The first man who compiled and wrote the records of the Dalry Burns Club, now called the Cairn,
in such a masterly fashion and with such splendid calligraphy, was William Logan of Coldstream,
Kilbirnie. Born at Townhead on the 18th February, 1821, the first year his name appears in the
Cairn is for the year 1853. He was President in 1864, and he died on 26th February, 1869, a
comparatively young man of 48. The last year he wrote in the Cairn was for the year 1866.

Although the Dalry Burns Club is, and always has been, a purely gentleman's club, the very
first photograph in the first Cairn is that of a woman. And what a woman! She was Jean Neil
Montgomerie, hostess of Montgomerie's Inn. In a poem she is called by the author, Andrew Aitken,
"The wife o' Dalry". She was an exceptionally fine class of woman. She was a good cook and a
famous hostess, and was toasted many a time by the members of "Dalry Burns Club". This is what
Andrew Aitken says about Mrs. Montgomerie:

There are wives that can bear and can nurse up braw bairnies
Bake scones, sew, make kebbocks, and spitz,
But there's few that can mix up a haggis, sae nicely
As the wife of Montgomerie's Inn.

Her hoose is but wee, but it's neat and well plenished,
Wi' a' things tae please, baith the mind and the eye,
And the rich and the poor and the young and the aged.
Are aye kindly used by the Wife o'Dalry

Mrs. Montgomerie died on 1st of October, 1863.

Andrew Crawford, who was the first Croupier and Secretary in 1826, was president from the year
1828 to 1843, both years inclusive. In 1843 he emigrated to America. He took with him the minute
book of all the suppers of the club between 1826 and 1843. In the year 1851, Andrew Crawford sent
this book back to John Montgomerie, host of the inn, from Liberty Prairie, Illinois, U.S.A. when
he was 79 years of age. Robert Montgomerie, son of John Montgomerie, and host of the inn after his
father died in 1854 had become a member of the club in 1841. He, however, allowed his membership
to lapse when he sold the inn to Daniel Campbell in 1863. At the supper in the year 1901, he
presented this book to Dalry Burns Club. Robert Montgomerie, who was then 81, said that night in
1901, that he remembered the first supper in 1826, and all the personalities who attended. The
chairman at this meeting, James Graham, cabinet-maker of Dalry, proposed a vote of thanks to Robert
Montgomerie, who was thereafter admitted as an honorary member of the club. Robert Montgomerie was
the second person to be made an honourary member of the Dalry Burns Club.

May, 2023: Andrew Crawford's copy of the First Edition is currently on show at Innerpeffray Library.

This book, however, contains no names of whoever proposed the toast. This seems have been one of
those curious customs of the club, that the names of whoever proposed the toasts should not be
written, and a custom which was carried out until 1861, after which the names of the proposers of
the toasts were noted in the cairn. In only one year during this period (1852), Andrew Crawford
has written in pen in his record book the names of whoever proposed the toasts for that year.
Another of the curious old customs of the club, was that no newspaper reporter was allowed to be
at the supper for the purpose of recording the doings of the club for the paper. This custom was
carried on till about the year 1949.
Although it was one of the unwritten rules of the club - that nothing was ever to be seen in the
papers about the club' affairs - the chairman's toast was reported in the year 1864, the year that
William Logan (the compiler of records) was chairman. The same year, by a curious coincidence, the
croupier was also named William Logan. He was the parochial schoolmaster of Dalry. Here are a few
extracts taken from the records of Andrew Crawford, and as there are no names in his records,
except for the year 1852, the names included here are the names of the members who should have
given the toasts. Therefore the first toast in this book for the year 1826 must have been given
by Hugh Morris, the president. He starts off with these words:

"This is the first time our village has attempted to celebrate the birthday of our Ayrshire Bard,
Robert Burns, and certainly it reflects very little honour on our village celebrated for song,
that the neighbouring shires have been celebrating his worth for more than twenty years and before
this night we have been mute. But better than never."

He finishes up with these words:

"For a songwriter Burns has never been surpassed. I think this night will prove it fully to all
his friends assembled here, where each will loose his pack, and wale a ballad o' the best. I hope
the time is now come, when his songs will have a place in every winnock sol, to be taken up at an
idle hour, and croon over, and then there will be no want for our next meeting, this day, twelve months."

Following this, Andrew Crawford, the first Croupier and Secretary, said to the meeting:

"Since custom prevails so much among men, that they cannot meet to be met without drinking, nor
drink without proposing a toast, I must make the following remarks. Since we all desire the
liberty of believing things as the mind informs us, it will naturally follow, that we have
no manner of right to take away the like liberty of others. Wherefore when I propose the health
or the memory of a person who is object of my veneration in this Burns Club, I ought naturally
to conclude that all company cannot have the same veneration for that person, nor any equal
pleasure drinking his health; consequently, my chief aim in proposing his health is to please
myself. But by doing so, I in some degree infringe that liberty on others, which I would wish
to enjoy myself. I have therefore selected a few toasts for this night, which are as free from
party spirit, as I hope you will all join heartily in drinking."