Updated: Oct 2, 2021
The tall thin man holding the tool next to Rufus M Burgess is said to be Charles Johnson. Mr. Johnson was one of the early gold rush pioneers who arrived when the diggings were still good (1849-1850). Early writings tell use he was a pretty successful pioneer in the gold fields, prospecting and making discoveries with an unknown man referred to as his partner.
We have learned from history and early writings that men without names or seldom mentioned were often Black, Indigenous, People of Color. In regards to the town of Coloma there was an African American family by the name of Johnson in the town. We cannot determine that there is any relation to C.J. Johnson, however California allowed holders and owners of slaves to take up residency in California for periods of times. Mr. Johnson originated from Scotland and there is very little documented about his life in the gold fields. We have found it to be pretty interesting that there is so little documented about this California Gold Rush pioneer. His son George who was born in 1868 had much to say about the town in which we will explore in a separate writing. To help us find out more of Mr. Johnson and the African American Johnson in Coloma please consider donating.
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