David's Scottish Ancestry

David Boswell Burns (1890-1925)

David Boswell Burns-213 was born 13 Jan 1890 in Kilmarnock, Ayr, Scotland.

Below is a photo of him with the family:

He immigrated to the Unietd States with with his mother and sisters -
    Lizzie (Smith) Burns
    Lillian Elizabeth Burns
    Jessie Easton Burns
all were listed as Sailing aboard the SS Numidian from the Port of Glasgow on 23 May 1912, and arriving on arriving 5 Jun 1913 at the Port of Boston, Massachusetts the name of the nearest relative where alien came from was his father, David Burns, 9 Arbuckle St. Kilmarnock and their final destination was to be Pawtucket, Rhode I sland and this destination ticket was paid for by her self and she paid for the children's she was in possission of more than $50 it looks to be $120 or 130 it is written in on David Boswell's line and there is a "ditto mark" in each of the girls square so this could be a combined resource of money for all and that that they had never been in the United States before this date and that they were joining her son Wm M Burns 669 Lousdale, Ave. Central Falls Central Falls Rhode Island what looks to be penciled in is also Pawtuckett as is in lighter color Also Parker St. tees into 669 Lousdale, Ave. Central Falls by the current map.

Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1943.
Name: David B Burns
Arrival Date: 5 Jun 1913
Age: 22
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1891
Gender: Male
Ethnic Background: Scottish (Scotish)
Port of Departure: Glasgow, Scotland
Ship Name: Numidian
Port of Arrival: Boston, Massachusetts
Friend's Name: Wm N Burns
Last Residence: Scotland
Birthplace: Kilmarnock, Scotland

Actual image of manifest page 1 and page 2

David married (MRIN:1085) Mabel Oxely-215, daughter of Joseph Oxley-219 and Sarah Jane Leach-220 (MRIN:1169), on 3 Aug 1916. Mabel was born 19 Oct 1891 in Valley Falls, Providence, Rhode Island. She died 8 Aug 1956 in Scituate, Providence, Rhode Island and was buried 11/18 Aug 1956 in Moshassuck Cemetery, Central Falls, Providence, Rhode Island. Mabel married 1st ___ Smith they had: Ruth Jenette Smith. Mabel married 3rd George A. Cowan..

By his military records he had also served in the military service in while in Scotand in the Royal Scotch Fusilers and his United States draft registration states the service as Infrantry, for six years and his ranls was Corporal. Tho an alien he had to register for the United States World war I draft as follows:

U.S. World War I Draft Registration 1917-1918, Providence County, Rhode Island; Roll 1852400; Draft Board: 2. "
Name: David Burns
City: Pawtucket
County: Providence
State: Rhode Island
Birthplace: Scotland
Birth Date: 13 Jan 1891
Race: Caucasian (White)
FHL Roll Number: 1852400
DraftBoard: 2
Citizen ship status Declarant
U. S. finishing Co. Providence RI
Tall 8 slender Eyes Gray, hair dark brown
Corpral 6 Years Infantry.Nation Scot[land]"
Actual WWI registration card.

but on 5 Nov 1917 at Boston he again entered the military service but under the British probably for his native country of Scotland as found entered on the following Recurit Card which is torn but abstracted from it is:

David Boswell Burns corps. I.W.T R.E. 1 What is your name - David boswell burns

2 In what parish or town wher you born - in the Parish of kilmarno[ck] in or near the town of Kilma [ranock] in the country of Scotland

3 What is your full address 480 weeden Strett Pawtu[cket] R.I. U.S.A.

4. Are your a british Subject = yes

5 Waht is your age 27 year -- months --

7 Are you married? Yes

8 Have you ever served in any branch of his majesty's Forces, naval or military.../ - yes Royal Scotch Fusilers, Terr. time Ex.

9. Have you truly stated the whole if any of your previous service/ yes

10 Are you willing to be vaccinated or re-vaccinated?

11 Are you willing to be enlisted for general service yes

12 Did your receive notice and do uou understand it meaning and who gave it to you?

13 Are you willing to serve upon the following conditions, provided His Majesty should so long require your service? .... Yes

Oath of Allegiance was siged on 5 Nov 1917 at Boston,

Certificate of Approving Officer signed 24 Dec 1917 and appointed to the Indland Waterways & Docks

Reg. No. wB 312215 Rank. Spr unit - regt. or Corps R.E.

dated 27/31 Mar 1919 Repatr.... Winchester the above named soldier not remiaind with the Colours is granted 28 days furlough from the conculsion of the standardized voyage periods as shown belowdate of conclusion of standardized voyage period 10 Apr. 1919

