1848 Gold Discovered in California; Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; First Chinese immigrants arrive in San Francisco; First women's convention at Seneca Falls, New York;
1849 Gold-seekers flock to California; Safety pin invented.


1850 House sparrow imported and released (Brooklyn, New York); First overland mail delivery; Fugitive Slave Bill passed by Congress; Brigham Young named first governor of Utah Territory; First national women's rights convention (Worcester, Massachusetts); Gold discovered in Oregon territory.


First American commercial cheese factory; First fire alarm system installed (Boston, Massachusetts); Ice-making machine patented; Sewing machine patented (Isaac Singer); "Go West, young man" editorial in Terre Haute Express; First baseball uniforms worn by New York Knickerbockers.

Did You Know?

washingApple seeds were brought to the New World by the Pilgrims in 1620? Apple pie, formerly called house pie by the poor, was the universal favorite American food in the 1700's. [4: 8]

applesTraditional American cooking is basically British? Americans may dine out at French or Greek restaurants, but at home, Americans essentially are British. Early immigrants were stubborn, and refused new foods. They brought familiar foods from England. We say, "as American as apple pie" --- but apple pie is British. [4: 9]

Native Americans introduced chewing gum to the pilgrims? In New England, Indians chewed resin from black spruce when they were hungry, and this gum eased hunger pangs. The first commercial manufacture of chewing gum in America was in Maine, about 1850. Following the Indian practice, the commercial chewing gum was spruce resin flavored. [4: 13]

apple harvestHang Town Fry was an omelet made of oysters and eggs? This dish was concocted at Hang Town (modern Placerville, California) during the Gold Rush era and made from the two most expensive items on the menu. Some say the dish was invented at the Cary House Restaurant. Miners who struck it rich in the gold fields asked for the most expensive dinner their new money could buy. [4: 10]

The song, My Darling Clementine, has a verse about shoes that goes...herring boxes without topses? This curious line is a reference to canned food. The first foods canned commercially were lobster and salmon, and these appeared around 1849. [4: 11]

campSteamboats and later railroads increased commerce and changed the way people ate on the frontier? Transportation increased availability of yeast. Wheat bread made with yeast would ultimately replace varieties of hardtack and sourdough bread. [4: 15]

cabinDuring the 19th century, most Americans followed distinct winter and summer dietary patterns? Farmers slaughtered their livestock soon after the first freeze in the fall. Afterwards, butchers salted and smoked the fresh meat to reduce spoilage. American farm families consumed fresh meat primarily in Autumn. [4: 14]


1852 Self-rising flour invented; Elevator invented (Elisha Otis);
1853 Potato chips invented (George Crum); Trade relations established with Japan; Yellow fever epidemic (New Orleans); Silver content of American coins reduced; Evaporated milk patented (Gail Borden); Transcontinental railroad survey.


1854 First Texas-New York cattle drive;
1855 First lighthouse on Pacific coast constructed;
1856 Introduction of commercial baking powder; First kindergarten in U.S. (Watertown, Wisconsin); First California (between Sacramento and Folsom);
1857 Dred Scott decision.


1858 First steam-driven field tractor; First transmission of a Trans-Atlantic cable message;
1859 Comstock Lode discovered (Nevada); Pennsylvania oil field discovery (Edwin Drake); Attack on Harper's Ferry (John Brown); Electric home lighting introduced; Pullman sleeping car invented;
1860 Milk sterilization (Louis Pasteur); Pony Express mail service; Internal combustion engine invented;
1861 Start of American Civil War.
Wagon & Horse

Piles of discarded food lined the emigrant trail to California? One report states that not less than 30,000 pounds of bacon were discarded at one site due to overloaded wagons! There is a record, too, that a man from Illinois once drove a flock of 2,000 turkeys from Independence, Missouri.... to California. [4: 12]


The cheapest route to the California gold fields was overland across the American plains. [4: 4]


     Wagon, harness, and 6 good mules$567.00

     Food: $83.78

     Flour: 824 lbs @$2.00/100 lbs $16.48
     Bacon: 725 lbs @$5.00/100 lbs $36.25
     Coffee: 75 lbs @$0.07/lb $5.25
     Sugar: 160 lbs @$0.05/lb $8.00
     Lard: 200 lbs @$0.06/lb $12.00
     Beans: 200 lbs @ $0.40/bushel $1.60
     Apples: 135 lbs @ $0.80/bushel $1.60
     Salt/pepper: 25 lbs $1.00
     Miscellaneous..... $1.60

     Cooking utensils, including tin plates, spoons, coffee pot,
     camp kettle, knives, and extras... $20.00


At conclusion of trip to California:
deduct value of wagon and mules ($450.00)

Net Cost to each individual: $55.19

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