• Courtesy the Idaho State Historical Society, via the Mountain West Digital Library.

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    Caswell Brothers of Thunder Mountain

  • Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, X-21803.

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    Pikes Peak or Bust
    • Date
    • 1860?
    • Description
    • View of men camping in (probably) Colorado, with a covered wagon, tent, dogs, horses, and liquor bottles. Lettering reads: "Pikes Peak or Bust 1860."
    • Rights
    • Reproduction available for purchase.
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    • Denver Public Library

  • Courtesy Brigham Young University, via Mountain West Digital Library.

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    Jackson, Edward
    • Creator
    • Jackson, Edward, b. 1827
    • Description
    • Native of Massachusetts. Gold prospector in the 1849 California gold rush. Jackson served in the Civil War and was a successful merchant.. Handwritten diary and typewritten transcript. The diary was transcribed by Jackson's sister, Marion Jackso... more
      Native of Massachusetts. Gold prospector in the 1849 California gold rush. Jackson served in the Civil War and was a successful merchant.. Handwritten diary and typewritten transcript. The diary was transcribed by Jackson's sister, Marion Jackson Gilbert, in 1855. Jackson made the overland journey with mules from Independence, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, in 1849. Long and descriptive daily entries focus on the nature of the California trail, encounters with Indians, and the condition of forts along the way. Several outbreaks of cholera also occurred. Jackson stopped at Salt Lake City and attended Pioneer Day festivities. The diary includes a thorough description of Salt Lake City. The journal ends soon after Jackson's arrival in California, but he reports favorably on finding gold. Jackson returned to Massachusetts a year later. The end of the diary also includes a history of Jackson's ancestor, Timothy Jackson. less
    • Rights
    • These images and texts are made available for non-profit, educational, scholarly purposes, such as research, teaching and private study. For these purposes you may reproduce (print, download or make copies) these materials without prior permission, o... more
      These images and texts are made available for non-profit, educational, scholarly purposes, such as research, teaching and private study. For these purposes you may reproduce (print, download or make copies) these materials without prior permission, on the condition of proper attribution of the source on all copies: Courtesy Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602. Please Contact Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602 to request permission to use these materials for other purposes, including but not limited to, any form of advertising or commercial reproductions, transactions, redistributions or transmissions, whether by digital means or otherwise.; Brigham Young University, Copyright 2002; Public less
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    • Mountain West Digital Library; Brigham Young University - Harold B. Lee Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • Brigham Young University - Harold B. Lee Library

Around the big strikes, boomtowns sprang up—hastily established settlements of miners populated largely by men who abandoned prevailing Victorian social customs, law, and order. Occupants of these towns mixed classes and races in ways that very rarely happened in older established cities. Native Americans, Asian and European immigrants, and American citizens interacted with each other on a daily basis, lubricated by the giddy promise of wealth and, often, copious amounts of alcohol. The relative absence of women led men to feel entitled to behave differently than they would have in “polite society”—most women in the towns were prostitutes or Native or immigrant women who belonged to classes that were not afforded the same respect as the middle-class white women many of these men had left behind. Violence was disturbingly common; boomtowns had incredibly high rates of homicide during their relatively short existences. Conveniences were incredibly expensive, as retailers used lack of supply, difficulty of access, and high demand to charge exorbitant prices for basic foodstuffs or clothing. At smaller mining claims, life was even rougher—often the miner and his family (if they were with him) lived in quickly constructed shacks in the wilderness miles from neighbors and were forced to fend for themselves. Personal accounts from the time outline the severe hardships miners and boomtown inhabitants faced in their quest for gold.