Error postcard: "Sutter's Fort, near Sacramento, where Gold was first discovered in California, 1848." Britton & Rey, Lithographers, San Francisco, 1905.
(This example is postally unused, but we've seen a 1905 cancellation on another example of the same postcard.) Penny postcard; foreign 2 cents. Back is blank except for
indicia, "Post Card" and "This side is for the address."
As every Santa Clarita Valley fourth grader learns in school, the first documented discovery of gold in California occurred in Placerita Canyon in 1842,
six years before James Marshall found gold in the raceway of John Sutter's sawmill on the south fork of the American River.
We don't know exactly how or when the myth of Sutter's Mill being "first" got started; apparently somebody missed the reports of the Placerita
discovery in the American newspapers during 1842 as seen here.
It's doubly absurd because Sutter and his cohort John Bidwell observed the Placerita gold mining operations in 1845, fully three years before their own
discovery. They stopped and watched in Placerita on their return trip north (on horseback) after being imprisoned in the San Fernando Valley
for taking the wrong side in an insurrection mounted by ex-Gov. Juan B. Alvarado against his successor, Manuel Micheltorena.
To our knowledge, Sutter and company never personally said they were first. They knew better.
So did many old postcard issuers. Check out this one.