Duncan research files of
Davidson Co. TN County Court Minutes Vol. A-C 1783-1802 (FHL film 205,435)
C-148: April, 1799, reference to John Duncan a witness on a note 16 April 1789 in the attachment case of James Martin Lewis vs. Stockley Donelson.
"Reports of cases argued and determined in the Supreme Court of Tennessee for the Eastern Division, at the September term 1879 and for the Middle Division at the December term 1879" by Benjamin J. Lea, Vol.III; Tennessee Reports, Vol.71, pgs.679 to 692 (California State Law Library, Sacramento, 2/2004)
STATE OF TENNESSEE et als. v. MARTHA W. DUNCAN et als; Supreme Court of Tennessee, Nashville; 71 Tenn. 679; 3 Lea 679; December, 1879, Decided.
This bill was filed in the Chancery Court at Nashville by the State of Tennessee, the county of Davidson, and the Mayor and City Council of Nashville against Martha W. Duncan and other persons having an interest in the land described in the bill. There were eleven grounds of demurrer, as follows:
1. Because the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter, or to grant the relief prayed for.
2. Because B. J. Lea, Attorney-General, W. K. McAlister, Jr., City Attorney, John Ruhm and Thos. L. Dodd have no authority in law to file this bill.
3. Because the bill is multifarious, in that it joins parties whose interests are separate, distinct and independent, etc.
4. Because complainants' remedies are full, adequate and complete at law, and they do not allege the exhaustion of such remedies.
5. Because complainants' remedies, under the act 1873, relating to collections of back taxes, are full, adequate and complete, and they do not allege the exhaustion of such remedies.
6. Because this court has no jurisdiction to collect taxes or order sales of property for unpaid taxes, except under said act of 1873, and this bill is not filed under that act.
7. Because this court has no inherent jurisdiction to collect taxes or order sales of property for unpaid taxes, even after all legal and statutory remedies have been exhausted.
8. Because said taxes are not liens on the property, or if liens, statutory liens, and this court has no jurisdiction to enforce the decree by sale.
9. Because the court will not decree a partition except when parties praying for same are owners in common, in possession under an undisturbed title.
10. Because this court will not remove cloud, except where one shows a good legal title in himself.
11. Because there is no statute authorizing the filing of such bill.
The Chancellor overruled the demurrers, and the cause was heard on bill, answer and proof, and a decree rendered in favor of each complainant for the amount of the taxes proper, with six per cent. interest from the day each tax sale took place, also for all the costs up to and including the condemnation in the circuit court, being, in the case of each separate tract, one dollar for entering up judgment of condemnation, and fifty cents for the return of the officer. But all costs of sales, including printer's fees, and the penalties claimed under secs. 570, 571, Acts of 1873, were disallowed. The Chancellor also disallowed the claim of complainants to ten per cent. interest under the act of March 23, 1875, ch. 80. He decreed a sale free from the equity of redemption and on time. Complainants and defendants appealed. A. G. MERRITT, Ch.
MCFARLAND, J., delivered the opinion of the court.
The bill in this cause was filed in the Chancery Court at Nashville in the name of the State of Tennessee, the county of Davidson and the Mayor and City Council of Nashville, and alleges, in substance, that the defendant, Martha W. Duncan is and, during the time afterward mentioned, has been the equitable owner of two valuable pieces of real estate, particularly described as situated in the city of Nashville. That from the year 1868 to 1878 inclusive, all the taxes assessed for all purposes in favor of the several complainants remain unpaid. That, except for the year 1878, said pieces of property have from year to year been sold under the laws in force at the time, and bid in, in the name of the several Comptrollers, for taxes and costs and charges, no one else bidding. Said sales were in pursuance of condemnation in the circuit court, except for the years 1878 and 1879, when the law did not require condemnation, and when, according to the law then in force, the property was bought in by the proper officer in the name of all the complainants jointly, but no deeds have been taken. The bill then makes the following statement: "Complainants are advised that they did not acquire full and perfect legal titles to any of said property because of irregularities in the proceedings for condemnation, advertisements and sales; furthermore, because the law providing for condemnation and sale of property does not vest complainants with the right and power to become owners in fee of property sold by them for the enforcement of tax assessments and liens under ordinary condemnation and sale at law, and finally, because the fact that complainants' officers bid in the property at their sales probably placed complainants in the position of trustees purchasing at their own sales." They say they are willing to perfect the sales if the defendants so elect, in which event they pray a partition among themselves. But that they really only desire the payment of taxes, interest, costs, etc., and are willing, even if the sales in their favor be valid, to waive the right to hold the entire property, and have it sold by decree of the court for the taxes and interest, costs and penalties, giving to the defendant the benefit of all the property, or its proceeds over these sums. And this is in substance the relief prayed for.
