Duncan research files of
Papers in the Green C. Duncan Collection in the Eugene C. Barker Texas History Center, Austin, TexasTranscribed and annotated by Robert P. Moore, with permission to share his transcription; comments in  are by Robert P. Moore.
[RPM: As J.W. Duncan says in the letter, he is writing with a pencil. That must be why it copied so poorly. Only a few parts, of the first page especially, are legible in this xeroxed copy. Joseph Wilson Duncan is the son of Green and half-brother of Green C. He married rather late in life and his grandson, Joseph Duncan Whittington in 1998 still owns the Green Duncan farm outside of Bloomfield. Fort Bend Co., Texas adjoins Wharton Co. J.W. was born in 1844, so, assuming that a 14-year-old boy did not go to Texas alone to carry on such business, it will be assumed that he wrote the year incorrectly. In that case, this letter should be at the end. Is J.W. handling the land matters because Green is deceased?]
Fort Bend Co. Texas June 10th 1858 [1868?]
I am now at a cabin on the bayside where the Wharton stage connects with the Richmond & Austin. The stage will be along this afternoon when I will travel on towards Austin. I am endeavoring to write with a pencil so that it will be legible. these premises do not afford ink & if I do not write now it will be several days before I could do so & the letter would come back this way.
I was quite gratified to receive a letter from you & Pa dated May 8th though ..... ..... to Preston I received it in Wharton ..... Preston post office has been dispsensed with. I did not lease out Greens land. will explain circumstances & reason when I reach home. did not have it surveyed either as that was unnecessary at present. I saw the land though & paid the taxes to Jan. '59. saw W.L. Alexander & Judge Stith. spent a couple of days at the Judges. his wife is dead. died last winter. he was to ..... started north yesterday suppose he got off goes to Virginia & New York to spend the summer lest I should not think of it again he sent much regard to Mr & Mrs Duncan & as I was .......ing planted a few flowers & ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... .....
As to my movements I guess I shall start home immediately. if I hear from pa in Austin, expect to go out by New Braunfelds San Antonio & on to Lavacca as I have never been to those points & it not much out of the way. I will probably be detained too. some days to go to Matagorda. all the papers concerning Greens land are recorded there. None in Wharton except the last deed to Rannells. As to seasickness which you mention it is bad enough for the time to be sure but it is only a temporary thing & is equivalent to a good dose of medicine. About avoiding the river if there should be yellow fever I will try & do so go up through Mississippi & Tennessee if there are any stage lines avoid riding the railroads. therefore I guess I will be on before there is any fever will delay as little as I can, but dont look for me too soon. I will probably be detained in Austin to hear ..... As there was a stage line the remainder of my way I sold my horse in Wharton preferred ..... going as it is ..... & less expensive I have gotten over my sick spell & am about as well as usual now. I will write no more now as you will probably have trouble reading this As ever
Your affectionate son
My love to all. Also return the largest quantity of my best love to Brook & Annie. I wrote to Tom at Danville the other day. Suppose he is there.
Bloomfield Decr 8th 1859
I was pleased to get a letter from you a few days Since and think it will be best as you intimated for you to come down during the holidays and want you to write me where and when to Send for you I was thinking it would be best to Send to Springfield but write me So there may be no disipointment I suppose you wont have with you more than you can bring with you on horseback Write me where to get your Saddle and bridle Jo has been laid up for nearly a week with a creak in the neck and your mother poorly the balance well but laid up with the cold weather it is pinching me So that I don't feel like writing a letter but hope I will do better for the future but yet I Shall expect you to write Several letters to my one. I think a Son ought to beat his Father that much So write me in time to make my araingments to Send for you affectionately Father
PS Grandmother Duncan has been very sick but is now better I have not heard from your cousin Isaac for some time G.D.
but presume all well My best regards to your Aunt Thomas, Tate & Saunders
Bloomfield 5th of March 1860.
I received your letter by Judson Saturday night informing me of your misfortune in loosing your clothing and Books, which was the first correct account I have got I had heard that you had lost part of your things and also that you had saved them So I had been watching the Post office ever since for a letter. I suppose it was best to send by John Tate for your Supplies that is if they new how to fit you I will send down the fund to Will Duncan and have him to pay the account the first oppertunity I also Send inclosed to you Fifty Dollars by Mr Samuel Duncan who is going up with his Aunt Selectman to see her Brother Mr John McKay of Danville, So Green I wish you to use your money as Sparingly as possible as I expect by the time I meet all my expences and liabilities to be very short of funds. I think you are in a place that you can do first rate both in your learning and morals if you are determined to do so and if you have not come to that determination I look upon it there is no restraint and you would have a full chance to run in debt to idle your time to contract idle habits and to run into all kinds of vice and evil habits which intail ruin bad health and devastation on your Self and chagrin mortifacation a broken hart and disipointment of Friends. I see from the regulations of the School you are only under their charge while reciting your lessons So Green the whole thing is left with you So act the man in making use of your oppertunity and turn everything to your own good and profit and dont disipoint the hopes and fond expectations of your relations and friends who is hoping you will make your mark high and have a full determination to come up to it. recollect the admonition of the learned blacksmith admonishing the youth that in a little while that this world with all its weal and woe with its railroads Steam Shiping and magnetic telegraphs with its Stateman Kings Presidents Professors and Divines and every thing bilonging to will Soon be yours and only think of the importance of preparing yourself for its possession and the importance of so conducting the whole thing for the advancement of man and the Glory of God.
