William Wellington Durham


William Wellington Durham

Morgan County, West Virginia, USA
Death 28 Jan 1907 (aged 62)
Durham, Butte County, California, USA
Burial Durham, Butte County, California, USA
Plot B-241
Memorial ID 26013445 View Source
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*Chico Record, Tuesday morning, January 29, 1907: "Pneumonia Ends Life of William W. Durham - W.W. Durham, one of Butte county's early-day settlers and one of her most highly respected farmers, died yesterday afternoon at 4 o'clock from an ailment which attacked him only about twenty-four hours before his death. Though Mr. Durham had not been a well man for a number of years, his condition was at no time alarming and the cause of his death was a new trouble, pneumonia. Sunday afternoon about 4:30 o'clock he felt that he had caught a severe cold, and went to bed. A physician was summoned from Chico and a nurse from Oroville, and at 6:30 o'clock Mr. Durham became delirious. From that time on he was unconscious, and there was no response to medical treatment. William Wellington Durham came to California in 1861. He was a native of West Virginia, born in Morgan county, June 8, 1844. The ancestors of his family came from England and settled in North Carolina, where his grandfather, Joseph Durham, was born. There is a town named for the family, showing that they were among the first settlers of that region, and the town of Durham in this county was named for a similar reason. His father, George Durham, was born in Virginia, and was married to a native of that State, Rosana Ambrose. Of the six children born to George and Rosana Durham, William W. was the fifth. His early youth was spent in Virginia and at the age of fourteen he was sent to school in Ohio. He afterward partially learned the carpenter's trade, which, he often said, was of immense value to him, it served him in building his fine home near Durham and in building the farm structures. For forty-five years consecutively he resided in the home immediately east of Durham. He came to this State by the Isthmus route. For the first ten years after his arrival here he lived with and worked for his uncle, Robert W. Durham, of whom he purchased land. When his uncle died he willed to Mr. Durham other lands, and at one time he owned 1200 acres, and was largely engaged in the stock business, raising horses and cattle. He finally disposed of a considerable part of his land, retaining the choicest 440 acres adjoining the town of Durham. It was on October 8, 1874, that he was united in marriage with Miss Minnie Van Ness and to them was born one child, Robert W. Durham, who is still living and residing at the family home. The wife died many years ago, and Mr. Durham was afterward married to Miss Carrie Roesch of Stockton, who survives him. Mr. Durham was not an office-seeker, though an enthusiastic Republican. In 1880 he was a member of the State Assembly from this county, and introduced a bill to secure to Chico the State Normal School, but owing to sickness and the pressing work of that section he failed to get it passed. Deceased was a member of Chico Lodge No. 111, F. and A.M.; Chico Chapter, No. 48, R.A.M.; Chico Comandery, No 12, K.T., and of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He was a man who preached integrity and good will by living it. He was of magnetic personality, winning friends readily and holding them. It was Mr. Durham's desire that his remains be cremated, and the wish will be fulfilled. A short service will be held at the home Wednesday morning at 10 o'clock by the Knights Templar, who will escort the remains to the train. The body will be cremated in San Francisco, and the remains interred in the Durham cemetery. A funeral service will be held at the latter part of the week."

*Chico Record, January 31, 1907: "Funeral Services At The Durham Home. Funeral services over the remains of the late William W. Durham were held at the home near Durham yesterday morning, under the auspices of Chico Commandery, [sic] Knights Templar, a special car over the Northern Electric carrying twenty-five members of the order and a number of friends and acquaintances of the deceased from Chico to the home. The services were opened by prayer ... [unreadable] ... appropriate to the occasion by Rev. Gallagher, pastor of the church at Durham, and a warm friend of the deceased. The impressive ceremonies of the Knights Templar were then held under the leadership of Eminent Commander William Robbie of Chico. Mrs. E.W. Florence also contributed two impressive solos during the services. After the services the remains were taken to the train and accompanied by a number of relatives to San Francisco for cremation. The pall bearers were G.L. McIntosh, John W. Konning, T.H. Barnard, E.A. Warren, E.E. Canfield and P.M. Guynn of the Knights Templar."

