Special Collections
LSU Libraries
Home / Online Catalog Site A-Z Help    


James and John Durnin Papers

(Mss. 697)



Biographical/Historical Note
Scope and Content Note
Container List
Index Terms


Size. 24 items; 7 volumes
Geographic Locations. Louisiana.
Inclusive Dates. 1849-1888.
Languages. English.
Summary. Papers include correspondence, bills, accounts, clippings, sheet music, and miscellaneous items documenting the personal, financial and military activities of the Durnin family.
Access. No restrictions.
Copyright. Physical rights are retained by the LSU Libraries. Copyright of the original materials is retained by descendants of the creators of the materials in accordance with U.S. copyright law.
Citation. James and John Durnin Papers, Mss. 697, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Location. E:4.

Biographical/Historical Note

James Durnin (1840-1907) was born in Co. Louth, Ireland. He came with his parents James and Mary (nee Sharkey) Durnin to Louisiana in 1849, and the family settled in St. Helena Parish in an area known as Irishtown, which was located on the east side of the Tickfaw River. Many of Mary Durnin's relatives had also settled there. James served in the Civil War and married Mary Smith in Jackson, La.

James's brothers, Henry (1822-1894) and John (1842-1912), also lived in St. Helena Parish. Henry taught in the school at Irishtown, clerked at a store in Tangipahoa Parish, and helped out on his siblings’ farms. He married Marie Philomene Landry of New Orleans and the two had a son. His wife and child died soon after the birth. He did not remarry. John also served in the Civil War. He married Mary Cronan, and they had eleven children.1

1 For additional genealogical and family history information, see Nicholas Russell Murray, Louth to Louisiana: The Story of the Sharkey Family and Their Kindred (Hammond, La.: Hunting for Bears, c.1974)

Scope and Content Note

Papers include correspondence, bills, accounts, clippings, sheet music, and manuscript volumes documenting the personal, financial and military activities of the Durnin family of St. Helena Parish and Tangipahoa Parish.

Correspondence includes Civil War letters by James Durnin describing mustering into the Confederate Army at New Orleans (Sept., 1861), Camp Chalmette and the Confederate fortifications (Dec., 1861), fighting from Camp Woodville, Mississippi, between the towns of Clinton and Liberty (Sept. 1864). A letter by John Durnin describes an army camp at Baton Rouge and the Federal troops' efforts to find sugar in a wharf by Baton Rouge (Sept. 1862). Personal family correspondence includes a letter describing a tornado on Lake Ponchatrain (1850) and relates family and local news.

Printed items include an order for James Durnin to report to Captain Holmes at Mobile, Alabama, and an oath to defend the Constitution signed by John Durnin. A school attendance record (1850) kept by Henry Durnin and a financial statement of materials used in building a Catholic Church in Amite and other items related to the church are included.

Bound volumes, probably kept by Henry Durnin, include 3 cash books (1869-1881, 1870-1874, 1877-1880), a minute book of the Pickwick Baseball Club, Amite City, Tangipahoa Parish (1869), a tax roll book (1865-1867), 2 index books (1868, n.d.), and a notebook containing an alphabetical list of music pieces with some scores and miscellaneous notes (n.d.). One cashbook (1870-1874) includes a brief journal of daily activities and attending mass at various churches in the area. Anecdotes, quotes, and religious passages are recorded throughout the volumes.

Index Terms
Baseball--Louisiana--Tangipahoa Parish.
Camp Woodville (Miss.)
Camp Chalmette (La.)
Catholic Church--Louisiana--Tangipahoa Parish.
Durnin, John 1842-1912.
Durnin, Henry 1822-1894.
Irish--Louisiana--New Orleans.
Louisiana--History--Civil War 1861-1865--Personal narratives.

Container List
Stack Location Box Folder Contents
E:411Correspondence, printed items, financial statement, 1849-1888
E:411Cashbook, 1869-1881 Minute book, 1869
2Cashbook, 1870-1874 Memorandum book, 1871-1873
3Cashbook, 1877-1880
4Index book, 1868
5Index book, n.d.
6Notebook, n.d.
7Tax Roll book, 1867 Cash book, 1865

2Some volumes were used as and for different purposes at different times.