Many causes of demurrer were assigned, and overruled by the Chancellor. A very ingenious and earnest argument has been made in support of the demurrer in this court. The stress of the argument has been upon those grounds of demurrer which, in various forms, raises the question of the jurisdiction of the court. The argument may be briefly stated as follows:
That taxes are allowed only in accordance with express statutory provisions. That especially the lien claimed upon real estate for the taxes due thereon is only given by statute, and our statutes point out special statutory remedies for the collection of all taxes and the enforcement of all liens for taxes, and by necessary implication prohibit the enforcement of such rights in other modes upon the principle that where a statute creates a new right unknown to the common law, and at the same time gives a specific remedy for its enforcement, the right cannot be enforced in any other mode, and that a court of chancery has no ordinary inherent jurisdiction of a case of this character.
It is argued that the ordinary statutory mode of reporting, condemning and selling lands, changed afterward by the act of 1875, to a sale without condemnation, is the remedy given in the first instance in the collecting of taxes. That in cases like the present, where lands have been sold under proceedings that turn out to be invalid, a special remedy is given under the acts of March 27, 1872, and March 21, 1873, which provide for a special commissioner, and give authority to him to file a bill in his own name in the chancery court for the sale of the land for the taxes, etc., in the manner therein set forth, and that the remedy given in these acts apply especially to a case like the present, and exclude all other remedies; that the present bill is not filed in the name of a commissioner, and is otherwise a departure from the remedy specified in these acts, and consequently cannot be maintained. Taxation is regulated by statute, but the right is inherent in the government, and while remedies are given by statute, yet it was held as far back as 1828, that taxes, when assessed, become a personal debt, and the government is entitled to all the remedies for their collection, including an ordinary suit at law, if it chooses to resort to that remedy. Mayor and Aldermen of Jonesboro v. McKee, 2 Yer. 167. And the same in substance was held in the case of Rutledge v. Fogg, 3 Cold. 554, where a claim for taxes was allowed to be filed as a debt, and paid out of the proceeds of the realty in an insolvent proceeding in chancery.
The lien given for taxes is statutory, but the original act of 1813, which first declares the lien, does not appear to have pointed out any special mode for its enforcement. But it can hardly be doubted that any valid sale of land for taxes in the ordinary mode pointed out by the statutes, either then or subsequently in force, would relate to the date of the assessment and entitle the purchaser to the benefit or the lien from that date, and no proceeding instituted with special reference to the enforcement of a lien was necessary. No such proceeding for the enforcement of a lien was ever required by statute to be instituted. Though the right to resort to the ordinary mode of enforcing liens might be held to exist (though we do not decide this), according to the principle of the case referred to, yet it was never resorted to because a more expeditious and less expensive remedy was given.
It will be remembered, however, that this is not an ordinary case of unpaid taxes, where the summary statutory remedy is unembarrassed, but a case where the lands have from year to year been sold and bought in for the taxes and costs, and knowing, however, the difficulty of maintaining the validity of these sales, the State hesitates to engage in a litigation with the owner for the recovery of the land, a litigation likely to enure to the benefit of the owner by causing still further delay, and not likely to accomplish any good result for the State, and further, desiring only the payment of the taxes, equitable relief is sought. The ordinary statutory remedy for a sale would but more likely still further complicate the matter. A chancery court would not refuse to take jurisdiction in behalf of an individual whose rights might be thus complicated. There could be no good reason for denying to the State all the remedies afforded to individuals, unless there be an express prohibition, especially when all other remedies have been practically of no avail. But it is argued that the remedy given by the acts of 1872 and 1873, in cases precisely of this character, are exclusive. In the first place, it is doubtful whether those acts were intended to have general effect. After reciting in the preamble that in many instances lands have been sold for taxes and bought in the name of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the sales are probably valid, it is enacted that a commissioner be appointed in each county to collect these back taxes; that within ninety days from the passage of the act he should be furnished with a list of all such cases, and the act then proceeds to authorize such commissioner to file a bill in his own name for the sale of said lands, and it may be doubtful whether the entire act does not relate simply to a sale of these lands required to be reported to this commissioner; but we did not decide this, it not being, in our opinion, necessary. It may be further observed that, if it be conceded that these acts apply, the only very serious objection to sustaining the jurisdiction in the present case under them, is the fact the bill is not filed in the name of a commissioner. Yet it was held by this court that such a bill could be maintained, under these acts, in the name of the city of Memphis, without a commissioner. City of Memphis v. Looney, 1 Leg. Rep.
