Dr. James A. Durham was born in Saline County, Ill., March 22, 1831, a son of Asabel and Jane (Stembridge) Durham, both natives of Tennessee. The father first located in Saline County in 1825, where he reared his family of fourteen children, four sons and two daughters of whom are now living. In September, 1849, he moved to this county, and farmed successfully six miles
north of Benton until his death, June 12, 1854. Our subject was reared on the farm, receiving little or no education until by his own efforts after manhood. He studied medicine under Dr. Bennett Scarborough, his father-in, law, began practice in the fifties and has been a successful practitioner of the eclectic school ever since. He has also given attention to farming, and in November, 1886, in company with David Lyon, he began operating the old grist-mill of Benton, which they are now successfully conducting. June 16, 1854, he married Frances C. Scarborough, a native of Indiana. They have eight sons. He is a Republican, and was a member of the county court three years, as commissioner. In 1862 he enlisted as private in Company C, Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry, and was hospital steward most of his service. He was mustered out at New Orleans in May, 1865. Since 1854 he has been an Odd Fellow, and is a member of the Missionary Baptist Church, of which he has been pastor for two years, ever since his ordination. He has always been an active Sunday-school worker and was president of the County Sunday-school Association for three years.