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Salem Pioneer Cemetery ~ John Durbin ~ part of the Marion County Pioneer Cemeteries of Oregon
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John Durbin
BORN: 13 Sep 1794 DIED: 17 Jul 1897 BURIED: 19 July 1897
BIRTH PLACE:  Brownville, Fayette Co., Pennsylvania
DEATH PLACE: Howell Prairie, Marion Co., Oregon
IOOF - John Durbin, age 102 y's 10 m's 5 d's, died in Howell Prairie of old age, was an old pioneer of Marion Co.; BIOGRAPHICAL: 1845 immigrant, farmer in Mission Bottom; 
The Centenarian. John Durbin Rounds Out One Hundred Years. 
Surrounded by a Joyous Multitude Embracing Five Generations, a Reception is Given Him. 
An event which few communities are given to enjoy was celebrated in this neighborhood yesterday. At the home of one of the sons - Solomon -- three miles east of Salem, the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of John Durbin was observed by an elaborate reception, whereat the old gentleman, hale and hearty, was the central figure in a family tree exhibiting five generations of vigorous stock. 
Sons and daughters and grand children and the grand children of these had gathered at the beautiful home of Solomon Durbin, where "Grandpa" John now makes his abiding place, and there under the shade threes on the lawn were spread the long tables, laden with the products of the field, the orchard, the garden, the poultry yard and the dairy, all served in the highest style of cuisine, and exceedingly creditable to the ladies having it in charge. 
Its tempting qualities were enhanced by the pleasing manner of its service by the handsome grand-daughters and great-grand-daughters of the hero of the day. The noon feast was grand, indeed, and was highly enjoyed by the visitors who were so fortunate as to be present at that time. 
A majority of the immediate descendants of Mr. Durbin reside in Marion county, but the large flock of yesterday was gathered from Eastern and Southern Oregon, California, Portland, Dallas and other points of the compass, and it would be difficult to find a happier, more prosperous or a more vigorous congregation. A glance at this tree and its numerous branches cannot fail to be an interesting history. 
John Durbin was born near Brownville, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, September 13, 1794, and in 1800 moved with the family to Richland county, Ohio, where, in 1820, he was married to Sarah Fitting. They lived together until about a year ago when she, at the age of 92 years, passed to the other shore to await his coming. Of this union there were ten children, Casper J., Rebecca, Fanny A., John and Sarah (twins), Solomon, Isaac and Daniel (twins), Mary J. and Ruth A. 
The family moved from Ohio to Hancock county, Illinois in 1842, but in the same year moved to Clayton county, Missouri, from which place they came to Marion county, Oregon, in the spring of 1845, where the family have prospered and multiplied ever since. 
Mr. Durbin looked exceedingly well yesterday and ran a foot race with his niece, Mrs. Farley, of Dallas, from the front door to the gate. He is quite deaf and his limbs are not those of a Hercules, but he has a fresh, spry look and his faculties are very bright. 
He told the Statesman reporter about killing deer in the neighborhood of where the group stood, "but," he said, "I guess I won’t kill any more; they have all gone back to the mountains now." The reader will notice that his own ability to do the slaughtering is not thought of in the expression -- only the absence of the game. 
