This Week's Story

My husband is leaving me with chicken feed, while he goes gold mining in California!

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

My husband has gold fever!
part one

“Laura, this is our opportunity!”

“George, you have a good job.”

“Not like mining gold.  Bud told me that his brother is making $14.00 a day panning gold on the American River in California.  Don’t forget; I make $1.25 a day.”

“George, you are a bank clerk in Missouri.  Your job is dependable.  You have a wife and two children.  You do not know anything about how to get to California or what you’re going to do when you get there.”

“Sweetheart, you would be surprised how much I know about gold mining.  Ask me what equipment I need.”

“George, what equipment do you need!?  You’re telling me you’re going to spend money!”

“Of course I am, Laura.  I will spend money to get money.

I’ll be purchasing a grub stake.  That means I will need a tent, tools, and basics for food.   Ask me what skills I need.  I’m informed. I read every installment of Life in the Far West by Ruxton. I talk to relatives of the ‘49ers.  Trust me.

“Not that way!  How much is it going to cost you to get there?”

“Bud’s brother paid $300.00 to go overland by wagon train.  He said the group he travelled with had an experienced guide, a mountain man named Jim Bridger.

“Laura, I have to go.  This is our chance to have a real home and get you the things you’re always wanting.  Let me use our bank savings.  I’ll leave you enough money for while I’m gone.”

“How long is that going to be?”

“I don’t exactly—maybe two years.  The overland trip by the Oregon Trail takes five to six months.”

“George, tell me that I married a fool.  We have been saving money for ten years and now you’re wandering off.  Only God knows how long you’ll be gone and our money is disappearing with you, except that you promise to leave me some chicken feed for bills.

“You’re going where disease has been. Thousands of people died last summer from cholera while they travelled on the wagon trains.  You are already sick, with gold fever!

“How are you going to defend yourself?  I’ve read reports from the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  I know about the grizzly attacks.  The members of the Expedition needed to know how to shoot.”

“Laura, I am going to buy a regular mountain rifle.  It won’t be clumsy to use when I am in a saddle or going through thick brush. It must be a good caliber so that I can shoot grizzly bear or buffalo.”

“George, do you remember the words ‘in sickness or in health or until death do us part’?

“I think so.  Weren’t they in our marriage vows?”

“Yes, indeed!  And now may the overland trail not separate us.”

“Laura, I know you would not want to join me in a miner’s tent or in crossing rivers, mountains, deserts, and prairies in heat, rain, and snow.  I want you to feel good about our opportunity.  I plan to leave late this spring.  Soon I will have my grub stake and be out panning gold.  Maybe I’ll use a cradle.  It’s sort of box-like, sits on rockers, and separates the gold from sand and gravel.  Maybe, I’ll be in a sophisticated gold mining operation.

“Honeybee, when you and I are old we will remember this summer of 1850 as the summer our hearts were joined in the greatest venture of our lives.”

“George, I have not agreed.”

“You will.  I have a song for you.  ‘Oh Susannah, now don’t you cry for me; I’m going to California with a wash pan on my knee!”

“George, I promise you more than a song, if you do not find another way to spend our money.”

This is Barbara Steiner, expecting to return with another chapter in the ordeal and surprises of the 49’ers and their families.

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