“More Than a Woman” Program at Reed Gold Mine March 7 and 21, 2020


While the men who first discovered gold in America in 1799 are celebrated, little has been said about the women of  the county's first documented gold rush until recently. The “More Than a Woman” program at Reed Gold Mine March 7 and 21, 1 p.m., will focus on their stories.

Sarah Kiser Reed, the wife of John Reed, played an unsung role in the history of Reed Gold Mine and helped change her family’s fortunes after their son, Conrad, found the first gold nugget. Although precious few documents mention Sarah, information about her life can be extrapolated from the lives of other women during her lifetime. These programs will share what is known about Sarah Kiser Reed and a brief overview of what life was like for other North Carolina women during her lifetime. Special attention will also be paid to the women who worked in gold mining, which included free and enslaved women.

Beyond the “rags to riches” gold rush story that people often enjoy is the overlooked narrative of how women functioned in that 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 upon women.

Women today will be able to connect with the various roles thrust upon women on this tour. Regardless of class or ethnicity, women were restricted to second class status. “More Than a Woman” provides a different perspective on the operations of Reed Gold Mine and how antebellum society could require women to perform beyond gender roles. The discovery of gold is important, but not the only story to be told at Reed.

The program will be held on Saturday, March 7 and 21, at 1 p.m. The cost is $2 for adults and children ages 8 and older. Children 7 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-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.