Elias Jackson "Lucky" Baldwin earned his nickname with grudging admiration. He was called "the embodiment of the unmoral frontier." Conversely, writer Arthur M. Ellis, rising to his defense in 1930, said "Lucky Baldwin's reputation must survive for generations to come as that of one of the greatest pioneers of the West, the greatest builders of California, the most spectacular of libertines, and the most contradictory of characters in our annals." Elias Jackson Baldwin was born in Hamilton, Ohio, in 1828. By the early 1850s he owned several businesses in Indiana and Wisconsin, including a grocery store, hotel and saloon. As the news of the gold rush arrived, his eyes turned westward, but as a shrewd and calculating businessman he resisted the gold rush madness.