biography from Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
W. A. DURFEE, of Oskaloosa, is a native of Erie County, Pa., where he was born June 17, 1828. He is a son of Addison and Lorraine Durfee, the former a native of Rhode Island and the latter of Vermont. They removed, in 1831, to Rochester, N. Y., and engaged in the grocery business, which he continued until his death in 1833. Mr. and Mrs. Addison Durfee were the parents of two children: W. A. Durfee, of Oskaloosa and Emily N., wife of L. Lowry, of Port Byron, Ill. Mrs. Durfee was again married, in 1851, to Hon. George E. Holmes, of Port Byron, Ill., who died in the spring of 1872. The subject of this sketch, the only son, after the death of his father, went to Erie County, Pa., where he remained until 1839, and then cameWest with his mother to Henry County, Ill. Here he attended the High School at Genesco, to fit himself for college. In 1850 he settled in Fort Byron, Ill., and embarked in the mercantile trade, which he continued for fifteen years. In 1870 he disposed of his stock of goods and engaged in the business of mining and shipping coal, continuing in that business at Port Byron, Ill., until the year 1878, when he came to this county and purchased an interest in the Excelsior mines, south of this city, which property he developed, and sold his interest to the C., M. & St. P. B. R. Co., at present the owners and operators of that property. In 1882, after disposing of his interest in the Excelsior mine, he opened up and developed the Standard mine, located in the western part of that city, and of which he has been general superintendent from its organization. Mr. Durfee is also largely interested in other mining properties in the State of Iowa, and particularly in Jasper County. As a successful manager in this line of business, Mr. Durfee has no superior, and few, if any, equals. His knowledge of the coal measures and geological formations of Iowa, is based upon the deductions of science, and his views as an expert are sought after and prized by the coal operators of Iowa. Mr. Durfee was married in Fort Byron, Rock Island Co., Ill., Aug. 31, 1853, to Miss Harriet Pratt, a daughter of Ira Pratt, a native of Wayne County, N. Y., where she was born June 29, 1831. By this marriage there were two children: Grace C., wife of Dwight F. Downing, attorney at law, Oskaloosa, and Clarence W., of Oskaloosa, of the firm of Weeks & Durfee, dealers in general merchandise. Clarence is married to Miss Suella McPherrin, of this county. Mr. and Mrs. Durfee are members of the Congregational Church.
Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy