No one now knows just when Caspar Durst came to this part of the county, but certainly a very long time ago; at any rate he is the progenitor of all the Durst name who so numerously populate Garrett and Allegany counties, to say nothing of the legions that are now scattered over neighboring and Western States. Little is known of old Caspar. Tradition says he was a man of remarkable agility. It is said of him that he could spring a wolf trap with his feet and jump out without being caught. This is a pretty tough story and is not vouched for; but another more reasonable, and no doubt true, is told of his son, Lightfoot John, who was considerable of a hunter. Finding himself short of ammunition and there being none nearer then Cumberland, 27 miles distant, he donned his blue hunting shirt and deer skin moccasins, and off he went afoot (he would travel no other way) to the city and returned home before sundown with replenished horn and pouch, and a buck was made to feel the quality of the new powder and lead the same evening. If John Durst was now here, a young man, he would soon win the Astley belt as a walker. Henry Durst, grandson of Caspar, is now the patriarch of the Durst family at almost four score, but hale, hearty and capable of doing a good day's work. Just here we recall an amusing incident. We were once in the woods gunning together; game was not very abundant, but while standing under a large tree a fine coon was discovered perched in the top boughs; a missive in the shape of a piece of lead was sent up to his abode to invite him to come down; a speedy response came, but the animal was rude enough to throw himself upon the shoulder of our fellow huntsman. Result, a lame member for many days and some "powerful" swearing of the old pattern, openly aimed at the dead varmint, but really at the young man with an empty gun in is hand. The Durst family are by far the most numerous in this part of the county, and are noted for their amiable and clever dispositions, good, law abiding citizens. Maj. Philip and Michael Durst are perhaps better known to the public than the rest. They are worthy, respectable and useful men. The family never was ambitious for public places, but still some of them filled important and responsible offices.
"Brown's Miscellaneous Writings Upon a Great Variety of Subjects: Prepared and Written from 1880 to 1895" by Jacob Brown
Posted June 21, 2013
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