The California Gold Rush, which began 160 years ago, was an important phase of American history. It had an enormous impact on migration, land development, the slavery debate, and the nation’s economy. Many pioneers from western Massachusetts played important roles in the development of California, and many of those who returned to New England built on their western adventures to achieve positions of stature and importance in our communities.
These stories bring into focus the lives of our Pioneer Valley antecedents and demonstrate their courage, hopes, successes, and failures. Whether for good or bad, they helped build the world we live in.