EDWIN DRURY

Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County, Illinois with Portraits 3rd ed. revised and extended (Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 55-58.

EDWIN DRURY, an honored veteran of the great Civil War, residing at Wilmette, is an offspring of some of the oldest and most patriotic families in America.  His parents were George Albert Drury and Mary Elizabeth Heald.  On his father's side his lineage is traced through eight generations of American yeomanry, and he represents the ninth generation of his mother's family in America.

The name Drury is derived from a town so called in Normandy, from which the founder of the family in England came with William the Conqueror, and was one of his aides at the battle of Hastings, in the year 1066.  He settled at Thurston, in the county of Suffolk, and from him have sprung nearly all the people of that name in England and America.

The name–taken from the Sanskrit “dhru,” to be steadfast; the root of the Anglo-Saxon “treow,” true; the Latin “dru,” loyal; “druerie,” feudal truth–signifies sobriety, modesty, and, in the Saxon language, a pearl.

The first representative of the family in this country was Hugh Drury, who is supposed to have sailed form England in the “Abigail,” at nineteen years of age, under the name of George Drewrie, in company with the colony of Governor John Winthrop, junior, which settled at the mouth of the Connecticut River in 1635.  Hugh Drury had a grant of land in Sudbury, Massachusetts, in 1640-41, and removed to Boston, where he died in 1689.  He was a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston in 1659, and afterward its Lieutenant.  His son John served as a Lieutenant of Massachusetts troops in King Philip’s Indian War.   Thomas, the son of John Drury, became a prominent farmer of Framingham, Massachusetts, and was a captain of militia.  He also took an active interest in civil and religious affairs, and was a schoolmaster and conveyancer.  His son Caleb lived and died in Framingham, where he reared a large family of children.   Caleb Drury’s son Zedekiah was a blacksmith at Bedford, Massachusetts, and afterward moved to Dunstable, in the same state.   Upon the alteration of the boundary line between the two colonies, his home became a part of Hollis, New Hampshire.  He subsequently moved to Temple, New Hampshire, and was captain of a company of minute-men.  He was among the party which marched “part of ye way” from Temple to Cambridge, on the alarm of April 19, 1775, being then fifty-nine years of age.  He and all his family were ardent supporters of the patriot cause.   His son, Ebenezer Drury, served three years as a private soldier in the Third New Hampshire Line of Continental troops, and also marched with the company from Temple, on the alarm of the 19th of April, 1775.   About 1790 Ebenezer Drury moved to Litchfield, Herkimer County, New York, where he was a leading man of affairs.  Jonathan Drury, son of the last-mentioned, was a manufacturer of old-fashioned wooden clocks, some of which are still keeping time at Litchfield.  He enlisted in the War of 1812 as a teamster, and went to Sacket’s Harbor.  In 1816 he moved to Genesee County, New York, and fifteen years later to Lorain County, Ohio.  In 1850 he came to Lake County, Illinois, where he and his wife, Sophia (Cole) Drury, spent the remainder of their lives with their son, George Albert Drury.

Said George Albert Drury, father of the subject of this notice, was born at Litchfield, Herkimer County, New York, May 22, 1813, and died at Avon Center, Lake County, Illinois, July 12, 1871.  He came to Lake County in 1836, before the days of railroads, making the journey on foot from Lorain County, Ohio.  He lived for some years in a log cabin on section 30, in the town of Warren, with his cousins, Leonard and George Gage.  He pre-empted the southwest quarter of said section 30 from the Government, built a log house, and married, settling on that place, where he lived until 1865.  He then went to Rochester, Minnesota, for a short time with an invalid daughter, to try the effect of the climate on her health.  His daughter dying there, he went to Ironton, Ohio, and engaged in the jewelry business with a brother.  At the end of two years he sold out the jewelry business, and went to McHenry, Illinois, and embarked in the furniture business.  His wife died at McHenry, February 1, 1871.  From that time his own health, never very good at the best, began to fail him.  He went to his brother Benjamin’s at Avon Center, Lake County, Illinois, for rest and recuperation, was taken worse, and died there, as already stated.  George Albert Drury was an influential, public-spirited citizen, and was at different times elected to the office of Supervisor and other offices of trust in the town of Warren.

