George John Durham

Male 1820 - 1869  (48 years)

Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All

  • Name George John Durham  [1
    Born 12 May 1820  Norwich, Norfolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Gender Male 
    Died 10 Apr 1869  [2
    Buried 11 Apr 1869  Austin, Travis, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    • Oakwood Cemetery
    Person ID I7647  My Genealogy
    Last Modified 22 Feb 2020 

    Family Cassandra Lincecum,   b. Between 1832 and 1836, Mississippi, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Apr 1877  (Age ~ 45 years) 
    Married 23 Dec 1852  Washington, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 4
    • - The couple might have met through Cassandra's father. Following from Lois Burkhalter's 1965 biography of Gideon Lincecum (1793-1874):

      Cassandra, the third daughter, was married to George J. Durham, an Englishman of Austin, Texas…This marriage pleased Gideon. He and Durham had been drawn together through mutual interest in ornithology and grape culture and were friends before Durham met Cassandra.
     1. Sarah Lincecum Durham,   b. Abt 1858, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Apr 1862, Austin, Travis, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 4 years)  [natural]
     2. Royal Wheeler Durham,   b. Aft 1860,   d. 21 Apr 1866  (Age < 4 years)  [natural]
     3. Sidney Johnson Durham,   b. Abt Jul 1860, Austin, Travis, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Jan 1926, Alameda, California, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 65 years)  [natural]
     4. Mary Leonora Durham,   b. Abt 1854, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Apr 1862, Austin, Travis, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 8 years)  [natural]
     5. Walter Winn Durham,   b. 20 Dec 1855, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Mar 1929, Austin, Travis, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years)  [natural]
     6. Prior Durham,   b. Abt 1866, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 1872  (Age ~ 5 years)  [natural]
     7. Leila Durham,   b. Abt 1868, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [natural]
    Last Modified 22 Feb 2020 
    Family ID F2673  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 12 May 1820 - Norwich, Norfolk, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 23 Dec 1852 - Washington, Texas, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - 11 Apr 1869 - Austin, Travis, Texas, USA Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Notes 
    • - George, his mother Ester, and his siblings arrived in New York, New York 17 Sep 1833 from London, England upon the ship Sovereign. His father was not listed with them. [Source: New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. Original data: (1) Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls); Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives, Washington, D.C. (2) Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1897-1957; (National Archives Microfilm Publication T715, 8892 rolls); Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; National Archives, Washington, D.C.]

      - He immigrated to the United States in 1835 and moved to Texas from New Jersey in 1837. The next year he became chief clerk in the comptroller's office, which was located in Houston, Texas at that time. He moved to Austin with the government in 1839. He was there when surveyors laid out the site for the new capital in 1839 and purchased 28 of the original lots. He served as an officer in the Travis Guards in 1840, and in 1842 he resisted the moving of governemt documents from Austin during the Archive War. After annexation he was chief clerk in the comptroller's office under James B. Haw and Clement R. Johns. George was the auctioneer in Austin in December 1850, when the governemt sold town lots to raise money for the construction of a building for the land office. He married Cassandra Lincecum, the daughter of Gideon Lincecum, on 23 December 1852; they became the parents of 7 children, three of whom lived to adulthood. ["DURHAM, GEORGE JOHN." The Handbook of Texas Online. <> - Accessed Sun 09 Jul 2000]

      - Texas Land Title Abstract about Geo. J. Durham:
      Grantee: Geo. J. Durham
      Certificate: 171
      Patentee: Geo. J. Durham
      Patent Date: 22 Jul 1844
      Acres: 320
      District: Fannin
      County: Fannin
      File: 22
      Patent #: 29
      Patent Volume: 1
      Class: Fan. 3rd [Source: Texas Land Title Abstracts [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2000. Original data: Texas General Land Office. Abstracts of all original Texas Land Titles comprising Grants and Locations. Austin, TX, USA.]

      - Texas State Gazette (Austn, Texas)
      24 November 1849 - pg. 6 [via GenealogyBank]
      ALL PERSONS are hereby forewarned against cutting or destroying any of the timber on the tract of land belonging to me, lying on the West bank of the Colorado River, in the County of Travis, about 1/3 of a mile below Stone's Ferry, as I will prosecute any and all persons so offending to the utmost rigor of the law, GEORGE J. DURHAM.

