Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Edmond Durfee - (2013 road trip)

artist rendition of young Edmond Durfee
Edmond Durfee was a farmer, carpenter and wheelwright. 
His name is found spelled many ways but Edmund/Edmond and Durfee/Durfey are the most common spellings. 
Edmond is my husband's 3rd great grandfather:  Michael ->Verl Alldredge ->Maria Delila VanLeuven Alldredge -> Mariah Durfee VanLeuven ->Jabez Durfee ->Edmond Durfee
--to read a wonderful, well-documented history of Edmond Durfee and his murder visit this blogpost: 

On our recent road trip we were able to go to the old Morley Settlement aka Yelrome area where Edmond Durfee lost his life during the Mormon troubles in Illinois in the 1840s. This is located at the south side of the present small town of Tioga, Illinois. The settlement was about five miles northeast of Lima, Illinois and 28 miles south of Nauvoo, Illinois. There is nothing left of the old settlement - (The town of Tioga was settled ten years later in 1855 at the same place as the Morley settlement.) but a marker has been placed at the site by the Durfee/Miner family organization:
Marker at location of Morley's Settlement and Edmond Durfee's tragic murder
Marker of Morley's Settlement

Close-up view of left side of marker
(click for larger view)
Close-up view of right side of marker
(click for larger view)

Edmond Durfee was born 3 October 1788 in Tiverton, Rhode Island to Perry and Annie Salsbury Durfee. There are still Durfees in Tiverton - all are descendants of early colonist, Thomas Durfee (1643). Edmond's parents died when he was a teen and he and his brothers moved with their grandparents to New York a year after his father's passing.
Edmond married Magdalena (Lana) Pickle on October 18, 1809. They settled in New York first in Lennox, Madison county then Amboy, Oswego county. They eventually had thirteen children.
When new land became available in Ohio the family bought land and moved to the township of Ruggles 60 miles southwest of the present city of Cleveland in 1830 and it was there that they were converted to the LDS Church. They later moved northeast to Kirtland, Ohio and joined the early saints living there. Edmond helped build the Kirtland Temple and is listed as one who received a special blessing for this service. He also served several missions while in Ohio and also went to Missouri to help plant crops and build homes for the Mormon settlements there. The Durfee family moved to Missouri in 1837 and were there less than two years before being driven out of that state by mobs.
The family settled north of Lima, Illinois in with other Mormon refugee families in what was known as Morley's settlement and also called Yelrome which is Morley spelled backwards. The Durfees lived near the Hancock family there - Solomon Hancock was one of the missionaries who first taught and baptized the Durfees in Ohio. This was a good sized group and after five years had nice farms and homes. In 1845 a year and a half after the martyrdom of the prophet Joseph Smith there was much anti-Mormon sentiment in the area and in September 1845 because of escalating violence and burning of homes most of the residents moved north to Nauvoo for safety including Edmond, Lana and their four children still at home. Here is an account of what happened written by Edmond's daughter, Tamma:

“The mobocrats drove all of the people out of Father Morley’s Settlement, turned the sick ones out, drove them all out to live or die, rolled my brother Nephi up in his bed and threw him out doors when he was sick, and then set fire to their house by throwing some bundles of oats that were afire, on top of the house….They plundered, made fires, burned houses, furniture and clothing looms, yarn, cloth, carpenter tools. Even the iron from the tools they picked up and carted away in barrels. Every wall burned to ashes, and the mob went from house to house driving them out, it made little difference if they were sick or well, until every house in that town that a Mormon lived in was burnt”   --Tamma Durfee Miner typescript

Illustration "Attack at the Hancock Home" by C.C.A. Christensen -from marker

In November 1845 Edmond Durfee traveled back to his abandoned fields to harvest the grain, gather the corn and dig the potatoes left behind. Solomon Hancock's home and barn hadn't been burned so it was used as an inn and place to store the gathered crops. There had been troops guarding them but they had left the area that weekend. According to Hancock's son this is what happened on the night of Saturday, November 15, 1845:

“Some boys were a sleeping in our barn, it being well filled with unthreshed wheat, oats, corn and hay. Horses in the stable and cows in the yard, it being well nigh covered with dry rubbish where feeding was done. About 11 o’clock the boys were awakened by the noise of fire, smoke and light, they saw the fire running to the barn, as the wind blew lightly that way; my brother George informed father at the house, he came to the scene in his night clothes, they raked the straw from the barn, took the horses from the stable and let the cows out of the yard, they ran from the barn when out, as scared.

Father went to see what was there, a man stepped from behind a tree and fired a gun at him the shot taking no effect, a shrill whistle was heard and some sixteen men arose that were secreted behind the log fence, with which the yard was built and shot at the boys in the yard, the bullets lodging in the barn and fence on the opposite side, no one being hit but an elderly man by the name of Edmund Durphy. A bullet striking him in the hollow of the neck, cutting but one thread in a woolen necktie that was around his neck and he fell dead at once.”

“The mob fled, setting some fires as they went back from whence they came, I followed some distance the moon shining bright, I could plainly see their tracks in the road as they came and went back towards Lyma, a town some five miles off from whence they came. Durphy and some of his boys had been gathering their corn and digging their potatoes, and securing them at our place, so that they could be got for winter, his house and wheat being previously burned by mob violence.” --Charles Hancock Recollections p. 34

Edmond Durfee's body was taken to Nauvoo for burial. Some of the mob were later detained but were let go and never tried for his murder. Edmond's wife, Lana later married Edmond's widowed brother, Jabez. They were among the refuges who left Nauvoo in 1846. Lana passed away in 1850 near Council Bluffs, Iowa and was buried in that area. A new large headstone has been placed in the old Nauvoo Cemetery commemorating both Edmond and Magdalena Durfee.
Headstone marker in old Nauvoo burial grounds
back of headstone


This is the first blog review from our 2013 Road Trip. I've heard the Edmond Durfee story since I married my husband and it helped put it into perspective to see the locations of the events in this tragic tale. -cba