An incident may here be given to illustrate those early days in Illinois.  The country was overrun with wolves.  They became so bold at night as to lap swill from pails standing outside the doorway.  One evening, as all were seated in their log cabin, they heard a lapping of swill on the outside, and, supposing it to be occasioned by a wolf, George Gage said to the father of the subject of this sketch:  “George, just open the door a little way, and I will shoot it with my rifle.”  The door was opened and the animal shot.  Taking their lantern for inspection, they found that an Indian dog had been killed instead of a wolf.   Fresh snow had fallen on the ground, and the camp of the Pottawattamies was less than two miles distant.  Knowing that the Indians fairly worshiped their dogs and would be apt to make serious trouble if it was found that one had been killed on their premises, prompt action was taken to remove all vestige of the tragedy.  The cabin stood on the edge of the timber, about twenty rods from a small lake, on the banks of which a stable for their horses had been built.  The snow, the chips and everything showing traces of the bloody deed were carefully gathered together and buried under the horses in this stable.   The next morning the three men took their axes and went into the woods to work.  Leonard Gage was married.  His wife, with their little son about one year old, was to be left at home all alone.  Thinking that the Indian whose dog had been shot would be certain to track him, instructions were given to Mrs. Gage to be sure and insist that the animal in dispute was a wolf instead of a dog.  True enough, along about ten o’clock in the forenoon, the old Indian opened the door without rapping, as is their custom, and walked into the cabin.  Proceeding at once to the subject, he said: “De hound, de hound, bow, bow, wow?”  Bravely controlling her fear, Mrs. Gage replied:  “No, the wolf, the wolf.”  Repeating his question a number of times without satisfactory results, the old Indian finally went out doors and commenced circling round the cabin, increasing the size of the circle until he had gone around three or four times, when he finally went off shaking his head; it was beyond his comprehension.

Mary Elizabeth Heald, the mother of Edwin Drury, was born in Furnace Hollow, near Litchfield, Herkimer County, New York, September 8, 1815.  She was a daughter of Daniel Heald, who operated an iron foundry at that place.  He was born in Acton, Massachusetts, and was a mason by trade.  In 1838 he came West and settled on the southwesterly side of Gage’s Lake, Lake County, Illinois, where his wife died.  He then located at Waukegan, Illinois, where he erected many of the first brick buildings.  His death occurred in Chicago, November 16, 1846, at the age of sixty-five years.  His wife, Persis (Howard) Heald, was a daughter of Jeremiah Howard and Zilpha (Lombard) Howard, of Western (now Warren), Worcester County, Massachusetts.   Mrs. Persis (Howard) Heald died in Lake County, Illinois, September 26, 1842, aged fifty-nine years.

John Heald, the first American ancestor of that family, settled at Concord, Massachusetts, where he was made a Freeman in 1641.  In the line of descent traced to Daniel Heald, the first five generations in America bore the Christian name of John.  The last of these, Lieut. John Heald, took part in the Concord bridge fight, April 19, 1775.  His son Ebenezer, the father of Daniel Heald, was also in the Continental army.

