Colusa County Biographies - D

Biographies and photos source:

  1. Colusa County: Its History Traced from a State of Nature through the Early Period of Settlement and Development, to the Present Day with a Description of its Resources, Statistical Tables, Etc., Justus H. Rogers

  2. Biographical Sketches of Pioneers and Prominent Residents, Orland, California, 1891.

A digitized version of the book can be found on Google Books.

Please note: many of the names in this index were abbreviated with initials. The full names of those individuals has been added {in braces} when possible.

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DeJarnatt, J. B. (p. 435)
{John Burress} De Jarnatt is a native of Kentucky, born in the year 1846. When he was but seven years of age, his parents removed with him to Savannah, Andrew County, Missouri, where his father carried on a mercantile business, in which he continued till 1863, and during which time young De Jarnatt received the principal part of his education.

In company with his father's family, he removed in 1863 to Denver, Colorado, and in the spring of the following year they set out in search of a place for a permanent home, traveling through a portion of Montana, and after a protracted wandering they located in Yamhill County, Oregon, where the elder De Jarnatt leased a farm, his son, J. B., securing a position as clerk and book-keeper in a store in Lafayette, in the same county. The family remained in Oregon till the spring of 1866, when they set out for Colusa County. Arriving at Colusa on June 5, Mr. J. B. De Jarnatt immediately secured employment in the office of Jackson Hart, then County Clerk, with whom he remained nearly four years.

In 1870, Mr. De Jarnatt was associated in San Francisco with W. S. Green, in the real-estate business, and, in connection therewith, in the conduct of a newspaper called Green's Land Paper. After spending nearly a year fruitlessly in this enterprise, he returned to Colusa County, and in March, 1872, again went to work in the Clerk's office under the administration of G. G. Crandall, with whom he remained two years. In 1874 he made the first map of Colusa County under contract with the Board of Supervisors. It was subsequently approved and declared the official map of the county. He next served as book-keeper for Jackson Hart, until his election, in 1877, to the office of County Clerk, in which position he served two terms. His courteous demeanor, his peculiar qualifications for the discharge of official duties, coupled with an unquestioned probity of character rendered him extremely popular. Mr. De Jarnatt was married in April, 1868, to Miss M. A. Green, a native of Missouri, though a resident of Colusa County since her fifth year, by whom he has several children. Mr. De Jarnatt is a strong advocate of irrigation and of having large tracts of land cut up into small farms and sold, thus inviting immigrants of the best class and making it a county of prosperous homes. In 1883 he blazed the trail and shoed the way which others have since followed in planting an orchard and cultivating it with care. Brentwood Farm, which belongs to Mr. De Jarnatt, is located over a mile northwest of Colusa. It consists of two hundred acres, of which seventy are planted in grapes and fruit. It is as tidy and thrifty an orchard and vineyard as can be found in the State, and on this pleasant spot Mr. De Jarnatt has built a handsome residence. John DeJarnatt Military Biography
Devenpeck, I. V. (p. 453)
{Isaac V Devenpeck} This prosperous and much-respected citizen of Willows was born in Montgomery County, New York, in 1830. He came to California in 1852, remained five years and then returned to the East. He came to Colusa County in 1875, locating near Willows when that town was a broad wheat-field, and has made it his home ever since. He owns a large ranch of ten hundred and seventy acres, two and a half miles northwest of Willows, which yields him a handsome income from the production of grain and the raising of stock. His residence at Willows is among the largest and most comfortable of the many elegant homes of that place. Mr. Devenpeck, surrounded by this family of four children, can pass the evening of his active life here in happiness and contentment.
Diefendorff, Hon. C.J. (p. 378)
{Cornelius Josiah} Diefendorff is originally of German ancestry, His father was a native of the State of New York. He did service in the Revolutionary War, was over eighty years old at the time of his death and in receipt of a pension. The grandfather of the subject of this biography was Captain Hendrick Diefendorff, who fell on the battlefield of Oreskany, the day that General Herkimer was wounded, when his saddle was placed under a tree, and, reposing his head on that, he commanded his regiment. The battle was lost for the patriots. General Herkimer died of his wounds at its close, and it was altogether a day of sorrow for the beautiful Mohawk Valley. The mother of Mr. Diefendorff was Elizabeth Baum, a niece of Colonel Baum and a native of Virginia.

C. J. Diefendorff was born on the 19th of April, 1814, in the State of New York. He remained with his father until the enlargement of the Erie Canal, when he became bookkeeper and foreman with a contractor.

In 1840 he taught school in his native district. Two years later he was married to Miss Sarah E. Thayer, daughter of General Bezeleel Thayer, of Oswego County, New York. In 1848 he returned to Fort Plains, New York, and opened a store on the Erie Canal. On January 5, 1853, Mr. Diefendorff, accompanied by his wife's brother, Henry S. Thayer, took passage to San Francisco via Panama. After leaving the latter place the vessel sprung a leak, and, what was worse, the yellow fever broke out on board and full fifty of the passengers were buried at sea. At Acapulco the passengers went ashore and among the sick were Mr. Diefendorff's wife and Mr. Thayer, her brother. The latter died of the epidemic and was buried in the cemetery set apart for foreigners in that place. After many other vicissitudes, Mr. Diefendorff finally arrived at San Francisco on March 8.

