Dr. John Durand

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John Durand, Esq.

French: Jean Durand, Esq.
Birthdate: (61)
Birthplace: Ile de Ré, La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime, France
Death: March 29, 1726 (61)
Derby, New Haven, Connecticut
Place of Burial: Derby, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Jehan Durand and Anne Durand
Husband of Elizabeth Durand
Father of John Durand; Andrew Durand; Noah Durand; Joseph Durand; Samuel Durand and 4 others
Brother of Elizabeth Durand; Joseph Durand and Maria Durand

Occupation: Physician & surgeon
Managed by: Randy Stebbing
Last Updated:

About Dr. John Durand

John (Jean) Durand (1664-1726). He was a surgeon. He was born into a Huguenot family near La Rochelle, France. Like other Huguenots, he fled the country after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. He appeared in New York City in 1698, when he married Elizabeth Bryan, the daughter of a wealthy merchant. They settled soon after in Derby, Connecticut.


DR. JOHN DURAND A Huguenot Born 1664, La Rochelle, France

"Among the number of Huguenots who took refuge in foreign lands following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV in 1685 was Dr. Jean (or John) Durand. He was accompanied by his uncle, Noah Durand, and two cousins, George and Louis Durand. Their homes had been in La Rochelle, France. Upon arriving in America, Dr. John left his uncle and cousins and went to South Carolina, remaining there but one year.

Returning to New York, he lived in New Rochelle for several months and then settled in CT, USA. He lived first at East Haven, where he applied himself diligently in acquiring a knowledge of the English language. It is said, however, that the accent of his mother tongue remained throughout his life.

About 1696, Dr. John Durand settled in Milford, CT, USA. He received a license to be married on September 10, 1698 in New York, to Elizabeth Bryan, daughter of Richard Bryan. Elizabeth's father was not living at the time of her marriage to Dr. John Durand, for it is recorded in a deed executed May 24, 1693 on page 56 of the Derby, CT, USA records that Alexander Bryan and Samuel Bryan are appointed administrators of the estate of Richard Bryan, deceased. On March 11, 1699, a conveyance of property to John Durand and Elizabeth, his wife, is recorded. In this year they removed to Derby, CT, USA, where their first son, John Durand, was born November 10, 1700.

Dr. John Durand's practice extended to Woodbury and Wallingford; he was known as 'the little French doctor.' He regarded punctuality as the soul of business and never violated the most trivial engagement. In every relation of his life he exhibited an eminent degree of the qualities of a gentleman. It is told of him that on every call for his services, day or night, he was never known to refuse when it was in his power to comply. Often, he would ride many hours in the cold and storms, knowing that it was doubtful that he would receive compensation, but his kindness of heart would not allow him to refuse.

Much has been lost that would throw light upon Dr. John Durand's habits, his way of thinking, and upon his observations of things. The relentless paper mills that devoured so many papers and books with records of untold value during the Civil War of 1861-1865 have much to answer for as destroyers of history. The Bassett paper mill at Seymour, Connecticut tore into shreds a book belonging to Dr. John Durand that would be highly prized today. It was a diary giving a description of the army and what the encountered in the expedition against Canada in 1709. Dr. John Durand was the surgeon of a Cconnecticut regiment on this expedition. Mr. Sylvester Smith, one of the proprietors of the mill, informed Mr. Frederick Durand to call for this book at his office if he wanted it, but the latter, not knowing it belonged to his great-great-grandfather, and not being interested in antiquities, neglected to call for it and consequently the book is lost.

There are many traditions regarding Dr. John Durand which have come down in various branches of the family. One tradition that he had two brothers who came with him to America is erroneous; the two brothers--George and Louis--were cousins of Dr. John Durand, sons of his uncle, Charles Durand. Dr. John Durand was the only member of his father's family who came to America. His father's name was Jean Durand and, from tradition and reports, it is believed that there were three children: Jean (John), Joseph, and Maria. Dr. John Durand was educated as a young man to be a physician. After he came to America, he maintained a correspondence with his relatives in La Rochelle, France, and letters written to them were to be found as late as 1861. On September 29, 1704, it was voted 'to sue Dr. Durand for ye town's highway, it being for a surrender of the highway where carts could pass.' On January 1, 1704 or 1705, Dr. Durand made a proffer to the town to leave it to two indifferent men to settle, etc., which was finally arbitrated and satisfactorily settled. On December 15, 1707, he was chosen by the town to be collector of the 'minister's rate.' It was also voted that 'Dr. Durand and John Davis and their wives shall sit in the third row of seats facing the pulpit.'

