In the Spring of Forty-seven,
So the story, it is told,
Old John Sutter went to the mill site
Found a piece of shining gold.
Well, he took it to the city
Where the word, like wildfire, spread.
And old John Sutter soon came to wish he'd
Left that stone in the river bed.
For they came like herds of locusts
Every woman, child and man
In their lumbering Conestogas
They left their tracks upon the land.
Some would fail and some would prosper
Some would die and some would kill
Some would thank the Lord for their deliverance
And some would curse John Sutter's Mill.
Well, they came from New York City,
And they came from Alabam'
With their dreams of finding fortunes
In this wild unsettled land.
Well, some fell prey to hostile arrows
As they tried to cross the plains.
And some were lost in the Rocky Mountains
With their hands froze to the reins.
Well, some pushed on to California
And others stopped to take their rest.
And by the Spring of Eighteen-sixty
They had opened up the west.
And then the railroad came behind them
And the land was plowed and tamed,
When Old John Sutter went to meet his maker,
He'd not one penny to his name.
And some would curse John Sutter's Mill
Some men's thirsts are never filled.