There's several "First Gold Rushes" in America but I believe this one is the first.
In 1799 a 12 year old boy named Conrad Reed found a 17lb gold nugget on his family farm in North Carolina. This nugget was used as a doorstop for years. In 1802, John Reed took the nugget to a jeweler and discovered that it was gold. He wasn't paid well for this nugget but John quickly learned the true value of the gold and a lot more gold was found on the family farm.
Gold mining quickly became a major industry in North Carolina. during the first half of the 19th century gold mining became the number one occupation in North Carolina, surpassing that of farmers.
Gold mining back then was little more than picking the nuggets off the land, then by the middle of the century shafts were dug when they discovered that gold came in veins.
The Charlotte house a mint. It was the first mint to mint gold from America in the U.S.