*From Other Records: Cremated in San Francisco California; after services conducted at 10 a.m. from the home with the Masonic Lodge officiating. A marker engraved "W.W. Durham 1845-1907" was ordered at the time the funeral arrangements were made by S.A. Reynolds.

*History of the State of California and Biographical Record of the Sacramento Valley, California, by Prof. J.M. Guinn, A.M., The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1906: (pgs 1401-1402) "William W. Durham. Among the representative and progressive citizens of Butte county, a business man and owner of a fine ranch, is the gentleman whose name appears above. He is living near the town which bears his name, given that in honor of his uncle, Robert Durham ... William W. Durham is the youngest of six children born to his parents, his birth having occurred in Morgan county, W.Va., June 8, 1844. When fifteen years of age he went to Montgomery county, Ohio. His education was received in the common schools and as a young man he learned the trade of carpenter. In 1861 he came to California, hoping to better his financial condition, having heard of the state's wonderful resources. He made the journey by way of the Isthmus of Panama and located in Durham, Butte county. Since then he has become owner of the four hundred and forty acres upon which he carries on general farming and fruit raising, having eighty acres in prunes, almonds, pears and apples. All of the improvements seen on his ranch today have been made by himself. In 1874 he erected a very comfortable residence. In Stockton, Cal., in 1874, Mr. Durham was united in marriage with Miss Minnie L. Van Ness, a native of Logansport, Ind., and one son, Robert W., was born of their union. February 1, 1894, Mrs. Minnie L. Durham passed away, and in the year following Mr. Durham was married to Caroline Roesch, a native of Stockton. A Republican in politics, Mr. Durham has taken no more than ordinary interest in the party, never being an aspirant for office, though he has been solicited many times to be a candidate. He is a member of Chico Lodge No. 111, F. & A. M.; Chico Chapter No. 42, R.A.M.; Chico Commandery No 12, K.T.; and the Ancient Order of United Workmen, also of Chico. He is president and director of the Durham Mill Company. In Durham, where he has made his home for so many years, he is well and favorably known, his earnest manner, upright character and public spirit having won him a position among the best citizenship of our commonwealth."

*Butte County, California, Abstracts from Early Probate Records, Guardianships, Wills. Compiled by Paradise Genealogical Society, 1992. (pg 31): Estate of George W. Durham. File No. 134, Date of Death: 18 Oct 1880. Executor "William W. Durham", listing of heirs: "W.W. Durham, brother, age 36; of Durham, Butte County, CA."

*1881 McKenney City & County Directory: "Durham, a station on the California and Oregon Railroad, 18 miles northwest of Oroville ... Durham, Wm W, farmer, 712 acres."

*Samuel Neal, California Pioneer, And a Brief History of the Durham Family, by Edna Reynolds Durham, ca. 1952: (pg 82); "In his will William Durham stated that his body was to be disposed of according to the wishes of his wife. [Carrie Roesch Durham, Ed.] Carrie did not wish to place it beside Minnie's grave in the Durham Cemetery ... She shipped the casket to Stockton for burial in the plot of her own family."

*1993 Durham Post Office Open House Program: William W. Durham served as Postmaster from April 22, 1872 to August 23, 1878.

*Per Stockton Cemetery District Office: Burial took place on 27 April 1908, in the Roesch family plot, gravesite in Block 29; east half of 16. Family plot is shared by: Carrie Roesch Durham, buried 28 Mar 1941, aged 83 years; J. Conrad Roesch, buried 22 Nov 1887; William C. Roesch, Christopher Roesch, Christiana Roesch, George F. Roesch, and Laura May Roesch.

Daughter Elizabeth Durham Joseph requested space at the Durham Cemetery to have her father's cremains and marker moved back from Stockton. A small contingent of Durham community members, along with Betty and her son re-interred the remains next to Minnie – "Will" Durham 1844-1907.

SOURCE: Durham Cemetery (c) 1994 by Adriana Farley and Marilyn Corley.

Gravesite Details

Interred 27 Apr 1908 Stockton, CA , Interred Durham, Ca./March 1996

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