Folk Figure. California Gold Rush notable. Her husband Peter was the assistant foreman, she the cook, when a nugget was spotted in the American River in 1848 during construction of Sutter's Mill. The only knowledgeable gold person in the construction crew was Elizabeth Wimmer who as a young girl while working with her father a gold prospector, learned to identify gold-bearing ore. The gem was taken to her and she used the old folk method of letting the nugget sit overnight in lye soap water. In the morning the ore appeared shiny indicating pure gold. The famous California Gold Rush had begun. The nugget weighted approximately one-third of an ounce with a value of $5.12. John Marshall, foreman of the mill, gave Jennie the gem while dubbing it the "Wimmer Nugget." She carried it around in a buckskin puch. It was displayed at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 and eventually ended up at the Bancroft Library in Berkeley, California, where it is housed today. The Wimmer's never struck it rich in the Gold Rush but settled on 165 acres in Valley Center, California, where she died at the age of 63.
Bio by: Donald Greyfield