David Argyle Burns was born in Freedom, Ohio on July 6, 1884, first child of Lorenzo Dow and Mary Rebecca Burns. His younger sister, Elizabeth (Eliza) May, was born in 1886.

This is the farm in Center of the World, Ohio, where the family lived when Guy was a young boy. They grew their own food, cut their own wood, made their own soap and candles, and lived the simple life. His memories of those years were vivid. He started school there, and honed his independent spirit by venturing far and wide on his own even when told not to!

In the early years, Lorenzo worked as a farm laborer, growing crops in shares, as a logger in a Wisconsin camp, and as a track man for the railroad.

The Mahoning River meandered around Center of the World, and Lorenzo taught Guy to fish here.


In the mid-1890s, Lorenzo and Mary Rebecca decided to move the family to Cuyahoga Falls, an up and coming community north of Akron, Ohio. This is a view from the main part of the Falls, as they called it, down the Portage Trail, which bridged the Cuyahoga River. The large building in the distance to the right is East School, which Guy attended. They looked for a house on that side of the river, which was more working-class.

Front Street, Cuyahoga Falls, turn of the century.

The Cuyahoga River runs all the way to Cleveland and Lake Erie. As the nineteenth century came to a close, its waters powered foundries, rubber factories, electrical plants, and machine shops, including Falls Rivet and Machine, founded in 1873, where Lorenzo found a job.

The family moved into a good-sized house -- ten rooms, Ebba recalled -- across the river from the Falls on Newberry Street. Two railway lines ran behind the house. Lorenzo would cross the tracks on his way to Falls Rivet to work. East School was just two blocks away.

Guy at East School, looking like one of the younger kids in his grade. He did exceptionally well in school, boasting excellent handwriting and draughtsmanship (which deteriorated mightily in later years) , and a head for figures.

East School, which Guy attended from elementary through high school. Guy's four children also went to East.

Lorenzo and Guy shared a lifetime of fishing adventures. This is a family photo of one of their favorite places along the river, which in those days was still relatively clean and quite fishable.

Guy and Lorenzo out fishing, probably at Silver Lake, which was just a mile or two north of where they lived.

Father and son out camping. The square coffee pot was a must-have for their adventures along the river.

There is literally no telling how many fish these two men caught in their lifetimes -- it must have been in the thousands!

Guy and Lorenzo's homemade tent served as a model for camping tarps Bob Burns made in the 1960s.

Father and son at a cabin near Silver Lake.

An example of Guy's high-school draughtsmanship.

Guy at graduation from high school, 1902

Miss Julia Fenn, Guy's high school English teacher, on whom he had a big crush (which was returned to no small degree, I think).

One of Guy's first jobs was a Loesser Rolling Mill, shown below, located across the Cuyahoga River from Falls Rivet and Machine.