gold rush settlers

Mormon Island

Relocation Cemetery

This cemetery was relocated from the original site at Mormon Island to its present location in the early 1950′s when Folsom Dam was built and Mormon Island was inundated by Folsom Lake. (For more information, see Mormon Island).

Getting there:

Take Highway 50 east. Turn left on El Dorado Hills Boulevard, continue on a few miles. Turn left onto Green Valley Road and continue for about two miles. Turn left on Shadowfax Lane. Mormon Island Relocaton Cemetery will be about .25 miles on the left.

Mormon Island

Mormon Island was located on the American River east of present day Folsom. Early in March, 1848 Levi Fifiel, Sidney Willis and Wilford Hudson (members of the Mormon Battalion) were working on the grist mill at Natomas. They heard about the Coloma gold discovery and decided to visit their friends there to find out if the rumor was true. They found some gold themselves at Coloma. On the way back to the grist mill they discovered gold at what later became known as Mormon Island, which became the richest find of the gold rush. The men told their story on returning to the fort and soon 150 Mormons and other miners flocked to the site. It was not truly an island, but a sandbar, 100 feet wide by 300 feet long, on the South Fork of the American River. The Mormon Battalion boys that found the site would mark off areas and each worked in his assigned space. In the beginning they left tools and gold laying around at night, but soon the rush of gold seekers brought “thievery, treachery, and murder to the gold fields.” There were 200 to 300 people there by June 1848. The population of the town in 1853 was more than 2,500. It had four hotels, three dry good stores, five general merchandise stores, an express office, and many small shops. The first ball in the Sacramento area was held there on December 25, 1849. A fire destroyed the  town  in 1856 and it was never rebuilt. The site was inundated by Folsom Lake in 1955.

Getting there:

California Historical Marker #569
Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, north side, Folsom Point picnic area, near Mormon Island Dam, three miles North East of Foslom.

Daughter’s of the Utah Pioneers Mormon Island historical marker #240 was relocated in May 2009 from its original location overlooking Folsom Dam to Folsom Point, Folsom, California. Traveling west on Highway 50 take the Folsom Boulevard turnoff. Turn right on Blue Ravine Road. Turn left on East Natoma. Turn right on Folsom Point Road. Enter the park and keep right until you reach the marker at the extreme northern end of the park.