Biography of J. Preston Durham
Marion County, IA Biographies





J. PRESTON DURHAM.
Among the native sons of Marion county who have been content to spend their lives within its borders, feeling that the opportunities here offered are equal to those to be found elsewhere, is J. Preston Durham, who owns and operates a valuable farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section 31, Clay township, known as Iola Stock Farm. He was born upon that farm on the 10th of March, 1866, a son of David T. and Lucretia Emeline (Evans) Durham. The father was a son of David Durham, who removed to Van Buren county, Iowa, in the early '40s, when Iowa was still a territory, and established Durham's ferry, which he conducted for years. He also owned a farm and was one of the substantial residents of his locality. He passed to his reward about 1866.

His son, David T. Durham, was born at Belfast, Maine, where the first of the family in this country had settled upon their removal here from Belfast, Ireland. In his boyhood David T. Durham accompanied his father to Van Buren county, Iowa, and there grew to manhood. Upon reaching years of maturity he engaged in farming and stockraising and gained a competence thereby. He was a republican and served as county treasurer and also held a number of other local offices, including that of supervisor. He was given higher honor in his election as state representative and later as state senator. He came to this county May 1, 1843, and continued to reside here until his death, on the 17th of November, 1902, when eighty years of age. His religious faith was that of the Methodist church. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Lucretia Emeline Evans, was born in Washington county, Indiana, and the city of Evansville was named in honor of her father, John C. Evans, who was an early merchant of that place. In early life, however, he removed to Wapello county, Iowa, and secured a farm on the Monroe county line. He was one of the pioneers of that section of the state and was held in high honor by all who knew him. Mr. and Mrs. Durham were joined in wedlock in Wapello county, Iowa, May 16, 1847, and their married life was a long and happy one. Mrs. Durham died on the 13th of September, 1892, aged sixty seven years, eight months and eighteen days, in the faith of the Methodist church. To their union were born ten children, of whom the subject of this review is the ninth in order of birth. The others surviving are: Tolford S., a resident of Bristol, Colorado; Mrs. Mary E. Rouze, of Tracy, Iowa; Mrs. Florence Houser, living near Knoxville, this state; Herbert M., of Fairport, Kansas; Mrs. May E. Derby, of Hoidrege, Nebraska; and Mrs. Mattie J. Derby, of Yates Center, Kansas. George A. died in 1881, when a young man of thirty three years. Mrs. Alice Brown died in 1893, in young womanhood. Laura A. died in 1901, when about fifty years of age.

J. Preston Durham grew to manhood in this county and after attending the common schools was a student at the Central University of Iowa, at Pella. He remained under the parental roof until his marriage, which occurred in 1901, since which time he has farmed independently. His place is one of the best improved quarter sections in Clay township and the excellent condition in which everything is kept adds greatly to the value of the property. Mr. Durham raises both grain and stock and his labor yields him a good financial return annually.

On the 27th of February, 1901, Mr. Durham was married to Miss Julia A. Welch, who was born October 14, 1866, in the northern part of Marion county, her parents being John B. and Harriett (Caufman) Welch, who came from Illinois and Virginia respectively, but were married in Marion county, Iowa, August 30, 1855. The Welch family came originally from Scotland and the Caufmans from Germany. For many years John B. Welch has been engaged in the lumber business and now resides in Oregon at the age of over eighty three years. His wife, who was a consistent member of the Baptist church, die& in January, 1909, when over seventy nine years of age. They had five children, namely: Harriett E., now the widow of Peter Adams and a resident of Oregon; John R., of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; George L., of Pella, Iowa; Charles W., a railroad man of Des Moines; and Julia A. Previous to her marriage Mrs. Durham taught school for fifteen years, including eleven years in the city schools of Pella, and was very successful in that profession. To Mr. and Mrs. Durham has been born a son, David E., who is nine years old.

Mr. Durham is a republican and has served in a number of local offices, including those of assessor and trustee. He held the former office for two terms and has invariably given the same attention and care to the discharge of his official duties that he gives to the management of his private affairs. The guiding principles of his life are to be found in the tenets of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which he is a member, as is also his wife. The esteem of all who know him is his reward for the integrity, fair dealing and kindliness that have always characterized him in his relations with his fellowmen.

From:
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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