It's great fun to create new characters and find pictures to visualize them.
Do any of these characters appear as you imagined them while reading the books?
Jeremiah "Jem" Coulter is twelve years old, with brown eyes and brown hair. He was born in a gold camp in 1852. His father and mother were 49ers, who traveled from the East Coast to start a new life in California. Jem has never been to a city like San Francisco. Goldtown is big enough for him. He likes to spend his time panning for gold in Cripple Creek or go prospecting with his friend, Strike-it-rich Sam. Unfortunately, ranch chores and school often get in the way of Jem's plans.
Ellianna "Ellie" Coulter is ten years old, with auburn hair and brown eyes (and freckles). She is Jem's constant companion, whether he likes it or not. Jem would never let on, but he doesn't mind his sister's company as much as he pretends. She helps out by catching frogs for his cafe business, panning for gold, and in general keeping Jem on his toes. She is quick-witted and not afraid of anything . . . much.
Nathan Tyson is eleven years old. His hair is blond-white and his eyes grey. He is Jem and Ellie's city cousin from Boston. Nathan's father, a captain in the Union Army, was killed at Gettysburg in July 1863. Now he and his mother, Rose, live with the Coulter family. Aunt Rose manages the home (Jem and Ellie's mother died some years before), and Nathan is learning to adapt to the gold camps of California. Jem is pleasantly surprised what a quick learner his cousin is.
Sheriff Matt Coulter "Pa" and his wife, Ellen, joined the 49ers, hoping to strike it rich. They only managed to scrape by, and eventually Ellen died of influenza. A few years later, with the gold disappearing fast, he bought a small, run-down ranch to help ends meet. He is finished with gold panning and refuses to become a hard-rock miner. When Goldtown offers him a job as sheriff, he accepts. Jem worries, but Pa is a crack shot.
Strike-it-rich Sam befriended the Coulters when they arrived in the gold fields, and probably saved their lives with his experience and knowledge. They've been friends ever since. Strike knows every inch of the area around Goldtown, and he and his donkey, Canary, take prospecting trips during the summer. Jem is sometimes allowed to go along. Jem is confident "Strike" will fulfill his dream of some day striking it rich, something that has not yet happened.
Will Sterling is the son of the Midas mine's owner. His family lives up on rich Belle Hill, while Jem's family lives on a run-down ranch outside of town. Jem does not get along well with "weasel-faced" Will, as Ellie calls him. He is the town "crier," always the first to carry tales about any goings on and loves to be the center of attention. Jem and Will have often come to blows, but after they experience a tragedy together, they become better friends.
Chad Carter's father owns the Circle C ranch near Fresno, but he is also part owner of the Midas mine in Goldtown. Chad accompanies his father when the mine is in trouble. Jem and Chad hit it off right away, especially when Jem discovers that this rich kid from down south is not a braggart or a bully, but just a fun-loving boy full of mischief and adventure. Jem is happy to teach Chad how to pan for gold in exchange for a lesson in branding calves.
Aunt Rose Tyson is Pa's older sister. Originally from Boston, her husband, Captain Frederick Tyson, was a Union soldier during the Civil War. He was killed in the Battle of Gettysburg in July, 1863. His death left Rose with no close family nearby. She packed up her only son, Nathan, and hazarded the dangerous sea voyage around the Horn to move in with her brother's family. Aunt Rose is wary of Goldtown's rough ways and tries to keep the cousins on a short leash.
Gold Rush Adventure in the Old West