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Saturday, December 14, 2013


This photo was found at an Antique show at the South Florida Fairgrounds. On the back are the photographer's marks "Dowens Photographer, Riverhead, L.I." as well as hand-written words "Peter Harvey Duryee".

The photo appears to have been taken around 1885, and the subject appears to be in his mid-20s.

1910 Census record for Suffolk Count, NY, finds Peter H Duryee living with wife Beulah, daughters Vivian, Clara E and Mary Hope, and son John W. He worked as a salesman at a "Feed store", or possibly "Seed store."

1920 Census for the same place, shows Peter is a widowed, and the eldest daughter is no longer at home. Occupation is salesman at a Hardware Store. Son John has the same occupation. Daughter Clara works as a bookkeeper in a Produce House, and Mary Hope works in a bank.

1930 Census shows Peter has remarried, a woman 16 years his junior, named Mabel. None of the children remain at home.

Further online research finds a man of this name who lived in Mattituck, NY, a town less than 20 miles from the photographer's studio.

The following obituary was printed in The Watchman newspaper on Aug 9, 1945:


  Mattituck lost one of its fine old gentlemen and best known citizens in the passing of Peter Harvey Duryee, who died at his home on Westphalia Road Monday morning of this week, in his eighty-fifth year.
  He was born in Brooklyn on Jan 19, 1861, a son of the late John Wyckoff and Elizabeth Verity Duryee, who moved to Mattituck about six years later and settled with several other Brooklyn families in the section known as Oregon. He spent his boyhood days in Oregon, and after marrying Miss Beulah Hallock, daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Silas Hallock, in 1889, he built the present home on Mattituck Creek, where he lived the rest of his life.
Their union was blessed with four children, Vivien, now Mrs Donald Gildersleeve; Clara, now Mrs Cedric Luce of Sound Avenue; Hope, now Mrs Alfred Furnivall of Riverhead; and John, all of whom survive. Their mother died in 1915.  Mr Duryee became a painter by trade, and was also engaged in other enterprizes. At one time he and Otto P Hallock, now of Riverhead, formed a partnership, Hallock and Duryee, for the manufacture and sale of fertilizers, with factory in Mattituck. He became associated with his brother, William V Duryee, in business when he built a hardware store on Westphalia Road and later transferred the business to its present site on Pike Street and Railroad Avenue. He continued at the store as long as his health permitted, and seldom missed a day there until the past year, when he came to the store only for short daily visits. 
He had also represented the Niagara and Hartford Fire Insurance companies for more than twenty-five years.  Mr Duryee was a man of fine and upright character, whose friendly and kindly ways won him friends in all walks of life. He took an active interest in all things for the betterment of his home town, and was a member of the Prebyterian Church, a charter member of the Mattituck Council 34, Jr O U A M; the Mattituck Yacht Club, an organization he was instrumental in forming, and of which he was, a few years ago, made Commandore Emeritus, in appreciation of his years of service. He also belonged to the Mattituck Grange and the Marratooka Club.
  One of his favorite recreations was boating, and he delighted in taking members of his family and friends on sails about the Creek and Sound. A lover of music, he palyed the piano and cornet, and was a member of several Mattituck bands and orchestras through the years, furnished dance music for the old Literary Society during most of the years of its existence, and sang until a few years ago in the choir of the Presbyterian Church. His home was a hospitable one, where he was continually looking forward to occasions when ones he loved would gather there for holidays and parties. He completed a full and useful life and will be greatly missed by all.
  He is survived by his widow, Mabel Hart Duryee, whom he married in 1928; a brother, William V Duryee; and by the three daughters and one son; also three grandchildren, Cedric Luce Jr, Nancy and John W Duryee Jr.
  Funeral services were conducted this afternoon (Thursday) at the Mattituck Presbyterian Church, by Mr Duryee's former pastor, Dr P E Radford, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Rome, NY. Members of Mattiuck Council Jr OUAM attended in a body. Interment was in the Bethany Cemetery.

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