BURGUM FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY

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

Biographical Memories by June Dryden


June Dryden lives in a village, in a beautiful area just north of York, and has lived in Yorkshire for forty-seven years. She is married to Peter Dryden. These are June's thoughts and memories regarding herself and members of her family, all associated with the "AA" family tree. (As usual the writing in italics is additional information provided by me).

Emily Burgum Morton

Emily Caroline Burgum was born at West Ham in 1870 and died in Essex in 1960. Emily was the first child of Henry and Sarah Burgum.

I believe Emily Burgum came from Portsmouth, but I am not sure. She was my Great Aunt. Aunt Emily was a lovely lady; I would call her an angel. She used to nurse "well-to-do" ladies and, eventually, that is how she got married. I was told that she nursed Mrs Morton and, on her death bed, she asked my Aunt if she would look after her husband (Charles Morton). My Aunt agreed and believed the only way to do the right thing was to marry him, so she became Mrs Morton !

At this time, Emily lived at No.5 Brampton Grove, Hendon, Middlesex. While living there, she took my father (Emily's nephew, George Burgum 1897-1978) and put him in a trade. Aunt and Uncle Morton bought a property in two acres of land at South Woodham Ferrers, in Essex. I know my father did quite a lot of work for them. The Mortons moved into their home in Woodham Ferrers while my father got married (to Ethel Bellamy, 24th September 1921), and went to live at Brampton Grove, Hendon.

More memories....

My brother and I were both born at Brampton Grove. (Edgar was born 10th January 1925 and June was born 5th June 1926). We lived there for eight years. Uncle Bill (Doug's grandfather) also lived at Brampton Grove and was there when Edgar and I were born. Uncle Cecil and Auntie Bella also lived there. Iris, their daughter, was also born at the house. (The house was later bought by the Salvation Army and pulled down to make their Hall bigger). I have very happy thoughts of Aunt Emily. We would go to Woodham Ferrers for our Easter and summer holidays. I remember on our Easter visits we always had new sandals and I always went into ankle socks. We would go by train and had chocolate to eat which was a wonderful treat. Arriving at South Woodham Ferrers, we had a mile to walk to the bungalow. I used to love to hear the wind in the wires. Auntie kept chickens and I would go to collect the eggs and feed them. We also used to pick mushrooms.

We had lovely days there and, in 1931, my aunt took my brother and I to the mission church to get christened. Aunt Emily would frequently take us to the church. I can also remember Auntie Emily taking us "winkling" at the River Crouch, where we would paddle in the shallow pools. If we went to Southend, she would walk us to the river at Hullbridge. If the tide was high we would cross the river on the ferry-boat, but, if the tide was out, we would cross by horse and cart! We would then catch a bus. I have walked over the river many times when I got older. I loved every holiday. Dad never got a holiday, except Christmas Day, so there was always something missing. I have spent many hours at the river, just to have the peace and quiet or to listen to the birds.

My Uncle Charles died and my Aunt asked if we would go to live with her at South Woodham Ferrers and, when we moved to Woodham Ferrers, my brother and I joined the church choir. My father used to play in a band when he lived with Aunt Emily. My Aunt remained with us for a while, then decided that she would return to nursing. By this time she was not so young and some of the ladies Emily nursed were several years older than her. In the mission church in the village there is a window of the "Light of the World" in memory of Charles Morton. Aunt Emily did come home at last and died at Woodham Ferrers (in 1960). She is buried at North Woodham Ferrers Churchyard with her husband.

I lived there, at Woodham Ferrers, until I got married in 1948 when I moved to York. The ground and bungalow had to be sold as all the land was to be developed for a "New Town". Dad, Mum and Edgar went to live at Rettendon. Dad was never happy there and died in hospital at Maldon. It was a very sad day for me because I loved him so much. My mother also died at Rettendon and Edgar moved back to South Woodham. My Great-granddad (Henry Burgum) lived in South Woodham Ferrers and when I went on holiday we used to visit him. He lived in King Edward Road, in a bungalow, with Florence Butcher. She was not well liked by the family, so most visits were when she was not around. Miss Butcher used to say that she was step-daughter to Great-granddad Burgum, but nobody really believed it. It was said that she was just after his money, but I don't know if that was true. She died at Southend-on-Sea.

