Looking Back with Auore Eaton: The Manchester 'forty-niners' seek their fortunes in California
This oil painting depicts the mining camp of Dr. William Whittier Brown and John Clarke. Manchester Historic Association
This remarkable oil painting is quite descriptive. It shows the miners trading with a family of local Indians. A man, possibly a merchant, leads a mule and a donkey away from the camp. The mule is carrying a large barrel that may have contained food or drink that the men had purchased.
While not searching for gold nuggets, Dr. Brown practiced medicine. He came back to Manchester in 1850 with a considerable sum of money, which he invested in real estate.
John Clarke failed to achieve his dream of striking it rich. He returned home in February 1851, faced with the necessity of having to work again as a lawyer to make a living. He considered moving to Salem, Mass., but soon settled in Manchester, where he began taking on clients.
He didn't realize it at the time, but he would eventually strike gold in an unexpected way, right here in Manchester! In February 1852 John C. Emerson, the owner the Daily Mirror newspaper, asked John Clarke to take on the management of the editorial department. Despite having no experience in the newspaper industry, he eagerly accepted the job.
Next Week: A Valley Cemetery Story — The Copiapo arrives in California.
Aurore Eaton is executive director of Manchester Historic Association; email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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