THE BRANCHES. Casper J., the oldest, now nearly 74 years old, lives in Huntington, Baker county. He married Julia Draper and they have two children, Alice B., unmarried, and John, married and one child - four generations. Fanny A., married John Martin and had seven children -- Rebecca, Melissa, Sarah Jane, Mary Melvinia, Ruther Elizabeth, Frances Emma, Lawrence J. and Willard. Mrs. Martin was present and full of life and energy having returned yesterday morning from a visit to her eldest daughter in Josephine county. This daughter -- Rebecca M., married Anthony Presley. They have four children, David, Married and has one child; Barron, married, but no children; Clarence and Fanny. Sarah Jane is dead, but left four children - Martin S. Durbin, Pauline Montgomery, Robert and Paul Barnes, by three marriages. Mary M. Married a Mr. Gish; they live in Iowa and have three children. Ruth Elizabeth is the wife of Richard Sayre a resident of the Capital City, and has four children; she is a grandchild and a grandmother, her daughter, Fanny Maud Chittenden, being the mother of three children, making five generations. Frances Emma is married to Provo Kluit, lives in California and has one child. Lawrence J. lives on Salem prairie, is married to Anna Walker and they have three children. Willard also lives near here is married to Allie Savage and they have four children. This was the great productive branch of all. John Durbin, the fourth child, is dead. His twin, Sarah, was married first to a Mr. Sturgis and later to Mr. Plowman. Her son, George Sturgis, lives on French prairie and has five boys and one girl; her son, R. B. Plowman, married a Miss Monroe, and they have two children. They live on Howell prairie. Solomon, the sixth child, married Sophia Elgin and they had four children - Chas. B., who married Tillie Baird, lives in Wasco county and has one child; Anna, who married C. M. Walker, lives in Gilliam county and has one child; Clarence, dead; May, married John Koltes, lives in Portland and has two children, Martha and Gertrude. Isaac, the seventh, married Olive Case and had four children - Loretta, first married to Mr. Sheldon, now the wife of Duncan Ross of Salem prairie, has three children; John, dead; Lela, married to M. J. Jerman, of Howell prairie and has two children; Myrtle, married to Lewis Bechtel, no children. Daniel, twin of Isaac, married to Sarah A. Smith, lives on Howell prairie and has one child, Frank W., and everybody knows Frank. He is married to Clemma Shellody and they have two beautiful little girls, Rebecca A. and Alice Maud. Daniel Durbin died by accidental poisoning a year ago. Mary J., the ninth, married A. A. Starkey and had six children, all girls - Sarah Dora, married to E. T. Perkins, living at Heppner, has two children living; Umatilla, married to Wm. Oldham, living at Portland, has two children; Fanny, married to A. H. Wilson, living in Portland, no children; Minnie, formerly wife of J. B. Barrett, deceased, at home, no children; Jennie, deceased, was wife of James Forsyth, who was present; Lizzie, unmarried, at home. Mrs. Starkey lives in Salem. Ruth A., the tenth child, now dead, married R. A. Barker, also dead. They had four children - Sally A., married to O. D. Hutton and both respected residents here, where they have an excellent family consisting of Miss Mabel, Harry and Lena; Belle, married to Frank Stiles, living at Dallas, one child; Thomas, married and living in Arcata, California; Ida, married to Phil Grant, living in Portland, no children. A large proportion of those mentioned were present yesterday and a slight exercise of mathematical skill will enable the reader to approximate the magnitude of the celebration. Besides these there were present as guests, Mrs. R. Farley of Dallas, a niece of Mr. Durbin; Dr. Wm. Farley and wife of Dallas; F. M. Smith of Salem prairie; Miss Margaret Titus of Fox Valley, Grant county; George Ferrel and family, Mrs. A. S. Kightlinger and Thos. H. Reynolds of Salem. T. J. Cherrington was present with his photographing outfit and took several pictures of the crowd before and during lunch. After the repast, the public reception. Fine music was rendered by an orchestra from the city consisting of Miss Lottie Hellenbrand, piano; Prof. McLyman, violin; Prof. Stoudenmeyer, horn; Prof. Karl Poppa, clarionet. A canvas was laid on the lawn, properly fastened down, making a fine dancing floor, where old and young beat merry time to the pleasing orchestral notes. His brother officers would have been surprised to have seen Police Officer Hutton swinging the pretty girls around and kicking his heels to a double jig jingle. O. D. is a rouser when he gets outside of the city limits. It would be impossible in this space to give a list of the friends and neighbors who drove there to pay their respects to the centenarian. The number was too large for that, but the reporter noticed a few old settlers dropping in that were noticeable among them being Rev. J. L. Parrish, himself in the 89th year of his age, accompanied by his wife; Governor-elect Wm. P. Lord; ex-Governor Z. F. and Mrs. Moody; Mr. John Hughes and daughter Genevieve; Hon. J. J. and Mrs. Murphy. They all came to show proper reverence and respect to him to whom has been allotted such a green old age; who had lived as long as a pioneer in Oregon; who is the progenitor of such a sturdy, thrifty, upright line of citizens, and who now stands in the position of him who by the poet is made to say: "Only waiting till the shadows are a little longer grown; Only waiting till the glimmer Of the day’s last beam is flown; Then from out the gathered darkness, Holy, deathless stars shall rise, By whose light my soul shall gladly Tread its pathway to the skies." 
