From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Durham, John Granvail

(born: 1896  -  died: 1999) 

John G. Durham had been the oldest African American veteran in Illinois. He was born in Campbellsville, KY, according to his WWI Draft Registration Card. He was the son of Thomas F. and Mary L. Durham. The family lived in Ireland, KY, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. John Durham was a cook in the U.S. Army during World War I. In 1936, Durham had settled in Aurora, IL, where he co-founded the American Legion Post #798, the first for African Americans in Aurora. The post had been closed for a few years when Durham died, but it was scheduled to re-open with a Buffalo Soldier museum. Durham was also commander of the Kane County Council of the American Legion and later commander of the 11th District Council. He was the first African American Santa Claus in Aurora and was a member of the Aurora Police Auxiliary and Chamber of Commerce. For more see M. Hogarth, "Taps calls vet home," Beacon News, 08/18/1999, News section, p. A1.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Taylor County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Campbellsville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Ireland, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Beacon-news (newspaper)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Durham, John Granvail,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 30, 2020,

Last modified: 2018-11-28 16:53:57