Charles Crocker (1822-1888) was born in Troy, New York to a modest family. After his family moved to a farm in Iowa, Crocker soon became independent, working on several farms, a sawmill, and at an iron forge. In 1845 he founded a small, independent iron forge of his own. After hearing of the California Gold Rush, Crocker led a party of Forty-niners overland to the Pacific coast, and arrived in 1850. After 2 years of dissapointed mining, he opened a shop in Sacremento. He worked with Mark Hopkins, Collis Huntington and Leland Stanford, a group known as The Big Four.