|Birth: ||Oct. 11, 1832|
|Death: ||Jan. 12, 1905|
Sketch of a Reader of The Galveston
News From the Time of Its
Bruno Durst was born in Nacogdoches County, Texas, Oct. 11, 1832, and died at his home near Leona, Jan. 12, 1905.
His father, John Durst, came to the State about the year 1818 and was the first white man to settle in the town of Nacogdoches, Texas at that time was governed by Mexico and every person born in the State had to be christened as a Catholic subject. Bruno was one of the few who were christened as such.
John Durst was a member of the Mexican Congress and conveyed the news to Texas that Santa Anna had declared war against Texas. Mr. Durst was not a soldier in the regular army of Texas, but was Captain of a company and operated with Rusk against the Kickapoo Indians, and was in a fight with Bowles and the Cherokee tribe. He lived on the Angelina River in a large house protected by blockhouses, which were refuge for the entire neighborhood. When the country now embracing Leon County became safe for settlement Mr. Durst moved his family hither in 1844 and bought a 2,000-acre tract of land near Leon Prairie. The original owner was named Dinery, a free negro, and the country was then in the Robertson land district."
Bruno Durst was only 12 years of age when his father moved to Leon in 1844, and had lived in the Leona neighborhood ever since until his death.
When the Durst family came to Leona in the early '40's, the wild horse; buffalo, deer, wild turkey, panther, bear, and many other wild animals were to be seen in countless numbers. The towns of Dallas and Waco were cities of the future. The wild Indians roamed over the prairies almost as thickly as some of the animals.
In 1848, during the war between Mexico and the United States, Bruno Durst joined a company and drilled for a few months, but did not get into active service, as the war closed soon after he enlisted.
He married Miss Neelanna Shaw in 1856, and the children born of this union were James H., who died of pneumonia in Centerville, March 19, 1877, and two others who died young.
Mrs. Durst died in 1860, and on Feb. 5, 1868. Mr. Durst married Texana, daughter of Col R.O. Rusk, an officer in the Texas Revolution. The children of their marriage are Mary, wife of J.W. Powell; Hattie, wife of I.W. McKinney; Bruno, Jr., Robert, Jennie, wife of J.L. McAdams, Charles, Jessie and Jim.
In 1851, his father died in Galveston of pneumonia. Louis O. Durst, the eldest child, then took charge of the farm and managed affairs until in 1860, when in the fall of that year he was assassinated in the town of Centerville. The Civil War soon came on and he joined Company A under Capt. J.N. Black, Thirteenth Texas, dismounted cavalry, Col. Benet's regiment, Walker's Division. He was in the army for the four full years and was always ready for duty. He rose from the rank of private to Second Lieutenant and was twice offered a Captaincy, but refused each time on the ground that he did not wish to take the place from a friend. He was promoted for bravery and gallantry at Mansfield. He fought against Banks at Mansfield and Steele at Sabine. He was also in the fight that was made at Vicksburg just before its fall, and participated in several other battles during the four years' service.
He did not have the advantage of a college education, but secured the best that could be obtained in a frontier country. In 1839 Judge John H. Reagan came to Nacogdoches and lived with John Durst in the old stone fort and taught Bruno Durst, his elder brother, Louis O. Durst, Benigna Durst, who afterward became the wife of Gen. T.W. Blake and the mother of J.W. Blake of Dallas, and Harriet Durst, who, afterward was the wife of Dr. Sam Hopkins. When the family moved into Leon, Bruno then attended the nearest school, which was several miles away. Later in the early '50s. he went to school in Huntsville to Judge McKinney, for a short time studying Latin and other subjects. But few of his old schoolmates are left that went to school with him in his early boyhood, and later, when he went to school at Huntsville, Mr. William Hunt of Jewett is the only one left of the boys that went to school with him in his early days, and Mr. J.H. Wiley and Judge J.M. Smither of Huntsville are two of the ones left that went to school with him in Huntsville. Mr. Jeff Birdwell, another one of his old classmates, died at his home in Hillsboro on the same day that he died.
