John Sutter was the owner of the Coloma, which was the place were the California Gold Rush first started. Sutter came to California in 1839 and became a Mexican citizen. John then received 50,000 acres in Sacramento Valley. Sutter built a fort which became a rest stop for travelers. John Sutter met a man named James Marshall in 1847. Sutter hired Marshall to build a sawmill at the Coloma. James Marshall discovered gold in the American River on January 24,1848. Marshall's discovery of gold lead to the California Gold Rush. Sutter and Marshall attempted to keep this a secret, but the news of the gold quickly spread across America. On December 5,1848 Colonel Richard Barnes Mason confirmed that Marshall had found real gold. Colonel Barnes verification sparked the arrival of the "forty-niners".