So keep your Self from the very precinct of evil and associate only with the moril and good and practice economy and be assidiously ingaged in your Studies and read and act up to the proverbs of Soloman and you may yet fill any of the departments of life with honor to your Self and with Satisfaction and pleasure to your friends I hope you will get to Some good place to board and that you and Thomas will remain to gether So if I have been remiss in writing which I acknowledge it will only leave less of my injunctions for you to comply with So live fully up to my request in this letter until I again write you let my Cousin Thomas See this and have him say whether it is right or wrong I will leave the matter for his desission give my respects to Mr Sanders & Tate Write frequently and dont wate for me to write, write to Jo and try to stimulate him to study we are all tolerable well in hast I remain your affectionate Father with hopes that you will make a man that will be a comfort and pleasure to me in the decline of life.
Yours Truly Green Duncan
Green C Duncan
PS I have just met with Doctor Berkley he informed he was at Isaac W Duncans yesterday and that cousin Susan had on yesterday evening a fine Son and she is as well as could be expected, yours GD
dont go in debt pay everything as you go every account I have of [you?] is satisfactory
Danville April 5th /60
My dear Mrs Duncan -
Many times since you left us have I thought of writing to you, but as yet that intention has not been carried out, & now I must merely send you a line, thanking you for your gift & asking the reception of another napkin, which was finished some days ago, but I deferred sending until some private opportunity presented, which I supposed would be when Mr. Prentice[?] visited Bloomfield. Much to our surprise Mr. Duncan has just told us of his expected departure in the morning. We are still remaining in the old school building, and far from being comfortable, suffering from smoke & cold in addition to many other inconveniences. The kitchen part of the old house is being changed quite rapidly into a dwelling house & Mr. Matthews hopes in a few weeks to be at the old home spot if not within the house.
Since the fire Mrs Ryors[?] has sold her property to Mr. Welsh & intends removing to Bloomington, only waiting until her little girl, who is very sick, is able to be taken on the journey, if ever able, as her recovery is very doubtful. I am going to be with her to-night, which is the cause of my hurried note.
In a letter received from sister many inquiries were made about Mrs Duncan. Sister is well & appears quite contented in her new abode.
Much love from us all & wont you let us hear from you soon?
Danville May 24th 1860
I have been wanting to write to you for a long time but some how or other kept putting it off - and off but will do better hereafter
I received a letter from Tom this evening - he says you are all well There is nothing at all new going on up here. The Prof has moved in his new house Miss Emma asked me to tell you you must answer her note she rote to you
Dr Weisiger of Texas has gotten up, so George was telling me. I thought I explaned to you how I settled the affairs you left with me when you left
But I think Tom said in one of his letters that you wanted me to write you about it
You know in the first place
you left with me 45.00
And sent by Tom 20.00
And what I paid off for you
was as follows
Prof Mathews 53.00
Miss Mary Hamilton 2.00
Doc Waggenner 6.00
Aunt Jane 2.25
And I suppose you
recollect you owed me
when you left 2.25
Picture for Mary Mathews 1.00
Amt you owed me 66.50
You had paid 65.00
Then you owed me 1.50 which as I suppose you know Isaac paid me. Tell Martha that I will make her a present of the three dollars she owes me. Tell her I saw her friend Mrs Mathews - She said she would like very much to go down & see you all. I suppose Martha would be glad to see her. It wont be long until vacation I suppose Tom will be up to commencement
I will be very glad when vacation arrives. McGrath who killed Proctor escaped from jail last night. It is believed by some that the jailor was bribed. I am getting along at College about as usual, though fear very much the examination at the end of Session Give my love to all & remember me to Uncle Archs folks - As ever your affectionate son GC Duncan
I wanted to write more but have nothing to write about GCD
Home 20th of June 1860
Although the session is nearly out I concluded to write you a few lines if for nothing else to encourage you to continue writing to me as I feel anxious to hear from you every opportunity. You letter informed me you had been to Mr Wedens which I was pleased to hear as I was pleased with all the family I have seen particularly the young ladies, though I consider it very dangerous for a young man to keep the company of the young and pretty ladies I like to see them treat them with due respect but by no means to throw themselves to often in their company. I think in a young man selecting of Female company that it is most profitable and safe that he select from those that have passed their one score and ten at least that are the best improved and most inteligent and even then not to be to pretty in that way a young man can get all the profit and advantage of Female company without incuring any of the risks, but on the contrary let a young man get in the habit of keeping the company of the young and pretty girls and he does not know what will be the result. She may take him captive at her will by influencing his judgment so as not to exercise it at all, and taking possession of the heart and controling his destinies through life and perhaps through eternity. Some of the smartest men of the nation have been led captive in that way being unequally yoked and have never recovered from it, and one of the consequences resulting they never have raised children equal to themselves. On the other hand let a man finish his education become settled down in a business to support a family who has fully matured and he will exercise sound judgement and discretion and would select a smart clear-headed helthy prudent business woman that would be a help mate in deed one that he would be proud of and happy with through life and proud of their children. But poor and frail man even when he is watching and guarding every point is still subject to go astray. As the good Book says, "Broad is the way and wide is the gate that leads to destruction and many go in thereat. But straight [strait] is the way and narrow is the gate that leads to life and few there be that find it, which might be defined that there is so many ways to go rong and but the one way to go right and as you are the only representative from Nelson I wish you the consider the responsibilities resting upon you and when you return to the bosom of your friends in your native county they may have reason to say well done good and faithful servent. It would afford me the greatest pleasure for you to keep all incumbrances out of the way of your studies and that you would improve your time and oppertunity and fit and qualify yourself for any and every useful station in life, and when you arive to mature manhood it will be a source of comfort and pleasure to yourself as well as to all your friends. You speake in your letter of getting homesick reflect that it is a greater comfort to your friends to hear you are at your post and doing your duty than to have you with us, and more profitable to yourself knowing the time will soon run round for us to meet So keep in good cheer and stay at your post as long as duty calls. from the account I have of your room mate both from yourself and others I have fell in love with and beleive in him, and although we have no acquaintance give him my best regards and tell him I would be pleased to have him visit us You stated you would be owing your board since February I don't know the amount you want but send you sixty five dollars. pay off all claims I don't believe in being in debt and recollect how the money is got and use it sparingly Write me when and where to send for you and the amount of your bagage we are all in usual health
Your affectionate Father
I shall expect you to show me a list of all the money you have recvd and expended I will send the mony by John Tate or some one else insted of by letter
To his son G.C. Duncan
Danville Sept 16 1860
I have been thinking of writing to you for several days but have had a good many things to do and nothing particularly to write. I feel more homesick this session than I did last and have regretted many times that I came up when I did and have wished I had remained and come up yesterday as I have not been doing anything this last week & my vacation has passed off well I dont know how it has passed off I enjoyed it while it was passing but it seems to me that I could go home & stay at home and enjoy two months better than I did the last two I know I would feel a good deal better after it.
