Register Report First Generation



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Register Report


First Generation

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1. James DUNCAN. Born about 1665 in Ireland. James died in Ireland between 1725-1758; he was 60.
Part One

The Duncans of Bourbon County--With Notes From Other Counties



By Julia Ardery
It is said the chiefs of the clan Duncan descended from Duncan, eldest son of Malcolm III (see Macbeth). It seems a well established fact that the Gaelic name of the clan Donnchadh, pronounced Donnachy and translated Duncan, was derived from an ancestor of the name, fourth in descent from Conan, son of Henry, last of the ancient Celtic Earls of Atholl, while the other name of the clan, MacRobert or Robertson, found its origin in Robert Duncanson, called Robert Reoch, or "the Swarthy," of the days of James I and James II, who played a prominent part in the dramatic history of his time. The chief seat of the clan was Struan, or Strowan, meaning "Streamy." It was otherwise known as Glenerochie, and the possession was erected into a barony in 1451. In a feud with the Earls of Atholl early in the 16th century the chief was killed and a large part of the lands of the clan were lost. At Struan, however, the chiefs treasured to the last as an heirloom a mysterious stone set in silver. It was known as the Clach na Bratach-stone of the flag-and was believed to give them assurance of victory in the field. [1]
Several families of Duncan apparently not related have lived in Paris and Bourbon county, Kentucky. The first of the Duncans to establish homes in this locality were the sons of Matthew and Sarah Duncan of Berkeley county, Virginia (now West Virginia). It is believed the first American ancestor of this branch of the family was one Matthew Duncan whose estate was settled in Frederick county, Virginia, 1766. Deeds of record in the office of the county clerk of Frederick county indicate this man lived on Tuscarora Creek in what is now Berkeley county which was formed from Frederick county in the year of 1772. It is probable he settled first in Pennsylvania and later followed the general migration into the Valley of Virginia; that he was brother of Seth Duncan who emigrated from the county of Donegal, Ireland, to Pennsylvania about the year 1750, son of James Duncan whose father-Duncan (no record of Christian name) came from ~Queens Ferry, opposite Edinburgh on the Firth of Forth, to Donegal county, Ireland. James Duncan, the father, remained in Ireland (Donegal) with his daughter, Martha, but Seth came to America with his brothers. The latter went further into the interior, while Seth remained until his death in the early part of the century, at Abbotstown, Pennsylvania. [2] Matthew Duncan, thought to have been the son of the elder Matthew Duncan, has been definitely established as the ancestor of several sons and daughters who came out to the Kentucky territory from Berkeley county, Virginia, when the country was a tangled wilderness. This family took a prominent part in affairs effecting the well-being of Bourbon county and the State. Matthew Duncan, the younger, whom we shall refer to as Matthew Duncan II, owned hundreds of acres of land in Berkleley and Hampshire counties, Virginia (West Virginia). It is though he also owned property in Franklin county, Pennsylvania. His name appears as a member of the first grand jury to sit for Berkeley in the year 1772.[3] He rendered a patriot's service during the Revolutionary war by furnishing supplies for the Continental Army.[4] He was a member of the Tuscarora Presbyterian Church of Frederick county, one of the earliest churches established in that section of Virginia and he and his son, James, signed a petition of Dissenters of the congregation to the Virginia House of Representatives in 1776. He died intestate in the year 1793 leaving a widow, Sarah Duncan, and a number of children.[5]
[1] Highland Clans of Scotland" by George Eyre-Todd.

[2] Letter from Lee N. Whitacre, Clerk of Frederick County, Va.; letter written by John G. Ford, 713 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 15, 1896, to Mrs. Katherine Duncan Smith. Note: As the name "Seth" appears in every generation of the Matthew Duncan branch of the family and as Mr. Ford, who descended from Seth Duncan, emigrant, mentioned his distant relationship to Governor Joseph Duncan and brother Matthew, it is reasonable to believe Matthew Duncan of Frederick County, Va., was one of the brothers of Seth who went "further into the interior."

[3]History of Shepherdstown.

[4]Archives Dept., Virginia State Library.



