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Sutter: Early Life

Sutter: Early Life

Never did the career of an American pioneer begin so auspiciously and so promising of ultimate success, only to be nipped in the bud by a peculiar and unlucky circumstance when it had developed to an extent that presaged to make him one of the richest and most conspicuous men in America, as did that of John Augustus Sutter. The discovery of gold on his lands in 1848 made an El Dorado of that part of California from which others reaped riches in the shape of the precious yellow metal. At the same time Sutter's colony of New Helvetia, comprising almost 50,000 acres of rich land, where Sacramento now stands, was smothered and ruined by the hordes of greedy gold-seekers who overran and took possession of it, because there was no organized government there to protect his rights.

John Augustus Sutter was born in Kandern, Grand Duchy of Baden, Germany, February 28, 1803. His father, John Jacob Sutter, and his mother, Christina Wilhelmina, nee Stober, had moved there from Canton of Basel, Switzerland, in 1800, where the former accepted a position in a paper mill. He was of Swiss nationality, and considered himself a Swiss citizen. John Augustus received a education in Kandern, and, after graduating, went to Berne, Switzerland, in 1820 to become proficient in military training. After serving for three years, he graduated from the Military College in 1823, soon after becoming an officer in the "Swiss Guard" of the French army, serving under Charles X. Shortly after his graduation from the military college, he was married in Berne to Anna Dubelt, also a native of Switzerland. He saw service in the Spanish Campaign of 1823-24, and in the vain resistance at Grenoble, France, by Charles X to the revolution of July, 1830. After the overthrow of the Bourbon monarchy, he returned to Switzerland and served in the army there. He was noted for his bravery and attention to duty.

Next: A new Start in the New World

Prominent Americans of Swiss Origin, Swiss-American Historical Society, James T. White & Co., New York 1932

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