, 1847, and served as superintendent. Marshall discovered gold at Coloma January 24, 1848.

From the description of James Wilson Marshall collection, 1885-1888. (California State Library). WorldCat record id: 58744653

Discoverer of gold in California (1848). Marshall worked for Capt. John Sutter at time of discovery. Lost lands during subsequent Gold Rush and spent remainder of life doing menial work. Collection describes Marshall's property at time of death (1885).

From the description of James Marshall Estate papers, 1885-1886. (University of the Pacific). WorldCat record id: 34940821

James Wilson Marshall was born in New Jersey in 1810. Reaching adulthood, he moved west, and in 1844 joined a wagon train bound for California. Arriving at Fort Sutter in 1845, he purchased land there, and eventually entered into a partnership with John Sutter to construct and operate a sawmill near the Fort, at Coloma, Eldorado County, on the American River. Gold was discovered in the mill raceway on January 24, 1848, and within a few months thousands were streaming into the state. The mill itself saw little use, as most men were occupied with panning for gold; Sutter and Marshall saw little profit. Marshall temporarily received a pension from the State, and died in 1885 after spending his later years working as a gardener in the Coloma area.

From the description of James Wilson Marshall account of the gold discovery at Coloma in 1848, circa 1852. ca. 1852. (San Francisco Public Library). WorldCat record id: 314435827


James Wilson Marshall was born October 8, 1810 at Round Mountain Farm, New Jersey. He arrived in California in 1845 and selected the site for Sutter's Mill at Coloma in May of 1847. Marshall served as superintendent of the mill. He discovered gold at Coloma on January 24, 1848. He was a member of the Bear Flag party and died August 10, 1885.

From the guide to the James Wilson Marshall Papers, 1885-1888, (California State Library)


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Ark ID:


  • Gold mines and mining--California
  • Real property--Digests
  • Autographs
  • Pioneers--California
  • Pioneers
  • Gold mines and mining
  • Decedents' estates--Records and correspondence


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  • California--Coloma (as recorded)
  • Coloma (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Coloma (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California--American River (as recorded)
  • American River (Calif.) (as recorded)