CHARLES A. DURING, a veteran of the Confederate Army and a pioneer settler of Cooke county, was born in Henry county, Georgia, on the 17th of March, 1822, a son of Reuben and Sarah (Ghent) During, the former a native of Virginia and the latter of South Carolina. Mr. During was of Irish lineage and was married in Georgia, where he began farming and became prominent. The grandfather of our subject left Georgia and went to Tennessee, where his remaining days were passed. In the family were the following named: Reuben, Elizabeth, Robert and Jessie.
Reuben During, father of our subject, married and settled upon a farm in Georgia. He served in the war of 1812 under General Jackson, and when not in military service followed farming and stock-raising, thus providing for his family. His death occurred before the Civil war. He had not aspiration for public office but lived the life of an honorable, unpretentious farmer. Both he and his wife were members of the Primitive Baptist church and they deserved in large measure the respect and confidence of those with whom they came in contact. Mr. During possessed rather a stern disposition and was firm in his opinions and unfaltering in his support of any cause which he espoused. He died in the year 1843, while his wife, surviving until 1860, passed away when one hundred years of age. Her husband was seventy-five years of age at the time of his death. Mrs. During was a daughter of Charles Ghent, of Virginia, who as a veteran of the Revolutionary war, having fought for five years in the cause of American independence. He, too, was of Irish descent. After the war he settled first in Virginia and later went to Tennessee, which was then a new country. The Indians were oftentimes hostile and there were wild beasts to be met in the forests, while wild game furnished many a meal for the early settlers. Mr. Ghent aided in planting the seeds of the physical and moral development of the county. He was a prominent farmer and slave owner but before his death disposed of all his slaves. His religious faith was indicated by his membership in the Baptist church and his life was in harmony with his professions. He died in Tennessee. Among his children was Sarah Ghent, who gave her hand in marriage to Reuben During, and in their family were nine children: James; William, Robert; Uriah; Ortha; Polly, wife of J. D. Harris; Delilah, the wife of T. Colby; Mrs. Margaret Burch; and Charles A.
Charles A. During was born and reared in Georgia and in the common schools acquired his education. He was married in 1854, after which he settled upon a farm. He possessed, however, natural mechanical ability and worked at all trades in wood and iron, being especially largely connected with carpentering and house-building. In order to devote his attention to mechanical pursuits he hired others to carry on the worked of the farm and he was thus engaged until after the inauguration of the Civil war, w hen he joined the State Militia and did guard duty in his state, being stationed for a long time at Okteba in Hall county, guarding prisoners and deserters. There he spent nearly two years, after which he engaged in making spinning wheels to be used in the manufacture of material for clothing. He continued in the army until the close of the war, during which time he did some farming, and he also continued shop work until 1866, when he came to Texas, first settling in Rusk county. Here he followed mechanical pursuits and also to a limited extent carried on farming. When six years had passed he removed to Cooke county in 1872, settling where he yet resides. Here he first purchased two hundred and sixty acres of timber land, to which he has since added four hundred acres, so that he has a large tract of six hundred and sixty acres. When he first came here he rented land and raised a crop, during which time he erected a house on his property. He then settled in his own home and soon placed his farm under cultivation, since which time it has been self-sustaining for he has never failed to raise good crops sufficient for his own support and also some for sale. When he first came here little farming was done and he was the pioneer in the cultivation of cotton in his neighborhood. He did his marketing at Sherman, which at that time continued but two stores, while Gainesville had one small store and one saloon. When he came game of all kinds was plentiful and wild beasts roamed at will, but he had little time for hunting, as his attention was given altogether to his farm work. He has since sold some of his property but he still retains possessions of two hundred and seventy-five acres of the original homestead and he has one hundred and sixty acres under cultivation, which he rents.
Mr. During was married to Miss Sarah H. Dickey, who as born in Georgia in 1836, and has been to him a faithful companion and helpmate for life’s journey. Her parents were John and Nancy (Beard) Dickey, the former a native of Ireland and the latter of South Carolina, in which state they were married. Her paternal grandfather was John Dickey, Sr., a native of the Emerald Isle, who, accompanied by his family, crossed the Atlantic to the new world at an early day, settling in South Carolina, where he reared his children. He became a prominent agriculturist there and was also a worthy minister of the Primitive Baptist church, his upright life winning him the honor and respect of all with whom he was associated. His death occurred in that state. In his family were five children: Thomas; Henry; William; John and Mrs. Jane Hickinbottom. John Dickey, Jr., born in Ireland, was a youth of thirteen years when he came with his family to the United States. He was reared in South Carolina and after his marriage removed to Georgia, where he reared his own family. He became a successful and well known agriculturist of his community and enjoyed in high measure the respect of those with whom he was associated. He served in the war of 1812 and took part in the battle of New Orleans under Andrew Jackson. He lived the life of a plain, honest farmer and was a member of the Baptist church. He remained in Georgia until old age, when he and his wife came to Cooke county, Texas, and spent their declining years. His death occurred at the very advanced age of one hundred and two years, while his wife passed away when ninety-eight years of age. In their family were seven children: Robert, who removed to Mississippi, and there died; Mrs. Jane Crow; William, who died in Georgia; Mrs. Sarah H. During; Joseph, who served in the Civil War and afterward died in the Indian Territory; Samuel, who died in the Confederate Army; and Franklin, who served throughout the war, was taken prisoner and was sent to Chicago, where has stationed at the time of the close of the hostilities. He afterward died in Georgia.
Mr. and Mrs. During have become the parents of six children: John, a prominent farmer of Cooke county; Franklin, who is living upon the old homestead; Uriah, an undertaker residing in Cleburne, Johnson county, Texas; Nancy J., the wife of L. Crow, a farmer; Levi, a farmer; and Zachariah, a farmer of Oklahoma. Mr. During formerly gave his political allegiance to the Democratic party but later joined the ranks of the Greenback party. He has never cared for nor sought office but has concentrated his energies upon his business interests. He has now passed the eighty-third milestone on life’s journey and in a review of his history it will be seen that perseverance, enterprise and executive management have been the strong and sterling elements in his career.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 671-673.