Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Belchertown and the California Gold Rush

The Belchertown Historical Association will present an informal program on the Belchertown pioneers who journeyed to California during the Gold Rush which began in 1849. Cliff McCarthy, the Archivist at the Stone House Museum, has been researching this important period in American history as a project of the Pioneer Valley History Network with funding by Mass Humanities. He will talk about the lives of these “49ers” and show the Gold Rush artifacts in the Stone House museum.

Beginning 160 years ago, the Gold Rush was an important event in American history, having an enormous impact on migration, land development, the slavery debate, and the nation’s economy. Motivated by “gold fever,” many pioneers from western Massachusetts journeyed west, risking their lives for the possibility of striking it rich. Some played important roles in the development of
California; some returned to New England and built on their western adventures to achieve positions of stature and importance in our communities. At least nineteen Belchertown men went west in pursuit of their dreams.

The presentation will be held on Wednesday, May 27 at 7:00 p.m. at the Stone House Museum. Admission is $3 for members of the Belchertown Historical Association and $5 for non-members. Proceeds benefit the Belchertown Historical Association which preserves and promotes the history of Belchertown through the Stone House Museum and educational programs in the schools and community. For more information, or to reserve a seat, contact Marnie Henneman at (413) 323-5211.

California Gold Dust Bags from the collection of the Stone House Museum

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