I have a heap of hard studying to do this session I have always heard it was the hardest year in college The Greek is exceedingly hard and we have long lessons and I feel very much like quitting it I went out to Leeland yesterday evening and the folks got up a little while after I got there I was glad to see someone just from Nelson and hear from all the folks at home. I am sorry to hear I Isaac had such bad luck with his stock at the fair
I wrote to Tom all about my trip up here. I was at the fair up here two days
Cousin Sanford Duncan sent to New York to a friend to get my watch. I have not yet gotten it but will get it in a few days I suppose.
Ma I am very much obliged to you for mending up my clothes. My everyday suit that I got cost $25.00 it is a very nice suit - black I will have a very good supply of clothing when I get my searge pants. When will they be ready to send up - & how much will Mrs Bryant charge per yard. I didn't get an overcoat. I got a trunk - they charged me right high for it. it cost $22.50 I will take Mrs Ruthens[?] her costly bush tomorrow. She told me the other day that she would like very much to make you a visit. I havent been to see them but once since & that was several days after I got here. I want to still keep on the good side of old Paddy as the Latin is right hard to me. Ma please write to me soon I will write to you or someone at home every week. Tell me what Tom will do this winter or tell him to tell me. When I get my watch I will tell you all about it. Tell Tom that I am not afraid of Mr. Thomas of Shelby. Tell him he must go to see Miss Harriet for me as I know he would not like to see Thomas cut me out. Tell him to give my love to her. I would like very much to see her. Tell him it is a very hard matter to study Greek as long as I know that she is still Miss Hattie Stone. Give my love to Brook & Fred & all of Uncle Arch's folks and to all of our folks. Your affectionate son
Green C Duncan
Home October the 10th 1860
I received your letter requesting me to send you thirty three Dollars to pay your tuition which I expected was paid and have been busy since in getting up the money to forward to you. I have sold two hay stacks of hay and a beef for thirty five dollars and send you enclosed in this letter thirty five dollars which I am in hopes you will apply in paying your tuition and be careful how you expend the balance I am pleased at your resolve not to spend more than four hundred dollars and as much less as it will be posible to do with from the first of September 1860 to the first of September 1861. And shall most certainly expect you to come up to your word in relation to expenditures. You gave ma an account of going to your Bible class and to preaching the rainy Sunday which I am hopes will be the place and the way you will spend your Sabaths. You also speak of the hardness of your studies the present year. So it will require your time and energy to overcome it with a fixed resolve to be up with the foremost of your class recollecting that by overcoming the dificulties the way will be pleasant and easy and that if a man is ingaged at his business, his wants are not so many nor his expences near so great. I heard our friend John Allen in Louisville when I was last there some two weeks since say that one of his acquaintances asked him why he did not live like a gentleman and he replied that he would when he done like he did quit all business soar high and spend money to no purposes, but so land as he attended to business at all he intended to give that business his undivided attention and time and in that way his wants would not be so many nor would it require much money to supply them and that all the wants beyond would only be immaginary but yet money and all the learning is not everything it requires the proper traits of character after that to make the man. So let me give you the advice imparted to John Quincy Adams by his mother in 1778 in a letter to him while in Urope. "Great learning and superior abilities should you ever possess them will be of little and small estimation unless virtue honor integrity and truth are cherished by you adhear to these rules and principles early instiled into your mind and remember that you are responsible to your God. dear as you are to me I would much rather prefer that you would find a grave in the ocean which you have crossed than to see you an immoral graceless child" So take this admonition and always be governed by it And recollect there is a day when lazy folks work and fools reform it is tomorrow and act well your part while it is called to day. But I did not commence this with any expectation of writing a letter and have not the time nor proper train of though to fill my sheet give my best wishes to young Mr Merifield and tell him I saw his Father not long since and he said he was fearful that you and him would bend your Fathers in your requirements in money but I have an abiding confidence that our Boys will be to thoughtful and prudent for that so you and him must write to me frequent I have not been will for the las week George is also sick and Sis the balance of the family tolerable well Mother Jo Ann & Mary all send their love to you no news worth writing your affectionate Father
Green C Duncan
I send by Mr Rochester
Danville Oct 11th 1860
I was very glad to receive your letter which I received a day or two since I am always glad to receive letters from you
Before I received your letter I had seen Dr Green[?] and the Profs and they all advised me to go on in my class regular They said I could get along very well with my class. Prof Cooper said he had a better opinion of me than to think that I would go in the Scientific department
So as I said to you before I will not go into the Scientific department here knowing that the Profs will think less of me and the boys also. The junior scientific is considered as low as a fellow generly gets. So as long as I go here I'll go regular and will stay till Christmas and will talk to you all then about what I'll do. I would like to go to some other College where I could go regular without having so much Latin [and Gr]eek. [Line torn off.] since the election.. This district went over 1700 for Bell. I am sorry I didn't get to see Tom before he went south. Ma there is no news up here like there is down in Nelson so when you write give me the news I suppose you have now commenced something about the road. I am still boarding at Mrs Craigs[?] but would have gotten a better place if I could and will if I can. What has ever become of my slippers? I think Brook ought to have altered them by this time. Did you give them to her? How is she and Fred getting along? Is anyone setting to them now? It is night and the church bell has rung and I believe I'll go to church to night. So must close. Give my love all the folks and write soon Your affectionate son
P.S. Dunn's school is half out and I dont [know] whether he will teach any longer than this session or not but will write him soon about it GCD
Danville Dec 2nd 1860
i was very glad to received yours of the 21st a few days since and will write though having nothing of interest to write
Everything up here is going on the same old way. I have just been thinking about you & Tom. Just this time last year you got up here and I remember how glad I was to see you both.
