The Burgum family history society is a member of the Guild of one name studies and researches the names

Concord Visit/Mark's Tragedy

Concord, New Hampshire, in the United States was the home of John Burgum, The ornamental painter who decorated the famous Concord stagecoaches. It was here that John met and married Emma Gannell, the adopted daughter of Countess Rumford. His family remained in Concord for several generations.

The New Hampshire Historical Society holds several boxes of letters and diaries called "The Burgum Papers". I have known about these papers fro some time, but time and money have prevented me from visiting the Historical Society in Concord, New Hampshire, USA. Luckily for me, I have a very understanding wife and, on Sunday 25th July 1993, I flew to Boston, Mass. From there, I hired a car and drove northwards through the New England countryside to Concord. They were expecting me at the New Hampshire Historical Society and I was soon down to work, sorting through the diaries and papers of the Burgum family.
I began with a general search of the boxes, before settling down to the detail. Over three long hard days (with no time for lunch!) I read and read, taking notes where necessary. Much of that detail was scribbed down in note-books, while other extracts were typed straight into the laptop. The Historical Society closed at 4.30pm, which left me time to explore Concord "after hours". Although Concord is the State Capital, it remains a sleepy tittle town, nestling in the pine forests close to the Merrimack River. I wandered through the local shops, but found nothing I needed to have.

I also went to 68 South State Street and sat outside the large wooden house John and Emma had built one hundred and forty years earlier. At one cemetery I found the gravestone of Sarah Thompson, Countess Rumford. In another cemetery, Blossom Hill, I found the graves of several of the Burgum family. I knew the Burgums were buried somewhere at Blossom Hill as I had found among the Burgum papers a cemetery deed. In 1861 John Burgum had purchased cemetery lot no.510 for himself and his family. He had paid $21 and 60 cents to secure his last resting place.

Blossom Hill is set on rolling hills amongst the trees. Here I found John Burgum and his wife, Emma. The gravestone read:- BURGUM John Burgum, born in Birmingham, England April 20, 1826. Died April 16th 1907. Emma Gannell, his wife born in London, England, April 20, 1828. Died Jan 9, 1923. Also Jane Isabella, born Oct 7, 1860. Died June 2, 1861. The records show that Charles Burgum, who died July 13, 1950 also is buried on the site. On another site, John's son Edwin Gannell Burgum is buried with his wife, Addie, a daughter Katherine and Addie's parents. The site is marked BERRY, Addie's maiden name.
Countess Sarah Rumford Monument 2005
As you know, John Burgum married the adopted daughter of Countess Rumford who spent the last years of her life in Concord. Her father, Count Rumford, was born at Woburn, Massachusetts, on the outskirts of Boston and I also took the opportunity to visit this small New England town. A large statue of the Count stands outside the town library, a replica of the one that stands in the English Garden, Munich, in Germany. The Count's birthplace, a few miles outside Woburn, is now the Count Rumford Museum. I was pleased to receive a tour from the lady who resides in a section of the house.
"Have you ever heard of Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford?" she asked. My smile clearly gave away that I had and we exchanged information and stories about the Count and his daughter.

As with all these things, research can often throw up more questions than answers. Some of you may recall that in volume nine of the journal, page 9, I asked if anyone knew anything about Henry Elkin and Jane Burgum Elkin. (Henry was a sugar planter in Cuba and was the first manufacturer to introduce machinery, replacing the oxen, for grinding cane). Well, among the Burgum papers I discovered receipts showing that John Burgum, the artist, was paying for Henry's lodgings in Concord. I shall investigate further!

One story I did uncover haunts me and it came from the pages of Emma Gannell Burgum's diary. Over those days of study I felt I grew close to Emma and her family. I saw her house. I stood by the family grave and I read her diaries. Amongst the trivia of routine diary records, weather reports and who came to visit, came the following entires. In 1901, Emma was 75 years old and grandson Mark was seven. I am not ashamed to say that this particular story made me cry...

28th Jan 1901 Mark not so well.

30th Jan 1901 Mark very weak.

1st Feb 1901 Had the doctor for Mark.

7th Feb 1901 Mark was very weak.

9th Feb 1901 I called at Minnie's twice with Art Union book. Mark better. Little Joe was there.

14th Feb 1901 I took a picture for Mark; he has three Valentines.

16th Feb 1901 I go to Mark every day.

19th Feb 1901 Mark was a bed.

1st Mar 1901 Mark about the same.

3rd Mar 1901 Father took him the bed rest.

4th Mar 1901 I read to Mark.

6th Mar 1901 Addie took Mark some turkey.

8th Mar 1901 I was with Mark while his mother washed. May was with him while she went to the doctors. Man came and took away the oxygen.

9th Mar 1901 Doctor came back to see Mark at ten. Doctor says Mark is better.

10th Mar 1901 Minnie has Shad's bed in the sitting room for Mark for he is a bed this week. He is very weak.

11th Mar 1901 Mark upstairs today.

12th Mar 1901 I washed poor Mark, he is very weak. I do wish he were better.

13th Mar 1901 Mark upstairs. He sat in his chair, then in his mother's arms and then propped up in bed and played with his buffalos.

14th Mar 1901 Mark in a doze most of the time, refuses to eat. Doctor came twice.

15th Mar 1901 Friday. Father home all day. Darling Mark never spoke after mid-night... ... with his devoted mother at his side 'til 9am. Then God called for him. It is hard, what shall we do without him? Poor Minnie and Ed.

16th Mar 1901 Minnie and Ed calm. I called on May who was all broke up.

18th Mar 1901 Charlie came at 11, dined here. Corrie sent Minnie a nice letter. Mrs Rogers came. She rode in the back with Charlie, Nattie and May. The service was at three. Private. There were 36 bundles of flowers in every design around his lovely form. Father held one ribbon at the last. Rev Mr Slocome made consoling remarks.