>Milwaukee County Literary Organizations

The Burns Club

From: History of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, The Western Historical Company, Chicago; A.T. Andreas Proprietor, 1881

This society was organized from members of the Albion Club. This was on the 7th of August, 1874, at No. 121 Clinton street. The objects of the society are social and moral culture, amusement and benevolence. It is composed almost entirely of Scotchmen. The first officers were: D.M. Christie, President; Wm. Strathearn, Vice-President; Daniel Tainsh, Secretary and Treasurer; James Duncan, Steward. A standing committee was elected with W. Strathearn, President. At this time the society was composed of twenty-two members; at the present time there are thirty-five, with the following officers: President, D.M. Christie; Vice-President, E. Worden; Secretary and Treasurer, James Stewart; Steward, James Stewart; Standing Committee, W.H. Wood, Wm. Strathearn, Wm. Alexander, W.D. Carrick.

The same hall is occupied, 121 Clinton street, where meetings are held the first Friday of each month.

Burns Club Picture
Source: The Milwaukee Sentinel
June 25, 1894

Nine members grouped whose Ages aggregate 647.

All respected citizens of Milwaukee

Sketches of men whose combined Residence in Milwaukee is 380 Years-One who has not slept out of Milwaukee County Since 1843-An Interesting Company.

Nine members of the Burns club gathered in the photographic studio of Louis Hagendorff, on Reed street, Thursday noon, May 23 in the midst of a drenching thunder shower, and sat for a group picture. All the story nature of the event was confined to the elements outside the halcyon tints pervaded the studio, so that the result was an exceedingly good likeness of the nine worthy gentleman who formed the group. They were Martin Dorward, Daniel Tainsh, Roberts Cairns, David Christie, George Campbell, James Duncan, John Ciscel, William Callaway and Charles Dingwall. A tenth face appeared in the group-that of a life-size bust of Robert Burns, presented to the club by Charles Dingwall. The sum of the ages of the nine gentleman is 647 years, and the aggregate years of their residence in Milwaukee in 380.

A Remarkable Group
It is a remarkable group, being made up of Scotchmen and Englishmen, and probably another such, could not be drawn together outside of the ranks of the Pioneer association or Milwaukee County Old Settlers Club. The only one in the party who was also a member of the Old Settlers' Club is William Callaway, although such is eligible for membership in that body, and four at least have resided there long enough to be entitled to membership in the Pioneers association. All of them are well known and respected citizens of Milwaukee.

Daniel Tainsh's Long Residence.
Daniel Tainish, who occupies a position in the foreground of the picture, is the oldest citizen in point of residence in Milwaukee. He has not slept outside of Milwaukee county since the fall of 1843, when he settled here. Mr. Tainsh is a native of Crief, Scotland, and has voted the Republican ticket ever since Wisconsin became a state. He has been secretary and treasurer of the Burns club since its organization twenty years ago. He is a recognized authority on details of south side real estate, having resided there since 1848.

Long in the Transportation Line
David Christie, who sits beside Mr. Tainsh in the photograph, was in the transportation business in Wisconsin for about forty years. HE is a native of Foriar, Scotland, and landed in Milwaukee in 1844. He was general baggage master of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul road for thirty years. Last year he celebrated the golden anniversary of his marriage. Mr. Christie was the first president of the Burns club, and he has read several original papers before that club as well as the St. Andrew's society, which possessed considerable literary merit. He is one of the very few Milwaukeeans who has seen Sir Walter Scott and Francis Jeffries. Mr. Christie is a life-long admirer of the "Cotter Post."

Born in the Waterloo Year
Martin Dorward, who sits next to Mr. Christie in the picture, is a bonny old Scotchman, whose presence at all Caledonian events in the city has always sought alter eagerly. He is the oldest of the party, having been born in Montrose, Scotland, Feb. 11, 1815, the year of the battle of Waterloo. He is one of the best known Scotchmen in the state. He came to Milwaukee in 1845, landing on the old North pier, and during the first years of his residence here, worked at his trade of a shoemaker, being active as a member of the only lodge of Knights of St. Criepin ever organized in Milwaukee. For twenty years past Mr. Dorward's residence on the bank of the Milwaukee river has been a favorite of Sunday walk for his friends. The little Scotch cabin in which some forty years were spent still stands on the grounds, but a new house has been erected. Mr. Dorward has held different offices in the Burns club, and is one of its highly respected members.

Saw Grace Darling and Christopher North
George Campbell is a native of Edinborough, and he came to Milwaukee in 1848. He was one of the best cabinet makers in Milwaukee before he retired from the business, and some of the most delicate work done in the shops of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul road was entrusted to his supervision. He spent some years in London before coming to Milwaukee. While in Edinburg he saw Grace Darling, the famous life-saver, and Christopher North, the most famous editor that Blackwood's Magazine ever had, and one of the favorite books in his library is "Noctes Ambrosianne." Mr. Campbell has an excellent memory and the repertoire of songs that he can rended in his inimitable way is a revelation to his friends when he attends an anniversary meeting of the club.

An Old Time Live Stock Dealer
John Ciscel is a native of London, and he came to Milwaukee forty years ago. He was engaged in the packing and butchering business here and in Chicago, and handled a great deal of live stock in the days before the railroads were built as well as in later years. Mr. Ciscel was president of the club in 1888 and 1998, and has always been one of the most regular attendants at the meetings.

Built Old Nashotah Buildings
Robert Cairns is a native of Aushtoeoder, Scotland, and came to Milwaukee in 1855. He was a journeyman mason and stone cutter, and had a high reputation in his line, having been employed on some of the best constructed buildings in Scotland and England. Mr. Cairns built the first stone buildings at Nashotah mission (being employed by Architect Douglass) and superintended the building of the bridges for the Northwestern road. Although he has retired from active business,he still regards with a critical eye the building in stone that is going on around Milwaukee.

Practical Shipbuilder
James Duncan is a native of Carlin Ayrshire, Scotland, where he was born in 1822, the same year as Gen. grant and the duke of Argyie. He is a retired ship carpenter, and was especially skilled in the jobs that required good judgement, such as putting in stop-water wedges in leaking schooners. Mr. Duncan made several trips as a sailor on salt water. He is a good ballad singer, and story teller, and the story about the derelict he encountered on the gulf of St. Lawrence is one of his voyages is very entertaining. Mr. Duncan was steward of the Burns club for fifteen years, and was one of the original charter members of the club.

Sailed the seas for Years
Capt. William Callaway came to Milwaukee in 1857. He is a native of Bristol, England, and sailed in salt and fresh water for twenty-five years. He is president of the Burns club and an honorary member of St. Andrew's society. Capt. Callaway is one of most regular attendants at the semi-monthly club meetings.

A Highlander in it.
Charles Dingwall came here in 1865. He is a highlander, a native of Fain, Rosshire, Scotland. He superintended the erection f the Mitchell bank, the Chamber of commerce building and many other large buildings in the Cream city. He has always been one of the leading members of the Milwaukee Curling club and of the St. Andrew's society. and sings Gaelic songs in excellent style.
This picture of the Burns club is the third group that has been taken since its organization.