But we place our decision of this question upon broader ground, and that is that the court has jurisdiction independent of the act, and that this is not a proceeding under these acts. Previous to the act of 1872 there was no adequate statutory remedy given in a case of complication and embarrassment like the present for the collection of back taxes. And previous to that time a court of chancery could hardly have refused to take jurisdiction. Such jurisdiction would have been inherent. If so, the passage of that act did not divest a jurisdiction previously vested.
This would be our conclusion independent of any express statutory authority for equity jurisdiction; but the act of 1875, ch. 81, sec. 9, re-enacts the lien declared by the act of 1813, and declares that "until the taxes on any real estate are paid there shall be a lien for the same -- first to the State, second to the county, third to the city, and fourth to the railroads, enforceable as other liens." We see no good reason why this should not be construed as express statutory authority for resorting to any remedy for the enforcement of the lien that the law allows to individuals for the enforcement of liens in their favor.
We pass by the question whether the principle that the giving of a statutory right with a statutory remedy is a prohibition of all other remedies, applies to the Government. See Savings Bank v. United States, 19 Wall. 227, 233. At all events, needful remedies not especially prohibited ought not to be denied to the Government where, upon similar facts, the same remedies would not be denied to individuals. A bill similar to this was sustained by Judge Cooper as Chancellor in the case of Edgefield v. Brien, 3 Ch. R., and to his reasoning in that case, as well as the reasoning of Judge Turney in Memphis v. Looney, reference is made.
The enforcement of the collection of taxes so as to make the burden fall as nearly as possible upon all alike, has been one of the most difficult of legislative problems. To this task the Legislature has, from term to term, devoted much time and attention, and stringent laws have been enacted, and it is perhaps to be regretted that the courts have, in some instances, adopted a line of decisions that have rendered the laws ineffectual. A very considerable class of property owners persistently and systematically refuse, from year to year, to bear their just proportion of the public burden. Knowing that tax sales are usually held void, they utterly disregard them, and set the demands of the law in this respect at defiance. In this way large deficits occur which must be made up by the other tax payers.
In the present case one of the lots has been valued at from $15,000 to $20,000, the other from $6,000 to $12,000, and yet for nine years not a dollar of taxes have been paid, nor is any excuse or apology offered for it. Under these circumstances the argument so ably and so earnestly made against the jurisdiction in this case, upon the ground that the taxes may be paid to some one not under bonds or not authorized by law to receive it, does not seem to be controlling, inasmuch as the interests of the State, county and city cannot well suffer more seriously or their rights be more embarrassed than they are at present.
Without discussing the other grounds of demurrer, the decree of the Chancellor overruling the same will be affirmed.
The complainants appeal from the final decree of the Chancellor, and assign for error his refusal to allow the costs of advertising and selling the property in the various sales referred to. If the sales were void, we see no principle upon which the owner could be required to pay the costs thereof. There is nothing in the records from which they can be determined except the statement of the bill that complainants are advised that they did not acquire perfect legal title to any of said property by reason of irregularity, etc., as well as for other reasons.
It was, perhaps, not necessary that this concession should have been made. The complainants might, perhaps, even upon the assumption that the sales were perfectly legal and valid, well have preferred to waive their rights to the property, claiming only lien for all taxes, costs, etc., and concede to the defendant the right of redemption. If the defendant accepted this concession the court would have jurisdiction, and the right of the complainants to all costs would be clear. If the defendant refused to accept the concession, the county would have the right to sell the property as their own. Webb v. Miller, 8 Heis. 448. We think, however, upon the conclusion of the bill, that we must take it that the sales were invalid, and that the Chancellor's decree upon this point was correct.
