Cassandra Lincecum (d. 1877) was a daughter of Gideon Lincecum (1793-1874) and Sarah "Sallie" Bryan/t (d. 1867). George John Durham (1820-1869) was a son of William Durham (d. 1859) and Ester/Easter Bloomfield (d. 1868). Cassandra and George were married just before Christmas 1852 in Washington County, Texas. Afterwards, the couple resided at Austin, Travis County.
It is believed Cass and George had seven children, of which only three lived to see adulthood. I have information on the births and deaths of all seven, save one. If you have any information to share, I would love to compare notes.
- Mary Leonora "Lee" Durham was born about 1854 in Texas. She could be found with her parents in Austin for the 1860 Federal census, but died just a couple of years later on 10 April 1862. Little Leonora was buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Austin the next day.
- Walter Winn Durham was born 20 December 1855 in Texas. Months before his 14th birthday, Walter's father died. He immediately became the de-facto "man of the house." Even before the age of 18, Walter was working as a clerk for local bookseller, Jos. A. Nagle. And we know from a letter his grandfather Gideon wrote in the summer of 1873, that Walter performed many tasks around the home before even heading to his paying day job:
…Walter rises early, feeds and waters the dogs and chickens, goes to market, and then, until breakfast, fixes up anything that is out of order. That over, he goes off to the house that pays him for his services and is seen no more until dark…
Four years after Gideon wrote that letter, Walter's mother was dead. So before he turned 22, Walter became a guardian for two of his siblings. Following notice from the 29 August 1878 Weekly Democratic Statesman (Austin, TX):
Walter W. Durham, guardian of said minors, has filed his application in the County Court of Travis county praying for a sale of certain real estate belonging to them for their education and maintenance, which will be heard at the next term of said court, to be held at the court house thereof, in Austin, on the Third Monday in September, 1878, when and where all persons interested may appear and make objections thereto...
Some time after 1880, Walter got involved with cotton – and it became his career. He remained in the business of cotton for 30 – 40 years. Companies he was known to have worked with include E. J. Byrne & Co., Crawford & Byrne, E. H. Perry & Co., and W. T. Caswell. Walter was known as a "pioneer cotton man."
Walter, probably too busy otherwise, did not marry until about age 34. He wed German-born Marie Augusta Packenius on 12 October 1889 at Travis County. It appears the couple had seven children: Jennie, George J. (1890-1974), M. Louise, Mary Lee (1894-1961), Walter Arthur (b. 1898), Charles West (1900-1907), and Marie Cassandra (1908-1981).
- Sarah Lincecum "Sally" Durham was born about 1858 in Texas. Like her sister Lee, Sally died in April 1862. In fact, it was just the day before Lee breathed her last. Lois Burkhalter wrote in her 1965 biography of Gideon, grandfather of the little girls:
Among the Lincecum Papers are invitations from the Durham Austin residence on Pecan, now Sixth, and Guadalupe, to funerals of their daughters, Sarah Lincecum, at 4:00 P.M., Thursday, April 10, 1862, and Mary Leonora, at 4:00 P.M., Friday, April 11, 1862. An explanation of this long-ago tragedy is found in the diary of Amelia E. Barr, an Englishwoman who lived for a while in Texas and was well acquainted with the Durhams:
April 9, 1862: In the evening to Mrs. Durham's. Poor little Sally, whom I suckled for two months when her mother had fever, just dead of diptheria.
April 10, 1862: Went to see Sally for the last time...The cemetery was crowded. When we got back from Sally's funeral her sister, Leonora, was dying. She breathed her last at five o'clock.
- Royal Wheeler Durham was born after 1860, died 21 April 1866, and was buried at Oakwood Cemetery. Unlike the other children, I cannot corroborate the existence of young Royal with other records. My only source is Ms. Burkhalter's book.
- Sidney Johnson "Sid" Durham was born about July 1860 in Austin. He was baptized at St. David's Episcopal Church when about a year old.
In June 1883, Sidney married a Scotland-born widow named Mary Jean "Jennie" (Mackey) Gray at Austin. The couple had at least two daughters: Lela/Leonore (1884-1940) and Ione Finin (1886-1956).
During his mid to late twenties, Sidney was occupied as a clerk in Austin. In 1887 specifically, he was associated with H. H. Hazzard & Co. A newspaper item dated that same year, however, showed Sid also had a talent for singing (and must have been a big dude).
West Texas Free Press (San Marcos, TX)
10 March 1887 - pg. 4 [via GenealogyBank]
The entertainment on Saturday night at Harper's Hall was one of real merit...Mr. Sid Durham, who might be styled the musical giant of Texas, his power of voice fully corresponding with his large proportions...
