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Michael Durlam
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Birth: Dec. 8, 1885
Guthrie County
Iowa, USA
Death: Sep. 20, 1981
Jefferson
Greene County
Iowa, USA

My Father Michael Durlam married my Mother Fay Ellen Griswold 1/2/1912 in Sac City, IA, daughter of Erastmus Griswold and Julia Irons. Dad was born in Guthrie Co. Iowa on Dec 8th 1885. Siblings were John Durlam, Mary Dirlam Hall, William Dirlam, Phillip Dirlam, 1/2 brother Henry Nye Jr. His mother was Sarah Lockner (Lochner) Dirlam
Father was Dr. William Dirlam - who was an eclectic doctor (made own medicines from things Sarah grew in garden and found in the timber)Fay was born in Nebraska in 1894. At a young age Dad lost his father and did not like his step-dad at all and so he ran away from home when he was 14. I know he did whatever he could find to do. He sold Watkins products at one time and used to walk from farm to farm selling his wares. He told me that he would often sleep in the farmers hay stack. He said that one time when awakened in the morning he discovered that two other guys were sleeping on the other side of the same stack. He also told me that one night he was sleeping under a tree in a park and was awakened by an elephant that was eating leaves off of the tree he was sleeping under. He said the elephant had wondered from the circus that was in town. Dad also worked with a ditching crew who did farm drainage and he met my mother when they were tilling Grandma Griswold's farm. Dad went to the barber college in Des Moines and later had a Barber shop in Jolley, Pomeroy and Knoke. He then moved to Jefferson I think in 1918 and got a job as a rural mail carrier in 1919 and he worked until he retired in 1955 after 35 years of service. I can remember going on his route with him in the winter time and digging mail boxes out of snow drifts so he could deliver their mail. (Yes he believed that the MAIL had to be delivered! I also remember going on his route after I came home from my service in the army. It was snowing and I took my rifle along just in case we would spot a pheasant. Luckily I spotted 2 roosters sitting under a plumb thicket and I got out of the car and lined them up and shot both of them in one shot. So help me God this is true. No the season wasn't open but I was absent for 3 seasons so I figured I could open it for just one more day.
Dad and Mom's family consisted of 10 children which I will list according to ages:
Loran-----b 1912 in Jolley, Ia. He became a clothier and had the Durlam & Durlam Clothing store in Jefferson & Ames Ia. He served in WW2 in the South pacific. He & Wendell were never on the same islands didn't meet up. Loran was a corporal and served in the supply dept.
Gerald----b 1914 in Jolley, Ia. He was in the CCC corpse, then lived in Red Oak Ia. for a few years and worked for a dairy and then came to Jefferson to join Eugene in the meat market & locker business. Gerald always defended Wayne and me when we had a fight with anyone so he was a favorite brother most of the time.
Vernon---b 1916 in Knoke, Ia. Vernon was employed in sales jobs and used his skills at several different ones. He was the "singer" in the family. He loved good stories and was really good at telling them.
Eugene---b 1919 in Jefferson, Ia, He was an officer in the Army and served in combat in WW2 in Europe. He & Wayne did meet during the war, I think some-where in Belgium. He told me about going to a bar with Wayne and they stopped at a bar that Wayne didn't want to go but Stub talked him into it and when they got inside some girl came over and threw her arm around Wayne and said " Wayne! Where have you been?"
Wendell---b 1922 in Jefferson, Ia. Served in WW2 as Sgt. electrician with an Ordnance Co. that rebuilt army vehicles. Served in the south Pacific on Guadalcanal & Guam.
After 1 year of college Wendell and his twin Wayne started the Durlam Electric Co. in Jefferson, Ia.
Wayne----b 1922 in Jefferson, Ia, Served in WW2 as an officer fighter pilot in Europe. Flew 28 Missions. After one year of college he and Wendell started the Durlam Electric Co. Wayne was killed in a Durlam work truck in 1962.
Lois---b 1925 in Jefferson, Ia. Married and lived in Storm Lake and then moved to Chandler, AZ. where she still resides. She worked at several jobs.
Paulina---b 1927 in Jefferson, Ia. Married and lived in Wilton Jct, Ia., Storm Lake, Ia and then to Chandler, Az. where she still resides. She worked at several jobs along the way and is now retired.
Mary---b 1929 in Jefferson, Ia. Married and lived in Jefferson to date. Mary worked in different jobs in Jefferson and is retired and still living in Jefferson, Ia.
Mike Jr.---b 1934 in Jefferson, Ia. Entered in the clothing business with his older brother Loran and ended up managing the Durlam & Durlam clothing store in Ames, Ia. He is retired and still resides in Ames Ia.

So at one time there were 6 Durlam boys in business in Jefferson: Loran & Mike Jr. in clothing, Gerald and Eugene in Meat market & locker and Wendell & Wayne in the Electrical and appliance business.

Information from Wendell Durlam, July 2011.