We are further of opinion that the Chancellor was correct in disallowing all penalties. The penalty prescribed by sec. 61 of the act of 1873 was repealed by the act of 1877, and this, in our opinion, left no other penalty in force applicable to a case like the present.
It is next argued that it was error to decree a sale on time without the equity of redemption. It is true that all the provisions of our statutes providing for a sale of lands for taxes provide for the right of redemption, but these acts contemplate the ordinary tax sales, made in the usual mode. It is also true that the acts of 1872 and 1873, above referred to, provide that the sales therein authorized shall be with the right of redemption, but as we have seen, this is not a bill under these acts.
The provisions of our Code, sec. 4489, are general and comprehensive, and give the chancery court the power to sell on a credit, so as to cut off the equity of redemption in all cases where the specific land to be sold is mentioned in the decree. In our opinion these provisions are broad enough to include this case.
The defendant has certainly had ample time. The unreasonable delay in payment has made a resort to a chancery court necessary, and the defendant cannot complain of the result. Simple justice to the prompt taxpayers of the State, as well as the spirit of all our legislation and the dictates of a sound public policy, alike require that the courts should rigidly enforce all lawful remedies against willful delinquents.
The decree of the Chancellor will in all respects be affirmed with costs.
Return to the Davidson Co. TN Research File
1880 "History of Davidson Co. TN" by W.W. Clayton, pub. by Lewis Pub. Co. (from Evelyn Sigler 6/1983)
Davidson Co. TN in 1787 - John Duncan
Indian Battle - Col. Robertson dispensed Morton Duncan and others to the Creek opposite canoes to intercept the Indian retreat. (pg.61; ES: Possibly ca 1780's)
Members of the Davidson Co. TN Bar: 1822, accepted Thomas A. Duncan (pg.97)
1890 "History of Nashville (Davidson Co.), TN" by H.W. Crew (FHL film 570,812)
No Duncan biographical sketch.
"The civil and political history of the state of Tennessee : from its earliest settlement up to the year 1796 : including the boundaries of the state" by John Haywood; pub. Knoxville, Tenn.: Printed for the author by Heiskell & Brown, 1823, 506 pgs. (LH 10240, HeritageQuest images 5/2007; FHL film 962,597 item 2)
Pg.81: Thomas Sharp, Spencer, and others, ... Captain De Bumbrune, who is yet a resident of Nashville, is a Frenchman who hunted in this country as early as 1775. He fixed his residence during the summer at the place since known by the name of Eaton's station ... In the spring of 1776 ... he arrived at Deacon's pond, near where Palmyra now stands, in February, 1777, and found six white men, and a white woman; this party informed him, they had taken water where Rock Castle river disembogues into the Cumberland river and came down it, ... one of the party, of the name of William Bowen, had been killed by a buffalo, ... Big John, or John Duncan, one of the six, had the woman who was with him as his wife; she had become tired of him, and took up with James Ferguson, another of the six; she left her husband sick, and induced the party also to leave him; they went down the river, and no doubt he died for want of care and nourishment. Captain De Mumbrune saw his corpse, and supposed from its appearance, that he died of hunger; he was left at the place where captain De Mumbrune first saw them. ... (MAD: see Davidson Co. TN)
Pg.219: Captain Rains, with Benjamin Castleman, William Loggins, William Steele and Martin Duncan, went down the creek (MAD: Coldwater creek) ... to the river. (MAD: no date, but perhaps 1787)
1900 "History of Hickman Co. TN" by W. Jerome D. Spence (TN Gen. Society Library #3907 from Evelyn Sigler)
Duty of making expedition against Indians assigned to Evan's Battalion of NC, Battalion was delayed, so Col. Robertson asked for volunteers, 130 men responded, two of them were Capt. John Rains, Martin Duncan. 1787. (pg.31)
1889 "Biographical and historical memoirs of northeast Arkansas : comprising a condensed history of the state, a number of biographies of distinguished citizens of the same, a brief descriptive history of each of the counties named herein, and numerous biographical sketches of the prominent citizens of such counties" Greene, Clay, Fulton, Craighead, Randolph, Mississippi, Poinsett, Independence, Sharp, Lawrence, Jackson and Izard Counties; by Goodspeed (FHL book 976.7 H2ba and film 928,094 item 1; and from Evelyn Sigler 9/1983)
Pg.566, Mississippi Co.: A daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Josiah F. Williams m. Mr. John A. Dunkin, wholesale merchant in Nashville [Davidson Co.], TN.
