Frederic Eugene Durbec [1836-1894], buried at the Old Clarkesville Cemetery, captured some of the first photographic images of the Civil War.
According to an article in the April 2015 edition of Battlefield Photographer, Durbec and his Charleston-based business partner, J.M. Osburn, were “among the most important Civil War photographers…”
In addition to images from the war, the pair also made some of the only American documentary images of African-American enslaved people living on a South Carolina plantation.
Durbec and Osburn only worked together for three and a half years; Durbec answered the call to serve the Confederacy in 1861, joining the local militia as a sergeant in the Beauregard Light Infantry. A medical issue cut short his service in 1862 and he resigned his commission in 1863.
Durbec married Manuela Victoria Rogero Durbec on Oct. 11, 1886, in St. Johns, Florida. To kick off the 1890 tourist season, the couple relocated to Clarkesville where he bought and managed the Eureka Hotel, located on a lot at the corner of Bridge and Grant streets.
He died in 1894 and is buried with his young daughter Claire Eugenia Durbec and a young son, Francis Joseph Durbec.
North Carolina-based Civil War historian Andy House penned the article referenced above. House took a special interest in Durbec and with the permission of Durbec’s descendants and the help of Larry Whitfield, he coordinated a rededication of Durbec’s gravesite in 2016. Click here to read more about the ceremony.
One of the initial priorities for the cemetery committee is to restore Durbec’s tomb. Work will commence in early 2019 to disassemble the ruins, catalog the materials and put in place a plan to restore the family plot.
Additional information about the Durbec family
• Wife – Manuella Victoria Rogero Durbec
Died 12/24/1922 and is buried in Saint Augustine, FL
• Claire Eugenia Durbec
Born in Savannah, GA – 11/24/1887
Died in Clarkesville, GA – 07/23/1889
• Francis Joseph Durbec
Born in Savannah or Clarkesville – 05/26/1889
Died in Clarkesville, GA – 10/10/1892
Laid to rest by the side of his little sister Claire
• Marie Catherine Durbec (Pamies)
Born in Clarkesville, GA – 08/31/1890
Died in St Augustine, FL – 01/28/1972
Frederick Eugene Durbec – Obituary
Published Oct. 3, 1894 – Evening Post Page 2 Charleston, SC reports the death of Col. F. Eugene Durbec as having died in Clark(e)sville, Ga. The obituary reports “The deceased leaves a wife and one child…” “His funeral will take place in Clarksville to-morrow”…