American Duries - First Durie Migrants

Going to America - Are you descended from these?

The first Duries we know of who went to America were both female, and went less than voluntarily. The increasing dissent in Scotland and commitment to the Covenant was persecuted by blood violence, especially between 1679 and 1689 and during the “Killing Time" of 1684-85 when many were executed or simply shot. Margaret Dury and Isabel Durie seem to have escaped that fate, as they were convicted as Covenanters and sentenced to be transported.

Margaret Dury was the widow of James Kello a merchant in Edinburgh, and wife of George Dundas, brother of the laird of Dundas, a considerable landowner. Her crime was giving refuge to the notable Covenanting minister John Welsh, a great-grandson of John Knox. As well as banishment she had to pay a fine of 5000 merks, and was kept imprisoned for months before being sent to “the Plantations” on 29 July 1668.

Isabel Durie was convicted, imprisoned then shipped out on the Henry & Francis on 5 September 1685, along with others who refused to take the Oath of Allegiance and recognise the authority of the King in matters of religion. So many were imprisoned that it became strategy that Covenanters could migrate to the American colonies, and those convicted were sent as slaves. The Henry & Francis landed at Perth Amboy, New Jersey in December. The reception given to the prisoners had not exactly been welcoming, so many went further inland where friendlier locals fed, clothed and housed them. They ended up essentially free and dispersed throughout New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

What subsequently happened to either of these Durie ladies is not known, but it is tempting to speculate that they bumped into Settlers from the Protestant Netherlands and the Palatinate, called (variously) Durie, Duryea or Duryee. Joost Durie or Duryea arrived with his wife Magdalena DeFevre and other family members arrived in New Jersey (which they would have called ‘New Netherland’) in 1675 on the ship ‘Golden Otter’. They lived in Buskwisk, King’s County and Joost subsequently took the Oath of Allegiance. He established a dynasty that survives today and takes in Abram Duryee, who formed the Duryee Zouaves in the Civil War; the Duryea brothers who built the first gasoline-driven car in America; and actor Dan Duryea.

A number of the children of Charles Durie, Consul at Oslo, Norway (until he was dismissed for fiddling his expenses) ended up in Norse County, Texas, where their descendants are to this day. And one became very important in the early history of Australia.

Can you trace your descent from any of these? If you can or have other information about your ancestors please make contact with us.

Is your family from Texas? Or from Australia? Are you a descendent of Charles Durie 1806-1882 - If you think you are go to 'Genealogy & DNA/ Durie Descendents'. Can you add to this information?

We would like any American Duries or those with Durie connections who feel they could be included in this section to send us their names and some information about their lives and their families. Please send your story and if possible photographs as well to All will be reviewed and may be used in a Newsletter &/or posted on the website. Durie Family Association members will, we hope, be able to provide detail they have on parents, grandparents and ancestors to help us all build up our extended Family Tree.

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