Welland History .ca

The TALES you probably never heard about


22 March 1834-14 June 1904

The Autobiography of the Late Rev. Nelson Burns

Born in the town of Niagara, now called Niagara-on-the-Lake, 22 March 1834, Nelson was the second son of John and Deborah Huff Burns. His brother, Doctor Alfred Burns was a physician in the early years of Merrittsville, now Welland. Another brother of note was Theodore Burns, an editor of the Georgetown Herald.

An Anglo-Saxon Protestant, John Burns was born in the southern part of Ireland emigrating to Canada as a young man. Once situating in Niagara after living in several locales, he became engaged in the boot and shoe business. His wife, Deborah, born in Bath, was of Pennsylvania Dutch background, U.E. Loyalist. Together they raised six boys and one girl.

Upon graduation Nelson took the headmastership of the high school in Welland, remaining for one and a half years. He stated that “he took this position chiefly by the fact that my eldest brother was practicing medicine in Welland.”

The Reverend Burns was an early teacher at the Sabbath School in Welland for one and a half years, before moving to St. Thomas, ON. He married Eleanor Tyler on 12 July 1866.

Nelson died in Toronto, 14 June 1904 of heart disease.