"Hancock's diary, or, A history of the Second Tennessee Confederate Cavalry : with sketches of First and Seventh battalions, also, portraits and biographical sketches." by R.R. Hancock; pub. Nashville, Tenn.: Brandon Print. Co., 1887, 663 pgs. (LH12688, HeritageQuest images 5/2007; FHL fiche 6,082,669)
Pg.33: June 1861. ... Muster roll of Captain E.D. Payne's Company (D): Duncan, J.H., d.
Pg.38: September, 1861. ... Monday, 9th ... It was about this time that Captain Payne left the battalion, and Duncan was made Captain of Company D.
Pg.176: Seventh Battalion, Company A., ... Duncan (MAD: no first name), Fourth Sergeant. Captured at Medon, West Tennessee, and mortally wounded July 15, 1864.
Pg.584: E.O. Elliott served as quartermaster of the Second Tennessee until it and Wilson's Regiment were consolidated, about February, 1865. He was then sent into West Tennessee with a detachment under Captain William Duncan, in search of absentees from Forrest's command. ...
Pg.599-601: CAPTAIN JAMES HARVEY DUNCAN. J.H. DUNCAN, second son of Alexander C. and Hannah Duncan, was born March 10th, 1817, in Pulaski County, Kentucky. His grandfather, James Duncan, who was born at Culpepper Court House, in Culpepper County, Virginia, July 18th, 1764, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and was at the siege and capture of Yorktown, Virginia, when Lord Cornwallis surrendered to General Washington on the 18th of October, 1781; and in 1790 he settled in Kentucky, where he was killed the next year by the Indians, leaving a widow and three small children. The oldest was the Captain's father, who was born in Russell County, Virginia, June 30th, 1788; the other two, William and Sallie (the latter became Mrs. McGee), were twins, and born in Jessamine County, Kentucky, in 1790. After the war of 1812, William settled in Hickman County, Tennessee, where, after raising a large family, he died in 1869.
The Honorable Ralph Williams, the captain's grandfather on his mother's side, also served in the Revolutionary War under General Greene and the famous Marion.
The subject of this sketch, who was educated in the common country schools, learned the carpenter's trade when a young man, and was a very successful contractor for ten or twelve years in Lancaster, the county seat of Garrard County, Kentucky.
In 1843 he married Mrs. Fannie Dawson, who died in 1847, leaving no children. He was married again in 1848 to Miss Louisa B. Hudson, who was born in Garrard County, Kentucky, in 1830. He left Kentucky in 1849, and settled in Davidson County, Tennessee, where he was engaged in farming and trading in horses, mules, and cattle when the war broke out.
J.H. Duncan enlisted in the Confederate service as a private in Captain E.D. Payne's company, which, about the first week in July, 1861, became Company D of the First Battalion of Tennessee Cavalry. About September following he was, much against his own will, unanimously elected captain of Company D, Captain Payne having resigned. Captain Duncan served at the head of his company with the First Battallion during the two campaigns into Kentucky under General Zollicoffer, who was warmly attached to the captain. It has been said that the latter was the only man who could make the former laugh.
Pg.600. R.R. Hancock's Diary.
After the action and defeat at Fishing Creek, Kentucky, the captain fell back with the Confederate army through Middle Tennessee to North Mississippi, where, in May, 1862, the First Battalion re-enlisted and reorganized and Companies B and D were consolidated, and Captain William Parrish commanded the consolidated company.
Captain Duncan now returned to Middle Tennessee, and soon after joined Wheeler's Cavalry,* (*He raised and commanded an independent company of scouts, but reported to Wheeler.) with which he did valiant service until wounded in the foot at Chickamauga September 20th, 1863, where he was captured and sent to prison on Johnson's Island. He was exchanged in time to take part in General Hood's campaign against Nashville on the staff of General Granberry. He served on faithfullly to the close of the war; surrendered to General James Wilson near Selma, Alabama, and was soon after with loved ones at home in the northern portion of Wilson County, Tennessee, to which place his family had removed in 1863. His occupation after the war was farming and trading in stock.
