George Burnham, more than forty years a medical practitioner at Peterborough, is a son of John Burnham, who came from New Hampshire, and settled on a farm between Port Hope and Cobourg, where the son was born September 4, 1814. Reference to his father is elsewhere made in this volume in a sketch of “The Burnham Family.” George was educated at the Port Hope grammar school; studied medicine in the same term with Dr. McSpaddin, attended lectures at the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York; there received the degree of M.D., and subsequently the same degree from the College of Physicians and. Surgeons of Ontario.
Dr. Burnham settled in Peterborough about 1836; and since that date has been in practice here, doing an extensive business until two or three years ago, when trouble with his eyes compelled him to partially retire from practice. For several years after first settling here, his rides extended over an area of thirty miles in all directions, and sometimes even forty or fifty miles. He had the utmost confidence of the people, and many of the older settlers, still living in this vicinity, have vivid recollections of his hardships in reaching their homes, in their times of sickness, and of his kindly disposition, as well as of skill in curing them and their friends.
Dr. Burnham was for many years a member and chairman of the Peterborough school board, and did a great deal to elevate the standard of public instruction, often lecturing on scientific and other subjects pertaining to education.
He has been a member of the Baptist church for a long period, and has maintained a consistent christian character. He is a Freemason, and has been master of the Peterborough Lodge.
January 23, 1847, Miss Adeline Humphries Spalding, of Haldimand, Ont., was joined in marriage with Dr. Burnham, and had eight children. She died October 17, 1869, and four of her children are with her in the world of spirits. George Herbert, the older son living, is a physician, and connected with the London Ophthalmic Hospital; Helen Seymour is the wife of Dr. Robert P. Boucher, of Peterborough, and J. Hampden and Georgina Samanthe, are at home.