Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

William Durr

WILLIAM DURR. In 1915 the retired colony of Dighton was augmented by the arrival of William Durr, a former farmer and cattleman who has been a resident of Kansas for forty-two years. During this long period Mr. Durr has had experience in farming in three counties of the state, and has added materially to the development and progress of each, incidentally working out a satisfying personal success from his labors. He belongs to the class of citizens who have been the authors of their own success, as he began life with negative advantages and won through to prosperity through his own efforts.

Mr. Durr was born near the City of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, June 24, 1860, a son of John P. Durr. The father was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, in 1827, as John P. "Duerr," and was twenty-four years of age when he immigrated to the United States, being at that time a single man. His first location was in Ohio, and about the vicinity of Cleveland he worked for several years as a laborer, but subsequently went to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where he was married. When the Civil war came on he enlisted in a regiment of Wisconsin volunteer infantry, with which he served until the close of th[sic] struggle, and when his discharge papers were made out the "e" was eliminated from his name. He accepted the reformed way of spelling and returned to civil life as John P. Durr. In 1876 Mr. Durr, who was still a poor man, moved with his family to Ellsworth County, Kansas, from Iowa, driving through in a wagon, and took up a homestead four miles northeast of Holly Rood. He developed this property into a farm, and it continued to be the base of his operations during the remaining years of his life. Mr. Durr made a success of his career, and from his modest beginnings became one of the substantial men of his section. He never cared for public office, but exerted an influence in his community, as does every good citizen who has public-spirited views. Mr. Durr married at Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Miss Christina Aschbacher, who was also born in Wurtemberg, Germany, and died at Holly Rood, Kansas, in 1907. They became the parents of the following children: Fred, a resident of Hodgeman County, Kansas; William, of this review; Mary, who is the wife of Byron Church, of Lane County; Albert, of Holly Rood, Kansas; Ed, who also lives there, and Wesley, who is still in Ellsworth County.

William Durr received his education in the public schools of Iowa, Wisconsin and Ellsworth County, Kansas. He was sixteen years of age when he first came to the Sunflower state, and here he grew up amid an agricultural atmosphere, remaining on the home place until after he had reached his majority. His first efforts to get a start as an agriculturist away from the homestead were on a rented farm. In 1884, as a young married man, he moved to Ness County, where he entered a homestead seven miles northwest of Ransom, and this he proved up, as he did also a timber claim. When he arrived in Ness County he was possessed of a team of horses and perhaps thirty head of cattle, and to these he added materially during the following years, although he continued to occupy his "soddy" for a long period and never did any great amount of improving on his farm buildings while in Ness County. In 1903 Mr. Durr came to Lane County and settled near Alamota, where he purchased a ranch and farm, the property formerly having belonged to John Helsby. It was one of the old-settled farms on Walnut Creek, and this Mr. Durr substantially improved with a new residence and barn and settled down to farming in a mixed way. His ranch comprised three sections, all of twenty, three quarters of nineteen, two quarters of thirty, and three quarters of twenty-nine, and of this he brought under cultivation 700 acres. He remained a stock raiser of the grades, and also became a shipper to the Kansas City markets. When he bought this land he paid from $250 to $1,200 a quarter section for it, and sold the ranch at $15 an acre in 1914. Since 1915 he has resided at Dighton, where he has improved his property considerably. He is a stockholder in the Dighton Hotel Company, and has contributed to the upbuilding of the churches of his adopted community. Mr. Durr helped to organize the school district near where he lived in Ness County, and served as a school director near Alamota. As a voter he commenced casting his ballot as a Republican, his father having been of that faith, and in 1884 supported James G. Blaine, but he has taken no active part in politics, save to express his interest in the welfare of the community and to endeavor to elect good representatives for public office. In the various communities in which he has resided he has at times been interested in other ventures, and while at Alamota was engaged in the grain business, a venture in which he was associated as a partner with R. M. Church. Mr. Durr is a Master Mason.

On January 15, 1883, Mr. Durr was married in Ellsworth, Kansas, to Miss Flora A. Frantz, a daughter of Freeman Frantz. Mr. Frantz was born in Pennsylvania and early came to Kansas, where he homesteaded a claim in Ellsworth County, and now resides with Mr. and Mrs. Durr. He married Hannah Kintz, who was born in Pennsylvania, and now resides at Lyons, Kansas, and they spent the active period of their lives as agriculturists. They became the parents of the following children: Simon, who is a resident of Ceiling, Oklahoma; Sarah, who is the wife of Sherman Jeffries, of Chelsea, Oklahoma; John, of Alamota, Kansas; Mrs. Durr, who was born November 14, 1866; Katie, who is the wife of Jack Hopkins, of Ellsworth, Kansas, and Ed, of Lane County, Kansas.

Mr. and Mrs. Durr have been the parents of these children: Carl, a farmer of Lane County, who married Blanche Shay, and has two children, Ronald and Theron; Bertha, who is the wife of Charley Shay, of Scott County, Kansas, and has two children, Mildred Laverne and Lee William; Delmar O., who is engaged in farming in Lane County, married Lena Bobb and has a daughter, Lorene; Edna Loraine, who is the wife of Andrew AhIfeldt, of Lane County, and has two children, Leta Emily and Remola Evelyn; Roy Earl, who is a Lane County farmer, married Laverne Edmondson and has a child, Maxine; Bessie Irene, who married James McLeish, of Lane County, and has Theola Irene, Vera Evelyn and Thurman; Hazel Alma, who is the wife of Leo Church and lives at Dighton, having one son, Winston Leo; and Frances Edith, Mabel May and Myrtle Ada, who reside with their parents. Mrs. Durr and five of her children are members of the Methodist Church.