Captain Duncan was very lively - always had an anecdote to suit the occasion, and was a favorite with all soldiers. He was a warm partisan in all elections, and was always a States' Rights Democrat. He was a devoted husband and a kind and affectionate father. His last wife bore him three daughters - Cora (now Mrs. Birthright), Eudora (now Mrs. Buchanan, of Nashville, Tennessee), and Lizzie (who died in 1880), and two sons - James McAfee, of Saundersville, Sumner County, Tennessee, and Mongolia (of Texas).
In reference to her father's death Eudora says, in a letter to her uncle, S.M. Duncan:
"Pa's death was caused by taking an overdose of morphine through mistake. He was in wretched health, and went himself to Starkes' store in Saundersville, Sumner County,* (*The captain lived in Wilson County and had crossed the Cumberland River to attend church as above named.) and purchased a bottle of morphine, THINKING it was quinine. .... (MAD: elipses theirs) He took it at ten o'clock A.M. and lived until ten at night, October 15th, 1873. Everthing that could be done was administered for his recovery, but all of no avail. Brother Jesse Sewell was carrying on a protracted meeting at Saundersville at the time. Pa was so anxious to hear the discourse through, as he was a strict member of the Christian Church, and had been one year previous to his death, he took the quinine, as he thought, as a stimulant. .... (MAD: elipses theirs) We never knew until after services that he had taken anything, as ma did not attend church that day. Brother Sewell assisted him home. He never spoke but once after returning. He said: 'Ma, I cannot be with you long; I am almost gone,' then fell asleep in Jesus, never to wake with us in this old, unreligious world."
The remains of the gallant captain were interred at the McLean graveyard, in the first district of Wilson County. The captain's widow is still (1887) living.
1922 "Centennial History of Arkansas" by S.J. Clark Pub., Vol.II (FHL film 934,820 item 2; extract also from TN Gen. Society Library #2592 from Evelyn Sigler 12/1983)
Pg.266: DAVID HENRY DUNCAN, lumberman of Pine Bluff [Jefferson Co. AR], born Nashville [Davidson Co.], TN, Feb. 22, 1865. His father, David Duncan, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, came to this country when quite a young man, settled in Cincinnati [Hamilton Co. OH], afterwards moving to TN. He married Miss Harriett Dobb of Philadelphia, whose brother gained great distinction as an instructor in Gambler College; another brother, the Rev. Alexander Dobb, was rector for many years of the historic and famous Trinity Church in New Orleans ... David Henry Duncan spent his childhood in Paducah [McCracken Co.] KY with his father, who operated a large hub and spoke factory. When only a boy the care and responsibility of the business fell upon his shoulders, on account of the failing health of his father. He manfully met his duty, and as his sister, Mrs. T.W. Moore of Redfield, Arkansas, who alone of the children survives ... He came to Arkansas 20 years ago and engaged in the lumber business and for the past 12 years was identified with John F. Rutherford of the Bluff City Lumber Co. ... In 1892 he was married to Miss Martha Rose Dorsey of Atkins, Arkansas, who with four children survives him and mourns his untimely death ... died 22 March 1909.
1889 "Biographical & Historical Memoirs of NE AR" Greene, Clay, Fulton, Craighead, Randolph, Mississippi, Poinsett, Independence, Sharp, Lawrence, Jackson & Izard Cos.; by Goodspeed (Carmichael, CA, Library)
Pg.607, Poinsett Co.: M.D. Simmons & Co., druggists of Harrisburg, AR ... Store opened Feb. 1882; senior member of firm, Mr. Simmons, born Marshall Co. MS in 1859, the eldest in family of 3 children born to John & Victoria E. (Douglas) Simmons, the former a native of TN and the latter of MS. John Simmons removed to Cross Co. AR in 1860 & located near Vanndale, and in 1871 located in Wittsburg, AR, wher the mother died in 1872. The father ... now makes his home in Vanndale. M.D. Simmons received his early education in schools of Wittsburg ... Methodist Episcopal Church South ... married in Clarksville, TN, on 18 June 1884 to Miss Hardin Duncan, a native of that state, had two children: Bessie May and Louise Kendrick. Mrs. Simmons is a dau. of John and Mary Elizabeth (Johnson) Duncan, the former a native of Scotland and the latter of TN. John Duncan removed to TN at an early day, and settled in Nashville [Davidson Co.] in 1844, where he followed occupation of painting. He is still living and resides with Mrs. Simmons, but the mother died in Little Rock, AR, in 1884, where they were residing at the time.