Height 5 feet 8 inches
Girth when fully expaneded 1/2 inches
Range of expansion 32 1/2
Distinctive marks N11

Next of Kin Mabel Smith 25 Hicks Street (crossed out),400 Weeden street (crossed out), 380 Weeden St. Pawtucket RI USA relation ship wife Children: Ruth Jenette Smith ? adopted born June 21 19_

actual images are: page 1,   page 2,   page 3,   page 4,   page 5,   page 6, and page 7

By this he served in the regiment of: IWT RE which has been deciphered as follows IWT=Inland Water Transport RE=Royal Engineers or fully as the The Corps of Royal Engineers

However at the beginning of the 1914–1918 War, Inland Water Transport (IWT), previously part of the War Department Fleet, was transferred to the Royal Engineers and in 1915 the old Submarine Mining/Royal Engineers badge was reintroduced with pattern again sealed (L of C 17226).

IWT ran barges on rivers and canals up to the front line in France. Later their responsibilities were extended, and by 1916 they were also operating ships and train ferries across the Channel from a purpose built port at Richborough. IWT vessels were also in East Africa, and Mesopotamia (Iraq) where they moved supplies on the Tigris and Euphrates from Basra to Baghdad; by 1918 over 1600 vessels were there, mainly chartered or requisitioned

He return home from military service is found as such:

Passenger Record: Name: Burns, David Boswell
Ethnicity: Great Britain, Scotch
Place of Residence: Providence, R.I.
Date of arrival: April, 07, 1919;
Age on arrival: 28y
Gender: M
Maritial Status: M
Ship of Travel: Mauretania
Port of departure: Southhampton, Southamptonshire, Emgland, UK

Actual image of manifest Page 1 and page 2

In the above miltary paper he states he was a member of The Royal Scots Fusiliers:

The above is the cap badge of the Royal Scots Fusiliers

The Royal Scots Fusiliers, the 21st Foot, were raised in 1678 by the 5th Earl if Mar in response to internal instability in Scotland. Mar’s Regiment quickly gained the distinction of becoming a Fusilier Regiment and by 1695 was officially known as the Scots Fusiliers. The distinction of Fusilier deriving from those elite troops armed with the new flintlock musket known as a ‘Fusil’. The Regiment achieved Royal status in 1712. Among the Regiment’s nicknames, the most treasured was that of ‘Marlborough’s Own’ gained following 10 years of distinguished service under the great Duke of Marlborough (1702 - 1712 ). During this time the Regiment fought in the great battles of Blenheim and Ramilles amongst others. At the Cardwell reforms of 1881 the Regiment became officially the County Regiment of Ayrshire in South West Scotland. Unlike the Highland Light Infantry this reform did not lead to amalgamation as the 21st already possessed two battalions

the above is a phot of Elizabeth (Smith) Burns and her son David Boswell Burns

He died 18 Aug 1925 in Newport, Providence, Rhode Island from Accidental drowning following boiler explosion on steamer "Mackinac" and was buried 3 Sep 1925 in Moshassuck Cemetery, Central Falls, Providence, Rhode Island.

Death Certificate of State of Rhode Island, Bk. 6 pg. 284.
Copy of Certificate of Death State of Rhode Island.
Name: David Bowell Burns; Death: August 18, 1925;
Place of Death: Newport, Newport;
Residence: Rhode Island, Providence, Pawtucket;
Sex male;
color white;
age: 34;
Occupation: Patrolman;
Birthplace: Scotland;
Father's name: David Burns born Scotland;
mother: Elizabeth born Scotland; ....;
Informant: sister-in-law;
Cause of death: Acidental drowning following boiler explosion on Steamer "Mackinac";
W. A. Sheman Medical examiner;
burial: Central Falls, R. I.; Funeral Director D. W. Bellows & Sons Pawt R.I.;
filed Aug 19, 1925 Herbert A. Fuller, Registrar. Book 6 pg. 284;
Issued January 11, 1980.

Actual copy of certificate

A memorial card as found in the family possesions:


In Loving Memory of
The Victims of the Ill-Fated Mackinac
Tuesday Aug. 18, 1925.
Cruel fate was working at its worst,
When the Faulty boiler burst.
We bow our heads to the maker's way.
But can't forget that fatal day.