Well it won't be long until Christmas and I am very glad indeed that it will soon be here. I was out at Mr Nelson Lee[d]s thanksgiving day. Mrs Frank & Jo Lee[d] were there they are all well. Several of the young ladies at Sloans school are sick so I have been told though only one or two that are much sick Likely it is caused by his going into the house so soon after it was finished. I have never been up to try and see Mrs Mollie Daviss dont know though that I could have gotten to see her I saw her & Mrs Dansey at church last Sunday but did not ever get close enough to bow to them
You asked me if I had heard from Tom. I got one letter from him written while he was at Louisville & one a few days after he arrived in Missipi. I suppose he is having a fine time from what he wrote in his last letter.
I have pretty much come to the conclusion not to come back here after Christmas. I dont think I am doing much good up here. I am not studying very much. Somehow or other my lessons are so long and hard. I dont feel like studying things Though after Christmas will set in and try & do whatever I commence
If I continue studying Latin & Greek I think I had better commence down at the foundation & try & learn something about them. The way I am studying them now is doing me as much harm as good. And if I quit Latin & Greek I dont want to come back here & go into the Scientific depart. which is considered a lower class than the freshman. As it is not long until Christmas I'll not need the pants and will get them then. I believe the Maxwell farm will be sold soon. I dont suppose it will sell as high as has been expected
How has Danah & Knox gotten?
Has Uncle Arch sold his mules? The people up here cant sell and a good many have concluded to drive I believe
When I commenced writing I had nothing to write about, but have succeed pretty well in writing nothing or its equivalent - on about three pages. You inquired for Mrs Mathews. I hav'nt been up for about six weeks, but suppose all are well
Give my love to all write soon Your Aff. son GC Duncan
P.S. When you write tell me whether or not Brooke & Fred will be at home Christmas. Besides myself there is another fellow up here that wants to know. I wrote to Brooke and week or two ago I was a long time writing & when I wrote wrote her a very poor letter. So don't know when Ill get an answer. Write soon
[RPM: Brook is Mary Brooke Minor, daughter of Spence Minor. Fred is Fredericka, the daughter of Godfrey Pope and Nannie Minor, half-sister of Mary Brooke. Fred grew up in the home of her step-father Archibald Cameron Wilson, Green C. Duncan's uncle. She did not marry Green, as he had apparently hoped. Sister Susie, whom he often mentions is the wife of Isaac Duncan, his cousin.]
Home December 10th 60
I haven't written to you since you left here because I did not want to Write. onley I have been Putting it off from time to time. And now I have nothing to write that will interest you much. Mr [Paig/Praig?] is not Teaching now he has retired from school. There is some talk of Jim Moore teaching and also Sam Logan. I dont Know yet who will be the teacher. I reckon there will be no school now untill the new years sets in. Clay McKay is teaching between here and the river on the turnpike and is at Present staying here I don't Know but I can do as well with him as I have been doing at Bloomfield. I was pleased to get a letter from you a short time since giving me the news and your good friend advice. Papa says he expects to meet you and Jarvis at Springfield and wants to Know the day and hour you will get there. he wants to return the same day. Mr. Merrifield says he must bring both of you and Mr William Davis is also to meet Miss Molly Davis and Sally Dorsey at Springfield to as they are coming down Christmas. Perhaps January is to come with them. So if you and Darwin would watch the case you might yet cheat Slone a little Christmas will soon be here I hope to see you then. I would rather talk than write.
J. W. Duncan
Dear Green I will occupy a little of Jo's space and say be sure to write the day and hour you and Darwin will be at Springfield you had better see January and know what day they are to meet Mr Davis in Springfield and fix on the same time and we can come up together Write how much bagage you and Darwin will have ..... last twenty dollars to you to pay on your board
yours Green Ducan
The ..... farm sold today Sam Wilkerson bought it at $44=34-[?]