1911 "Historical Review of AR" by Fay Hempstead, 3 vol. (SUTRO book F411 H485, CA State Library, Sutro Branch; also from Evelyn Sigler 1991)
Vol.3 p.1321-2: WILLIAM H. DUNCAN ... citizen of Harrisburg ... head of the firm of W.H. Duncan & Co ... one of foremost merchants of this part of Poinsett Co. A son of John Duncan, he was born July 4, 1868, in TN, near Clarksville [Montgomery Co.], of Scotch Ancestry. His grandfather, William Duncan, was born and bred in Scotland, there learned the trade of carpet making. He subsequently moved to Sheffield, England, and there spent the closing years of his life. He reared five children, as follows: Robert, who died in Nashville, [Davidson Co.] TN; William passed away in Sheffield, England; James, deceased, was for many years connected with the White Line of steamships plying between Liverpool and New York; John, the father of William H.; and Sarah, who married W.F. Allison, and lived in Quincy, Massachusetts.
John Duncan was born in 1818, near Glasgow, Scotland. In 1838, as a sailor lad, he came to the United States on a sailing vessel, being four months without seeing land. The vessel drifted down to the West Indies, and near Santiago, Cuba, was picked up by another vessel and directed to New Orleans, where its passengers were finally landed. Leaving the other passengers in that city, or many of them, John Duncan took a boat for Nashville [Davidson Co.], arriving there at about the same time as did the Quapaw Indians, who were being transferred to their new home in the West. He continued northward to St. Louis, but soon returned to TN and visited Nashville, then a town of four hundred inhabitants, but finally located at Clarksville, TN. In 1880 he moved with his family to Little Rock AR ... spent his last days in Harrisburg, AR, passing away in 1902. He married Mary E. Johnson, who was born in TN, a dau of Len Johnson, a Virginian by birth and the descendant of a prominent Colonial family of the U.S. She died at Little Rock, AR in 1884, leaving two children, namely: Jennie, wife of M.D. Simmons, a leading druggist of Harrisburg; and William H., with whom this sketch is chiefly concerned.
Accompanying his parents on their journey from Clarksville, TN, to Little Rock, AR, William H. Duncan, then a lad of 12 years; to Harrisburg, AR, in 1884; after his marriage Mr. Duncan entered into business with his father-in-law & for 12 years was member of mercantile firm of T.A. Stone & Co.; subsequently founded business W.H. Duncan & Co. On Nov. 15, 1893, Mr. Duncan married Minnie Stone, a dau. of T.A. Stone, one of the early pioneers of Poinsett Co. Five children have blessed the union of Mr. & Mrs. Duncan, namely: Lorens, Lura, Lucy, Thomas and Robert. William H. Duncan's father was a courier during the Civil War for the Confederacy. William H. is an uncompromising Democrat ... a Mason ... Methodist Episcopal church, South.
1890 "Biographical & Historical Memoirs of Eastern AR" by Goodspeed (from Evelyn Sigler 11/1983)
Pg.155, White Co.: T.A. DUNCAN, farmer, b. Jackson Co. AL 1830, oldest of eight children of Jesse and Nancy E. (White) Duncan who were born in TN. The father [Jesse] reared at Nashville [Davidson Co.] and mother near Winchester, married in TN. Moved shortly after marriage to Alabama, was a millwright, he d. 1884, his wife d. 1883. Children: T.A. of White Co. AR; W.R. of TX; James H. of AL; J.C., married, of Kansas; Mary, Mrs. Selby, living near Iuka, [Tishomingo Co.] MS; Elizabeth of Iuka, MS.
T.A. Duncan married Jan. 1849 to S.B. Pace in AL, was in Confederate Army, Berry's Artillery; prisoner; 1865 paroled and returned to Jackson Co. AL; in 1872 moved to White Co. AR; Democrat. Mrs. Duncan's parents, Wm. and Elizabeth (Wininger) Pace, VA to AL 1827. Wm. Pace d. 1870, Eliz. d. 1871.
