Burns, William M.

Submitted by mercercounty on Fri, 07/23/2010 - 09:47

William M. Burns was born in Plain Grove Township, Mercer (now Lawrence) County, April 23, 1815. When eighteen years of age, he left home with one dollar in his pocket, and was apprenticed to John Stevenson, of Springfield Township, and learned the tanning Business; and, after two and half years, he merged forth a first.

In the later year (1838) he married Miss Susan Holiday, a of Mercer County, by whom he had two sons, who survived but about three years. [incorrect information, they were James Harvy Burns and William Burns]. After her death, he remained a widower for nearly three years, in the interval, working hard, and adding by fresh purchases, to his farm.

In 1844, he married Miss Mary Ann Troy, a native of Mooresburg, PA. This second union has been blessed with ten children – five daughters, and five sons.

His elder son, his mother was Susan Holiday, was nearly Ready to graduate from Allegheny College, at Meadville, PA at the breaking out of the rebellion, but he promptly left his alma mater, and volunteered in the service of his country. He served with distinction in several engagements, and was killed in the defense of Washington, at Brightwood Station, July 12th, 1864.

William Burns’ career has been marked by the usual routine of Misfortunes. In 1864, he sustained very severe personal injury by the running away of his horse. This accident resulted in the fracture of his shoulder, the breaking of his collar-bone, and other hurts, which have made him a cripple, to some extent, ever since. Notwithstanding this drawback, his progressive disposition has triumphed, and he has, by his own exertions, added to his first farm purchase, at various times, until he now has a highly cultivated and fertile farm of 135 acres. He is a Republican, having first been a Whig, and was a firm supporter of the anti-slavery cause. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he was for twenty-two years a steward. In 1860, the people of the county elected his to the office of county auditor, which he filled for three years with great acceptability, and to the general satisfaction of his constituents. In fine, Mr. Burns is a gentleman of sterling integrity, sound judgment, and great popularity. His portrait adorns our pages, else where in this work.

History of Mercer County, 1877 (Combination Atlas and Mercer County History). Submitted by Tyrella Pringle Thomas

Some corrections by Tyrella Pringle Thomas

Additional information on James Harvy Burns:

From reading letters from him, and by information gathered from his cousin, Dr. George Burns, it seems he wanted to enlist earlier, but, on account of the serious illness of his brother, the entire family united to persuade his that his duty lay in staying home and earning for his. However, in March of 1864 he enlisted, and on July 12th of the same year was accidentally killed by a friend and neighbor. From all accounts he was a fine scholar, a Christian, and a gentleman. He was born June 18, 1839 and died July 12, 1864.

William Holiday Burns, never fully recovered from that illness, and was more or less a charge all his life. He was born January 5, 1841 and died January 6, 1896.

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