Although his education was limited he made it a rule to read good books and the leading newspapers, among which were the Louisville Courier-Journal and The Galveston News, which he read from its first issue in the early 40's up to his death. He made it a point never to read anything without studying it carefully and kept constantly on his desk an unabridged dictionary for reference. When he once looked up a difficult word he rarely forgot its meaning. He possessed a wonderful mind and could relate minutely the happenings of his boyhood, very seldom omitting any of the details. Many a night has he sat by the fireside in the bosom of his family and related stirring stories of frontier life in Texas, when the settlers were in constant danger from the Indians, as well as the wild animals that then roamed over the country in countless numbers.
Politically he was always a Democrat, as will be seen from a letter written by him to The Galveston News Aug. 22, 1895, in which the following paragraph occurs: "I have always been a sound money Democrat, from convictions and experience forced upon me first with Texas money under Lamar and the wildcat State banking era which followed, then Confederate money, and lastly, greenbacks in 1866-67."
He held several offices during his life, such as Justice of the Peace, Commissioner, Assessor, and was elected in 1866 as Representative and served in the Eleventh Legislature. He took an active part in legislation, and was the author of a bill "villating the title to all locations of land until 1870, aiming to protect the original settlers." After his term was out he went back to his farm near Leona and remained there until his death, holding at different times the minor offices already mentioned.
Religiously, although not a member of any church, he was a firm believer in a Supreme Being. His religious teachings to his children were to carry out the golden rule, "Peace on earth, good-will to men," "Pray for your enemies," "Be just, honest and truthful and treat your neighbor as yourself." He believed that religion was a life of right doing and he practiced it. A proof of his strong belief is shown by the following quotation taken from an obituary written by him last August on Dr.Sam Hopkins:
"By and by our ship shall anchor
if the tide and wind run fair.
Some day in the port of Heaven.
Where our lost and loved ones are."
There never was a time when a man came to him for assistance or advice that he did not willingly give it if it were in his power, without regard to whether the person were friend or enemy, white or black. He was always ready to help the poor and needy and those in distress, and did so as far as he was able. Generous to a fault, the door latch was always on the outside, and no stranger was ever turned away regardless of whether he was able to pay his way or not. He never charged a resident of the county, an executive officer or a person hunting for lost property for lodging. He was a great believer in having his family at home. On the night of the 5th of January he sat by the fireside and sang to the children and grandchildren. Before day on the morning of Jan. 6 he took a severe chill, which developed into pneumonia, and for six days he lingered, while his brother, Horatio, and six of his eight children and several of his grandchildren and one son-in-law stood by and did everything for him and his sick wife that they could. The old darkeys that formerly belonged to him, and their children, came each day to see how "Mars" Bruno was getting along. Some of them remained around and helped to get the wood and water. But he was beyond all human aid, and on the morning of Jan. 12, just before the clock struck the hour of 3, he asked to be turned over on his side, which his daughter Jennie did, placing him on her arm on his right side. He threw his left arm upon her shoulder, and when she asked him if there was anything that he wished, he replied, "Yes, I want rest," and in a few moments he peacefully and quietly passed to his rest.
He was buried on Jan. 13 with Masonic honors in the family graveyard at the old Durst homestead, where sixty-six years before he had come as a 12-year-old barefooted boy.
Galveston Daily News
May 8, 1905.
John Marie Durst (1797 - 1851)
Harriet Matilda Jamison Durst (1807 - 1885)
Neillana Shaw Durst (1841 - 1860)
Texana Miles Lusk Durst (1852 - 1926)
James Harney Durst (1858 - 1877)*
Mary Durst Powell (1868 - 1944)*
Harriet Benigna Durst McKinney (1870 - 1938)*
Bruno Lee Durst (1873 - 1950)*
Robert Augusta Durst (1875 - 1959)*
Jennie Durst McAdams (1877 - 1930)*
Charles Louis Durst (1882 - 1954)*
Jesse Corinne Durst Way (1885 - 1952)*
James John Durst (1888 - 1960)*
13 TEXAS CAV
Created by: Robert V Darst
Record added: Aug 07, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 40370683
Robert V Darst
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