Two years later, according to an Austin, TX city directory, Sidney appeared to then be pursuing a career in musical entertainment full time. And a newspaper item from the summer of that same year – 1889 – showed Sidney had begun making trips to New York.
Weekly Democratic Statesman (Austin, Texas)
Thursday, 15 August 1889 - pg. 4
Sailing the Ocean Blue.
Our special this morning from Galveston announcing that...Mr. Sidney Durham..., of Austin, [was] among the passengers of the steamship Comal that sailed Wednesday morning from Galveston for New York. THE STATESMAN wafts them a kindly adieu and wishes them a pleasant voyage and a safe arrival at their destination.
Even though Sidney was again listed in an 1895 Austin city directory (occupied as a musician), I also found his trips to New York continued in the interim. And the aforementioned Lois Burkhalter added this:
Another son [of George and Cassandra], Sidney J. Durham, wrote (August 6, 1895) his Aunt Sallie Doran that he was in New York with the Lillian Russell Comique Opera Company, studying voice with Madame Skinner, and had become a Christian Scientist.
A report from the New York Sun, dated 12 April 1896, puts Sidney at the Big Apple again. This time he was performing at the famed Salmagundi Club:
A SALMAGUNDI NIGHT.
Music, Variety, and Farce in a Crowded Art Gallery.
Friday night's entertainment at the Salmagundi Club, 14 West Twelfth street, was an event of more than common interest, and was quite the most ambitious that the artists have ever undertaken...
Among the musical numbers [were]...some baritone songs by Mr. Sidney Durham, who has a fine cultivated voice which he uses with admirable skill and effect...
Records suggest Sidney had officially moved to New York by 1910. According to that year's federal census, he was residing at 881 7th Avenue [Carnegie Hall?], and occupied as a Concert Singer – alone. No wife nor kids were there.
About this time, Jennie started being listed in Austin, TX city directories as the widow of Sidney J. I don't know if this was simply an incorrect supposition, or if Jennie described herself as such. Regardless, it seems to indicate Sidney was no longer spending much (if any) time at his Austin home.
Per 1911, 1912, and 1913 city directories for New York, New York, Sidney was occupied as a secretary at 883 7th Avenue. Home was "Hotel Grenoble" in 1911 and 1912. (It is my understanding this hotel was across from Carnegie Hall.) In 1915, Sidney's home was the same, but his occupation was more specifically noted as "Secretary, Christian Science Church." It's possible his (then) new-found faith supplanted his career in music.
The last record I found of Sidney in New York was 1918, when he was residing at 871 7th Avenue. I believe this to likely be the Wellington Hotel. Per their website:
New York's historic Wellington Hotel has been welcoming guests from around the world for 116 years. We invite you to explore everything there is to see and do in this great City from our superb location near Broadway, Carnegie Hall, Central Park, MoMA and Rockefeller Center.
Image from Google Map street view, dated December 2017:
Then Sidney moved again. To another hotel. In California. I found him in the 1920 Oakland, Alameda County Federal census. He was listed in a hotel at 300 Thirteenth Street, managed by William C. Jargens. Could this have been the historic Hotel Oakland?
What is somewhat bizarre about the census entry is a female named Jean Durham is right under Sidney. Both boarders were aged 55 and married. Sidney was occupied as a Christian Science Practitioner.
Sidney seems to have sojourned to San Francisco for a couple of years (1923-1924) per voter records and a city directory. Address was 798 Post Street (Google map image below). This is currently part of the Lower Nob Hill district and on the National Register of Historic Places. Majority of the buildings were constructed as apartment hotels, dated 1906 – 1925.
According to the California Death Index at Ancestry, Sidney J. Durham died 24 January 1926 at Alameda County, California. (I'm clueless as to a burial site.) Sid's death came one year after the death of his wife. Per her tombstone at Oakwood Cemetery in Austin, Texas, Mary Jean Mackey Gray Durham died 29 January 1925. She was buried beside her first husband.
- Prior/Price Durham was born about 1866 in Texas. He was listed with his mother for the taking of the 1870 Federal census at Austin, Travis County. Based on Gideon Lincecum's letter quoted from above, this young son died before 1873.
- Mary Lela Durham was born about 1868 in Texas. She was listed with her mother in census records for Austin dated 1870 and 1875. After Cassandra's death in 1877, Lela's oldest brother Walter became her guardian.
For the 1880 Austin, Travis County, Texas Federal census, it appears Walter and brother Sid were living in the family home on Pecan Street. Their sister "Lela" was boarding a few doors down in the Ben J. Smith household. Both Ben and wife Eliza were school teachers. Twelve-year-old Lela's occupation was "at school."
I lose Lela after that census taking. Since she is counted as one of the children of George and Cassandra that made it to adulthood, it's possible she married. To whom is the question.
Take all mistakes as good wishes.