<![CDATA[Buller Family Farm - Tom's Blog]]>Tue, 26 Jan 2016 00:50:55 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[The King of the Kaw]]>Sun, 02 Feb 2014 18:52:36 GMThttp://bullerfamilyfarm.weebly.com/toms-blog/the-king-of-the-kaw
Picture
Tom Burns, the King of the Kaw, standing in what is now my front yard.
On January 25th I attended Bald Eagle Day at Lawrence Free State High.  It was a great day, with fun activities for the kids, but I was on a mission to see a presentation on "The Riverkings of the Kaw".  I knew our farm had a history as home to an old commercial fisherman, but I didn't realize until that day that we lived in the same house as the "King of the Kaw." 
We knew that we bought our house from the heirs of Ozella Burns, and Tom Burns (Jr. or the III) had told us tales of his families time at the farm, tales of the 51 flood and how they were involved in fishing and truck farming.   I had recalled a fishing exhibit at the KU Museum of Natural History when I was a student, and Tom Burns said his family had donated materials for that exhibit. Tom talks with me if he catches me out in the field as he is driving by, but  I didn't pursue the issue of our farm's history more until I saw the talk about the Riverkings at Bald Eagle Day. 
It turns out that the previous owner of our farm, Tom Burns (the father of the Tom Burns I met and husband of Ozella), was called the King of the Kaw.  Besides regularly catching large catfish like those pictured above, his knowledge of the Kaw was used to rescue folks in 1951, and was recorded in a book "60 years on the Kaw."  He has been featured in articles in
InFisherman- Remembering Tom Burns: King of the Kaw
Lawrence Magazine

Not to mention a number of other local newspaper articles.
   I feel uniquely honoured to share the habitation of one of the premier naturalists of this part of the state. Apparently, his observations on catfish habits and migration are something that scientists missed. 

As I quickly researched Tom Burns and the history of our little stretch of the Kaw, I found the sad news that the Kansas River from the dam in downtown Lawrence to Eudora is one of the four areas in the state of Kansas that has specific health issues, that would prohibit eating any "bottom-feeders" like the two beautiful catfish above, due to PCB contamination. 
If you happen upon this and have any memories of the Burns Family, I would love to hear them. 
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