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This Day in Georgia History

October 27, 1828

Gold Discovered in Georgia

Benjamin Parks and a friend were returning from Cherokee lands west of the Chestatee River, when by accident, Parks kicked a stone as he was walking through the woods in what was then Hall County (but in four years would become part of newly created Lumpkin County). The stone’s color caught Parks’ attention, and he bent down to examine what would prove to be gold. Historical records identify five other people who discovered gold near the present site of Dahlonega, Georgia - but these records do not document the date of those finds. In any event, Parks is most commonly attributed as the person whose discovery led to the nation’s first gold rush, which according to Parks was underway before the end of the year. Not generally known is that the 1828 discovery of gold in Georgia was not the first time gold was found and commercially mined in America. In 1799, a farmer’s son found a large 17-pound gold nugget in a creek in Cabarrus County, N.C. It was three years before the farmer found that it was actually gold. Other farmers also found gold and by 1804 some commercial mining was underway. But, word of the discovery of gold in North Carolina never spread, so Georgia is often credited with the nation’s first gold rush. [For more on the Georgia gold rush, see this from the Digital Library of Georgia.]