Panning for Gold in Hampton’s History

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I’m reposting this from “History Happens at the Tuck Museum” for those of you who aren’t subscribers to that blog but might find the article of interest. Besides publishing items of historical interest, the blog and its associated website, hamptonhistoricalsociety.org, will keep you up-to-date on what’s going on at the Tuck Museum.

HISTORY HAPPENS

gold nugget“There’s gold in them thar hills,”  as the saying goes. So, too, with historical research, in which the paydirt is information. Like panning for gold, research requires the patience to scour objects for hours on end “looking for color” – a gold mining term for determining the presence of oro. Instead of bending over a swirling pan of dirt in an icy creek, researchers stare into computer screens and hunch over a miscellany of old documents. To extend the metaphor, these miners of information sometimes get dust, sometimes flecks, while other times they get lucky and score with a big, shiny nugget.

Right now I’m researching Hampton’s “Argonauts” – those men who went to California during the Gold Rush of 1849 and the Klondike Gold Rush fifty years later. I expected at the outset to find one or two names, but the list is growing longer as details begin…

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