Dr. Durand owned the homestead of Edward Wooster, the first settler of Derby, and resided in it just opposite where the road from the bridge enters the river road at the old town of Derby. Dr. Durand claimed damages for encroachment on his land after the bridge was built. His grave can be found in the Colonial Cemetery at Derby, CT. In the early 1900s, this cemetery was well-taken care of by the Sarah Riggs Humphrey chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The grave is marked with a rough, blue stone, the inscription being nearly obliterated. It reads: 'Here lyes ye body of Doct. John Durand Died March ye 29th, in ye year 1727 Ag'd 60.' Administration of his estate was granted Sept. 4, 1727 to Elizabeth Durand, his wife, and John Durand, his oldest son, per New Haven Probate Record 5:393.

Dr. John Durand was recognized as a man of marked ability. The energy and nobility of character which he possessed was transmuted to each and every one of his children, and they all possessed in a high degree the more solid traits of character."

"After Durand Genealogy was printed, [Samuel Relf Durand] wrote into the page facing the data about Dr. John Durand the following (quite possibly apocryphal) anecdote in ballpoint pen: 'Dr. John Durand brought lilac seeds from France and introduced lilacs to America. Each year at lilac-blossom time in Derby, CT, a group of residents cover his grave in the Old Uptown Burying Ground with lilacs.'"

Durand, Samuel Relf. Durand Genealogy. 1973.

Coat of Arms

Arms of Durand: Sable a fess dancettée Or and in chief three fleurs-de-lis of the second. Crest: A griffin's head erased pierced with a spear Proper. Reference: Bookplate of Dr. John Durand (c1720), in Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Boston: F. W. Faxon Co, 1927.

Burke’s General Armory gives these arms for Durant, of Tong Castle, Shropshire, with the colors Sable and Argent (alternatively Sable and Or). See, for example, George Durant, of Tong.

Other recorded variations show some Durant families using arms with the fess fleury dancetty. That is, the fleurs-de-lis stem from the fess rather than being separate elements.'

In John Durand's lifetime, stationers often kept books showing coats of arms for various surnames. Therefore, there is no certainty that these are the ancestral arms of this Durand family. If they are accurate, however, the arms point to a relationship between this Durand family from LaRochelle and the English Durant family at Tong.


A yDNA test on one paternal line descendant shows that John Durand belonged to Haplogroup R1b1a2. See Duran DNA Project, <http://www.worldfamilies.net/surnames/duran/results>.

Further Research

A new genealogy was published in 2003, Alvy Ray Smith, Dr. John Durand of Derby, Connecticut and His Family Boston: Newbury Street Press, 2003. It was named Book of the Year in 2004 by the National Genealogical Society.

Families of Ancient New Haven by Donald Lines Jacobus, pg. 1032
Birth: Dec. 26, 1664 La Rochelle Departement de la Charente-Maritime Poitou-Charentes, France Death: Mar. 29, 1727 Derby New Haven County Connecticut, USA

60 [born 26 Dec 1664, La Rochelle, France Wife: Elizabeth Bryan Durand, unknown burial location, but living with daughter Eliz Johnson in northern area of Derby at time of death. -courtesy Deb Elliott]

Family links:

 Elizabeth Bryan Durand (1680 - 1763)*

 John Durand (1700 - 1773)*
 Andrew Durand (1702 - 1791)*
  • Calculated relationship

Burial: Old Derby Uptown Burying Ground Derby New Haven County Connecticut, USA GPS (lat/lon): 41.32931, -73.07971

Created by: Jan Franco Record added: May 13, 2007 Find A Grave Memorial# 19362115

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Dr. John Durand's Timeline

December 26, 1664
La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime, France
November 10, 1700
Age 35
Derby, New Haven County, Connecticut, United States
December 17, 1702
Age 37
Derby, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
August 27, 1707
Age 42
Derby, New Haven County, Connecticut, United States
December 20, 1709
Age 44
Derby, New Haven County, Connecticut, United States
July 7, 1713
Age 48
Derby, New Haven County, Connecticut, United States
June 2, 1716
Age 51
Derby, New Haven County, Connecticut, United States
February 6, 1719
Age 54
Derby, New Haven County, Connecticut
December 7, 1724
Age 59
Derby, New Haven County, Connecticut, United States