Danville Dec 16th 1860
I received yours of the 11th a few days since & was truly glad to get it as I hadn't recived a letter for about two weeks There is nothing new going on up here at all. everything moving on the same old way. January Grundy & I went up to Sloans yesterday evening to see our cousins. we got to see Misses Daviss Dorsey & Terrell the latter is a cousin of January They seemed to be glad to see us I dont know whether we could have gotten to see them if it hadnt of [been] so near Christmas & we wanted to know when they were going home as we would go the same day
We will go down Sunday or Saturday next I dont know yet whitch but suppos we will go Saturday
You ask who it is that is coming down with me if Fred is at home. It is Dickson I told him I had gotten a letter from you & they would be at home. he said he did not think he could go down as I did but thought he could come down the last of the hollydays
I will go to Springfield & father will have some one to meet me there. The Bardstown stage leaves Springfield before the Lebanon stage arrives there
I got a letter from Tom yesterday. he had left Cousin Garnetts a few days before he wrote & was on the river going to Louisiana to see some sugar planters augur making apparatus at ..... he seemed to be in fine spirits
Ma I want to have a very big time Christmas. Tell coustin/austin[?] Susie she must kill the biggest gobler on the place for me Though in the first place tell her she must stay at home. its too cold weather to travel in a carriage on a bad road
Well I must close Give my love to her & Isaac & all who may inquire for me As ever your affectionate son
PS I saw George to day all are well at Beland[?] GCD
Eddyville Jan. 23 1861
I arrived here night before last about nine oclock. I went from Louisville to Paducah from there here on the B_ Adams as I said though I believe I said Smithland but I found it would be better to go to Paducah than Smithland I did'nt know it then but it would have been a great deal cheaper to have waited & come on a Nashville boat. I would have written to you sooner but the mail would'nt have taken it until tomorrow nohow.
I am not rooming with Dunn. he had given me out as I had not written to him for some time & when I wrote did'nt say positively that I would come. I am rooming by myself with a man named Smith. he seems to be a pretty clever fellow. I am with Dunn a great deal of my time. he comes to my room at night. He seemed to be very glad to see me. He had made arrangements before I came here to room with another Junior though so we will get together if we can
I have been right homesick since I left home. I expected it but could'nt get along well at Danville & I saw that I could'nt study at home & I thought it would be best to do something & I did'nt know what to do so I concluded to come here if you and Father were willing. so I have come and will do the best I can.
I would be glad if Ike Wilson was here with me. Dunn manages his boys better than any teacher I ever saw. He does not allow them to speak during school hours at all without permission & they dont do it either. I would have insisted on Uncle Arch letting him come as he wanted to but he said when he wanted advice he would ask for it. Have you heard from Tom lately? I wrote to him as I came down.
Ma I have been thinking a great deal about what you said to me just before I started, that you had seen nothing of me hardly while I was in Nelson. Ma I have been thinking a great deal about the way I did last summer & then again Christmas. Ma I dont know why I was'nt at home more but know I would like very much to be there a while now. I would be glad you would forgive me for what I have done & I will I assure you do better in the future
Dont you suppose I had better stay here until next summer when Dunn & school will be out if things get along well I can do it & study although I have had the blues since I have been here
I am studying what Isaac said I had better do. Algebra, Geometry & English Grammar. Dunn says if I study I can go as far as he Isaac & I spoke about by middle of June.
I am acquainted with very few persons here, but dont want to get acquainted with anybody hardly. Cousin Sandford Duncan gave me a letter of introduction to a gentleman here named Bobb I have'nt presented it yet but suppose I will From what I have heard he is a nice gentleman
Eddyville is on the north bank of the Cumberland river. the river is very high but Eddyville is on a hill & cant be overflowed
The Maple seem to be pretty clever kind of folks though not very refined. though I dont expect to have everything much to do with them. My boarding will not cost me over three dollars per week. I don't think though it is not the best boarding in the world though I can get along very well on it for five months. Well I must close Give my love to all & to Uncle Arch's folks. Kiss Ellis Mollie & Nantie for me. Write soon
As ever your affectionate son Green C Duncan
PS I wrot to Father to day also I will try & write to you every week
Bloomfield January the 30th 1861
Son Green I have just received a letter from you and your friend and Mr Dunn tells me that you and him will do right and assure me you shall get the worth of your money tell him that I shall hold him accountable for your advancement in your Studies and your good conduct as he has Stolen you from Danville but I would greatly prefer your rooming and boarding with him, and I expected it when you left you must both write frequent and dont wait for an old man that has as much business to attend to as to keep him busy
the boy did not get home with the cart till the next day and the horse is so crippled up traviling the mud as to be free from the coming crop. Jo is going to school on Plum run from his grandmother's and Ann is going to Bloomfield So it is quite lonesome. all in usual health and no news of importance
I was about to send you two letters from Danville and concluded to put a few lines in
my love to Mr Dunn and yourself your Father Green Duncan
Eddyville February 10th 1861
I was very glad indeed to receive your letter to night think though that you ought to have written to me sooner I would have written to you again before this but was waiting to receive a letter from you which I expected eving mail
I am glad that you are ready to forget the way I did when I was in Nelson If I regret it I assure you that I do regret it very much and will not do so again. I am still rooming alone though I am with Dunn nearly all the time except when he is at the School house teaching & when he is abed. I recite to him in the morning before school takes up and in the evening after school is out. His school takes up at half past eight & lets out at four He also comes to my room every night after supper So I am with him as much as I would want to talk to him or receive assistance from him if I were rooming with him
I have been up to his school several times during school time. he is strict with his scholars & keeps very good order Though I dont suppose Uncle Arch will send Ike down here as it is so far from home and a pretty hard country. I would like to have Ike here with me if Uncle Arch would like for him to come and I think he would learn as much here as he would anywhere.
