Milton J. Durham Obituary


from The Danville Advocate, Boyle County, Kentucky

Tuesday, February 14, 1911

M. J. Durham Laid To Rest

Distinguished citizen, Honored by County, State and Nation, Dies in Lexington

Judge Milton J. Durham, a native of Boyle County and a man of whom this county, as well as the state, was justly proud, died at his home in Lexington Sunday afternoon.  Judge Durham was in his 88th year.  About two weeks ago he was stricken with pneumonia and his constitution, once strong and robust but underminded by age, was unable to withstand the ravages of the disease.

For many years Judge Durham practiced law here and was intimately known and deeply beloved by all classes in the county.

Judge Durham was a distinguished Odd Fellow, having joined Lodge No. 56 in Perryville, in 1848.  In the years that followed he attained rank in order higher at every step until  in 1874 he was elected Grand Sire, which placed him at the head of the order all over the world.

The following is from the Herald, Lexington, the city in which Judge Durham made his home in the latter years of his life:

Judge Durham was born in Perryville, May 6, 1824, received an excellent literary education, was graduated from DePauw University, studied law in the Louisville University and rose to be one of the most commanding political figures in the state.  He was also one of the best-known Odd Fellows in the world, having been Grand Sire of the order.

The funeral will be held at the First Methodist Church in Lexington Tuesday morning at 9:30, and the interment will be in Danville Cemetery [Bellevue Cemetery] after the arrival of the body on the 11:30 train.

Judge Durham was twice married, on the first occasion to Miss Martha J. Mitchell, June 15, 1850.  After her death he was united to Mrs. Margaret Letcher Carter, widow of Major Carter, of the United States Army, and granddaughter of Chief Justice George Robertson, of the State Court of Appeals.

Seven children were born of the first marriage, but he is survived by only three of these and by his second wife.  The children who survive him are B. J. Durham, of Danville, J. Wesley Durham of Memphis, Tennessee, and Robert M. Durham, of Washington City.

Judge Durham displayed brilliant intellectual qualities from his youth, and this promise has been amply fulfilled by his later career.  He was graduated from DePauw University at the age of 20 years, after a thorough classical education.

He then taught school until he had obtained funds enough for his law education at the Louisville University law school.  His graduation there took place in 1850, the year of his first marriage.  A brilliant success as a lawyer followed Judge Durham at Danville, and in 1861-62 he held the position of Circuit Judge.

In 1873 he made the race for Congress and was elected on the Democratic ticket.  He served in Congress for two terms.  While a member of the Forty-Third Congress he served on the important committees of Banking and Currency and the Department of Justice, and in 1875 was appointed on the committee of the Revision of Laws.

Under Cleveland’s first administration Judge Durham served as Comptroller of the Treasury, where he proved to be one of the most efficient officials that ever served in that capacity.  He saved the Treasury many thousands of dollars by his economical administration.

Judge Durham moved to Lexington in 1890.  He was the organizer of the Central Bank and was cashier of that institution for a number of years.  The latest office he held was that of deputy in the Internal Revenue Service, which he accepted at the earnest solicitation of his friends.  He held this position at the time of his death.

His integrity was above reproach, and no one in the state, during the time that he was in active life, had a more enviable reputation.


Milton J. Durham, 1824-1911

Bellevue Cemetery, Boyle County, Kentucky

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