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Origin of the Durkee Family


William Durkee (Durgy) was born in Ireland about 1632 and may have been the first Irishman to settle in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He arrived on Nov. 9, 1663 as the indentured servant of Thomas Bishop, having been in the Barbadoes, probably as a slave of Cromwells. Martha Cross was born Feb. 14, 1643 of Robert and Anna/Hannah (Jordon). Martha was probably employed in the household of Thomas Bishop.

They married in Ipswich, Mass. on Dec. 20, 1664 after Robert Cross sued William for abusing his daughter and William countersued Robert for withdrawing his consent to marriage after giving it. Two weeks later, their first child John was born. Son Thomas was born in 1666, daughter Martha in 1668, and son William in 1672. Elizabeth born about 1670, Mercy, Anna born about 1680, Mary, Jane, and Henry? were also probably children of William and Martha. Since William would not renounce his Catholicism, he could not own land.

Almost all Durkees in the United States and Canada are descended from the three sons: John, Thomas, and William. One exception are a small group in Wisconsin descended from Herman and William Durkey who arrived there about 1870 from Germany. Another exception spell their name Durgy and descend from John Durgy who married Hannah (Conger) in 1784 in New Fairfield, Conn.

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