Has any one asked you why I quit Danville & come a way down here What have you told them? To such my reason is about like Armstrongs "Because I wanted to." There is one Church in this place it is a Methodist Church but the Babtists & Cumberland Presbyterians also worship in it There is preaching in the place three times every month. But not very good preachings. There is a pretty rough set of people down here. Know but little or nothing about anything except making money
I have received a letter from Tom since I have been here he wrote nothing particularly new and he was well & getting along well As to my studies I am getting along tolerably well. Studying goes pretty hard. Well it is late & I must close Give my love to all & kiss Ellis for me
Your affectionate Son
Eddyville February 24th 1860 [should be 1861]
I was very glad to receive your letter day before yesterday. Am much oblighed to you for the news, though I like to hear the news of the neighborhood just getting a letter from you and hearing from home always makes me feel a heep better whether there is news in it or not. I was very sorry indeed to hear of Mrs Lee's illness hope she is better. There is nothing of interest going on down here. A good deal of business. I dont hear but little talk about politics though think there is a good deal of it. I have been over the country around here a little. have been hunting wild cats & deer once. run one deer I did not see it we did not kill it run it to the river it swam it so our deer chase was ended. did not start a wildcat at all. There is a good many deer near here. Some wild cat thoug not very many.
I would like to write to Mollie & also to Ike I promised him to do so I believe Though I have nothing that would interest either of them so dont think I will write to them Uncle Arch asked me to write to him I told him that I would. Will have to, though have nothing to write about though dont know when I will write to him.
I have pretty much determined to go to Lexing Virginia next session. I wrote to the Superintendent since I have been here He said that "applications are made in writing accompanied by testimonials of character." The students are appointed by the board of visitors who meet in june. So I would have to apply before then. I suppose it would be necessary to get testimonials or recommendations from some one whom they would likely know something about from reputation
There seems to be quite a revival in matrimony up in Nelson. I reckon I had better be off from there at school somewhere for a few years yet or I might get the notion in my head. I thought Sam Brewer had more sense than to marry being in the fix that he is. I thought he was the smartest in the whole gang.
As to our country I dont read the newspapers and am not up with the times. As for Dunn he considers Kentucky his home, says he never wants to live in Ohio or north. He expects Ky to be his home & holds southern principles but is opposed to disunion. he doesnt talk politics hardly at all.
Give my love to Uncle Archs folks. Kiss Mollie and Nantie for me. tell Mollie I will write to her some of these days, & tell Nantie I will come to see her some of these days too
I would like very much to be at home a while and see you all. sometimes get the blues pretty bad. I would like to hear how Mrs Lee has gotten when you write tell me & I'll expect you to write soon Remember me to Knox, Dinah, Martha, etc.
As ever Your Affectionate Son
P.S. Since I finished I received a letter from Tom. he was well. did not write any news gave me some very good advice as to my studies GCD
But Fred wanted to know how I was please tell her amazingly well. I havent been in a parlor since I have been here though suppose I could find a few here if I would search. perhaps will some of these times GCD
Eddyville March 11th 1861
I have nothing at all to write but just drop you a line to let you know that I am thriving. I received your & Isaac's letters yesterday evening was very glat to get them I am much oblighed to you for news I hear Ben Porter has also married Do you know who to. I hope every body wont marry before I get back. Isaac did not say anything to me about the answer he received to the letter he wrote to Dr Green. please ask him about it & when you write tell me. Tell Isaac I will write to him before a great while. thought he was never going to write to me.
I got a letter from George Lee a week or more since inquiring whether he could get boarding with me & if Dunn would take another scholar &c. I wrote to him immediately telling him Dunn would & that he could room with the & that I would be glad to see him here. I have not heard from him since I suppose he will write to me before he comes if he does come & have him expecting a letter. Well I must close & put this in the office. Give my love to Isaac Sist Susie Ellis & also to Uncle Arch's folks & write soon. As ever your affectionate Son Green C Duncan
P.S. When I write again I will say something to you about the recommendations you spoke of as there is plenty time GCD
Eddyville March 17th 1861
Although I have nothing of particular interest to write I will drop you a line to let you know that I am well & flourishing and that George arrived here safely on Thursday night about ten oclock. I had changed my boarding that day so the next morning he came to our new good boarding house. He is in good spirits. Says he likes the place pretty well & is at a better boarding house than he expected. We are boarding at Mr Thompsons He formerly lived in Louisville Mrs Thompson is acquainted with Aunt Nannie Cousin Garnet & Blanton Duncan & several other of our kind. She is a very nice lady
George, Young Thompson & one or two others from town & myself went deer & turkey hunting yesterday. I killed a wild turkey the first that I ever saw. We run a deer through George's stand but he says he was too much excited to shoot at it I am very proud of my feat Turkey are not very plentiful & what are here are very wild. It was a large gobler I cut off his whiskers & have his wings as relics. We will have him for dinner tomorrow I suppose. I wish you and the others at hom could get a piece of him. tell Ellis all about it
Mrs Thompson has spoken very highly of Aunt Nannie to me. Says she is under obligations to her for getting her son the appointment in the Navy school at Annapolis. She says if it had not of been for her he would not have gotten the appointment