Children of T.A. Duncan: William F.; Cassie, m. A.J. Holleman, d. 1885 at 28; B.E.; J.J., married and living in Cleburne Co.; Minta, m. A.J. Holleman after Cassie d., of White Co.; Nancy (Mrs. J.F. Lawrence); C.A. married F.W. Raney; and Mila and Jo still at home.
1906 "The Book of St.Louisans : A Biographical Dictionary of Leading Living Men of the City of St.Louis" Edited by John W. Leonard, Pub. St.Louis, The St.Louis Republic, 1906; Copyright, 1906, by Albert Nelson Marquis (Google Books 8/6/2009, Harvard College Library book, US 25460. 20)
Pg.500: RUNYON, Van Leer, cashier Fourth National Bank; born Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 17, 1846; son of Benjamin M. and Mary E. (Dunkin) Runyon; educated in St.Louis public schools and Washington University until 1863; married, Prairie du Rocher, Dec. 19, 1868, Euphrasie Clarke; children, Benjamin M., Clement D., Van L., Jr., Mrs. Lucien M. Harris, Robert A., Caroline P., Sidney L. Has been resident of St.Louis from childhood, and was engaged in various mercantile and financial pursuits until 1893; assistant cashier of the Continental National Bank, 1893-96, and of the Fourth National Bank, June, 1896-1905; elected cashier Jan. 9, 1905, which position still holds. Member Merchants' Exchange. Office: 222 N. 4th St. Residence: 5089 Westminster Pl. (MAD: Nashville, Davidson Co. TN)
1912 "The Book of St.Louisans : A Biographical Dictionary of Leading Living Men of the City of St.Louis" Second Edition, 1912. Revised, Enlarged and Brought Down to date. Edited by Albert Nelson Marquis. Pub. Chicago, A.N. Marquis & Company, 1912. (Google Books 8/6/2009; from New York Public Library book)
Pg.516: RUNYON, Van Leer, dental supplies; born Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 17, 1846; son of Benjamin M. and Mary E. (Dunkin) Runyon; educated in St.Louis public schools and Washington University until 1863; married, Prairie du Rocher, Dec. 19, 1868, Euphrasie Clarke; children, Benjamin M., Clement D., Van L., Jr., Eloise M. (Mrs. Lucien M. Harris), Robert A., Caroline P. (Mrs. Wm. Simpson), Sidney L. Has been resident of St.Louis from childhood, and was engaged in various mercantile and financial pursuits until 1893; assistant cashier of the Continental National Bank, 1893-96, and of the Fourth National Bank, June, 1896-1905; cashier 1905-06, assistant cashier, 1906-11, National Bank of Commerce; since vice president O'Brien Worthen Co., dental supplies. Office: 906 Olive St. Residence: 5808 Westminster Pl. (MAD: Nashville, Davidson Co. TN)
1922 "History of Oregon" by Charles Henry Carey, pub. by Pioneer Hist. Pub. Co., v.1-3 (FHL fiche 6,046,590; FHL book 979.5 H2cc)
Pg.665-6: William Mason Duncan. Scion of honored and prominent southern ancestors in both paternal and maternal line is William Mason Duncan, born Nashville [Davidson Co.], TN, in April 1881. On his father's side his ancestry dates back to the earliest days of VA colonization, from which state the Duncans removed to KY, taking an active part in its development. It was in KY that Amos Russell Duncan met and mar. Betty Edwards, she a descendant of ... Jonathan Edwards, and they became the parents of William Mason Duncan. ... The Edwards family of KY is famous in that state ... Ninian Edwards, a granduncle of Betty Edwards Duncan, was chief justice of KY, later governor of IL and the first US senator from that state after its admission to the union. His son, Ninian W. Edwards, mar. the sister of Mary Todd who became wife of Abraham Lincoln ... Amos R. Duncan, like the other members of his family, made a name for himself in TN, where he removed from his native state. There in association with a brother he established a brokerage and banking business inwhich he continued until his death. ... William Mason Duncan ... attended primary schools of Nashville, TN, for early education, then Bethel College at Russellville, KY ... legal profession ... admitted to the bar in 1909; in 1910 visited coast, removed to Klamath Falls [Klamath Co.] in 1911; in 1915 Mr. Duncan returned to KY and mar. Miss Eva Booker of Franklin, that state, dau. of Dr. W.G. Booker, one child: George Edwards. ...
Return to the Davidson Co. TN Research File
Return to The Genealogy Bug's Home Page