Tuolumne (Formerly called Summersville)
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member heringermr
N 37° 57.862 W 120° 14.166
10S E 742803 N 4205464
Quick Description: A historical marker placed for the historic Gold Rush town of Summersville along the Mark Twain Bret Harte Trail.
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 5/1/2014 3:22:30 PM
Waymark Code: WMKMB4
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member Marky
Views: 2

Long Description:

The plaque reads:

Geographical center of East belt Placer Gold Rush, 1856-57. First white settlers, the Franklin Summers Family, arrived in 1854, and built log cabin half mile west. James Blakely, in 1858, discovered first quartz lode, half mile east, naming it "Eureka", which mine became nucleus of town of "Summersville", later called "Carters" and finally "Tuolumne". Other mining towns lively in Gold Rush days were Long Gulch, two miles south, and Cherokee, two miles north.

Narrative excerpted from Tulomumne City Memorial Museum Blog

Frank Summers was one of the area’s first non-Indian settlers. He lived with his new wife and young family, finding gold and new wealth along with tragedy. The town was rough and wild as any Gold Rush town. Murders, gunfights, jealousy and hardship were common throughout the mining years.

Summers, his wife and young family arrived in 1854 after several months on the trail from Missouri. After building a cabin, Sommers worked the territory with his brothers as part owners of the “Eagle Ranch” and the Summers Quartz Mine with a five-stamp mill. The Summers brothers became very successful miners.

On March 20, 1856, the brothers were debating in court with the Dickinson’s, another large family in town. After court adjourned for the day, the Dickinson’s left the courtroom and returned with rifles. A gun battle began and Frank and his brother, who were both taken by surprise and unarmed, were shot and brutally murdered. Frank Summers wife, one of few respectable ladies in town, opened up a boarding house with home cooked meals for miners to earn a living and support her children.

In late 1856, Elizabeth Summers gave room and board free of charge to William and James Blakely, two brothers who were miners from Cornwall, England. William and James made a fabulous discovery of rich quartz gold and founded the ore-rich Eureka Mine. As the richest men in town, they wanted to repay the kindness of Elizabeth by naming the town after her. She declined and suggested it be named Summersville in remembrance of her late husband.

Lee Ann Summers, one of the children, reported that Mark Twain stayed in Summersville for a time at Mrs. Summer’s boarding house. Since Mr. Clemens was also from Missouri, he declared after a lengthy discussion of ancestry between Elizabeth Summers and himself, they were cousins “according to the rules of Missouri.”

Around 1859-1860, the gold was running short and the town began to change into more peaceful residential properties. By the 1870's, Summersville was a thriving community with stores, hotels, saloons, doctor, lawyer, butcher shops, drug stores, express office, fraternal organizations, several churches, cigar manufacturer, livery stables, barber shops, milliners and dressmakers.

The school district is known as Summerville School District today because someone recorded the name of the town with one “s” and the school began with the town name spelled incorrectly.

After establishing a post office the town was named Carter, for Charles Carter the owner of a drugstore and later to Tuolumne, taking the name of the train station stop.
Marker Number: 407.00


County: Tuolumne

Has Official CA Plaque: no

Marker Dedication Date: 4/14/1948

In island, center of Carter St at intersection with Tuolumne Rd, Tuolumne

Website: [Web Link]

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