Gold Rush Vocabulary


argonaut  a person in search of gold
 alcalde the mayor or judge of a town
 assay to test ore with a chemical to find out how much gold is in it
boom town  a town that grew fast as a result of mining
batea a flat Indian bowl used by miners when they needed a meal pan or mining pan
claim  a piece of ground of a certain size which no one has a right to mine except the person who owns the ground
claim jumping   a form of robbery wherby a rightful owner of a claim is forced to abandon it by threats, violence or even murder
cradle  a rocking device used in placer mining for separating gold from rock and gravel; also called a rocker
 color any trace or sized particle of placer gold
 coyote hole a vertical shaft dug in loose dirt or gravel in the diggings
diggin's the name given to placer mining places during the gold rush
dry diggin's mining town without water; digging old out of cracks in the rocks or from dry river beds
dust  very fine particles of placer gold
El Dorado a Spanish term that means "The place of gold"
fandango  a dance of Mexican, Spanish or South American origin
 flake  a small piece of placer gold
fool's gold  iron pyrite that made many miners think they had found gold
forty-niners  specifically, those people who came to mine for gold in 1849, but has come to mean all who came to mine for gold in California during the gold rush
 ghost town a town where few, if any, people live after the gold had been panned out of the area
 gold fever a mania or extreme interest in mining for gold
 grubstake a loan of food until the miner could repay
hopper  a part of a cradle rocker
 lode a vein or deposit of gold, usually in quartz
Maidu the name of the Indian people who lived n the northern part of the gold country
 malleable can be bent or pounded easily without breaking; gold has this property
Miwok  the name of the Indian people who lived in the southern part of the gold country
 mother lode  a huge deposit of gold running through quartz in the Sierra Nevada foothills. It is the source of placer gold.
 New Helvetia the name of John Sutter's land holdings or town (means New Switzerland)
 Nisenan the name of the Indian people who lived in the central part of the gold country including the Cullumah
nugget  lumps of gold of medium to large size
pan out a term meaning the gold is gone in an area
pay dirt  clay, sand or gravel with gold in it
poke  a bag used to carry money or gold
quartz   a mineral in which gold is often found
seeing the elephant  finding gold in the gold fields
stake a claim  marking the boundary line of a miner's property with a stake or pile of rocks
tailings  rocks and gravel piles left over after mining an area
tailrace  a channel that drains water away from water-powered machinery
throw down the box  a term used by robbers when they held up a stagecoach; it refers to the box that holds the gold
 whip the driver of a stagecoach

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