Biography - Alexander Durdy

ALEXANDER C. DURDY, Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors of Montgomery County and a prominent grain and elevator man of Ohlman, is a true type of the American self-made man. He is of Scotch-Irish descent and inherits the thrift and enterprise of the former and the wit and true heartedness of the latter. He was born in Washington County, Md.,on the 6th of July, 1838, and was the youngest of the family of seven children born to James and Mary (Lindsey) Durdy. The first representative of .both the Durdy and Lindsey families in America were early settlers of Maryland, where they located prior to the Revolution, and the grandfather of Mrs. Durdy fought in the war for independence.
The father of our subject was one of those honest, hardworking men upon whom the sun of financial prosperity never shone with any degree of brilliancy. In fact, he was a very poor man. In 1850, thinking to better his condition, he removed with his family to St. Louis, Mo., where he soon afterward died, leaving a widow and a large family of children in very poor circumstances. Then it was, at the tender age of twelve years, that our subject was obliged to begin the battle of life for himself. He became an office boy for a large foundry in St. Louis, and about all the education he received he obtained while attending night school. However, he made good use of his time and acquired a good business education. Gradually, he advanced until he had obtained the position of head book-keeper, which place he retained until 1868, when he resigned to accept a position in the office of the Northern Missouri Railroad Company. However, he remained in this position but a short time when he had offered to him at a big salary the position of salesman on the road for a large wholesale liquor house in St. Louis. This position he held continuously up to the year 1881, and in the meantime acquired quite a fortune. In the last-named year, he began looking around for a suitable location, where he could rear and educate his children, and finally established himself in the elevator business at Ohlman, where he has met with much success in his business venture.
Mr. Durdy was married in 1862 to Miss Josephine Burback, a native of St. Louis, of German descent, and to them have been born ten children, all of whom but one are living, namely: Mary E., wife of William Schaper, of Indianapolis, Ind.; Alexander C., Jr., married Miss Annie M. Best, daughter of Henry A. Best, one of Montgomery County's most prominent citizens, and a wealthy farmer of Nokomis, who is connected with our subject in the grain business; Stella, wife of E. A. Rice, a prominent lumber merchant of Litchfield; Cora T. is the wife of E. S. Umpleby, agent of the Big Four at Ohlman; Anna C., Florence, Elizabeth, Louis Leon and Leon Cleveland. The last five named are still in the school room. The mother of our subject died in St. Louis in 1872, and of his brothers and sisters there are but two of the former and one of the latter living. Two of his brothers, Robert L. and James, fought bravely in defense of the flag during the Civil War, and the former received injuries in the service for which he received a pension of $30 per month. He is now a resident of Havana, Mason County, Ill. The other brother answered to the final muster a number of years ago. William J., another brother, is a sergeant on the St. Louis police force, having served in that capacity for the last twenty-six years. Our subject's sister, Mrs. James Hanson, is a widow and resides in St. Louis.
In politics, Mr. Durdy has been a life-long Democrat, as was his father before him, and has held a number of local offices. For six years he has been a member of the Board of County Supervisors and is the present Chairman of the Board, a position he has held for four consecutive years with great satisfaction to his constituents and with equally as great credit to himself. He began at the bottom round of the ladder a poor orphan boy, and his career through life is worthy of emulation. He is spending the evening of his well-spent life in his beautiful home, where he enjoys all the comforts of domestic bliss and where, surrounded by a happy family, he can enjoy rest and quiet.

Extracted 10 Jan 2017 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 277-278.

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