The Carolina Gold Rush, the first gold rush in the United States, followed discovery of gold in North Carolina in 1799. It was not until a few years later that word of the gold spread and men started coming to North Carolina from other states.
The US Mint reported gold production from North Carolina in 1793, but gave no further details. In 1799 young Conrad Reed found a 17-pound shiny rock while playing at a creek on his family farm in Cabarrus County, North Carolina. He and his family kept it as a doorstop until 1802. His father John Reed took the rock to a jeweler who recognized it as gold and bought it from the unaware Reed for $3.50 (a week's wages for farm labor.) A year later Peter, one of the slaves held by the Reed family, found a 28-pound nugget of gold on the property. John Reed started placer mining, and later underground mining, on his property and became a wealthy man.