John B. Duncan biography

A gentleman well and favorably known to the citizenship of Bellevue and one whose career in Clay county has been filled with deeds accomplished in the course of an honorable and industrious livelihood, is he whose name is presented in the introduction to this article. Coming to the state in 1882, poor in purse but rich in the physical, mental and spiritual qualities necessary to every successful and worthy citizen, he set, unconsciously, to the task of carving for himself and his dependents a modest and comfortable abiding-place and the establishment of a good name and a character above reproach. How well he has done in the achievement of his early ambitions, the unrecorded testimony of a community of friends will suffice to reveal.

May 3, 1856, John B. Duncan was born in Cobb county, Georgia, where his father, Perry Duncan, settled as an emigrant from the state of South Carolina. The latter was killed while serving in the Confederate army, i1n 1865. His ancestors were of Scotch-Irish origin and his forefathers settled in North Carolina, from whence his father, Samuel Duncan, migrated to South Carolina, finally settling in Georgia, where his death occurred at the great age of ninety-seven years.

Perry Duncan married Sallie Bly, who survived him four years and died at forty-eight years of age. Their sons and daughters were: Georgie, unmarried and residing with our subject; Robert J., who died in California, leaving a family; Virginia, who died in Bellevue, as Mrs. T. M. Donnor, leaving two children; John B., of this notice; Alvin, who died without issue; Susan, wife of William Johnson, of Bellevue; and Mark, of Fort Worth, Texas.

In his youth John B. Duncan learned the necessity and importance of labor and when young he learned the trade of stationary engineer and at thirteen years old took charge of an engine in a gold mine in his native county in Georgia. His trade, in the main, has provided him with a livelihood through life and when he reached Clay county from Cherokee county, Georgia, his first work was that of running the waterworks pump of the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway Company, at Bellevue, which work has ever since been in his charge.

Seeing the necessity of a gin in the new town of Bellevue in 1884, Mr. Duncan built a two-stand plant and operated it until the amount of cotton raised and tributary to this point was in excess of the capacity of the gin when it was remodeled and increased to double its original size. This plant he operated in company with Mr. Webb until February, 1905, when he exchanged his interest in the gin for land and is now the proprietor of more than a section of rich and productive soil near his little town. He owns a commodious home on one of the conspicuous sites of the village, and, lying adjacent to it, is a tract of a little more than a quarter section of his land.

Mr. Duncan was united in marriage, in Cherokee county, Georgia, with Miss Eunice Wood. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Akeman, at the home of Enoch and Sallie (Carney) Wood, the bride’s parents. Mr. and Mrs. Wood were South Carolina people and both are deceased, leaving children, viz: Adaline, wife of George Fredonby, of Rome, Georgia; John, who died at Rome, leaving a family there; Mary and Columbus, of Cartersville, Georgia; Napoleon, of Navajo, Oklahoma; Mrs. Duncan, born September 27, 1862; Amanda, wife of Levi Godfrey, and James and Emma, of Cartersville; Warren, of Hartshorn, Indian Territory, and Ella, of Hartshorn, wife of Ed Grady.

Mr. and Mrs. Duncan’s children are: Mason, who died in 1890 at ten years of age; Ida, born 1883; Freddie, born 1884, died the next year; William A., born February 27, 1885; John, March 1, 1887; May and Fay, October 9, 1889, twins—the latter deceased; Mark Grady, January 5, 1892; Annie, July 30, 1894; Amos; Lucy, October 27, 1899, and R. J., April 26, 1902. Mr. and Mrs. Duncan were married May 9, 1879, and their quarter of a century of married life has consequently been celebrated. They have reared, and are rearing, their children to become useful and honorable men and women and all are happily ensconced under the parental roof.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 149-150.