Pages 291-293, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




DAVID P. DURNING is one of the most successful stockdealers of southeastern Kansas where he has carried on business since 1871, and through the intervening years he has borne an unassailable reputation in trade circles, never making an engagement which he has not kept, nor contracted an obligation that he has not met. His sagacity and enterprise, and moreover his untiring labor have brought to him a handsome competence, and the most envious can not grudge him his success, so honorably has it been acquired. Neither have his labors resulted alone to his individual benefit, for on account of the large amount of stock which


he handles he has instituted a market for much of the grain raised in this locality and his trade relations with his fellowmen have been mutually profitable.

Mr. Durning was born in Kentucky March 4, 1842. His father, John Durning was a native of Pennsylvania, and during his boyhood days accompanied his parents on their removal to Kentucky where he was reared to manhood and married to Miss Mary J. Maxwell. The latter died when her son, Porter, was a small boy. Mr. Durning afterward came to Kansas and spent his last days with the subject of this review, his death occurring about 1885.

David Porter Durning spent his early boyhood days under his father's roof, remaining at home until he was fourteen years of age, when the father suffered financial reverses and he started out to make his own way in the world. His educational privileges were very limited. He attended school for about a year, but other than this his mental discipline has been obtained in the hard school of experience. Reading, observation and practical work gave him a good knowledge which fitted him for the responsibilities of a business life. On leaving home he went to Illinois in 1857 and there secured work by the month as a farm hand. He was thus employed until he had saved money enough to venture upon a new stage of life's journey, taking to himself a companion and helpmate—Miss Mary J. Traughber,—their marriage being celebrated in the year 1865. The lady was born and reared in Illinois and for a few years after their marriage they resided in that State, but believing that there were better opportunities for young men in the districts farther west, Mr. Durning turned his face toward the setting sun and in 1871 arrived in Kansas, locating on the county line between Allen and Woodson counties. He made his home there for a number of years and improved the property, but gave the greater part of his time and attention to the buying and shipping of stock. After eight years he took up his abode in the city of Humboldt and has always continued his operations as a live stock dealer. He entered into partnership with James Dayton and together they purchased and shipped stock for a number of years, when the business relations between them were dissolved, since which time Mr. Durning has been buying, feeding and shipping stock on his own account. His business has grown to very extensive proportions and he ships more stock from the Humboldt depots than any other man in the county, his shipments reaching as high as thirty-five carloads a month. His equipment and preparation for feeding and growing stock is unequaled in the State. He pays good prices to the farmers for their grain and his extensive stock dealing interests have made Humboldt one of the best grain markets in Kansas. He is an excellent judge of horses, cattle and hogs and this enables him to make judicious purchases and profitable sales.

In his political views Mr. Durning is a stalwart Republican, but he has never sought or desired the emoluments of public office, preferring to give his attention to his business affairs. He started out in life for himself a poor boy without capital. His environments were not particularly favorable and he had no influential friends to aid him, but he placed his reliance


in the more substantial qualities of diligence, energy, determination and honesty. The experience of men who are willing to work persistently and intelligently and wait calmly goes to prove that success may surely be attained during the ordinary lifetime, and no man, not cutoff at an untimely age need work and wait in vain. Steadily has Mr. Durning increased his capital and his honorable business methods and unflagging industry have enabled him for many years to maintain a position among the wealthy business men of Allen County.

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