Photo by Julia Sakelli

Many people rushed to the West in search of fortune gold. People would do everything that it took to get that fortune.

On January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall found a shiny piece of metal near the American River, which changed California and eventually the whole West forever. This event kickstarted the Gold Rush, which would ultimately become one of the most critical events in our country’s expansion Westward. The Gold Rush transformed business and expanded everything in its path. The railroad came from the Gold Rush to bring mass amounts of people, who gave up everything to have a chance at making a fortune, out West to make their dreams come true. San Francisco was transformed from a small town by the sea to one of the largest cities in the U.S. The California Gold Rush during the 1840s was a significant event that brought a massive immigration movement to the West and shaped and built San Francisco’s economic growth. It opened up the western migration that united our nation from coast to coast in 1838.

The Book

“Ox In The Culvert” Texas ranger Ray Andrew was really tired of hearing about the California gold rush. His best friend and fellow ranger, Tom Jerkins, continually badgered him about it. Tom wanted to head West and quit the rangers, but Ray was not interested. Their lives forever changed when they took up Austin’s shooting contest. Samuel Colt had just developed the new Colt Navy revolver and sponsored a competition to promote his product. Later, Ray won the battle, and Tom finished fourth. The top ten ranger shooters received one of the new revolvers. They also received a mission to guard a payroll wagon into the Indian Country of deep Southwest Texas. When they entered the contest, Ray and Tom didn’t know about the payroll mission. A ruthless outlaw named Sores Aguilar was watching. Dressed as a friendly observer, Sores obtained all the information about the payroll wagon. He was already devising a master plan to rob it. 

This book is a historical fiction novel about the true Wild West. The story travels from Central Texas through the Great Southwest and into California. It continues to Hongkong and then back to San Francisco. Take an adventure into the early 1850s. The tremendous Western expansion of America was accomplished by both the good and bad. It was a time it hadn’t received its proper respect.

Industry Review

Gerald Brence has written three novels. Ox in the Culvert is historical fiction about a disgraced Texas Ranger who guards a stagecoach on a treacherous journey to San Francisco during the California Gold Rush. Agent 49 is also a historical fiction story about one of the greatest crimes in American history. The book chronicles the illegal passing of the Atomic Bomb blueprint from the United States to the Soviet Union; Old Money is a tale about three boys taking on the town bully. As they grow older, the paths they take strain their relationships. What started as fun and games as kids became life and death as adults. Brence is a former English teacher and coach. He also is the author of a nonfiction book, The 70-30 Split, about high school football.  

Who Is Gerald Brence?

Gerald Brence has written three books. The 70-30 Split is a nonfiction novel about high school football. The book Ox In The Culvert is a historical fiction novel on the great California Gold Rush. Agent 49 is another historical fiction novel by Brence about the early days of the Cold War.   

On the other hand, Brence taught high school English for nine (9) years. During that time, much of his focus centered on teaching high school students many of the classic American novels. He became the head football coach at Plano Senior High School for sixteen (16) years. The Wildcats won the Texas 5A State Championship in 1994. Brence was doing so well in his coaching career that he was named the Texas Coach of the Year in 1993 and 2005.

He is the District Athletic Director for the Plano Independent School District. He resides in Plano, Texas, with his wife, Elizabeth.