Quartzburg California

John and Robert Burns first settled on the site of Quartzburg in 1847. A mining camp known alternatively as Burns’ Creek, Burns’ Camp, Burns’ Ranch, and Burns’ Diggings grew up here. In 1849 the camp had a large number Mexican emigrants from Sonora. They were soon kicked out, possibly for racist reasons, more likely because they had rich gold mines, and blamed for the town’s general lawlessness. They moved to nearby Hornitos and formed a new town – one who’s mines were even richer. After word of that reached Quartzburg, it died quickly as all the miners moved to Hornitos California.

A post office was built here in 1851. It was named by Thomas Thorn for all the quartz outcroppings along the creek. It managed to last until 1861 before closing.

The last remains of Quartzburg were plowed over in 1979 – for a highway. All the remains now is the cemetery.

If you know anything more about Quartzburg (such as it’s exact location, and if there are any remaining buildings,) please comment below!

5 Responses to “Quartzburg California

  • The meaning of “ghost town” is not clear to me. Listed here as “ghost towns” are thriving communities, including one, Auburn, which is the County seat of Placer Counhy, located on I-&0. Hardly a “ghost town.”

  • Yes, there is a lot more on Quartzburg. Racism had a great deal to do with the founding and operation of the town…Mexican miners were the first on the scene, and brought a great deal of experience with them. Thus were they able to locate the best mines, but were subsequently driven out by the American newcomers, many of whom continued to fight the war with Mexico here in California. Colonel Thorn owned several slaves and used their labor to work his mines and hotel. Ironically, one of the most successful quartz miners was an African-American ex-slave named Moses Rodgers. After Thorn’s death in 1854, Rodgers bought some of the Thorn property, and was the owner of the Washington Mine–a big producer. His daughter, Nettie Rodgers, was the postmistress at nearby Hornitos for many years. The California Rangers, commanded by Harry Love to capture the Five Joaquins, were mustered at Quartzburg. Joaquin was cornered late one night by vigilantes near Quartzburg in 1853 and was forced to shoot his way out, which he did, wounding at least two of the posse. Most all of the Rangers were struggling miners in the Quartzburg area, and had fought Mexicans in Texas during the Mexican War. There is much more to the story, but no structures remain. The town site lies about 2 miles north of Hornitos.

    • Hi Josh. Many years since we3ve met. I,m headed to the old Murrieta Ranchero in the morning to film, also at Indian Gulch, nad the old Howard Ranch. I think Frank & ‘Tex’ Murrieta would be honored by the research you hve completed. I recently paid my respects by visiting the grave sites of both. I recall ‘Tex’ saying, “Plant me next to Frank (Latta), so we did. ‘Tex’ always seemed to have that great smile on his face — unless he was posing fopr a camera, lol. We spent many hours talking over many years, mainly about family. There were many things he did not share with ‘outsiders’, and this is how it has remained for many generations. I recently fouind your contact information, and will send you a letter via mail. I was wondering — where did you hear the story about Joaquin having to shoot his way out (Quartzburg); I seem to recall hearing about this same thing from another family member (Mary Noriega Martinez HIll) about 1976. Do you still have your book in print about Joaquin? Loaned mine to Cecilia M., then she moved, and I’d liek to get another.

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