Lewis G. Durin
Willow Creek Township

Lewis G. Durin is one of the wealthiest and most successful farmers and stock-raisers of Lee County, and is a fine representative of its pioneers who not only helped to lay firmly the foundation of its enduring prosperity, but are still potent in promoting its material welfare, as well as in advancing its higher interests. He has one of the largest and best equipped farms in this part of Illinois, finely located on sections 5, 6, 7 and 8, Willow Creek Township, where he is conducting an extensive business in raising stock and carrying on general farming. His birthplace is among the hills of Newfane, Windham County, Vt., where he was born March 8, 1820. His father, Ethan Durin, was a native of the same town, while his father, whose name was the same as his own, was born in Massachusetts. The latter was one of the first settlers of Newfane, where he bought a tract of forest-covered land, erected a dwelling and other necessary buildings, and in the course of time cleared a farm, upon which he lived until death terminated his career in 1823. The maiden name or bis wife was Millicent Parmenter. She was likewise a native of Massachusetts, and spent her last years on the farm in Newfane.

The father of our subject was reared to the life of a farmer on the Vermont farm that was his birthplace. After marriage he settled on the old homestead and gave his attention to its management. In 1835 he removed to Franklin, in the same State, and bought a farm in the town of Highgate, where he resided until 1853. Then, selling tbat place, he came to Illinois to spend his last years with his son, our subject, in whose home he died in April, 1865. His wife had preceded him in death only a short time before, dying at the home of our subject in Februay of the same year. Her maiden name was Mary Gates, a daughter of Silas Gates, and she was born in the same county as her husband. She was the mother of these seven children - Hepsabeth, Ada, Ira, William, Lewis G., Wilson and Gilbert E.

He of whom this biography is written was fifteen years old when the family removed from the place of his birth to Franklin County, Vt., and he there grew to a strong, self-reliant manhood on his father's farm. He lived with his parents until he was twenty-one, and then began life on his own account as a farm laborer, at $8 a month. He continued his residence in his native State until 1849, and then he took an important step in life by which he secured fortune's favors; that being the year of his removal to Illinois. The joumey hither was made by team to St. John's, from there by rail to Montreal, thence by canal to Ogdensburg, by lake from that city to Detroit, where he took the cars to New Buffalo, embarking there on a steamer and crossing the lake to Waukegan, Ill., then by stage to Rockton, Winnebago County, and from there to St. Charles, where he spent the summer, and in the fall came to Lee County. At that time the prairies here were sparsely settled, and a great deal of the land. was still owned by the Gov­ernment, and was for sale at $1.25 an acre. There were no railways in the State, and the people here­abouts used to market at Peru, and later at Aurora.

Mr. Durin entered a large tract of land on sections 5, 6, 7,and 8, of what is now WilIow Creek Township, and the following year made the first improvements on his land, which upon he has dwelt ever since. His farm is just one mile square, is under the best of tillage, its broad fields yielding abundant harvests, and its rich pastures supporting many cattle and horses of the most desirable herds; ample buildings of good style of architecture adorn the place; evidences of the employment of the best methods of husbandry, of systematic work, and of a thorough and economical administration of affairs are seen on every hand. A cool, clear-headed calculator, firm of purpose, and carrying out his well laid plans with prompt­ness and dispatch, showing himself to be a man of exceptional activity and resource, our subject has by these traits made himself a leading place among the men of substance to whom township and county are indebted for their progress during the last forty years, as will be seen by a perusal of this brief record of his life. He has sound and sensible views on all subjects in which he is interesed, and his political opinions are in accordance witht he principles promulgated by the Republican party.

Mr. Durin was married in 1854 to Margaret Rees, a native of Virginia, and in her companionship, excellent counsel and capable aid he has found much of the comfort of his life and needed help in acquiring his fortune. They have been blessed in their marriage by the birth of four children, whose names are Martha, Ida M., Ada and Willie G.

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