Gold was discovered 165 years ago at Sutter’s Mill in Northern California. When most of us think of this momentous event, we picture the iconic image of a grizzly prospector bent over a stream frantically panning for gold. Few of us remember Samuel Brannan, the first millionaire of the California Gold Rush.
Many credit Brannan with launching the gold rush when he walked through the center of San Francisco holding up a vial of gold dust yelling, "Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River!" As thousands of hopeful prospectors scrambled to chase their dreams in the Sierra Nevada goldfields, Brannan famously bought up all the mining supplies in San Francisco and resold them at a handsome profit. There is a lesson in his strategy.