The year is 1849 and the California Gold Rush is on. Together with his butler Praiseworthy, young Jack Flagg sets out to save his pretty Aunt Arabella's fortune. On a ship bound from Boston to the California gold fields, they stow away in potato barrels . . . and their wild, swashbuckling adventures begin.

From the back cover of By the Great Horn Spoon


To accompany our study of the California Gold Rush, we will be reading the book By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman. The book, published in 1963, is a bit of a spoof on the days of the gold rush and somewhat of a tall tale when looking at the character of Praiseworthy. Use the links on this page to extend the thoughts from the story as we get a humorous and comprehensive look at the gold rush of California.


After arriving in California, Jack developed a case of Gold Fever.


Just what is GOLD FEVER?
click the gold nugget to find out




Ways to get that shiny metal out of the ground!

The arrastra

How to pan for gold

Early mining methods

Working the long tom

Working a coyote hole



How did they get to California?

Traveling by sea

The journey to California

Three ways to get to California


Life in the camps!

Life as a 49er

Law and order #1

Visit Rough and Ready

Miner's commandments

Road Agents-Black Bart

Boomtowns-YouTube video by a 4th grader


This and That-miscellaneous links


49ers today

Play gold miner

Tierra Del Fuego

Quizzes & Trivia

Now that's strange

Sid Fleischman's site

The Southern Constellations

The California Gold Rush-overview

Great source for many Gold Rush topics

Can you pass the online quiz for the book?

What does "By the Great Horn Spoon" mean?

Take at look at the art from the California Gold Rush





Vocabulary to know:

Chapter 1

slake, scoundrels, defraud, fray, lanky, venture

Chapter 2 infernal, rogue, undaunted
Chapter 3 forage, stout, hawser, dispel
Chapter 4 tarry, haste
Chapter 5 vile, inclement, squall
Chapter 6 monotony, stalwart
Chapter 7 wily
Chapter 8 peddlers, typhoon
Chapter 9 bandied
Chapter 10 ruffian
Chapter 11 exasperation, hospitality, skewer, deft
Chapter 12 tatters
Chapter 13 notoriety, paunchy, plummet, basked
Chapter 14 haughty , brawler



Guiding questions:


Chapter 1  Is Captain Swain good or bad? Explain and give evidence.
Chapter 2 Cut Eye Higgins says, "We'll meet again." Will they? If so how? If not, why not?
Chapter 3 Does the Lady Wilma have a chance of winning the race?
Chapter 4 What was the most important event of the chapter? Why?
Chapter 5 Does Capt. Swain have the right to go through the St. of Magellan and risk the passengers' safety?
Chapter 6 What makes Jack and Praiseworthy such likable characters?
Chapter 7 Now what?
Chapter 8  What are the signs of the Gold Rush?
Chapter 9  What will be the effect of Mr. Cut-Eye Higgins?
Chapter 10  What would be good nicknames for Jack and Praiseworthy?
Chapter 11  What are Jack's impressions of the gold fields?
Chapter 12  What does the title of the chapter mean?
Chapter 13 What are some problems facing Jack and Praiseworthy?
Chapter 14 Describe Jack and Praiseworthy's relationship.
Chapter 15 Will they catch Cut-Eye? If so, then what? If not, how come?
Chapter 16 Will saving Cut-Eye turn out to be good or bad?
Chapter 17 What lesson gets learned in this chapter?
Chapter 18 And now what ?


San Francisco in 1849