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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Park, or Burns, Elizabeth (1791-1873)

Illegitimate daughter of Burns and Anna Park. When she was twenty-one, she received the sum of £200 from the fund raised by her father's admirers.

According to an article in the Burns Chronicle of 1916, Betty Burns, as she was known, married Private John Thomson of the Stirlingshire Militia, in 1808. The next day the regiment was ordered to Berwick-on-Tweed, and remained there for almost a year. On its being moved again, Thomson sent his wife to his parents in Pollokshaws, Glasgow, where he returned on leaving the militia in 1814. Thomson took up the trade of handloom weaving, and he and his wife both remained in Pollokshaws until their deaths - Thomson's in 1869, and Betty Burns's in 1873 at Crossmyloof. They are both buried in the Old Burgher churchyard in Pollokshaws once called the Vennel, and which survives in the middle of one of Glasgow Corporation's Comprehensive Redevelopment Areas.

Of their fairly numerous family, their second son, Robert Burns Thomson, was a versifier, and his song 'My Daddy's Awa' at the war' was popular during the Crimean War. He was proud of his descent, but made no attempt to 'cash in' on his grandfather's name, by publishing his poems in book form. After learning the trade of handloom weaving he became a power-loom tenter, and eventually was appointed manager of Messrs. Scott's factory in the east end of Glasgow. When he retired from this position, he founded a firm of brush manufacturers Messrs R. B. Thomson & Co., in Stockwell Street, Glasgow. He died in 1887 aged sixty-nine and is buried beside his mother.

James Glencairn Thomson, a younger son of Betty Burns, was the last survivor of the family. He died in 1911, at the age of eighty-four, having received at one time a small Government pension in recognition of his grandfather's name and fame. He is also buried in the Vennel. The two sons, Robert Burns Thomson, and James Glencairn Thomson, attended the centenary celebrations of their grandfather's birth, held in the King's Arms Hall, Trongate, Glasgow, in 1859.

Betty Burns's youngest daughter, Margaret, was second wife of David Wingate, the poet, who was born at CowgIen, near Pollokshaws. She died in 1898, aged sixty-three. She was buried in the family burying ground, which also was the burial place of Gilbert Burns Begg, the poet's nephew.

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Robert Burns Store

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Complete Burns Songs

linn recordings of burns Linn Records have completed their landmark recording of all 368 Burns songs, available as individual CDs or a 12 volume presentation box set. We have full details. Click here...


Burns Music & Recordings
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Burns Chess Sets

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