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Joshua Elder Durham Obituary  

 Contributed by Barbara Owens

Source: Contra Costa Gazette, Martinez, CA, Saturday, December 13, 1919


Captain J. E. Durham for years a resident of the Ygnacio Valley passed away at his home there on Friday afternoon following a brief illness. His death came as a result of the infirmities attendant on his advanced years, he being four score and ten at the time of his death.

Captain Durham was for years one of the active citizens of Contra Costa County and his friends and acquaintances in all sections are numbered by the hundreds. He was genuinely interested in matters of civil and community life and in his passing Contra Costa County has lost a man whose life and activities were important factors in molding the early history of this section.

This well known and prosperous farmer of Contra Costa County was born in Sumner County, Tennessee, December 6, 1829. Losing his mother at an early age, his father transferred his residence to Arkansas; from there, at the expiration of a year, he proceeded to Barry County, Missouri, where the deceased attended school for six years. He then returned to Arkansas with his father for six more years, and finally back to his former home in Missouri, where he maintained a continuous residence until March, 1850. At this date he proceeded to Independence, and joined a government train, proceeding to Fort Laramie as a teamster. Here he associated himself with a train of Mormons enroute for Salt Lake City, where he passed the winter and in the following spring continued his journey toward California arriving in Georgetown, El Dorado County, in June, 1851.

In the vicinity of that place, Durham pursued mining until the year 1853, when he moved to the San Joaquin valley and found employment on different ranches until 1870 -- farming, running a stage and at one time owning a ferry at the mouth of the Stanislaus River. In the last mentioned year, Durham came to Contra Costa County and purchased valuable property, three hundred and five acres, four and a half miles from Pacheco, situated in the Ygnacio valley, where he engaged in farming and stock-raising, a large portion of his attention being devoted to the breeding of thoroughbred horses, of which he had some remarkably fine specimens.

Durham was also possessed of four hundred and thirty-four acres at Bay Point--all valuable, fertile land.

He married, firstly, in San Francisco, October 2, 1862, Miss June E. Sherman, a native of Ohio, by whom he had seven children, viz Burnett B., Melvina I., Fannie, Cora E., Levi B., Amelia and John (deceased.); secondly, in Pacheco, October 10, 1877, Miss Malvina E. Strickland, a native of Illinois, by whom there was no issue.

The deceased was the father of Lee Durham for years a resident of this city and assistant cashier of the bank of Martinez. He was also the father of Mrs. A. B. McKenzie.

Again, the wheels of time have marked the passing of one of California's pioneers, who was consigned to his rest a few hours after his ninetieth birthday.

The many friends of Captain J. E. Durham gathered at the chapel of Guy, Palmer and Ford at Concord yesterday afternoon where the Rev. N. F. Sanderson paid wonderful tribute to the life and death of this sturdy gentleman.

In his passing, the community which he respected has lost a devoted husband, a beloved father and grandfather, a constant friend, a good neighbor and well-wisher. His old friends will cherish his memory and may the younger generation ever keep in mind his clean, pure life as an example of right living.

* Joshua was the son of Buckner Senter Durham and Susan Rippy. His grandparents were John and Ann (Senter) Durham. bo

Sumner County, Tennessee Obituary Index

Genealogist's Companion to Research in Sumner County, Tennessee