The Adirondack Branch
of the Delaware & Hudson Railroad
General History
Historical Events
Related Links
About This Site

The Durant Family

Dr. T. C. Durant
Thomas Clark Durant was born on February 6, 1820 in Lee, Massachusetts.  He studied medicine at Albany Medical College where he graduated cum laude in 1840.  He served briefly as an assistant professor of surgery then later quit that profession and became a director of his uncle's grain exporting company in New York City.
  Durant got his start in the railroad industry working as a broker for the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad.  He later got involved with construction and raising capital for the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad in 1853.  The M&M built the first bridge over the Mississippi River in 1856 and when steam boaters sued them after hitting it, Durant hired attorney Abraham Lincoln to defend themselves - a decision that was later to help him get the Union Pacific Railroad involved with the first transcontinental railroad.
  Durant had a ruthless reputation for hurting anyone for his own personal gain. Manipulating stocks and getting around regulations was normal for him; including the famous Credit Mobilier scam.
 On October 24th, 1863, Durant incorporated the Adirondack Company and started building the line to North Creek.  This must have been a side project for him as he was in the thick of building tracks west for the Union Pacific.  He served in different times as President, Vice President and General Manager of the railroad until his death.
 Durant died at his home in North Creek on October 5th, 1885.  He is buried at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY.

Heloise Hannah Trimble Durant
  Heloise married Thomas Durant in 1847.  She was from England.  Her name appears as the owner of Adirondack Railroad property in North Creek in 1891 and she died in 1901.  They had two children, William and Heloise.

William West Durant
  He was born in 1850, the only son of Thomas and Heloise Durant.  He attended Twickenham School in England and Bonn University in Germany, and traveled extensively as a youth in Europe and Africa.  At 24, he was summoned home from Egypt to help his father develop the Adirondacks for tourism.
  He had a group of cabins on Raquette Lake called Camp Pine Knot and later opened a stagecoach line from North Creek to Raquette Lake and dammed the Marion River to allow steamboat travel from Blue Mountain Lake through to Eagle and Utowana Lakes.
  He married Janet Lathrop Stott in 1884 and they settled in Saratoga Springs.  They had three children, Lawrence in 1885, Heloise in 1887 and Basil in 1889.
  After his father's death in 1885, William took control of the family finances, although not without discord with his sister Heloise. He was the President of the line from 1885 until 1889.  William set out to raise capital by selling land and timber, and sought a buyer for the Adirondack Railway, finally succeeding in 1889 with a sale to the Delaware & Hudson Railroad.
 In 1890, he granted a $200 monthly allowance to his sister but she had doubts about whether she was receiving her fair share of the estate.  In 1893, she brought suit against him and although his legal strategems would delay it for six years, the court ruled against him and he was ordered to pay her $753,931.  She never got her money as by this time he was bankrupt.  In 1895, William and his wife started divorce proceedings against one another.
  William married Annie Cotton in 1907 and died at Mount Sinai Hospital on June 1, 1934.  He is buried next his father.

Heloise (Ella) Durant Rose
   William's sister was born in 1854 (although one source calls her an elder sister) and lived until 1943. She was a book reviewer for the New York Times as well as an author, lecturer and founder of the Dante League of America in 1917.  She attended schools in Europe and America and was fluent in five languages.

T.C. Durant

T.C. Durant





William West Durant