Durkee, Charles

Entity: 4968
Entity Type: Person

Abstract

Charles Durkee was appointed Territorial Governor of Utah after the death of his predecessor James Doty. Durkee was also a man from Wisconsin. He was born in Royalton, VT on October 10, 1805. He attended Burlington Academy in Vermont. He married Catherine Putnam Dana on May 17, 1836. In that same year he started work in the mercantile industry. He also found success in the agricultural and lumber business. He is credited with being one of the founders of Southport, WI. Later in life he invested in some Nevada mines and owned Union Pacific Railroad stock. Durkee was also an active church worker for the local Methodist church. He was a leader in the temperance and abolitionist movements. Durkee started his political career in the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature 1836-1838 and 1847-1848. He was elected to Congress as a free-soiler, a short-lived political party that was trying to keep salvery out of the new western states. He served in Congress 1849-1853. During his time there he was a delegate to the World's Peace Convention held in Paris, France in 1849. A few years after he left congress, the Free-Soiler party was gone and now he was a republican. He was elected to the US Senate and served 1855-1861. He was then appointed Governor of Utah territory 1865-December 21, 1869. While in office he maintained good relations between the territory and the federal government and was able to host the ceremony to commemorate the first transcontinental railroad at Promontory, UT on May 10, 1869. Durkee resigned his position on December 21, 1869 due to poor health. He died on the way back to Wisconsin in Omaha, NE on January 14, 1870.