      - In 1854, while the Mayor of Austin, Texas, George shot and killed a man who had repeatedly threatened his life; he was acquitted. ["DURHAM, GEORGE JOHN." The Handbook of Texas Online. <> - Accessed Sun 09 Jul 2000]

      - George served for a short time as an orderly sergeant in the Confederate Army, but was recalled to act as state war-tax collector. In 1865, after the break-up of the Confederacy, he successfully resisted armed men who tried to remove funds from the comptroller's office. George ran for state treasurer in 1866, but was defeated. He served as secretary of the Democratic state convention in 1868. ["DURHAM, GEORGE JOHN." The Handbook of Texas Online. <> - Accessed Sun 09 Jul 2000]

      - From Gideon Lincecum (1793-1874) by Lois Burkhalter (University of Texas Press, 1965):
      [Pgs. 82-3] "Durham holds something of a record in Texas history, having held a political job during the administration of every president and governor until after the Civil War...He was one of the signers of the petition for a people's secession convention...

      Durham was talented ornithologist, an authority on Texas grapes, and an excellent marksman..."

      - From Case Files of Applications from Former Confederates for Presidential Pardons ("Amnesty Papers"), 1865-67 via
      [Image of handwritten letter from George J. Durham, dated 24 August 1865 at Austin, Texas.]
      "...He [George] would further respectfully state, that he is 45 years of age, is a man of family, of limited means of support and has been a resident of this city and state, for 26 and 27 years respectively, and has always endeavored to discharge his duty as a good and law abiding citizen of the governments under which he has lived, and has never been guilty of a crime or misdemeanor..."

      - He was also an orinthologist, an authority on Texas grapes, an excellent marksman, and a writer. Under the pen name De Los Llanos he contributed a series of hunting articles entitled "Shooting in Western Texas" to the London Field magazine. George was a correspondent of the Smithsonian Institution, and he wrote 2 articles on grape culture and several articles on game in Texas published in the 'Texas Almanac' of 1868-1869. In 1867 he was elected a corresponding member of the Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia. He died of typhoid in Austin on 10 April 1868, buried in the family plot at Oakwood Cemetery. ["DURHAM, GEORGE JOHN." The Handbook of Texas Online. <> - Accessed Sun 09 Jul 2000]

      - Per Oakwood Cemetery Database <>
      George J. Durham
      Disease: Typhoid Fever
      Where Buried: New Cemetery

      - Tri-Weekly State Gazette (Austin, Texas)
      Monday, 12 April 1869 - pg. 2 [via GenealogyBank]
      Death of George J. Durham.

      We constituted one of a large concourse of mourners, who on yesterday accompanied the mortal remains of George J. Durham to their last resting place in our city cemetery. His disease was typhoid fever, and after a painful illness of four weeks, he departed this life on the 10th instant, at one o'clock, p.m., at is family residence in this city. As Mr. Durham was among the oldest and most prominent of our citizens, and was also held in high estimation by Texans in every quarter of the State, we deem it not inappropriate, in announcing his death, to give a short sketch of his life. At our request, a friend of the deceased has furnished us with the brief outline that follows. We need hardly add, that not only we, but every person in this community whose opinion is valuable will heartily endorse its praise of our deceased friend.

      He was born in Norwich, Norfolk, England, on the 12th of May, 1820, and was at the time of his death in his forty-ninth year. His family removed from England to the United States in the year 1835, and after living ashort time in the State of New Jersey, removed to the State of Texas, when he was in his seventeenth year; and hence, havin lived here from his youth, he knew no other country. He was devoted to Texas, and always served her with a willing heart. In 1838, he became connected, as clerk, with the government department of the republic at Houston; and from that date, for more than twenty-five years -- the best years, the flower of his life -- he was uninterruptedly in the service of the government. In October, 1839, when the archives were removed from Houston to Austin, the new seat of government, he accompanied them to this city. In 1842, he was one of the participants in the "Archive War," so famous in the history of our growing city. From 1839 up to annexation, he shared, in common with the other frontier settlers, (many of whom, like him, we mourn, have been gathered to their fathers,) the excitement and dangers attending a frontier life, and was frequently out on the border, engaged in Indian scouts.

      After annexation, owing to his well known probity, his good business habits and his familiarity with the internal affairs of the government, he was appointed by James B. Shaw, Comptroller, chief clerk in that office; and during his term of service, as well as during the term of his successor, our worthy fellow-citizen, the Hon. Clement R. Johns, he held the same position, and for many years had the almost entire control of the Tax Bureau of the State. In his office, he was prompt, courteous, and obliging; and, during his whole course of public service, invariably secured and enjoyed the fullest confidence of those with whom his official duties brought hm in contact.

