David E. Durrett, a leading merchant of Bolivar and an old resident of the county, was born April 15, 1835, in Albemarle County, Va., a son of Robert D. and Mary D. (Wood) Durrett, both of whom were natives of the same county and State as David. The father was born in 1796. He remained in his native State until after his marriage. He came to Hardeman County in 1836, and settled ten miles west of Bolivar. In the same year his wife died. Mrs. Durrett was the mother of mine children — six sons and three daughters — of whom but two are living. Mr. Durrett’s second union was with Mrs. Polk, by whom he had one child. Mrs. (Polk) Durrett dying in 1844, ten years later Mr. Durrett returned to Virginia, and married Mrs. Terrell, who bore him one child. He was a farmer by occupation. He participated in the war of 1812, and was a Whig. He and his first wife were members of the Presbyterian Church. His death occurred in 1883.

The subject of this sketch was raised on a farm. His educational advantages were rather limited, despite which fact he is possessed of no small amount of knowledge and information. At the age of fifteen years he obtained a situation as salesman in a store, continuing in the business until the war. In 1861 he enlisted in the Confederate service, Company E, Seventh Tennessee Cavalry. At the battle of Britton’s Lane his left limb was broken by a minie-ball, which crippled him for life, and has necessitated the use of crutches. In 1865 he opened a store at Clover Port, and one year later located in Bolivar, where he formed a partnership with Hugh Harkins, Sr. They established a house, the firm being known as Harkins & Durrett. They did an extensive and profitable business, and were recognized as one of the most substantial and reliable firms in the county. The death of Mr. Harkins, in 1885, dissolved the partnership which had continued so harmoniously for such a number of years. In 1866 Mr. Durrett married Miss Mary E. Walton, who was born in August, 1848. Their union was blessed with five children, four of whom are living. Mrs. Durrett is an estimable Christian woman, and an earnest member of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Durrett is not connected with any church. For half a century he has been a resident of the county, thirty years of which time he has been actively and directly engaged in the business interest of Bolivar; not once has he failed nor asked an extension time. In connection with merchandising he carries on farming. He a man of indisputable integrity, and a worthy citizen.


Transcribed by David Donahue

Source: Goodspeed Pub. Co. History of Tennessee: From the Earliest Time to the Present ; Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Fayette and Hardeman Counties, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original Observations, Reminiscences, Etc., Etc. Nashville: Goodspeed Pub. Co, 1887.