Accounts of him being missing, found and the funeral is as follows:

"Missing David Burns, Patuckett, Policeman." - Evening Standard Lastest Edition, The, New Bedford, Ma., Wed. 19 Aug. 1925


David Burns is missing. His fellow officers are positive he sank when he jumped overboard as he was unable to swim - The Monrning Mercury, New Bedford, Ma., Tuesday, Sept. 1, 1925

Body of Pawtucket policeman,
Mackinac Victim, is Picked Up

Newport, R.I. Aug. 31 (AP) - The list of the victims of the explosion on the steamer Mackinac August 18 reached 53 today when the body of David B. Burns, a policeman of Pawyuckett, was found in the harbor by Coswain davis of the U.S.S. Antares.

Identification was made possible by keys found on the body and an automobile registration license

His family in Patucket has been notified and the medical examiners have given persmission to remove the body for burial

"Mackinac Toll Reaches 53 As Patrolmans Body Found

Newport, R.I. Aug. 31 (By INS) Death in the steamboat Mackinac boiler explosion disaster rose to fifty-three today when the body of David B. Burns, Pawtucket Policeman was found floating in the harbor by Coxswain Davis of the U.S.S. Antares." - New Bedford Times, New Bedford, Ma., Bk. 6 pg. 284, Mon, Aug. 31, 1925.

David Burns Body Recovered Near Newport
Remains of Special Officer Were Found in Newport Harbor Former Football Player

Newport, Aug. 31, (AP) - the list of Mackinac Victims reached 53 roday when the body of David B. Burns, a policeman, of Pawtuckett, was found in the harbor by Coxswain Davis of the U.S.S. Anatres. The body was decomposed, but indentification was made possible by keys found on the body and an automobile registration licenses. His family in Pawtucket has been notified and the medical examiners here given permission to remove body for burial...

Mr. Burns was well known in soccer footbal circles and before joining the police force played for J. & P. Coats and other clubs.

He is survivied by a widow and two children, who reside at 102 Lawn Avenue. - Pawtucket Times, Bk. 6 pg. 284, Pawtucket Times, Pawtucket, Rhode Island. "Vol. CXVII No. 52 Thurs. Aug. 31, 1925

Burns - Suddenly, in Newport Aug. 18, David B. Burns, in his 35th year. Funeral services at Thomson M. E. Church, Mineral Spring Avenue, Pawtucket, Thursday, Sept. 3, at 3 P.M. Relatives and friends invited. - Pawtucket Times, Pawtucket, Rhode Island. R.I. Vol. CXVII No. 53 2 Sept. 1925

Police and Masons Pays Last Tribute to David Burns

With full military and Masonic honors, David Burns, the last of the Mackinac's dead, buried yesterday afternoon. Members of the Overseas Lodge, No., F. and A. M. of which he was a member, police officers with whom he patrolled at night, and British Veterans with whom he braved the gunfire of the Huns were present to do him honor, Soccer fans who often cheered him on as he kicked the ball up the field or shouted him on as he ran up and down the side of the pitch as lineman were also present to pay final tribute to his memory.

Leaden skies and the Chilling breeze which swept over the city did not check the interest in the service, and the Thomson Methodist Episcopal Church and Moshassuck Cemetery were crowded when the services began.

The solomon funeral pocession left the mortuary of D. W. Bellows and sons, 54 Park Place, shortly before 3 o'clock. The service for the dead was held in the Thomson Methodist Church under the direction of Rev. F. C. Robinson, pastor. The services were very simple, but impressive.

After the church service, overseas lodge of Mason took charge of the funeral. A firing squad, comprising of members of the British-Canadian Great War Veteran's, fell in behind the hearse and the procession marched to Moshassick Cemetery.

The services at the grave were in accordance with the ritual of the Masonic Order. The ritual was in charge of Whorshipful master James A. Tillinghast, Senior Warden Earl H. Mason, Chaplin Hugh R. Carpenter, Secretary Winfield F. Solomon, Marshall Leroy B. Ingels.

At the conculsion of the service "taps" were sounded by Daniel Stafford and a volley was fired by the firing squad under the direction of Sergt. Arthur Greenhaigh. The squad comprised Arthur Underhill, James Clayton, James Jefferies, George Yates, Charles Sweetman, Zachariah Holden, Thomas Pomfrey.

The bearers were Harold S. Brown, and George H. Studley, representing the Pawtucket Police, and Lyman Johnson, George N. Nye, Earl E. Townsend, Charles H. Ross, Daniel Stafford, and Stewart Evans representing Overseas lodge." - Pawtucket Times, Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Vol. CXVII No. 56 Fri. 4 Sept. 4 1925

Morning Mercury, New Bedford, Ma., Bk. 6 pg. 284, Thurs. 1 Sep. 1925.

