The first significant United States Gold Rush took place in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, in 1799 at the present day Reed’s Gold Mine. In 1799, Conrad Reed found a 17-pound yellow “rock” in Little Meadow Creek on the family farm in Cabarrus County, North Carolina. The “rock” was used as a door-stop for 3 years until a jeweler identified the “rock” as a large gold nugget! Reed had no idea of the value of the gold and sold it to the jeweler for $3.50. The actual value of the nugget at that time was around $3,600. Sounds like the jeweler got a pretty good deal!
Google Earth is a powerful user-friendly satellite imagery viewing program. It is a very useful tool for finding gold locations. Combined with the downloadable add-ons, Google Earth could easily be your main research tool for planning your gold prospecting adventures. I use this tool myself when plotting out my next prospecting trip to a new area. I have found myself using Google Earth with the add-ons I’m about to share with everyone almost daily. All of the following tools/resources are totally free!
The sluice box is one of the oldest and most efficient types of placer gold prospecting equipment. The common sluice box dates back as far as the 1300′s. The name of the inventor is unknown. It was widely and most commonly used during the Gold Rushes of the 1800′s. In the 1800′s sluice boxes were commonly known as Long Toms. The Long Tom sluice got its name from being so long. Generally any sluice over 6 feet was/is referred to as a Long Tom. There is no documentation as to why someone came up with the idea, but if I had to guess I would say it was to reduce labor and process more material. Panning sure does take a toll on the back!
Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia contain recreational gold prospecting locations. Some states located in the Southeast do not contain recreational prospecting areas for the public. If your state does not, you can jump over to the Clubs page to see if a club you can join owns any land available for members to gold prospect.
Jump over to the Clubs page to see if there is a GPAA or private gold prospecting club near you. All the clubs listed are very friendly and eager to accept new members! There is a club in each gold-bearing state in the Southeast so if you are not a member, be sure to go to the website and find a club near you today.
By Damon Hargroves