      During the late civil war, he ardently espoused the cause of the Confederate States, and was appointed, without solicitation, by the government, collector of war tax for the State of Texas. The duties of this office, he discharged ably and honestly, up to the time of the downfall of the Confederacy. Upon the surrender he stubbornly and manfully refused to deliver the gold and silver in his hands, at the demand of robbers and murderers, who were then here to plunder the State Treasury. Neither threats or the display of deadly weapons could deter him from treading what he believed the path of duty and of honor. He held, that on the surrender, the funds in his possession, lawfully passed to the victor, and were subject to his control, and he accordingly, with the assistance of his friends, guarded the funds faithfully, until the arrival of the United States authorities, when he turned them over to persons authorized to receive, and took an honorable acquittance in full. On more than one occasion during the absence of Mr. Shaw and Maj. Johns, the duties under the law of Comptroller devolved on him, as Chief Clerk. These duties he always discharged in the most satisfactory manner, and showed himself fully equal to the discharge of all the duties of that honorable office, and responsible position. Since the close of the civil war, he held in 1866 and part of 1867, the post of Secretary to the Auditorial Board, created by the Act of 1866, for the adjustment of the public debt of Texas. Without intending in the slightest degree to detract from the acknowledged merits of the able members of that Board, it is but due to the deceased to say, that such was his aptitude for business -- his industry -- his thorough acquaintance with the fiscal affairs, both of the late Republic and State, and above all such was the conspicuous integrity of the man, that he very greatly lightened, if he did not entirely relieve the gentlemen, composing the Board, of the most difficult portion of their labors. In fact, during his whole life, he brought to the discharge of all his public duties, such punctuality, order and industry, sustained and aided by an unblemished reputation, as a thoroughly honest man in the broadest acception of the term, that his name was almost proverbial throughout the State for honesty. He served his country well, for more than a quarter of a century. He never enriched himself at the public expense. Texas may be well and greatly proud of such a citizen, and she should write upon his tomb the inscription "Well done, thou good and faithful public servant." The crown of ivy, the laurel wreath, the golden medal, the marble column, pointing heavenward, have been bestowed by gratful [sic] States on men possessing less public and private virtue, than the deceased.

      It is not alone however on account of his long and interesting connexion with the early and late history of the Republic and State, that Mr. Durham deserves to be held in honorable remembrance. He was eminantly a useful citizen. He had not only a fine practical but also a scientific acquaintance with that branch of farming, known as Horticulture, and was exceedingly fond of the garden, an occupation to the honor and praise of which Lord Bacon has devoted one of the most immortal of his essays. His love of flowers was as natural and sincere as that of a child or poet. He also devoted considerable attention to the culture of fruits, and his articles "on the grape in Texas" in Richardson's Texas Almanac for 1867, and on the Golden Chasselay and its culture, in the same work for 1869, though necessarily too brief to exhaust the subject, contain many valuable observations on that interesting topic, and show thoroughly he had studied it, in connection with the peculiarities of the soil and climate in Texas.

      Mr. Durham is also entitled to honorable mention in the history of our State, on account of his studies of its natural history, more especially in the department of Ornithology, he was very familiar with this science, and of that special branch of it, which treats of the interesting winged fauna of our own State, he was a master. As to these latter, by close observation, extending through a series of years, he was enabled to correct a number of errors into which his brother naturalists had fallen, and to make more than one original contribution to the stock of scientific knowledge on this subject. Through the medium of correspondence, he had made the acquaintance of a number of celebrated naturalists. In August 1867, as a well deserved compliment to his scientific researches in this field, he was unanimously elected a corresponding member of the Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia. Of this body Dr. Hays, whose name with that of the lamented Dr. Kane, is imperishably connected with the subject of the Artic explorations, is the President. This recognition of the value of his labors was as gratifying as unlooked for and unexpected. The intelligence of this high honor conferred was conveyed to him in the most complimentary terms in an autographic letter from the celebrated naturalist, Mr. Cassin, whose recent death, the cause of natural science has much to deplore. He was also an occasionsl correspondent of the Smithsonian Institute at Washington, and, shortly before his death, had commenced, through the kindness of our highly esteemed fellow-citizen Mr. Swante Palm, an interesting correspondence with the famous Sweedish [sic] Savant Gillegeburg, the most emminent Ornithologist of the present day. The deceased was esteemed by such men as Cassin, Professor Baird and others, whose names are highly honored, and was looked upon by them as a genuine devotee of science.

      During his whole life he was at all times devotedly fond of field sports. It amounted to a passion with him. Good naturedly, skillfully and sensibly, would he defend his favorite pastime, from the attacks of the Benthamites and the Utilitarians when one of them would, with the air of a man who is stating an unanswerable proposition, propound to him their stereotyped conundrum "Cui bono."

      In that special branch of the "noble Art of Venerie" known technically as "shooting," embracing all game, shot habitually on the wing, and in the pursuit of which your companion is the pointer, the setter, and the retriever, in contradistinction to the fox hound, grey hound, terrier, &c., he was an expert, and had few, if any, superiors in the United States. His articles on "Game in Texas," contributed to the Texas Almanac for 1868 and 1869, are full of information. Under the nom de plume of "De Los Llanos," he, during last fall, contributed a series of sprightly and agreeable sketches to the London Field, on "Shooting in Western Texas." These articles show him to be a through master of the subject -- but they show more; they are written with great animation and spirit, and are very creditable as mere literary performances. The London Field is under the editorial control of the famous sporting authority, "Stonepenge," (Dr. Walsh.) It is the recognized portion of the great British sporting public, and its standard of excellence is so elevated and its audience so select and intelligent, that it was no mean compliment to Mr. Durham that his contributions were always welcome to its columns.

