First Gold Found Here

August 4, 2020

Have you visited Jacksonville’s “Gold First Found Here” site where Applegate Street crosses Daisy Creek?  This is the approximate location where James Clugage and James Pool, two packers carrying goods to the mining camps in California, did a little panning in the creek and found their first “color.”  But the story is a little more complex than the marker would lead you to believe.  They were not the first Whites in the area to find gold.  That honor probably belonged to the son of Alonzo Skinner, the local Indian agent, and one of his employees, a Mr. Sykes.  They had found gold in nearby Jackson Creek the previous fall.  Cluggage and Pool learned of the discovery when they spent a night at the Skinner homestead so took time to pan a little before heading to Yreka.  And, voila! 

Clugage and Pool hightailed it south and immediately filed land claims on what is now most of Jacksonville.  They returned and spent the next few weeks mining, but then Clugage did something unheard of—he publicized his “find,” even boasting to California newspapers of taking out 70 ounces of gold a day from his claim.  And guess what!  Thousands of miners poured over the Siskiyous into the Valley, closely followed by merchants, gamblers, courtesans, and settlers—all needing a mining, business, or home site.  Clugage did indeed find gold—he made a fortune selling land!