David and Mabel (Oxley) Smith had no children. He raised his wife's daughter by her first marriage:

Ruth Jenette Smith born 15 Jun 1910 in Rhode Island 28 Aug 1985 in Cumberland, Providence, Rhode Island married Grafton Hunt Reed born 16 Oct 1905 in Rhode Island died Jun 1976 in Pawtucket, Providence, Rhode Island who died 1976 and they had Susan Reed m. [-?-] Huges/Hughs and has 2 children

The following letter was received after inquire had been made in the Pawtucket Times newspaper concerning the family on 6 Feb. 1980 the step-daughter writes:

.... David Boswell Burns married my mother when I was 4 or 5 years old. Her name was Mabel (Oxley) Smith Burns. They had no children.

So when Dave died on the Mackinac at age 32 (or 33), he left no offspring.

But let me tell you something about him: He was a great soccer player. The newspapers called him "Dirty Burns" - he wasn't dirty - he just didn't let anyone take the ball away from him - he was afraid of no-one! But many a one was afraid of him!

He was also a wrestler - I can't tell you much about that they didn't let little girls watch wrestling. He had a picture of himself as a teenager with a plaque that said "David B. Burns - Champion". (welterweight I think) of Scotland.

He was not a lady's man!

When the young men came to my house it wasn't for me - it was for Davey. He taught them wrestling and socer and every other sport. And they all got warned about what would happen to them it they came near me!

He was a policeman - and whenever there was trouble - riots - gang fights etc. - the call would go in "Get Burns Here Fast" One night one of the gang hit Dave with a bat which was the wrong thing to do - Dave had a broken head - the other guy had a broken everything.

Dave had 2 brothers Jim and (can't remember); and 2 sisters Lilly Hatch and Jessie Rafuse.

He was in World War I in the British Army - Royal Engineers. I forget what they called his group - but they went into each new area first to make sure it was safe for the men following. Dave was gassed twice - he was always in the hospital - my mother said he liked the nurses - but I think the gassing bothered him till the day he died.

He is buried in Moshassuck Cemetery in Central Falls, R.I. with my mother, my grandpa and grandpa. and on the stone it says "victim of the Mackinac disaster". Mrs Grafton (Ruth Smith) Reed 52 Castins St. Cumberland, R.I. 02864.

David Boswell Burns, his nephew had some of his soccer and or wrestling medals but in the early 1970's he gave them to his nephew Davd son of Michael Thomas Burns. Soon after he gave them away he questioned me as to why I allowed him to do it and that they should of been kept for our son David Boswell Burns. I had no answer to give him and kept my mouth shut - you did not question what David done and once he made up his mind of giving something away he done it no matter what was said

Obituaries for Mabel (Oxely) Smith Burns Cowan is as follows:

Mrs. George Cowan

mrs. Mabel Cowan, 64, wife of George A. Cowan, died last night at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Grafton H. Reed, Hartford Pike, North Scituate. Mrs. Cowan lived at Crook Manor until July 30 when because of failing health, she went to live with her daughter

Mrs. cowan was born in Valley Falls, Oct. 19, 1891, daughter of the late Joseph and Sarah Jane (Leaceh) Oxley and came to Pawtuckett as a child

Besides her hsband and daughter, she leaves two sisters, Mrs. D. Everett rounds of Syelsville and Mrs. creighton Tetlow of Pawtucket, and one grandchild

Funeral Services will be held Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at the Manning-Heffern Funeral Home 68 Broadway. burial will be in Moshassuck Cemetery, Central Falls. - Pawtucett Evening Times Thurs. 9 Aug. 1956 pg 2.

Cowan - In north scitaute, r.I. August 8, 1956 Mabel (Oxley) wife of George A Cowan at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Grafton H. Reed Hartford, pike, mnorth sctiuate and resident of 210 Crook Manor, Pawtuckett. funeral services at the Manning-heffern Funeral Home, 68 Broadway, Pawtucket. Saturday August 11 at 1:130 p.m. Internment in Moshasshuck Cemetery. relatives and friends are invited. Calling hours Thursday and Friday 7 to 9 p.m.

Mrs. George cowan

funeral of Mrs. Mabel (Oxley) Cowan of 210 Crook Manor was held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Manning-Heffern Funeral Home, 68 Broadway. Mrs. cowan, wife of george A. Cowan, died Wedensday.

Rev. Carman w. Robinson, Pastor of Lonsdale Primitive methodist Church officated at the service. Burial was in Moshassuck Cemetery, Central Falls. The pall bearers were Milton Noble, Edward Cadorett, Russell Lemieux and Joseph Chabot. - Pawtucket Evening Times 13 Aug 1956 pg. 2,br>

and a copy of her death certificate

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