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Edmund and Lana Durfee go to Great Western Reserve
Posted by: Sherie Peterson (ID *****3228) Date: December 14, 2003 at 10:37:35
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Edmund Durfee was the fourth generation to be born in Tiverton. His family had lived in Rhode Island ever since 1660 - for six generations. When he was a teenager, his father died and the following year, his grandparents moved south, to New York, taking with them one of their sons and their four grandsons: James, Perry, Edmund and Edmund's twin brother, Jabez. Edmund stayed in the area until 1810 then moved to Lenox, New York. That probably where he met his wife, Magdalena "Lana", a descendant of Palatine immigrants who had settled in New York.
Edmund and Lana's first six children were born in Lenox. In 1822, the family loaded their wagon and headed west. After two or three days of traveling thirty-five miles, they arrived in Amboy, New York. Edmund worked there as a millwright and carpenter. The family also owned a sugar bush (maple tree) farm. Each year when the weather turned warm, they made holes in the trees then placed buckets under the holes o collect the sap at the rate of one drop per second.
The family spent eight years in Amboy, during which time six more children were born. Meanwhile, in 1825, the Erie Canal was completed, facilitating travel over the 363 miles from Albany, through the Appalachian Mountains and on to Buffalo, Lake Erie. Thousands of people, seeking land and opportunity, took barges down the canal to Buffalo. From there they took steamships west.
In 1830, Edmund decided to join the migration. They sold their farm and once again packed their wagon. According to his daughter Tamma's diary, they passed through Camden Village. If so, they may have boarded the barge at New London, which is about 26 miles (2 days by wagon) from Amboy and 232 miles (about 2 1/2 days by barge) from Buffalo. The cost for the trip was about 1 cent per mile, 1 1/2 cents with meals.
For more information about this trip and this fascinating Durfee family and their adventures, please e-mail me at sherie at I would love to exchange information.

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