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Gwinnett’s Gold Rush!

Here we go into 2020 after a magical start to the Gwinnett History: Back In The Day Podcast last year! Gwinnett has always been golden in our mind, but back in the day we actually had an honest to goodness Gold Rush on our hands. Did you know this? You’ll have to listen to see how it all pans out!

Folks we’re not only panning for Gold and digging mines back in the early 1800s near Buford, but they were also trying to rip each other off, which is just what tends to happen during a Gold Rush!

Once the Gold prospectors began to work their way north of here to more prosperous finds, the get rich quick prospectors started to show themselves. As late as 1909, Buford was still listed as part of Georgia’s Gold belt as defined by SP Jones the Assistant State Geologist.  In the 1920s and 1930s the advent of hydraulic mining brought the possibility of a new rush to the area.  Instead of digging tunnels, miners used a hose with pressurized water to wash the dirt off the sides of hills and into a large sluice tray, but the fines were not sufficient to cover the cost of capital. 

As always happens dubious entrepreneurs sought to take advantage of the situation.  In 1912 William Arnaud had to bring lawsuit to recover his investment in the Suwanee Gold Mining Company.  Promising a sound return on investment the promoters demonstrated the prowess of their claim to investors in person.  It was later discovered the promoters had “salted” or placed gold laden dirt in the claim to get rich quick and then headed out of town.  The method of salting in this case was done by loading gold flakes into a shotgun and firing into a hill side, then in a few weeks they would “discover” the find.

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Special thanks to Elijah Stancel for his work on this episode!