      At the time of his death he was holding the post of confidential book keeper to the banking house of Raymond & Whitis, of this city. The highly respected head of that house and Mr. Durham grew up together in Texas, and the death of the latter alone (nothing else could) has terminated a friendship which has lasted through sunshine and through storm for thirty years. The old Texans are passing away, and we, who are to fill their places, do not seem to be better men. May we so live that when we come to die we may do so in honor, and as peacefully as they.

      Mr. Durham leaves a wife and four children to mourn the loss of their chief support, removed from them by the stern hand of death, while he was yet in the meridian of his days. His sorrow stricken wife and bereaved children have the heartfelt sympathies of our entire community. He, however, leaves a name honored and respected among men, and his children may well be proud to bear it.

      In his untimely death our immediate community loses one of the mose respected and public spirited of its citizens.

      - Tri-Weekly State Gazette (Austin, Texas)
      Wednesday, 12 May 1869 - pg. 1 [via GenealogyBank]
      Another Old Texan Gone.
      On our outside we devote a brief space to an obituary notice of our old friend George J. Durham, whom we recollect in the first days of the city of Austin, then a sort of frontier village, as a big, hearty, ingenious young man. We recollect is old English parents who came there with him, and were those transparently honest straightforward sort of people, who have no concealments, and whom every body learns to appreciate at once. As were the parents, so was the son; he was all manliness, heartiness -- had no guile -- one of the sort of people, whom knowing as a friend once, you cherish as a friend always -- always seeming near to one -- never forgotten. We have not room for the whole article from the Gazette, which is a labor of love acceptable of course to all the people who were neighbors of the deceased and appreciated him. In brief, we bear our own tribute to one of nature's noblemen; well out of this world into a better. Farewell, George! [Clarkesville Standard.

      - Tri-Weekly State Gazette (Austin, Texas)
      Wednesday, 30 June 1869 - pg. 2 [via GenealogyBank]
      The London Field -- Notice of the late George J. Durham.

      We have before us the London Field, the first paper of its kind in the world, from which we extract the following notice of our lamented friend, George J. Durham, Esq., who, for some time before his death, had been an interesting contributor to its columns:

      M. George John Durham, who, under the signature of "De los Llanos," has contributed to our columns several spirited articles on Texas sport, has, we regret to learn, died of typhoid fever at his residence, at Austin. The Texas State Gazette of April 12, which brings us this intelligence, gives us also a biography of that gentleman, our knowledge of whom has been but recent and limited. Mr. Durham was a Norfolk man, having been born at Norwich in 1820. In 1835, his family removed to the United States; and from the age of eighteen to the time of his death he was in the Government service in Texas. At the outbreak of the civil war he warmly espoused the Confederate cause; but on its downfall neither persuasion or threats could induce him to deliver up the public funds to individual members of his party, and he held them until the official authorities of the victorious Government arrived to receive the money, and give him an honorable acquittance. After the conclusion of the war, he was appointed secretary of the Auditorial Board for the Adjustment of the Public Debt of Texas, and our contemporary says: "His name was almost proverbial through the State for honesty; he served his country well for more than a quarter of a century; he never enriched himself at the public expense." Mr. Durham was not only a great lover of the gun, but paid much attention to the natural history of the birds of his State; and the originality and value of his observations caused his election as coprresponding member of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Science; he was also in correspondence with the Smithsonian Institute of Washingon, and with many celebrated naturalists. Horticulture, especially in relation to fruit trees, engaged a good deal of his attention, and he was the author of some scientific papers on the culture of the vine in Texas. We much regret that the acquaintance which bade fair to have so pleasant a continuance should have been brought so quickly to a close by the hand of death.

  • Sources 
    1. [S573] Texas State Historical Association, The Handbook of Texas Online, Accessed 9 July 2000, article about George John Durham (1820-1868).

    2. [S821] Burkhalter, Lois Wood, Gideon Lincecum, 1793 - 1874.

    3. [S1188] Austin History Center, Compiler, Oakwood Cemetery Database, Database entry for George J. Durham, buried 11 April 1869.

    4. [S1194] Texas State Gazette, Austin, Texas (online archive), "Married," issued 8 January 1853, accessed 5 April 2018, names of interest: George J. Durham, Esq. and Miss Cassandria Lincecum.