William Durmann – The subject of this personal narrative is one of the most successful and progressive farmers and stock raisers within the borders of Colona Township, his place of residence being the old Durmann homestead of two hundred and sixty acres on section 33.  He has made his special field of industry an eminent success. He is a native of Illinois, his birth having occurred in Black Hawk Township, Rock Island County, March 15, 1856.

His father, Joseph Durmann, was born and reared in Germany, where he learned the cooper’s trade, and as a young man he came to the United States, first locating in St. Louis, where he pursued that vocation for a time.  In 1836, he removed to Rock Island, Illinois (then called Stephenson), where he and John Staubach started the first cooper shop.  In partnership with August Littig he also established the first brewery at that place.  There he married Miss Amanda Killing, a German lady, and they continued to make their home in Rock Island and Milan for some years.  They finally located on a farm one mile west of Coal Valley, where they resided for four years, and on disposing of that place Mr. Durmann bought the farm in Colona Township where our subject now lives.  He built a good residence on the place, and made many other improvements which enhanced its value and attractive appearance.  Upon this farm he passed away March 4, 196, and his wife died July 26, 1898.

William Durmann was reared in much the usual manner of farmer boys of his day, and his early education, acquired in the common schools, was supplemented by a year’s attendance at the Davenport Business College.  He aided his father in the operation of the farm until thirty-two years of age, and for his services his father gave him a farm of one hundred and sixty acres near Cordova, in Rock Island County.
As a companion and helpmate on life’s journey Mr. Durmann chose Miss Lottie Washburn, their marriage being celebrated in Henry County on the 16th of March, 1892.  She was educated in the public schools of this county and is a daughter of C. E. Washburn whose sketch and portrait appear elsewhere in this volume.  Two children bless this union, Dorsey and Chauncey.

For a year or more after his marriage, Mr. Durmann continued to engage in farming on the old homestead and then removed to his own farm in Rock Island County, to the further improvement and cultivation of which he devoted five years.  At the end of that period he purchased the interests of the other heirs in the old homestead in Colona Township and has since resided thereon, while he rented his farm in Rock Island County.  He feeds considerable stock for market and is accounted one of the most successful farmers and stock raisers in Colona Township.  Politically, Mr. Durmann is a Jeffersonian Democrat and he has been called upon to serve his fellow citizens as township collector four years; assessor one year; and school director fifteen years.  He is still a member of the school board and has done much to secure better schools and more competent teachers in his district.  He is progressive and enterprising and gives his support to all measures which he believes calculated to prove of public benefit.

Transcribed by Denise Border

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Illinois Ancestors