Although the Mill belonged to Johann August Sutter, the gold was discovered by James Wilson Marshall. Sutter had immigrated to the United States in 1834 and was granted a large amount of land in the Sacramento Valley by the Mexican governor of California in 1839. Marshall was supervising the building of a sawmill near Sutters Fort when he found the gold. He never benefited from the discovery and the sawmill failed. Sutter too was hurt rather than helped by the discovery. Miners in search of gold quickly overran his land and the Supreme Court declared much of his claim to the property invalid. He died bankrupt.
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