In 1799, the first documented gold strike in the country occurred at John Reed's farm in Cabarrus County, twenty miles east of Charlotte. Reed had been a Hessian soldier who had deserted the British cause. The gold was the first native gold to be used by the U.S. Mint, and the discovery meant that America would not have to depend on European mines for gold. In 1828, a second gold strike was made in Burke County. Gold mining became the leading industry of the state after farming. For the next fifty years, until the California Gold Rush of 1849, North Carolina led the nation in gold mining.