Oregon Statesman 14 Sep 1894

A similar article was printed in the Capital Journal of September 13, and included the information that John Durbin was a "lieutenant in the War of 1812"  [ I have not verified this]
  As with many people who claimed to live almost to antiquity, John Durbin may be suspected of, in his old age, adding a few more years to his birth date than were there factually.  In the 1860 census of Oregon he called himself 59 years old [hence born in 1801], in the Oregon land claims he gives information that makes his birth year 1799 in Washington County, Pa. [ the place is most likely accurate] and the Centennial History of Oregon, 1812-1912 vol. 2 says he was born 13 Sept. 1794, Brownville, Pa.  He was married 26 April 1821, as proven by the marriage records of Richland County, Ohio."
Kerry W. Bate, Durbin Dictionary; a record of the Durbins until 1900's, p. 74
He Was Nearly One Hundred and Three Years of Age; A Biographical Sketch
With 102 years, 10 months and 4 days to his credit, the venerable John durbin, of this county, closed his eyes in death yesterday morning.  He had been ailing a good deal for the past week and became seriously ill during the forty-eight hours preceding his demise, which came peacefrully and happily at last.
The unwonted age to which he had attained made Mr. Durbin a conspicuous figure in Willamette valley history, aside from the intimate relation he bore personally in the making of that history, by deed and word, through the fifty-two years of his career spent in this part of the world.
For the past four years decedent has lived at the home of Duncan Ross, a grandson-in-law, near Howell Prairie, and has moved about but little during that period, the most notable departure from this rule being the visit he made in September, 1894, to the home of his son Solomon, three miles east of Salem, where, on the 13th day of that month five generations of his descandents celebrated the centennial anniversary of the patriarch's birth, by a splendid reunion and banquet, in itself one of the historical incidents in the annals of Marion county. At this great function the centenarian accomplished the extraodinary feat of beating his niece, Mrs. Farley of Dallas, in a foot race from the front door to the gate, his success proving how well maintained was the superb physical strength that had been his through life.
John Durbin was born near Brownsville, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, on September 13, 1794, and in 1800 moved with his family ot Richland county, Ohio, where, in 1820 he was married to Sarah Fitting.  They lived together until about three years ago, when she, at the age of 92, passed to the other shore to await his coming.  Of this union there were ten children, Caspar J., Rebecca, Fanny A., John and Sarah (twins), Solomon, Isaac and Daniel (twins), Mary J. and Ruth A.  The family moved from Ohio to Hancock county, Illinois, in 1842, but in the same year moved to Clayton county, Mississippi, from which place they came to Marion county, Oregon, in the spring of 1845, where the family have prospered and multiplied ever since.
Of those who look in love and reverence to this grand sire as the patriarch of their kind, there are still living: Casper J., the eldest, now nearly 77 years old, dwqells in Huntington, Baker county. He married Julia Draper and they have two children, Alice B. and John, who is married, with one child, making four generations.
Fanny A. married to John Martin and had seven children, Rebecca Melissa, Sarah Jane, Mary Melvina, Ruth Elizabeth, Frances Emma, Lawrence J. and Willard.
Sarah, first married to a Mr. Sturgis and later to Mr. Plowman, now resides on Howell Prairie.
Solomon, the sixth child, resides a few miles east of Salem. He married Sophia Elgin and four children blessed their union.
Isaac, the seventh, was married to Olive Case and they had four children, the oldest of whom is now Mrs. Duncan Ross, of Salem prairie, at whose home the centenarian ended his long life.  Isaac, like all the surviving members of the family, enjoys a prosperous farm life and is a resident of Howell Prairie.
Daniel, the twin of Isaac, lives on Howell Prairie with his wife 9nee Miss Sarah A. Smith) and they have one child, Frank W.
Mary J., now Mrs. A. A. Starkey, and is the mother of six children.
Ruth A., the tenth child, is dead.  She married R. A. Sarker, who is dead also, leaving four children.
Beside Ruth A., of the children of John Durbin, Rebecca, the second and John, the fourth are now dead.
The Statesman was unable to last evening obtain anything concerning the funeral arrangements of the dead centenarian, but, it is expected, it will be held tomorrow.  Interment will be in the family lot in Rural cemetery, beside those of his deceased wife.
Weekly Oregon Statesman 23 July 1897 5:4
John Durbin 
Sept. 13, 1794 
July 17, 1897 
His Wife 
Sarah Fitting Durbin 
Oct. 8, 1801 
Mar. 31, 1892 
"Pioneers of 1845"
IOOF Register of Burials 
DAR pg 19 
OS 14 Sep 1894
Durbin Dictionary

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