Perhaps the most sturdy and active of all the American families are the Scotch-Irish. Of such family, James F. Duncan is descended. His ancestors settled in South Carolina long before the American revolution. He was born in Alexander City, Ala., in 1867 the family came to Texas, and located at Clarksville. He joined Shamrock Baptist church, near Clarksville, in September, 1870, being baptized by the pastor, Nelson Sansing. At 19 years of age, September, 1871, he was licensed to preach and immediately entered Sylvan Academy, near Paris. He entered Baylor University October, 1873, graduating June 21, 1877. He was ordained by the Clarksville church December 26, 1876. During his senior year in college he served the Olive Branch, Mooreville and Golinda churches. After graduating he became principal of the Mount Clam Masonic Institute for one session, serving as pastor at the same time the Olive Branch, Pin Oak and Mount Antioch churches. He then served as missionary for Waco Association from May to September, 1878. During this time he held many precious meetings. August 22, 1878, he was married to Miss Annie B. Vesey of Waco. He practiced medicine at Wolf City, Corsicana, Baird and Savoy, preaching to churches all the while. He organized the church at Wolf City, and became its first pastor in 1882. In 1886 he entered the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and graduated May, 1888. Soon after entering the seminary he was called to the pastoral care of the Cable Street Baptist church. This church prospered during his pastorate, increasing in membership, and more than doubling in financial strength. During this period the church made the exchange of an old frame building in an undesirable locality, for a handsome and commodious brick in a desirable community. January 1, 1889, he was pastor of the First Baptist church, Baton Rouge, La. He served as chaplain of the State Penitentiary two years, and one term as chaplain of the Louisiana legislature, taking an active part in encouraging the passage of the law that ousted the Louisiana lottery from the state and nation. He was pastor of the First Baptist church, Bonham, Texas, one year. April, 1893, he became pastor of the First Baptist church, at Navasota. He is now editing the South Texas Baptist.
Source: J. L. Walker and C. P. Lumpkin, History of the Waco Baptist Association of Texas (Waco: Byrne-Hill Printing House, 1897), pp. 292-293.