Many history books paint the incorrect picture that until Marshall picked up a few flakes of gold at Coloma in 1848, gold mining was unknown in the United States. But this is far from true.
In Southern California, at a place called Placerita Canyon, gold had been discovered and mined, to some extent, several years before Marshall even arrived in Coloma. But, even before that, in 1828 a significant gold discovery had occurred in the state of Georgia, near a town named Dahlonega. This town had its own gold rush and soon became the center for gold miners in the southeast.
It was the discovery of gold on Cherokee lands in Georgia that resulted in the Cherokee being forced to moved to Oklahoma and the “Trail of Tears.”
The discovery of gold at Coloma drew almost all of these miners west, leaving Georgia and its gold almost forgotten.
These experienced Georgia miners were some of the earliest in the gold fields of California and who brought with them, and fortunately shared with others, much of the needed mining knowledge and experience. It is also these men who left their name on numerous mining towns in California’s Mother Lode – Georgia Slide, northwest of Georgetown, being but one of them.
The town of Georgia Slide (originally known as Georgia Flat and Georgia Flatts until a large landslide occurred at the site), had its beginning in the fall of 1849, when several miners from Georgia staked out claims along Canyon Creek, planning on working them the next spring.
By the middle of 1850 Georgia Slide had become a lively mining camp with a saloon owned by one Yankee Sullivan and a store first owned by B. Spencer, a brother to Patrick Spencer of Georgetown, and later, G. F. Barklage, who also had a saloon and a large warehouse.
The community never reached the size needed to have a Post Office or a school of its own, relying on other communities in the Georgetown area for these services.