My father had been invited to go with Henry to Brazil, but he did not go. I was told that Henry had his own plantations out there and, on the way back to England, he was set upon by bandits and robbed. I was also told that Henry, who was an engineer, had worked on Tower Bridge and that there was a plate with his name on it. True ? I do not know, but I heard the story many times and it was always the same. Great-granddad Henry was a healthy man. Florence had kept a curtain between the living room and the kitchen, but there was a step down between the two rooms. Henry apparently caught his foot in the curtain and fell and hit his head. When Florence discovered him, he was dead. (Henry died in 1931, age 87). He is buried in North Woodham Ferrers churchyard, in a grave now only marked by a bush.

Postscript by Doug Burgum

Henry Burgum, June's Great-grandfather, was born in Bristol in 1844. While living in West Ham, in 1866, he married Sarah Jane Bartholomew. In 1868, a daughter Elizabeth was born at West Ham. Emily was born in 1870 and a son, Frederick James, was born in 1872. On 6th August 1876, Sarah Burgum died of Ovarian Septicaemia. She was just 31 years old. In 1882, Henry remarried. His new wife, Charlotte Butcher (nee Markell) had been married before and had a daughter, Florence. On 29th July 1884, Henry and Charlotte had a son of their own, Harry Herbert. He was born at 25 Blanche Street, Plaistow. By coincidence, Harry married a lady named Blanche Banks in 1908 at West Ham. Harry suffered poor health (measles, then TB) and moved to Swanage, where he and his family lived for a time in a Nissen Hut. Harry, taking cash in lieu of pension, bought a plot of land of about an acre and built a shop selling teas and groceries. Harry died at Poole in 1957, but was survived by his wife and a daughter, Blanche Doreen Burgum. "Dory" had been born in 1910 and became Post Mistress for Harman's Cross, Dorset. Dory also nursed her mother, until she passed away. Dory died in 1980.

As you all know, I have been involved in family history research for a number of years now. In all that time, I have written and received hundreds (if not thousands !) of letters from all over the world. The letters vary from enthusiastic to complete disinterest, but one of the strangest series of letters I ever received was from a Reverend. I had been attempting to trace Dory Burgum, having been told about her by the late Arthur Burgum, Iris's husband (AA 028). Arthur had been, by chance, to the post office at Harman's Cross while on holiday and had seen the name of the post mistress, Miss B.D. Burgum printed above the door. At the time, he had spoken to Dory Burgum and wondered whether they could have been related. Arthur told me this story sometime later and I began searching for Dory. I wrote to the post office at Harman's Cross, but sadly Dory had passed away several years earlier. However, I was given the name of the Rev. "X" who had been a friend of Dory's. Naturally, I wrote to him for information. I received a reply a short time later (the year was 1985). I have to say I was somewhat taken aback by the tone of the Reverend's letter ! One sentence reads :- "I am not a little puzzled as to how you managed to secure my name and address as a friend of Miss Burgum and why the sudden interest in her, four years after her death and, as far as I recall, in the twenty-odd years that I knew her she never mentioned your name".

Now you might think I am being a bit over-sensitive, but the tone did not strike me as being particularly Christian. I wrote back to the Reverend again, this time enclosing a family tree. A second letter duly arrived. Phrases included :- "From perusing your genealogical list, the Miss Burgum we knew was not related to you in any way...." and "I am sorry to have disillusioned you but by no stretch of the imagination can the Miss Burgum we knew have been related to you". I felt my motives had been greatly misunderstood and I wrote back to explain further. A third letter arrived. It said :- "I'm afraid that, though Miss Burgum was indeed a great friend of ours, I really cannot drum up interest in her antecedents and relations". Another sentence said :- "However, I really haven't the time or the inclination to pursue this correspondence any further, especially as we have no memorabilia of hers to pass on; all her papers (for personal reasons) having been destroyed".

I was dumb-founded. What had I done to upset this man ? A man of the cloth. I continued my Burgum research and, in due course, uncovered the will of Blanche Doreen Burgum. The main part of the will read :- I give the bungalow which I am now having built near the Post Office at Harman's Cross aforesaid with the appurtenances and curtilage thereof together with all my household furniture furnishings ornaments and household equipment and also my motor car free of all duty payable at my death unto and equally between Reverend "X" and his wife". More minor amounts were left to a few friends and distant cousins. I make no conclusions nor make no comment. I simply tell you the story...........