Biographical Sketch of Francis Miller Durrant

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920

Biography of Francis Miller Durrant, 1857–1948

By Bridget Smith Pieschel, Mississippi University for Women

Woman Suffragist

Frances Miller Durrant was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi, on February 15, 1857. She was the oldest of Mary Hughes and William Edward Miller's five children. Her father was a carriage maker. She graduated from Franklin Female College in 1874. She married Horace William Durrant, a native of England, in Holly Springs on December 22, 1875. Because she and Horace moved to Coffeeville, Mississippi, shortly after their marriage, Durrant escaped the 1878 Yellow Fever epidemic in Holly Springs, which decimated the town. Horace Durrant was a woodworker. They had two daughters, Lilyann and Ethyline, and a son, Julius, who died in infancy. Durrant also had the care of two of her siblings who came to live with them in Coffeeville. In the 1890s until the turn of the century, she made sure that Lilyann and Ethyline received college educations. By 1900, all three women were active in the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1903 Governor Longino appointed Ethyline “as commissioner for Yalobusha County to aid in securing an exhibit of the products and industries of that county for the World's Fair at St. Louis.”

Durrant was active in the Mississippi Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA) by 1911, as were her two daughters. At the annual meeting of the MWSA in 1911, she was elected treasurer, and was re-elected to the same office in 1912. Also in 1912 she was one of three to sign a list of resolutions adopted at the annual meeting. Among those resolutions were the following:

“Resolved, That the women of Mississippi Woman Suffrage Association will redouble their efforts to secure better legislation for women and children in the industrial world...Resolved, That we favor better child labor laws and a juvenile reformatory....”

The resolutions were published in several Mississippi newspapers, and in The Times Democrat in New Orleans. She was an MWSA board member in 1917.

Both Lilyann and Ethyline are listed as daughters of “Frances Miller Durant and Horace Durrant” in the 1914 Woman's Who's Who in America. According to the biographical details, Lilyann was a physician who specialized “in children's diseases of the eye, nose, ear, and throat.” Her sister's biography specified that she “favors women's suffrage.”

Frances Miller Durrant died in Memphis, Tennessee, June 14, 1948, at age 91. She was living with her daughter, Ethyline Durrant Burkhardt Walter. She is buried in Coffeeville.

SOURCES:

1860 U.S. Census, Holly Springs, Mississippi. Digital images. Ancestry.com.

1870 U.S. Census, Holly Springs, Mississippi. Digital images. Ancestry.com.

1880 U.S. Census, Coffeeville, Mississippi. Digital images. Ancestry.com.

1900 U.S. Census, Coffeeville, Mississippi. Digital images. Ancestry.com.

1910 U.S. Census, Coffeeville, Mississippi. Digital images. Ancestry.com.

1920 U.S. Census, Coffeeville, Mississippi. Digital images. Ancestry.com.

1930 U.S. Census, Coffeeville, Mississippi. Digital images. Ancestry.com.

1940 U.S. Census, Memphis, Tennessee. Digital images. Ancestry.com.

Coffeeville City Cemetery Records (findagrave.com)

Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Books.

Eighth Annual Report: Mississippi Woman Suffrage Association (1912). Lily Thompson Collection, Special Collections, University of Mississippi Libraries.

Ethyline Miller Durrant Burkhardt, Francis Miller Durrant, and Lilyann Durrant Greene, Woman's Who's Who in America: a Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Women of the United States and Canada 1914-15 Ed. John William Leonard, New York, American Commonwealth Company, 1914 (147, 342). [LINK]

Equity League Minutes 1911-1914. Lily Thompson Collection, Special Collections, University of Mississippi Libraries.

“Popular Girl Honored.” The Grenada Sentinel (Grenada, Mississippi), July 25, 1903, p. 2.

Hillcrest Cemetery Records, Holly Springs, Mississippi. (findagrave.com).

“Notes and Comments.” The Delta Democrat-Times (Greenville, Mississippi), 20 April 1912, p. 6.

Harper, Ida Husted, et al., eds. The History of Woman Suffrage. Vol. VI (1900-1920). N.p.: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922, p. 333. [LINK]

“Cleveland: State Woman's Suffrage Association Chooses Officers.” The Times-Democrat, (New Orleans, Louisiana), April 14, 1911, p. 7.

United Daughters of the Confederacy, Minutes of the Annual Convention. 1901, 1903

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