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A New Start in the New World

Sutter: A New Start in the New World

Becoming tired of army life, and being anxious to improve his life, he left the Swiss army. In 1833, he succeeded in organizing a company with the purpose of emigrating to a vine-growing district in the United States, and founding a colony there. This colony would mainly engage in the cultivation of vineyards and production of wine.

Sutter arrived in New York in July, 1834, and soon after went to Missouri, where some German colonists had settled. He selected a suitable location for his undertaking in St. Charles, Missouri. Implements and other necessary materials were purchased, but, unfortunately, the vessel which was transporting them struck a tree in the Mississippi and sank.

This accident changed the whole course of his career; instead of becoming a colonizer in Missouri, he set his mind on going farther West. He remained for a short time at Westport, and here declared his intention of becoming a citizen of the United States. He then joined a party of hunters and trappers and went to New Mexico for a time before returning to Missouri in 1836.

The following year he settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and proceeded to explore the vast region west of the Mississippi. He ventured in speculations with trappers, whites and Indians, with whom he carried on an extensive and profitable fur trade. While thus engaged, he learned much of Northern California from the trappers, who occasionally drifted into Santa Fe.

Next: Moving to a New Homeland in California

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

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