Rollie C. Burns was born in Nodaway County, Missouri, on April 6, 1857. He moved to Texas with his family in 1861 and settled first in Collin County and later in Grayson County. In 1873 he went on the Wegefarth surveying expedition in the Texas Panhandle. His duties included scouting and providing buffalo meat for the expedition. For the next several years he worked on ranches. He made cattle drives for George Loving in 1874 and 1875 and worked on the 22 Ranch about 1881. In 1883–84 he was manager of the Llano Cattle Company's Curry-Comb Ranch in Garza County. In November 1884 he married Mary Emma Boles. They had two children. From 1884 to 1888 Burns was manager of the Square and Compass Ranch, which lay just south of the Curry-Comb. For the next eight years he was range boss on the IOA Ranch in Lubbock County. In 1891 he helped establish the town of Lubbock. In 1907 he started a business running an automobile stage line from Plainview to Lubbock. He sold his cars in 1909 when the railroad arrived in Lubbock. He died on March 2, 1945.