“More Than a Woman” Program at Reed Gold Mine

Workers at Reed Gold Mine
Midland

The discovery of a 17-pound gold nugget by Conrad Reed in 1799 is America’s first documented gold discovery. His discovery and his father John’s development of the mine are celebrated. Little notice is given to his mother, Sarah Kiser Reed, or other women during the gold rush period.

Reed Gold Mine will celebrate the role of Sarah Reed as an unsung hero in its history with a Saturday, March 30, 1 p.m., presentation. Although there are precious few documents about her, she helped change her family’s fortunes and the history of the mine. Reed’s life experiences can be extrapolated from the lives of other women of her time. The program will offer an overview of the lives of these women, with special attention to women working in the mines, including enslaved women.

Beyond the much-enjoyed “rags to riches” gold rush story, this is the tale of women functioning in a patriarchal, antebellum society. The program will demonstrate how women defined themselves as teachers, miners and activists. It offers lessons on the impact of female labor in the region and the social obligations commonly imposed on women.

Women today can connect with the various roles thrust upon women revealed in the tour. Regardless of class or ethnicity, women were second class to men. The “More than a Woman” program provides a different perspective on the Reed Gold Mine operations and the ways antebellum society could require women to perform beyond gender roles. This is an important Reed story along with that of the discovery of gold.

The March 30, 1 p.m. program costs $2 for adults and children ages eight and older. Children ages seven and under are free.

For additional information, please call (704) 721-4653 or email reed@ncdcr.gov. Reed Gold Mine is located at 9621 Reed Mine Road Midland, N.C. in southeastern Cabarrus County, 12 miles southeast of Concord, 25 miles east of Charlotte, and 18 miles west of Albemarle.  

Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The site is closed on Sunday, Monday and on major holidays. Admission is free. Reed Gold Mine is part of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Division of State Historic Sites, Office of Archives and History.

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