Sacramento is the capital of California and the seat of Sacramento County. In 1839, John August Sutter, a Swiss citizen who was born in Germany, was given permission from the Mexican governor to establish a colony. He decided that a location near the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers would be suitable. There he and his supporters began clearing the land and building his fort. Sutter enjoyed considerable prosperity for several years until his chief Carpenter, James Marshall., discovered gold at Sutter's mill on the south fork of the American River. The rush of gold seekers overwhelmed Sutter's operation and virtually ruined him. He deeded a portion of the land along the Sacramento River to his won, who plotted a townsite that soon was receiving travelers who arrived by steamer from San Francisco. Sacramento became the supply and recreational focus for miners and by 1854 was able to claim the position of state capital. The first railroad in the state connected Sacramento to its mining hinterland to the northeast in 1856. When the Pony Express was established in 1860, Sacramento was its western terminus.