As to my getting the appointment at Va Military Institute, I suppose I had better get recommendations soon and send them on there. time is passing off very fast & I had better not delay I suppose you could get recommendations for me from Gov Wickliffe & I suppose recommendations from him would be suffient. [RPM: Charles A. Wickliffe, of the Nelson Co. family, was governor of Kentucky from 1839 to 1840 and later U.S. Postmaster General.] Reccommendations to Gov Letcher from som one who is acquainted with him would make it a sure thing about my getting the appointment I suppose. [RPM: Robert P. Letcher was governor from 1840 to 1844. He was later U.S. Ambassador to Mexico.] If Gov Wickliff does not know him I suppose some of Aunt Nannies friends do & I could get reccomendations through her. Talk to Isaac about it. Perhapse it would be best to write to some one who would give me more information as to the certainty of my getting the appointment I will write to Isaac in a few days. When did you hear from Tom & when do you expect him home? I must close Give my love to Isaac & Sister Susie & Master Ellis & write soon
As ever Your Affectionate Son
P.S. George sends his regards to all & says tell Isaac he is very sorry he did not see him to tell him goodbye but the Stage came along & he thought that that would be the only way he could get his trunk out. he says tell Isaac to write to him GCD
Bloomfield Apr 4th 1861
Dear Son Green
I received a letter with the last week stating you had been putting off writing until you got a letter from me and I would say you must not wait for me to wright you know what a task it is for me to wright and besides I have been very busy I am glad you are beginning to know how to study and are determined to let nothing turn you out of the wright track it would be gratifying to my feelings to know that you was studious and circumspect in all things I am glad to hear you are though hunting for some time give my respects to Mr Dunn and tell him I am in hops he will break up the Danville School if he will get the boys all wright and cause them to advance with their Studies and enable them to mark high and to be determined to come up to it. You wrote to Jo to tell me you saw a man that was acquainted with me some thirty years ago and did not say who it was you had as well stated his name. we have had some deaths in our country Stillwell Heady died a few days ago from a Horse kicking him and breaking his scull. Ephraim Crawford died a few days since Mr Haden Edwards is now lying likely to die [RPM: He died on May 25.]
Uncle Russell has moved to Missouri some two weeks since Cousin Garnett was in Nelson a few days since attending to the Russell suit but the legislature has repealed the courts until the fall term so there was nothing done I am making preperations for building but dont know yet whether I can get ready if I do I shall be quite hard wrun[run?] so I want you to consider the case when it will be nessary for you to have any money I will hand it to Cousin Sandford and he can fix it for you to get it Jo is not going to school he is now helping me make a lime Kiln there is a very good teacher now in Bloomfield and he says as good boys as ever he taught he was educated at Bethany Va [RPM: now West Virginia] by the name of Shropshere
write me frequent all well yours father
Green C Duncan
[RPM: This letter has been annotated as written in 1860, but the circumstances make it appear to have been written in 1861.]
Eddyville April 7th 
As I received your letter several days since & I will now write you a line though have nothing of interest to write
I was very sorry to hear that Molly was so sick & was glad to hear she was better I did'nt know that she was sick at all until I received your letter. George did not tell me. He thought I knew it. I wrote to Uncle Arch a few weeks since about the time Molly was very sick I suppose I reckon he knew that I did not know that she was sick. I was in a hurry & wrote a hard letter to him anyhow something about politics &c
I suppose Isaac has written to Dr Green again & will send the dismissal to me & also send the recommendation. I suppose Tom knows how I should make application to Va M Institute. I will write to him in a few days. I am sorry I gave Isaac the trouble to write to Dr Green two or three times. I got a letter from father this evening he says cousin Garnet has been up What are cousin Garnets politics Tom told me that you & Isaac and sister Susie were all disunionists. I am very glad that you have all come over to the right side Has many persons in Nelson changed lately? I think that every body in Ky ought to be disunionists now seeing the way Lincoln is doing. Though I don't read the papers but very little, talk politics a little - about enough to know some little about what is going on
The folks here at our boarding house treat me very well & feed us very well but are not as well educated & refined as an aristocratic family ought be. Miss Thompson is quite a nice lady about my age decidedly the person of the family. Ma it is after eleven oclock & that is a good deal after my bed time so I will close
Give my love to Tom Isaac sister Susie Master Ellis & also Uncle Archs folks Give Mollie my love & kiss her & Master for me You say Fred inquired for me. remember me to her & tell her that I am flourishing Write soon
Affectionately your son
Green C Duncan
P.S. I have no writing paper & I dont suppose you are very particular about it GCD
July 1st 1861
This will testify that Mr Green C. Duncan, was a member of the Freshman Class in Centre College during the Session 1859-60 & as such is regularly & honorably dismissed, at his own request. This Dismission has been delayed, thus long by no fault or error of Mr Duncan Danville, Ky
Prest. C. College
[RPM: The following letter was written on a letterhead showing some kind of Confederate seal with a picture of Jefferson Davis and the poem below. Green C. Duncan evidently has or is about to join the Confederate forces.]
When the tempest of war overshadows our land,
Its bolts shall ne'er rend freedom's temple asunder,
For unmoved at its portal JEFF DAVIS will stand
And repulse with his brave hand the assault of its thunder
His sword from its sleep of its scabbard will leap
And cut with its edge tyrants' strong arm asunder.
And the Southerners' banner in triumph shall wave
O'er true patriot's home and o'er tyranny's grave.
