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As It Was: Farmers Strike It Rich as Gold Miners

Two married brothers were farmers in their hometown of Red Bluff, Calif., when they decided to try their hand at cattle ranching. The brothers, John B. and Richard B. Graves, spent most of their money on 80 head of cows in 1890.  They moved to Trinity County in search of good grazing ground and a place to build their homes.
The brothers lost their entire herd during a harsh first winter.  They switched to farming, but with little success before becoming prospectors in 1895, occasionally finding a small gold pocket, which gave them a few dollars.  However, one day on Coffee Creek they struck it big, even taking out a $42,000 nugget (the equivalent of $1.3 million in 2019 dollars).

News of the rich find attracted hundreds of prospectors to Trinity County.  Prospectors Murphy and Burgess worked only a few days to take out $80,000 in gold [the equivalent today of $2.47 million).

The brothers Graves settled permanently on Coffee Creek as miners and farmers.  Their story hit several newspapers nationwide in August and September 1897, including the Muskegon Chronicle in Muskegon, Mich.

Source: Glessner, Jo. "Coffee Creek (Stream & Mining) & Coffee (Post Office)." History and Happenings: Acorns of Information About Local History and Genealogy, Squarespace.com, 27 Nov. 2012, historyandhappenings.squarespace.com/trinity-county/2012/11/27/coffee-creek-stream-mining-coffee-post-office.html. Accessed 14 July 2019.

Gail Fiorini-Jenner is a writer and teacher. Her first novel "Across the Sweet Grass Hills", won the 2002 WILLA Literary Award. She co-authored four histories with Arcadia Publishing: Western Siskiyou County: Gold & Dreams, Images of the State of Jefferson, The State of Jefferson: Then & Now, which placed in the 2008 Next Generation Awards for Nonfiction and Postcards from the State of Jefferson.