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Submitted by: Evelyn Wright (

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Van Buren County [AR] Democrat, Thursday, March 31, 1966

Life of Dr. Calvin Burns Recalled; Practised in Scotland Area

Biographies of early day doctors, which the Van Buren County Historical Society is attempting to compile, is often only fragmentory memories of family members. Such is the life of Dr. Calvin Burns, an early day doctor at Scotland, reported on recently at a meeting of the society.

He was presented his certificate to practice on June 29, 1881, by K. F. Cantrell Country Clerk of Marion County. Later on, September 16, 1889, Clerk G. G. Perkins of Van Buren County registered Dr. Burns to practice medicine anywhere in Arkansas.

Dr. Burns was born November 17, 1840. He served in Company H First Arkansas Cavalry during the Civil War. He had several brothers and sisters, one brother Franklin died of disease at the battle of Pea Ridge.

The family had two disasters to their homes, losing a home near Scotland by a storm, and one in Cleveland by fire. One year was spent at Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, Oklahoma.

He was married three times, and had 23 children. The first wife was Elizabeth. Their children were Jimmy, Ronson, Margaret, Sarah, Tommy and Bell. An infant died at birth.

The next marriage was Rosa, to whom was born Brad, France, Archie, May, Matilda, Zana and an unnamed baby. The last marriage was to Tabitha Stephes, and their children were Susie, Claudia, Myrtle, Edgar, Edna, Minnie, Esther, Durward and Roy.

His daughter, Esther, remembers her mother used to keep a hatchet in the kitchen to chop the ice off the stirrups of the doctor's horse, when necessary. He kept two horses so should one be too tired to make another call, he would have a fresh horse. He took anything offered in payment for his services and never insisted on payment by any patient.

His rich sense of humor must have helped him in many situations. One day he was pulling up the wrinkles in his snowy white hand-knit woolen socks. He told a friend, "When I go to the legislature I'm going to pass a law to keep these socks up without supporters."

The maily once lived in the Dr. Aaron Emmons house also in the McElwee house at Scotland.

Dr. Burns died October 7, 1918. He was 76 years of age. He was buried in the cemetery at Cleveland, Ark. after services conducted by Rev. J. M. Hugner and Hon. M. B. Lefter. He had been a member of the Methodist Church South since early in life.

Forty years were devoted to the practice of medicine.

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