"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.


Durkee, William H., a resident of Rhinelander, who as lumberjack, farmer, merchant, land proprietor and nurseryman, has had a long and varied career with many interesting experiences, being still active and enterprising, was born in the town of Ellington, Outagamie County, Wis., Aug.28, 1866, son of Timothy and Sabrina (KNIGHT) DURKEE. The parents were natives of the states of New York and Maine respectively, but were married in Outagamie County, Wis., after coming to which region the father followed farming there until 1871. He then moved with his family to Fond du Lac County, where he continued the same occupation for six years, after that going to Waushara County, where he farmed for a year. The next move was to the town of Ellington, Outagamie County, where four years were spent in the same occupation. The family then returned to Waushara County, where they resided until 1897, during four of that period Timothy DURKEE conducting a general store at Spring Lake. In 1897 he again returned to Outagamie County, engaging in business as a merchant at Shiocton, and he was thus occupied until 1910, in which year his store was burned, when he retired. He died Feb. 13, 1919; his wife is also deceased. William H. DURKEE acquired his education in district and public schools in the various localities to which his parents moved, and until he was 20 years old was engaged in assisting his father. During the winter of 1887-88 he worked at logging in the woods, after which he began farming on his own account, buying a farm of 57 acres in the town of Marion, Wausahara County. To this he later added two wild "forties," and subsequently farmed the place until 1898, in which year he established a general store at Spring Lake. In 1902, after conducting the store for four years, he sold out and came to Rhinelander, Oneida County, where he engaged in a mercantile business which he conducted three years. In 1905 he sold his farm in Waushara County, and having also sold his mercantile business at the end of the three year period mentioned, he has since given most of his time to farming in Oneida County, his farm land being situated in the town of Pelican. For the past nine years he has also been agent for the Jewell Nursery Co. of Lake City, Minn., covering Oneida County and adjacent territory. He owns two fine residences in Rhinelander, his properties running through from S. Oneida Avenue to Randall Avenue; one residence--No. 904--faces on the former thoroughfare, and the other--No. 903--on the latter. The houses were built by him, are of thoroughly modern construction and are on corner lots. While in Waushara County Mr. DURKEE served two years as supervisor on his town board. He is fraternally affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America and the Equitable Fraternal Union. He was married at Berlin, Wis., May 2, 1892, to Matilda LESCHNOCK, and he and his wife have been the parents of two children: Verna, a graduate of the Rhinelander High School and the Whitewater State Normal School, who is now teaching in North St. Paul; and Mary, who died Feb. 2, 1909. Mr. DURKEE and his family are members of the Catholic Church and are people with a wide circle of friends throughout Oneida County.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 243-244; History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others; 1924, H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co.

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