John Burgum was born in Birmingham, England in 1826. He came to Concord, NH in 1850. He was known as an “ornamental painter.” He was associated for many years with the Abbot-Downing Company in Concord, NH. Abbot-Downing manufactured the richly-decorated stagecoaches known around the world throughout the 19th century. John also worked for the Concord Carriage Company, E. Teel and Company, the Union Carriage Company, and the Boston and Maine railroad. Sometimes John and his son, Edwin, ornamented a coach together – one sketching the design with the other applied the finishing touches. In addition to ornamenting coaches, John repaired clocks, painted landscapes on small wooden panels for souvenirs, and taught pupils in art.
An exhibition of his works was held at the New Hampshire Historical Society in 1981.