James Burns was born in Hamilton county, Ohio, near Miami, on March 28, 1842. He was a son of Harvey and Catherine (McKinney) Burns. Harvey Burns was born in Pennsylvania in 1814 and died in Howard county, Indiana, in 1860, at the age of forty-five years. He was a son of Isaac Burns, also of Pennsylvania. Isaac Burns was a pioneer of Howard county, where he spent the latter part of his life. Harvey Burns was one of several children. He spent the early part of his life in Pennsylvania and Ohio. He was married in Ohio and some years later, during the Civil War, moved to Indianapolis and finally settled in Howard county. He there engaged in farming and spent his declining years. His wife, Catherine, survived him several years. She was born in Hamilton county, Ohio, about 1816, and was the daughter of Andrew McKinney, who was born and died in Ohio and whose wife afterward moved to Howard county, where she died.
James Burns, the subject of this sketch, was one of ten children, eight boys and two girls. He spent his early life on the farm of his father in Hamilton county, where he attended the district school and assisted his father until eighteen years of age. At that time he moved to Indianapolis, where he remained for three years, during which time he worked on the old Colonel Fletcher farm in West Indianapolis. On October 7, 1864, he enlisted in Company B, Twenty-first Indiana Heavy Artillery, and served until the close of the Civil War and was honorably discharged at Mobile, Alabama, on October 7, 1865. During his term of service he saw active fighting and took part in the bombardment of Spanish Fort at Mobile. At that time he was slightly injured by a shell. After the war he returned to Indianapolis, where he resumed farming. The following spring he was married to Mr. Catherine (Ruddesel) Delaney who was born in Ohio in 1832 and who was the daughter of William Ruddesel, also of Ohio. The following children were born to them: Henry, who now resides in Indianapolis, and Laura, who is the wife of James Kincaid, who resides in Sugar Creek township.
James Burns after his marriage took up his residence on his wife's farm and a few years after bought out the heirs and came into possession of the entire farm. When he took possession of this tract of one hundred acres it had only a small farm house and a log barn and about three acres of cleared ground. He at once proceeded to clear the land and to bring it under cultivation and to improve it. He erected a good five-room house and a good barn and corn sheds and other buildings in keeping with the grounds. He usually cultivated about forty acres of corn and about thirty acres of small grain and he usually had fifty head of hogs. He kept about a dozen head of cattle and a half dozen head of horses all the time. In addition to his own farm he farmed from sixty to a hundred and fifty acres of neighboring land. Mrs. Burns died in 1901 and a year later Mr. Burns married Ollie Lyons, who was born in Decatur county and who was the daughter of David Lyons. To this union were born the following children: Robert, Norris, Forrest, who died at the age of nine, and Nettie.
James A. Burns died on February 28, 1916. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. At one time he was a steward of this church. His wife is also a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Burns was a Republican in politics and was one of Hancock county's best-known citizens. He was a resident of the county for over fifty years and was one of the pioneer settlers, highly respected by his fellow citizens.
Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Page 1000-1001.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI October 22, 2001.
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