Camp near Memphis Tenn Sept 6th /61
I will wait no longer to write again to you I have been waiting until I was sworn into the service & everything settled down & thought I would then write to you but will now write. We arrived in Memphis at ten oclock thursday morning after leaving home We looked around to see diffrent places we could get into & saw Capt F. A Ragsdale of the Leatherman Guards. He proposed that if we / 80 of us would join him he would give McKay 1st Lieut & myself Orderly Sargency we accepted the proposition & remained in the City until saturday when we came out here in the edge of town & pitched our tents. The company is not yet full & we have not yet been sworn into the service. I suppose it will be full in a short time. Alexander & Dunbar are the 2nd & 3rd Lieut's. Ragsdale Capt. they all seem to be clever fellows. Alexander & Dunbar are native Kentuckians & the company though a Memphis Company is composed mostly of Ky's After we are sworn into the service we will remain here a week or more to be uniformed & equipped I can during that time get a furlough I suppose & come up into Ky & stay a day with you. I left home with the expectation of returning in a few days as you know & feel bad to think about leaving home as I did. did'nt even stay at home the night before I left. I also want to take my watch home. I told you that I wanted you to keep it for me if I get back home from the wars & what to do with it if I do not. I dont know certainly that I will go home because I dont know what may transpire in the next few days, but if you should see me there you need not be surprised
I went to preaching at the 2nd Presbyterian church on last sunday. Dr Grundy preached. he preached a very good sermon referring to our country he said that we (the South) were gathering up the wreck of our once great republic After the services were over I went up to him & introduced myself. he seemed to be glad to see me & come to our camp [to] see us since & invited the Bloomfield boys to take supper with him he said he was an old friend & schoolmate of the fathers of several of us. [RPM: He is probably of the Grundy family of adjoining Washington Co., Ky.] He come to our camp yesterday evening for that purpose & six or eight of us went home with him & took supper. we had a very good supper & he cut six or eight of the largest .....watermelons I have tasted for some time
We are getting along finely. have a very nice encampment, good tents & plenty to eat & very good. several have sent us presents of vegetables & beef Though I dont expect this kind of soldiering long. When you write tell me what the fellows said who went back home. I wrote to Tom shortly after arriving here. I would like very much to hear from him. when you write tell me when you last heard from him & what he wrote
I wish I knew whether or not circumstances will be such that I can get a furlough & go home for a day or so, but if I do not I will write to you as regularly as I can. you know I will always be glad to hear from you. Please write as soon as at all convenient & if there is no one that you know going to the Southern Confederacy put it in another envelope & direct it to Spark & Galleger Louisville. Get Isaac to write to write Spark a note asking him to send it to some P.O. in the Southern Confederacy. I am acquainted with Spark & he will send it Direct it to me in care of Capt F A Ragsdale Memphis Give my love to Isaac sister Susie & the servints etc & tell Isaac to write to me your aff. son ..... ......
[RPM: The beginning of this letter and other parts of it did not copy well, but it seems to have been written while Green was still in the Memphis area.]
[Several lines faded] first opportunity ..... ..... ..... it. From present appearances it ..... ..... ..... .....to Ky. to see you. If that is the case please remember that ..... be assured that I had known when I left that I would not return in a few days that I would certainly have not stayed from home as I did. Tell Sister Susie that I expected to see her when I returned. What I might[?] is that I did not know before I left that I would likely not return Tell Martha though I did send two or three messages for her to tell her goodbye that I expected to return & ..... her & tell her goodbye. Though I may yet return it is doubtful so you need not be surprised if I ..... .....see me there or if you do not
From what I see in the papers there will likely be a conflict in Ky before a great while of course Tenn will send a great many forces thru if the fight does come in Ky Our company we are in will I expect without a doubt be ordered there It will be the wish of the whole company. I hope the war will be kept from Ky. but if not I want to fight there. Would rather fight there than anywhere & if the fight comes there I suppose our company will be ordered there without a doubt. Ma I know you have forgiven me for the way I treated you & the tears comes in my eyes when I think about it Ma I wish you did know my feelings towards you. I love you better than anyone & would do more for you. You didnt want me to join the Army, but I thought I had waited long enough to see if Ky would do anything & when I left though it hurt knowing Ky would do nothing against ..... ..... government &
having always intended making my home in the South thought it my duty to help to defend her. If this war should have closed & I not having taken part in it when it was in my power to do [so] I would have felt sorry for it the longest day I lived & would think I had no right to live in the Southern Confederacy. But if the war is brought to Ky I desire most earnestly to fight there I would rather fight there than anywhere that is if there is fighting there. I was to hear Dr Grundy preach this morning. he preached a very good sermon his text was Luke[?] ..... .....while he may be found "Isaiah" I think he is a first rate preacher.
Ma I wish you would look in my trunk & ..... ..... ..... if anything that may be valuable there is a silver ..... in a piece of buckskin & also some in a long purse. The former and ..... ..... gave me just ...... ..... ..... the latter was given to me ..... ..... & she used to ..... it for me. I wish I had known when I left that I would likely not returne in a short time. Though if I can I will go up in a short time if you should see me you need not be surprised, but if you should not remember that I love you most dearly & think a great deal about you Ma I don't think you ought to take Toms & my leaving in such a manner that it would injure your health. I know that you have a great many things to trouble you & if you allow them to your health will be injured more. Ma I will write to you again in a short time I suppose you will know someone who is going South that could mail your letters to me if you would send them to Sandford Duncan &c they could likely send them. I have done as you said me to & have been reading the Bible you gave me. Give my love to all & write soon in care of Capt F A Ragsdale excuse the way this is written
Your Affectionate Son
Go to Part 2 of the 1858-1866 Papers in the Green C. Duncan Collection transcribed by Robert P. Moore
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