The life & Times of Cowboy Hay




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A Nineteenth Century Visitor

Here's me as a young squirt


I would like to tell you of a very exciting time in history from the early 1800s through the 1850s. All over the world there were very corrupt and dangerous places, but also a feeling of great excitement and anticipation in religion and economic changes. Expansion was on the minds of many in a fairly new country called America. In 1803 the land extending from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains was purchased from the French and called the Louisiana Purchase. A few years later Lewis and Clark were sent out by President Jefferson to explore the uncharted land. They wound up blazing a new trail to the western coast, and along the way they gathered information, documented plants and peoples and routed the way to the Oregon Territory.


Many immigrants from distant places were coming to the exciting new land of America. One man, John Sutter, came from Switzerland for a better life, like so many before and after him, and a chance at fortune. Excited by the stories he heard of the new lands to the west, he decided to go to the Mexican Territory instead of the Oregon Territory. He intended to start a new business in "Californo," and in the process, he accidentally set off one of the biggest Gold Rushes in history.


Many men went west, giving up two or more years of their lives to find their fortune in the gold and a chance to turn things around for them and their families. Cowboy Hay was one of the unknown 80,000 forty-niners with the call "Eureka" on his lips--the cry for gold. After trying his hand in the search for gold, he found an opportunity to work in his own profession as that of a teamster delivering supplies up and down the gold rush towns.



That there is Sutter's Mill, where gold was discovered.