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Gold Rush in North Carolina

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Mark Harrington

on 20 January 2015

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Transcript of Gold Rush in North Carolina

Gold Mining in North Carolina in the early 1800s

Gold Discovered in North Carolina
Gold was first discovered on the farm of John Reed, a German immigrant, in Cabarrus County in 1799.
This original find, a 17-pound nugget, was not identified as gold until 1802.
Reed’s discovery was the first authenticated discovery of gold in the United States.
After 1802, miners in the area panned for gold while not farming. This type of mining is called “placer” mining.
Gold Mining Expands
Reed formed a partnership in 1803 to mine for gold on his property.
That year, a slave named Peter found a 28-pound gold nugget.

In 1825, a new method for gold mining was discovered when gold deposits were found underground.
“Lode” mining led to a new surge in gold mining.
Between 1830-1850, gold mining was the second largest occupation in North Carolina, behind farming.
NC's Gold Belt
Gold Hill in Rowan County became the center of North Carolina’s mining industry after gold was discovered there in 1824.
Many gold mines were located in Rowan, Davidson, Montgomery, Randolph, Guilford, Stanly, Mecklenburg, and Union Counties.
Charlotte evolved from a small village to a regional financial center between 1820-1860 because of gold mining.
In 1837, the U.S. opened a mint in Charlotte to produce coins.
This $5 half eagle coin was minted in Charlotte in 1852. Note the Charlotte mint mark above the date.
The U.S. Mint in Charlotte closed in 1861, at the start of the Civil War.
Between 1837-1861, over $5 million in coins were minted in Charlotte.
The End of the
Gold Rush
in North Carolina
When gold was found in California in 1848, it sparked the world’s largest gold rush, effectively ending North Carolina’s reign as gold capital of the U.S.
Gold in North Carolina Today
Today, visitors can tour the Reed Gold Mine, a North Carolina State Historic Site.
Visitors can pan for gold, just as members of the John Reed family did in 1802.
Impact of the Gold Rush on North Carolina
NC’s gold rush was the state’s first experience with industry.
Charlotte emerged as an important city because of the mining industry in NC.
The roots of Charlotte’s banking industry started during this period.
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