Mr. Diefendorff engaged in mining on his arrival, beginning at Prairie City, a camp near Folsom. He also mined on Alder Creek. In the fall of 1855 he purchased a ranch on Grand Island, Colusa County. In 1856 he was Justice of the Peace of Granite Township, Sacramento County, and while serving on the board of elections in that township, he was elected Justice of the Peace of Grand Island. At a meeting of the Justices of Colusa County, he was elected a Justice of the. Sessions and at the close of his term he was appointed County Judge by Governor Downey. He afterwards served two terms as Supervisor of Colusa County. At the beginning of the war, Mr. Diefendorff was appointed Deputy United States Marshal and Deputy Indian Agent. At its close he was made Deputy Revenue Collector of Colusa and Tehama Counties. Under appointment of the Union League of San Francisco, he was authorized to establish Union Leagues in Colusa County.

While acting as Deputy Indian Agent, he was appointed by Chief “Him Boo” to give instructions to his son Captain Bill. The old chief called his people around him just before his death and gave Diefendorff in charge of them. To this day the older Indians on Grand Island salute Mr. Diefendorff as “ Him Boo.”

During the years 1881-1883 Mr. Diefendorff was engaged in closing his business on Grand Island, preparatory to removing to San Francisco, where he now makes his home. Although not a resident of Colusa County, Mr. Diefendorff is in feeling, association of spirit and sympathy a Colusan.
Photo of Cornelius Diefendorff

Hon. Cornelius Josiah Diefendorff

Dolan, P. F. (p. 462)
Peter Francis Dolan is a native of Ireland, born in August, 1839, and passed his early days on his father's farm. He landed in the United States at Boston, on June 6, 1853. He here served an apprenticeship of one year at the shoemaking trade and was next employed for four years in a manufacturing establishment at Lynn, Massachusetts. He had now served nearly six years in industrious pursuits, and, having laid by the little store of his earnings, he sought a younger and less crowded field for his ambitions. In the fall of 1859 he started for California via Panama, arriving in San Francisco October 16 of the same year. On his arrival he engaged in farming in Sacramento County, with which he occupied himself for nearly three years. In February, 1862, he worked in the mines for a brief period and afterwards resided for a few months in San Francisco.

In 1867 he came to Colusa County, purchasing, in company with the late Captain Dwyer, his present home of six hundred and twenty-three acres, located two miles south of Colusa, on the west bank of the Sacramento River.

Mr. Dolan was married, February 20, 1878, to Miss Sullivan at Vallejo, by whom he had four sons and two girls. Mr. Dolan takes a lively interest in fruit-growing, in which industry he is an-long the pioneers of the county. In grain-raising and dairying he devotes most of his time and is eminently successful therein. His home is one of comfort and ease and Mr. Dolan is highly respected by his neighbors. Mr. Dolan is a firm adherent of the Democratic party and was chosen a delegate in the summer of 1890 to the State Democratic Convention, which met at San Jose.
Duncan, Dr. R. B. (p. 424)
{Robert Bruce} Duncan was born in Shelby County, Kentucky, October 6, 1846. In October, 1851, his father removed to northwest Missouri, living in Daviess and Gentry Counties, where young Duncan worked on a farm in summer and attended such schools as a newly-settled backwoods country afforded, in winter. All the schools in this part of the State were interrupted during the war, as the entire social fabric was generally deranged at the time. After the war, he continued work on the farm till February, 1867, when he began teaching in Platte County, Missouri. He was engaged in teaching and going to school alternately for six years. He began the study of medicine in 1869, and, by dint of hard work and close economy, completed his medical course, graduating from the Missouri Medical College, March 4, 1873. His entire education, professional and literary, was the results of his own unassisted labors. In March, 1874, he was married to Miss S. E. Stone, of Platte County, Missouri, by whom he has had four children, none of whom are now living. He practiced his profession from March, 1873, to September, 1880, in Platte County,Missouri, when he removed to Orland, California, his present place of residence. Here he has lived and enjoyed a liberal practice in his profession for ten years, at the same time enjoying, with his amiable wife, the esteem and regard of his neighbors. In November, 1888, Dr. Duncan was elected Coroner and Administrator of the county.
Photo of Robert Duncan

Dr. Robert Bruce Duncan

Durham, William A. (p. 437)
William Anderson Durham is a native of Green County, Kentucky, born February 18, 1839. When he was only three years of age, his family removed with him to Platte County, Missouri. His early life was passed here on a farm, where young Durham received such an education as the times afforded. He began farming for himself in 1860, and shortly afterwards, in 1861, he was united in marriage to Miss Emily J. Bell. On May 10, 1865, accompanied by his family, he started across the plains bound for Oregon by way of Soda Springs and Boise City. He located at Corvallis, in that State, where he lived for three years. Mr. Durham then came to Colusa County, locating on Freshwater, seven miles west of Williams. His father having preceded him to Colusa County, the subject of this sketch secured a farm adjoining. In 1874 he moved to his place northwest of Willows, which he later on disposed of. Mr. Durham has several times been called on by the people of the county to serve them in official capacities. He was elected Supervisor in 1884, in 1886 was elected County Assessor and in 1890 was re-elected to the same office, always on the Democratic ticket. He is a pleasant, accommodating gentleman and popular officer.

Mr. Durham makes his home on his farm, some three miles southwest of Maxwell, where, with his family, consisting of his wife, three sons and four daughters, he finds relief from monotonous abstractions of long columns of figures on acres of paper covered with property valuations.