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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



The business interests of Sacramento have an efficient representative in the person of George A. Burns, who has the distinction of being a native-born son of the city as well as one of its influential and progressive men of commerce. Identified with the community throughout all of his life, he received his excellent education in the local schools, gained his first knowledge of business in local work and for years has been numbered among its men of business, having at a very early age entered into the retail wood and coal business at No. 2231 N street. For a long period he continued at the same location, but eventually he disposed of the yards, after which he embarked in the wholesale coal and wood business, which he now conducts with systematic supervision and intelligent oversight. The general commercial activities of the city have been fostered by his loyal support and his reputation is that of a progressive and honorable citizen, patriotic in thought and capable in action.

While himself a native of Sacramento, where he was born January 18, 1876, George A. Burns descends from a long line of Celtic ancestry and is a son of Joseph and Sarah Burns, the former born and reared on the old Emerald Isle. The conditions in Ireland were such as to preclude auy hope of successful effort and Joseph Burns therefore was led to cast in his destinies with those of the new world, particularly with those of the vast undeveloped west. When he crossed the Atlantic in 1853 he came on via Panama to California, landing from a vessel in the harbor of San Francisco, from which point he proceeded to the mines, then the center of great activity. At the time of the great excitement concerning gold discoveries on the Fraser river he went to that section of the country, where he prospected until 1854. Later he went to Nevada and became interested in mining near Warsaw. As early as 1856 he became a resident of Sacramento and began to take contracts for putting in sewers, grading streets and building street railways. From that time until his death in 1893 he ranked among the most influential and prominent contractors in the city.

When about fourteen years of age George A. Burns left school and became self-supporting, since which time he has made his own way in the world. For a time he was employed to assist his father in street and railroad construction work and soon he gained a thorough knowledge of that line of business, so that while yet a mere youth he did considerable work on his own responsibility. During November of 1897 he opened a wood and coal yard on N street and this he conducted for almost fourteen years, finally selling in May of 1911. Since then he has engaged in a wholesale business along the same lines, having his place of business at Thirtieth and R streets, where he keeps on hand large quantities of fuel for sale to retailers at reason- able prices. In the midst of many business cares he has found leisure for participation in the local activities of the Democratic party and in the fraternal enterprises of the Elks and the Native Sons of the Golden West, in both of which he has been quite prominent. April 14, 1894, he married Miss Sadie Bradshaw, of Sacramento. One child blesses their union, a daughter, Josephine, now a pupil in the Sisters' convent. The family are earnest members of the Roman Catholic Church. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011