Hillsborough County, Florida


1838 - 1917

Uriah Raiford Durrance was born in Early County, Georgia, February 1, 1838. According to the 1850 census his father's name was D. J. Durrance. U. R. Durrance's mother was named Maria Elizabeth and her maiden name was possibly Douglas.

Prior to 1850, Uriah Raiford moved with his parents to St. Johns County, Florida, where they appear on the 1850 census. During the 1850's, U. R. Durrance moved to south Florida, settling in Hillsborough County. He enlisted at Fort Brooke October 8, 1857 in Captain Carter's Independent Company of Florida Mounted Volunteers and served until February 18, 1858.

On October 13th or 14th, 1859 in Hillsborough County, Uriah Raiford Durrance was married to Martha Jane Hancock, daughter of Jordan and Martha (Baker) Hancock. She was born July 9, 1841 in Georgia and moved with her parents to Hillsborough County during the 1850's. U. R. and Martha Jane (Hancock) Durrance had the following children:

1. Jane Adeline Durrance, born October 5th or 9th, 1860; married Benjamin Jackson Parrish, December 20, 1876.

2. Mary Frances Durrance, born March 24, 1862; died December 27, 1905; married Isiah Williams, March 18, 1886.

3. Louisa Durrance, born December 31, 1865 or January 1, 1866; married Hiram Prescott, June 4, 1885.

4. Anna Elizabeth Durrance, born September 15, 1867; married Noah I. "Sam" Albritton, January 20, 1888.

5. Clementine Durrance, born October 12, 1869; died April 16, 1948; married Roan Williams.

6. Candacy Durrance, born November 12, 1871; died January 20, 1951; married Kittrell Liles Mahon.

7. James Uriah Durrance, born October 3, 1873; died November 5, 1965; married Christine Alderman, February 20, 1903.

8. David Jackson Durrance, born February 29, 1876; married Missouri Crews.

9. George Washington Durrance, born November 12, 1877 or December 5, 1878; married Susan Mahon.

10. Doctor Durrance, born October 15, 1879 or November 3, 1880; married Effie Collier.

11. Martha Serena Durrance, born January 15, 1885; married Ceylon Joseph Carlton.

U. R. Durrance and family resided in that portion of Hillsborough County which was formed into Polk County in 1861. Polk County's 1861 tax list shows Uriah R. Durrance as a local taxpayer.

During the Civil WAr, U. R. Durrance enlisted in Company E of the 7th Florida Infantry on April 10, 1862. This company was made up of men from southwest Florida and was popularly known as the South Florida Bulldogs. It became part of the Confederate Army of Tennessee and served in the western theatre of the war.

In 1867-68, U. R. Durrance constructed the first Polk County jail. The building was about sixteen feet square, two stories high, and was built of hewn timbers laid on top of one another, at a total cost of $1600.

The Durrance family resided in Polk County until January 1885 when they moved to Manatee (now DeSoto) County. Martha Jane (Hancock) Durrance died September 1, 1885 and was buried in the Mount Olive Cemetery near Bradley Junction in Polk County.

On March 16, 1888 in DeSoto County, Uriah Raiford Durrance was married to Lougenia "Lucy" (DeVane) Townsend. She was born April 25, 1865 and was the former wife of Andrew J. Townsend whom she had married in Hillsborough County, April 1, 1883. U. R. and Lucy (DeVane) Durrance had the following children:

12. Francis Marion Durrance, born December 10, 1888; married Caroline Padgett.

13. Thomas Jefferson Durrance, born February 16, 1891; died January 17, 1917; married Edna Collier.

14. Raiford Manuel Durrance, born July 15, 1893; died 1972; married Susie Tyson.

15. Eula Lee Durrance, born November 13, 1894; died April 19, 1969; married John B. Storman.

16. Ruby Virginia Durrance, born July 7, 1898; died September 27, 1930; married Joseph H. Tripp.

In December 1898, U. R. Durrance, then residing in Crewsville, DeSoto County, applied for a veteran's pension for his service in the Seminole War. The pension was denied because the law then in existence only applied to service from 1832-42. In the application, Mr. Durrance gave his occupation as farmer.

On December 6, 1900, U. R. Durrance left DeSoto County and moved to the community of Basinger, located on the eastern side of the Kissimmee River in Osceola County. During this period Mr. Durrance was actively involved in the cattle business. In September 1902 Uriah R. Durrance once again applied for an Indian War pension. The act of June 27, 1902 made him eligible and in his application he gave his address as Bassenger, Osceola County, Florida. It is interesting to note that Mr. Durrance signed his name as "Durrence" on all of the pension forms and his pension, which is numbered 5071, gives his name as Uriah R. Durrence. When applying for the pension he gave his height as five feet, ten inches; weight as 155 pounds; with blue eyes, light hair and fair complexion. He originally received $8 per month but this had been increased to $20 monthly at the time of his death.

On September 10, 1907, Mr. Durrance applied for a Confederate veteran's pension from the State of Florida. The pension was approved and he was authorized to received $120 per year.

Not long before his death, Mr. & Mrs. Durrance moved to Sebring, where he died December 1, 1917. The obituary reads as follows: "After only a few days illness U. R. Durrance passed away at his home near Sebring, Sat., December 1st, and was buried in the Sebring Cemetery Sunday afternoon, the funeral services being conducted by Rev. M. Walker, pastor of the Primitive Baptist Church of Fort Meade, of which Church Mr. Durrance had been a consistent member for many years. Rev. Walker was assisted in the services by Elder J. H. Moore, pastor of the Church of the Brethren of Sebring. The death of Mr. Durrance removes one more of the very few early Florida pioneers, who lived to see south Florida develop, from a vast cattle range, to beautiful orange groves and progressive little cities."

Mr. Durrance's son, James, served as administrator of the estate. It included 1500 head of cattle valued at $20,000, 375 acres in Okeechobee County and 10 acres in DeSoto County at a total value of $10,000. James Durrance was finally discharged as administrator, September 7, 1940.

Lucy (DeVane) Durrance applied for a Federal Indian War widow's pension in 1918. On April 26, 1924, she applied for a Confederate widow's pension from the State of Florida. At that time she was living at Bowling Green, in Hardee County. The Confederate pension was approved and she was authorized to receive $300 per year. Lucy (DeVane) Durrance died September 22, 1934 and was buried in the cemetery at Basinger, Florida.

SOURCES: Census - 1850 St. Johns, Florida, 1880 Polk County, Florida, 1885 Manatee County, Florida; marriage records of Hillsborough, Manatee & DeSoto County, Florida; U. R. Durrance probate file; pension application of U. R. Durrance for Indian War service; pension application of U. R. Durrance for Confederate service; pension files of Lucy (DeVane) Durrance for Indian War & Confederate widow's pensions; 1861 Polk County tax list; Basinger & Crewsville cemeteries; Hancock & Durrance family files of Lillian Carpenter, Polk County Historical Library in Bartow, Florida; History of Polk County by M. F. Hetherington, p. 21; Pioneer families of the Kissimmee River Valley by K. S. Vanlandingham, pp. 13-14; compiled by Kyle Vanlandingham.
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