Before the Gold Rush
The Sinclairs of Rancho Del Paso 1840-1849
By Cheryl Anne Stapp
They met by chance in Mexican-owned California, each drawn to the pastoral province in different years and for entirely different reasons. For John Sinclair, it was the continuation of a continental adventure. For Mary Eyre, it was a dramatic intervention on the Oregon Trail. They married and settled on a great Sacramento Valley rancho, the predecessors of the tide of Americans who emigrated West in covered wagons in search of a brighter future. Their ranch was just across the American River from Captain John Sutter’s famed trading post, located at a geographic crossroads that put the Sinclairs square in the middle of history-making events: the alarming, if short-lived, Bear Flag Revolt; the perilous rescue of the stranded, doomed Donner Party; the American military conquest of California; and the tumultuous California Gold Rush. They lived through it all and died long ago, yet their Rancho del Paso lives on in street and neighborhood names to the north of modern Sacramento. Told with compelling imagery, this is the true story of a couple whose lives and experiences are part of the Golden State’s pioneer past.