John Sutter

portrait by Frank Buchser
(1806 - 1880)

Empire builder


          John Augustus Sutter, an entrepreneur's entrepreneur, created an empire for himself in California after coming to America from Switzerland, but he was not satisfied with his empire. (see 'Gold' in Flashpoints)  After crossing the continent with one of Fitzpatrick's wagon trains, Sutter had acquired 50,000 acres of land that included crop fields, pastures, orchards, and river frontage.  He built a trading post on the Sacramento River, and now he wanted a sawmill to produce lumber that could turn more of his dreams into real things.  That scheme led to the discovery of gold.  Click here for more