Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
HARRY D. DURST. It is not an easy task to adequately describe the character of a man who has led an eminently active and busy life in connection with the great legal profession and who has stamped his individuality on the plane of definite accomplishment in one of the most exacting fields of human endeavor. Yet there is always full measure of satisfaction in adverting, even in a casual way, to the career of an able and conscientious worker in any line of human endeavor. Among the truly self-made and representative men of Greene county, none ranks higher than Harry D. Durst, who stands in the front rank of the bar in Springfield, and he has become a conspicuous figure in the civic life of this locality. A man of tireless energy and indomitable courage, he has won and held the unqualified esteem of his fellow citizens. With the law as his profession from young manhood, he has won a brilliant reputation and the future gives promise of still much greater things for him.
Mr. Durst was born in Springfield, Missouri, August 27, 1869. He is the only child of David H. and Annie E. (Julian) Durst. He grew to manhood in his native city and received his education in the local schools, which, however, has been greatly supplemented in later years by wide reading, home study and contact with the world, until he is today an exceptionally well informed man on current affairs, as well as all phases of jurisprudence and the world's best literature. In his youth he took an apprenticeship as an iron moulder and mastered that trade before reaching his majority. He was too ambitious to accomplish something worth while in the world to be contented to spend his life in the routine work of a foundry, and began studying law while working at his trade and, making rapid progress, was admitted to the bar on January 16, 1892. He has since that time practiced this profession successfully, and is one of the best known lawyers in southwest Missouri. For years his name has been prominently connected with the important cases in all the Springfield courts, and in cases in other parts of the Ozark country. He has kept well abreast of the times in all that pertains to his profession, is not only a thorough and indefatigable student of the law, but a strong, vigorous, logical and effective advocate, earnest and eager, combining in a singular manner general equanimity and a certain nervous energy. He always carefully studies his cases, and is therefore well prepared to try them when he enters court. He is a forceful debater, clear in his logic, convincing in his argument, courteous to his associates and opponents, and always dignified in, his deportment to the court as well as witnesses, avoiding, as far as possible, wounding the feelings of anyone. He is regarded as able, reliable, honest and safe. In earlier years, Mr. Durst went to the Indian Territory when immigration was seething in strongly to that portion of the Southwest, and was a resident there for three years.
In 1898, when the Spanish-American war broke out, Mr. Durst answered the first call for volunteers by President McKinley, and served as a lieutenant in Company K, Second Missouri Infantry, United States Volunteers. He is a very active member of the Spanish War Veterans, and has been twice elected judge advocate of the department of Missouri in that organization and is at present the state commander of that organization. Mr. Durst was married on January 10, 1900, to Eva Dickerson, only daughter of Jerome and Susan (Geary) Dickerson, a prominent family of Springfield, formerly of Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Mrs. Durst was born, reared and given the advantages of an excellent education. She is a lady of culture and genial address. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Durst has been blessed by the birth of three children, namely: Robert D. was graduated from the ward schools with the class of 1914; Dorothy D. and Harry D., Jr.
Politically, Mr. Durst is an uncompromising Democrat and has long been a worker in the interest of the party, one of the leaders of the same in southwest Missouri. He was for many years a member of the city council of Springfield, during which time he did much for the general good of the municipality. He was a candidate for Democratic nomination for Congress in 19l4. He made a splendid campaign, but was defeated. He is a man of steadfast purpose, studious habits, gentlemanly manners and an orator of no mean ability. He has contributed of his time and means to help the cause of Democracy, and is a tireless worker for clean government, advocating honesty in politics as well as wholesome living in social and private life. He has filled numerous positions of trust with marked fidelity and with credit to his party. His broad experience, obliging disposition, his ready wit, keen intellectual discernment and unassuming personality pre-eminently qualify him for high office. His unfailing good judgment, correct sense of fairness and courage in his stand for the right in all relations of life has been proven. His frankness, his tenacity in clinging to high ideals and his indomitable fighting qualities have won the confidence and respect of a host of stanch friends who will continue to stand by him regardless of party alignment.
He is now in the prime of life, with a will and constitution that enable him to make possible his strongest professional achievements. He is possessed of the warmest sympathies and charities, is held in the highest esteem by members of the bar throughout southern Missouri, and by friends and neighbors, who entertain the profoundest regard for his character and virtues. Mr. Durst and his family are members of the St. Paul Methodist Episcopal church, South.
Springfield-Greene County Library