Jabez Durfee 1828-1884

Jabez Durfee

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Jabez Durfee/Durfey was born to Edmund Durfee and Lainey (Magdalena) Pickle in Williamstown, Oswego County in upstate New York adjacent Lake Ontario. His father’s people were from Newport, Rhode Island; his mother’s were mostly German who settled in Montgomery County, New York.


Durfee’s family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and they moved to Kirtland, Ohio in the early 1830s. As a boy he and his family were forced from their homes in Ohio,

Missouri and Illinois because of their beliefs. Jabez's father, Edmond Durfee was killed by a mob at their home near Lima, Illinois in 1845 . The family left with the Saints and stopped in Iowa to prepare for their journey to Utah territory. Most of the family had left  when Jabez's mother passed away in 1850 at Council Bluffs, Iowa leaving him to journey to Utah on his own. Jabez arrived in Salt Lake City in 1850.

Jabez married Celestia Curtis on Christmas Day, 25 December 1850. They settled in Springville, Utah. In 1854, Brigham Young called the family to the Iron Mission in Cedar City. It was a very difficult mission. Their one-year-old son, Elial died while they were in Cedar City. The young family was also there during the time of the Mountain Meadow Massacre. In September 1857, Durfee, 29, was a private in one of the Cedar City platoons. According to John D. Lee, he was present in the military council on Thursday, September 10.  Jabez was with the local militia his granddaughter said that he declined to take part. We wish she was still here so we could find out more.

Jabez and Celestia moved back to Springville in 1859 and later were among the first settlers of Willow Bend now Aurora, Utah in Sevier County. Jabez was appointed the first bishop there in 1881.

Jabez worked as a farmer, fruit grower, carpenter and handyman. He is credited with devising a better design for farm implements that improved their furrowing in the early years. The year Jabez died was a bountiful year for him. He raised 5,600 bushels of grain, besides a good deal of hay and other crops. 

Jabez Durfee headstoneJabez and Celestia Curtis Durfee eventually had ten children, seven of whom survived to adulthood and married. Jabez died in 1884 at the age of fifty-six. Celestia survived him by three years.

On his headstone she had inscribed:

Aged 55 years 7 months 17 days.

"I Think Of Thee Dear Husband,
 In My Sad And Lonely Hours
And The Thought Of Thee Come O'er Me.
Like the breath of morning flowers"