Taken from The Jefferson Bee 12/13/1995 about Mike's retirement from being a rural mail carrier in Jefferson:
Mike, who was 70 on Dec 8 received a regular appointment as a carrier, in July 1920 after taking and passing a civil service examination.
Previously a barber by trade he carried rural mail in a temporary appointment from October 1918 to May of the next year and again starting in October, 1919 until his regular appointment.
Those days were a far cry from the present situation of good roads good cars good pay and improved employment benefits.
That first winter as a temporary, for instance, Mike delivered mail in a Model T Ford with no top. The roads would hardly pass for such by present standards. There were no grades and hardly any gravel.
He worked first on rural route 5 .......
Route 2 in the early days was a beauty - 27 miles long, but just tow of these were gravel; the rest was dirt or more often, mud. Very little of the route was graded.
On a nice day with good roads he would start at six and be done by noon. Bad days he would be out until 7 or 8 PM as in the 1920's and the bad winter of 1935-36. COD and insured packages and registered mail took extra time as they meant a trip right up to the house.
Pay was considerably lower than now and if bad roads kept the carrier from reaching as little as a mile of his route he was docked a half day's pay. ...
One time during the 1920's when mud was knee deep, Mike used William Lindsey's two horse team instead of the car for three straight days. After that Mike decided that folks didn't need their mail that bad.
One time when drifts were bad he hired Ray Powell, then a young boy, to go with his horse ahead of the car and break the drifts.
He recalls another time when he borrowed a fat, saddleless horse to ride one mile of his route, then walked back.
The early cars and their equipment were a trial. In the course of his long years of service, Mike has had three model T Fords - 1915, 1919, and 1921 models; two Overlands; tow Whippets; nice Plymonths, the last being a 1941 model, and four recent Fords.
He drove most of the cars only a year or a year and a half, for daily routes under all kinds of weather and road conditions were hard on cars.
Sand, ashes, shovel and chains were standard equipment carried at all times.
The mail carriers did the mechanical work on their own and each others cars. Often, the morning and part of the afternoon was spent delivering mail and rest of the day and evening, working over the car to put it in shape for the next day's trip. .....
Chains didn't last over two weeks; often they'd be worn out after just two days.
When Mike got stuck and couldn't get himself out, folks along the route would pull him out with a team. Once it took four horses to do it.
Winter snows created special hazards. The carriers didn't and don't wait for the plows; they start out and detour around places they can't get through. Even after plowing the routes often wouldn't connect......
All carriers worked at other jobs in the afternoon to make ends meet. Mike picked corn, cut wood, helped with haying, etc., sometimes around home, sometimes for others.
He had a family of 10 children to support. Even with the children doing all they could - from after school jobs to gardening and woodchopping-it wasn't easy, especially during the depression. Yet his steady government job often aroused jealousy during these hard times.
In all his years and miles of route driving, Mike never had a car accident. But a mailbox accident in May of 1935, nearly took his right arm.
A lid fell on his thumb and a strep infection developed. He was hospitalized in Carroll and for a number of weeks afterwards, the Carroll doctor made daily trips to Jefferson to dress the hand. The carrier wasnt able to get back on the job until November. Even now his arm and hand are stiff.
........


He and brother, John, changed the spelling of their last name to Durlam while the rest of the siblings left it as Dirlam. One story says a school teacher told them they spelled their name wrong and that was the reason for changing the Di to Du in Dirlam.

obit from Jefferson Herald 9/24/1981
Funeral services were held Tuesday, Sept. 22, from Hastings Funeral Home in Jefferson for Michael Durlam, 95, longtime Jefferson resident. ......
Michael Durlam, son of Dr William and Sarah Lochner Durlam, was born Dec. 8, 1885, on a farm near Redfield in Guthrie county. He died Sept. 20 at the Greene County Medical Center in Jefferson.
Mike received his education in rural schools near Redfield. He worked as a farm hand. About the age of 14, he moved to North Dakota for a time. He later attended barber school in Des Moines.
On Jan. 2, 191, Mike was married to Fay Ellen Griswold at Sac City. They made their home in Jolley where Mike did barbering. They also lived in Pomeroy and Knoke before moving to Jefferson in 1918, where they lived in the same house for 56 years.
After coming to Jefferson, Mike worked as a salesman for a time. He later took a civil service job as rural mail carrier. He retired at age 70.
In 1978 Mike and Fay moved to Greenewood Homes. Fay died in June 1979. Mike continued to live at Greenewood Homes until August 1981 when he became a resident of the Greene County Medical Center. ......
 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  William Dirlam (1845 - 1887)
  Sarah Lochner Dirlam (1855 - 1936)
 
 Spouse:
  Fay Ellen Griswold Durlam (1894 - 1979)*
 
 Children:
  Loran William Durlam (1912 - 1991)*
  Gerald Darwin Durlam (1914 - 1990)*
  Vernon Neal Durlam (1916 - 1970)*
  Eugene Roy Durlam (1919 - 1986)*
  Wendell Jesse Durlam (1922 - ____)*
  Wayne Fay Durlam (1922 - 1962)*
 
 Siblings:
  Lettie M Dirlam (____ - 1873)*
  John Durlam (1875 - 1952)*
  James William Dirlam (1880 - 1950)*
  Philip Dirlam (1883 - 1957)*
  Michael Durlam (1885 - 1981)
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Jefferson Cemetery
Jefferson
Greene County
Iowa, USA
 
Created by: Janet Durlam
Record added: Jul 06, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 72949301
Michael Durlam
Added by: Janet Durlam
 
Michael Durlam
Added by: Janet Durlam
 
Michael Durlam
Added by: Janet Durlam
 
 
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