Santa Cruz County History - People

A Walk Through Time: John Burns
by Janet Krassow and
by Randy Krassow

A native Scotsman, John Burns permanently brought part of his homeland to Santa Cruz County. Burns married Miss Margaret Oswald at Falkirk, and had five children when he moved to Canada in 1852. Ten years later, he and his son Thomas settled in the mountains to the north of Santa Cruz.

His homestead was located high on a ridge from which the ocean could be seen in the distance. The view reminded Burns of his beloved native Scottish highlands, so he named the mountain Ben Lomond in remembrance of his old home.

Photograph of the Ben Lomond Library in 1914
Photograph of the Ben Lomond Library in 1914

Local legend also has it that Burns named the settlement of Bonny Doon after one of the songs by poet Robert Burns, who composed Ye Banks and Braes O' Bonnie Doon -- perhaps the most popular song in Scotland.

Burns died in 1880 and is buried at a spot almost as beautiful as his homeland -- a gentle sloping knoll near the banks of the San Lorenzo River.

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Ben Lomond, Bonny Doon, cemeteries


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