Guide to the Burnett World War I Correspondence Collection (1918 – 1940s) – History

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John Burnett (1843 to 1930) was born in Scotland. His wife Sarah (Arnold) Burnett (1846 to 1922) and all seven children were born in England: Lucy Wright (1872 to 1944), Archibald Burnett (1873 to 1938), Frank Burnett (1875 to 1967), Walter John Burnett (1877 to 1963), William Arnold Burnett (1879 to 1948), Malcolm Burnett (1890 to 1964), and Jessie Butterworth (1883 to 1961). The Burnett family immigrated to the United States in 1890 and settled first on a farm in Kern County, California. By 1916 sons Walter and William were the owners of Burnett Bros., also known as the Santa Cruz Mill and Feed Co. This was the hay, grain, and feed store at the corner of Soquel Avenue and Ocean Street. They resided nearby at 308 Broadway with their parents, moving the following year to 277 Broadway. Walter served in World War I with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the 72nd Regiment, 4th Canadian Division. Walter’s obituary states that he served with the Black Watch but it is more likely that he served with the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada. Malcolm served in England and France in the Canadian Army with the British Expeditionary Force. The bulk of the correspondence is from brothers Malcolm and Walter to their mother, who lived in Santa Cruz during World War I.