John Sutter/David Fenimore – A Visit With John Sutter

Posted on February 20th, 1998 in American History,Chautauquan by LeGov

John Sutter was an émigré from Switzerland who came to California to establish his New Helvicia in the land of opportunity, located in what is now close to Sacramento, California. A man with vision and organization, and a liking to drink, Sutter built an economically thriving Anglo-American settlement outpost in what was then Mexican California. The economy was based on livestock and lumber and used forced Native American labor. The discovery of gold in 1849 at a mill owned by Sutter started the gold rush that ultimately led to his undoing, ruining him financially as the mass of humanity tramped through the lands he then claimed to own, on their rush to the gold fields. John Sutter was portrayed by historian David Fennimore and was part of “Rediscovering California at 150” the California sesquicentennial initiative produced by the California Council for the Humanities.

John Sutter recommends “Ivanhoe,” by Sir Walter Scott and “Report Concerning North America,” by Godfried Duden.

Originally Broadcast: February 20, 1998

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John Sutter/David Fenimore – A Visit With John Sutter'

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John Sutter/David Fenimore – A Visit With John Sutter'.

  1. Richard Childers said,

    on August 22nd, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I find it fascinating that John Sutter was a con man who fell for his own con. He was run out of Europe and th4e east coast of America and then, while in Hawaii, formed his plans for his greatest con of all, the formation of a colony in Alta California. He soon became captivated by his vision and became the central figure in California history. His struggles to establish a successful colony at the site of present day Sacramento are the stuff of legend. I wrote a novel based upon his story called the Kings of California and it is available as a ebook for the Kindle or the Nook. I would love to hear from others interested in this period of early California history.
    Richard Childers

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