Biography of Harry E. Durbin
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

HARRY E. DURBIN has been a factor in real estate and financial circles of Cleveland for a number of years. He began his business career as a glass worker, and later was a traveling salesman.

He was born in Steubenville, Ohio, July 3, 1874. His great grandfather, John Durbin, moved from Maryland to West Virginia, buying a farm near Fairview and spending his last days in the Village of Fairview. The grandfather, Ephraim Durbin, was probably born at Fairview, West Virginia, learned the trade of carpenter, and followed that occupation through his active life, spending his last days retired at Fairview. He was a Union man in sentiment when the Civil war came on and enlisted and served as a member of the First Regiment, Virginia Volunteers, Federal Troop. His wife was Mary Prosser, who survived him and spent her last days at Cumberland, West Virginia.

John B. Durbin, the father of Harry E., was born at Fairview, West Virginia, in 1847, and was still in his teens when he came to Ohio. When President Lincoln issued his call for troops for the rebellion, he enlisted and saw active service with the One Hundred Fifty seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry until the expiration of his term of enlistment. He lived at Steubenville for a number of years, finally coming to Cleveland, where he died in 1892, at the age of forty five. John B. Durbin married Almira Wheelock, a native of Amsterdam, New York, and daughter of Samuel and Harriet (Marceles) Wheelock, who came to Ohio about 1857. Her father for a number of years was an engineer on steamboats on the Ohio River and finally a stationary engineer at Steubenville. Harriet Marceles was a lineal descendent of Jan Von Bommel, who was born at Bommel Gelderland and married Annettie Gersitse, coming to America in 1660. Mrs. John B. Durbin is still living, the mother of two children. Her daughter, Harriet, is the wife of Louis Rolandt.

Harry E. Durbin was educated in public schools at Steubenville, and when fourteen years of age went to work in a glass factory in that city, learning the glassblower's trade. He first worked in a bottle factory and later in a plant making lamp chimneys. When he was nineteen years old he became a traveling salesman, handling silverware, at first with headquarters at Steubenville, but after 1898 in Cleveland Giving up this work in 1902, Mr. Durbin organized the Permanent Income Club, being made its president, and for a number of years has faithfully directed and guided that institution, making it one of the most successful savings societies of Ohio. It was organized with the primary object of affording opportunity and encouraging men of modern means to save and invest their savings in productive real estate, out of which in course of time they might expect a permanent income. The company also is privileged through its charter to buy, own and sell real estate. He is the organizer of several other organizations, including the Vista Apartment Company, the Huntington Apartment Company, the United Mansions Company, the Cleveland Mansions Company, and the Cleveland Merrill Apartment Company. These affiliated organizations constitute the heavy business responsibilities Mr. Durbin carries today. He is also president of the H. E. Durbin Insurance Agency Company.

He married, in 1900, Mrs. Mary (Adams) Rauch, a native of Cleveland, daughter of James and Mary Adams and widow of Charles Rauch. They are the parents of four children: Helen, James Edward, Marion E. and Dorothy. Helen is a graduate of high school, and is now taking the nurses' course in the Cleveland City Hospital. James and Marion are students in the East High School, and Dorothy is a grammar school student. Mr. Durbin was for a number of years active in the Presbyterian Church, being an elder, but now has his membership in the First Methodist Episcopal Church at Cleveland. He is affiliated with Washington Lodge of Knights of Pythias, and is a member of the Aviation and Athletic dubs.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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