Edwin Drury was born in the town of Warren, Lake County, Illinois, November 12, 1842.  His boyhood was passed upon the homestead farm, and his education was confined to that of the ordinary district school.  On the 9th of August, 1862, he enlisted in Company G, Ninety-sixth Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry, serving until the 10th of June, 1865, when he was honorably discharged at Camp Harker, near Nashville, Tennessee, because of the close of the war.  His regiment was first attached to the Second Brigade of the Third Division of the Army of Kentucky, afterwards called the Reserve Corps, under Gen. Gordon Granger.  After the battle of Chickamauga there was a re-organization of the army in and around Chattanooga, Tennessee, and until the close of the war his regiment was attached to the Second Brigade of the First Division of the Fourth Army Corps, under Gen. Gordon Granger, successively relieved by Gens. O. O. Howard, D. S. Stanley and T. J. Wood.  Whilst with his regiment, Edwin Drury was a participator in the following events and engagements, namely: Defense of Cincinnati, Ohio; Second Fort Donelson; Spring Hill; Triune; Liberty Gap and Shelbyville, Tennessee; Buzzard’s Roost; Rocky-face Ridge; Dalton; Resaca; Kingston; Pumpkin Vine Creek; New Hope Church; and in front of Dallas, Georgia.  In June, 1864, he became unfitted for active duty in the field, and while absent from his regiment was acting Hospital Steward at Dalton, Georgia, for some months, rejoining his regiment at Huntsville, Alabama, in February, 1865.  He received no serious wounds, though often exposed to the rain of shot and shell.  While he was in charge of the hospital at Dalton, it was captured by Wheeler’s rebel cavalry, and he, together with others who were able, went to the rudely constructed fort there for protection. At a later date, the night of October 13, 1864, when a portion of the rebel general Hood’s forces were in possession of Dalton, he was virtually a prisoner of war.  All who were able expected to be sent to rebel prisons.  The rebels did not disturb them, however, probably owing to the fact that their wounded, who had fallen into Union hands at the time of Wheeler’s attack, and who were interspersed with the Union inmates in the two hospitals made it necessary to take care of them all, had testified to the uniform kindness and care with which they had been treated.  Mr. Drury was a member of the Historical Society of his regiment, and helped to compile a history of the same, which was published in 1887.

After the war he located in Chicago, Illinois, and was appointed a deputy in the office of his uncle, Alexander Hamilton Heald, who had been elected city Collector.  He continued as a deputy under William J. Onahan, who succeeded Mr. Heald, and was afterward employed in the South Chicago Town Collector’s office, under Henry Spear.  He subsequently spent a year or two in the County Treasurer’s office, under Heber S. Rexford and Julian S. Rumsey.  Just before the great fire he was appointed Deputy County Clerk of Cook County, Illinois, by John G. Gindele, and continued his connection with that office during the incumbency of George W. Wheeler, Joseph Pollak and Gen. Hermann Lieb, being Chief Deputy for the two last named.  In June, 1875, during General Lieb’s term, Mr. Drury resigned his position and entered into a partnership with John Carne, junior, to conduct a tax-abstract and general real-estate business.   In November, 1886, said partnership was dissolved and the present firm of Drury Brothers formed, his brother, Horace Greeley Drury, becoming the junior member.  They give most of their attention to Wilmette property, maintaining offices both in that village and Chicago.  A large portion of the development of the former place is due to their instrumentality.

On the 19th of April, 1871, Mr. Drury was married to Hannah Augusta Howard, born December 25, 1849, daughter of William Curtis Howard and Hannah (Roberts, formerly spelled Roburds) Howard, of the town of Grant, Lake County, Illinois.  Their only surviving child is a daughter, named Gertrude, who was born March 20, 1875.  Mr. Drury is a member of George H. Thomas Post No. 5, Department of Illinois, Grand Army of the Republic, and also of the Illinois Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.  He was the first Regent of Ouilmette Council Number 1107, of the Royal Arcanum.  He has resided at Wilmette since 1874, and has served several times as Trustee of said village, and is the present Secretary of its Board of Education, and is also its present Village Collector.  Following the example of his father, he has been a life-long Republican, and is a gentleman of pleasing address and marked literary tastes.  He has spent considerable time in historical research, and has succeeded in rescuing from oblivion a very complete genealogy of the Drurys of England and America, and the Healds of America.

                                -- Submitted on 9/18/99 by Sherri Hessick ( slhessick@crosswinds.net )