They then went to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, and the boys did farm work. Later sister Ellen married James Main. They lived at Oak Grove and later at Juneau, Wisconsin. Sister Mary married Alonzo Wagner in Beaver Dam and later moved to Reading Kansas.
In January 1854, James, Thomas and Patrick left from New York for California by the Nicaragua Route. They sailed the Atlantic to the Isthmus of Panama and then rode across on mules to the Pacific side. The Atlantic trip was rough, but the Pacific side was smooth sailing.
They panned for gold around Sutter's Mill (Coloma), Yuba City and Marysville. Life was dangerous, and robbing and killing for gold was common. Supplies were scarce and expensive. A plug of tobacco was five dollars and boots fifteen dollars. Gamblers took over. James panned almost $2000 in gold nuggets and gravel. He kept it in a leather pouch tied around his waist at all times. His brothers had almost as much as he did but lost it all when the bank president left fort New York with all the depositors' money.
In 1859, James and his brothers returned by the same route to New York. James then went to Illinois where he got work as a farm hand.
|James Lynch in Union uniform|
|James Lynch's discharge paper from the Union Army of the Civil War|