William Henry Durkee, M. D.


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                As a physician and surgeon, Doctor Durkee has been identified with the professional life of Whiteside County for a quarter of a century.  He has enjoyed exceptional opportunities in school and in his practical experience has rendered a service that has brought him unqualified esteem in his home city of Fulton.

                He was born on a farm in York Township, Carroll County, Illinois, January 23, 1868.  His paternal grandparents were Sidney and Sabra (DeWolf) Durkee.  Sidney Durkee, a native of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and of Holland Dutch ancestry, the original spelling of the family name having been Dierks, grew up in Nova Scotia and on going to Ohio settled in Licking County, where he spent the rest of his life.  George Albert Durkee, father of Doctor Durkee was born at Johnstown in Licking County, Ohio, October 12, 1889, and at the age of sixteen in 155, went west to Carroll County, Illinois.  In 1864 he enlisted in Company B of the 147th Illinois Infantry and gave service as a soldier of the Union during the remainder of the war.  For many years he was an active member of the Grand Army of the Republic.  Soon after his return from the army he married Anna A. Clark, who was born near Newark in Muskingum County, Ohio.  While visiting her aunt., Mrs. Parkhill in Carroll County, Illinois, she met George Albert Durkee.  After their marriage they settled in Carroll County on a farm and a number of years later moved to Fulton in Whiteside County, where George A Durkee died March 29, 1923.  He was a republican in politics and he and his wife devout Baptists.  Fulton is still the home of Mrs. George A. Durkee.  Their five children were: William Henry, Frank Roy, Clarence Adelbert, Edity May Sabra, who died at the age of twenty-one and Mildred Neva of Normal, Illinois.

                William Henry Durkee had the environment of the farm during his youth and early manhood, attending the common schools in the country  and at the age of twenty began work as a country school teacher.  He taught for three years and in the meantime was advancing his own education in the northern Illinois College at Fulton.  Doctor Durkee took his degree from the Keokuk Medical College of Iowa in 1897.  For six years he handled a general country practice with home at Thompson.  During 1903-04 he was in Chicago for post-graduate work in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, now the School of Medicine of the University of Illinois.  He was graduated in 1904, and since that year has had a busy general practice at Fulton and has been honored with the office of Secretary of the Whiteside County Medical Society and in 1924-25 was president of the society.  He is also a member of the Illinois State Medical Association.  Active in the affairs of citizenship in his home community, he was for sixteen years president of the City Board of Education at Fulton and has also served as an alderman.  He is a republican, is a member of the Presbyterian Church and fraternally is a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason and Shriner Tebala temple of Rockford, Illinois and a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.  He married in 1897, Mary Eva Nichols.  She was born and reared in Carroll County, Illinois.  their two children are: Leah A. and George Chandler Durkee.

SOURCE: History of Illinois and her people by George Washington Smith; Chicago: American Historical Society, 1927, Vol. IV, page 259-260