[5]Chancery suit, Bourbon county, Ky., Duncan vs. Duncan; Duncan vs. Swearingen; Duncan's Adm'r. vs. Reeder's Adm'r. and others.
ISSUE OF MATTEW DUNCAN II AND WIFE, SARAH DUNCAN
I-MATTHEW DUNCAN III died in Berkeley county, Virginia, prior to the death of his father. His will appears in will book 2, p. 22, written July 11, 1787 and recorded April 22, 1789. He probably died without issue as he left his estate to his brothers, Thomas, Joseph, and Seth, and sister, Sarah Greer (or Greear, Grier).
II-THOMAS DUNCAN was living in Berkeley as late as 1796 but moved later to Kentucky. By his will filed in Pendleton county, Kentucky, 1806, he left large tracts of land to Matthew, Seth and Eliza Duncan, children of his brother, Seth Duncan. He referred to property due him. from the estate of John Carney of Berkeley county, Virginia, and also property, located in Franklin county, Pennsylvania.
III-CAPTAIN JAMES DUNCAN, born February 20, 1750, who with his brother (see hereafter) came at an early date to explore the western wilderness. About March first 1779, a company of venturesome pioneers set out from Shepherdstown, Virginia to make their way by following "Boone's Trace" to the Kentucky territory. Traveling with them were surveyors and guides who had made the difficult journey before. In the company were the Morgans, Bedingers, Swearingens, Captain John Strode and his son-in-law, Captain James Duncan, and others. When they reached Boonesborough, after a narrow escape from massacre at the hands of the Indians, they found the settlement in such a precarious condition for want of defenders they decided to remain there for a time to protect the women and children. In depositions filed in old Bourbon county suits James Duncan, in 1805, stated he came to Kentucky in 1779 and was at Boonesborough, that he returned to the old settlement the same year and came out to Kentucky again in the fall of that year and assisted Benedict Couchman and his brother build the fort at Strodes Station which was "on a fork", (Clark county) and he moved his family to Kentucky in the Spring of 1784.[1] James Duncan served as a Captain in the Revolution; his original oath of allegiance, a treasury bill issued him for service as captain and never cashed and other valuable documents preserved in the family of his descendant, James Duncan Bell, have recently been presented the Duncan Tavern Museum. Land grants for 1500 acres in Fayette county, Kentucky, were issued him in 1783 and he was one of the first settlers at Lexington the county seat.[2] He was one of the original proprietors of the little town of Hopewell (later Paris), also served as Sheriff of Bourbon county; presided over the first Court of Quarter Sessions, and was a member of the convention that framed the second constitution of Kentucky. He was a large land owner and lived on Kennedys creek on the Winchester road, now the property of A. B. Hancock.[3] He married December 9, 1777, Elizabeth Strode, born December 25, 1757, daughter of Captain John Strode, founder of Strodes Station, and his wife, Mary (Boyle) Strode. Captain James Duncan died October 16, 1817 and wife, Elizabeth (Strode) Duncan, died July 2nd, 1825.
The children of Capt. James Duncan and wife, Elizabeth Strode Duncan:
(1)MATTHEW DUNCAN, born in Virginia September 24, 1778, married October 20, 1803 Elizabeth Breckenridge, born February 1, 1783, daughter of Alexander and Magdolene (Gamble) Breckenridge, removed to Clay county, Missouri on November 11th, 1826 with a large company from Bourbon county. Among their children were George Breckenridge Duncan of Clinton county, Missouri, and James Duncan, who died November 2, 1837. Matthew Duncan died January 27, 1844 and his wife, Elizabeth, died June 10, 1844.
(2) JOHN DUNCAN, born February 28, 1781, died intestate in Bourbon county, Kentucky, in the year 1833. His widow was named Frances and John Grigsby was guardian of his children: Ruth Ann, Elizabeth and John Strode Duncan.
(3) CAPTAIN JAMES DUNCAN, JR., born July 8, 1782, served in the War of 1812, married April 2, 1807 Nancy Musick born January 13, 1793 to Jehoida (to be continued)
[1] Kentucky Court and Other Records, Vol. II, pps. 113, 138.

[2] O1d Kentucky Entries and Deeds, p. 95, by Jillson; Collins' History of Kentucky.

[3] Early Petitions, Filson Club Publication; Sketches of Paris by Keller and McCann;

[4] Family record from Bell-Duncan Bible and old letters written by William Duncan, born 1790, preserved at Duncan Tavern, old Strode Family Record; Bourbon County Court Record.


Part Three
and Sally (Winn) Musick of Clark county, Kentucky, who later removed to Bourbon county where Jehoida Musick died 1817. James Duncan, Jr., died in Clay county, Missouri, March 25, 1841, and his wife died there some time after the year 1847. Their children were: a-MATTHEW DUNCAN, married Elizabeth Young in Clay county, Mo., November 16, 1848; b-JEREMIAH THOMAS DUNCAN married Amanda Brooks; c-JAMES DUNCAN married Mary A. Duncan in Clay county, Mo., April 20, 1854; d-JOHN (JACK) WILLIAM DUNCAN married first Miss Hall, second Caroline J. Warfield in Clay county, Mo., June 24, 1858; e-STEPHEN M. DUNCAN married Amelia J. Brooks in Clay county, Mo., October 26, 1855; f-JEHOIDA DUNCAN married Eliza Crow, born in Jessamine county, Ky., died in Clinton county, Mo., Oct. 16, 1899, and he died in California 1857; g-JULIET JANE (JENNIE) DUNCAN, born Liberty, Mo., April 14, 1832, married her first cousin, Joseph Duncan (son of Seth and Jane Penn Duncan) "at the home of Mrs. Nancy Duncan," died in Clinton county, Mo., June 1, 1900. Joseph Duncan was born in Henry county, Ky., February 25, 1823 and died in Clinton county, Mo., April 1, 1888; issue: (a) JAMES, died at age of six;; (b) SETH DUNCAN, born 1850, died 1900, married August 6, 1879, Carrie P. Wilkerson; (C) NANNIE DUNCAN died at age of 22 months; (d) LETITIA DUNCAN born 1853, died 1915, married September 11, 1869, Thomas Turner; (e) JOSEPH DUNCAN born 1855, died 1933, married October 11, 1876, Medaline Talbott, born 1854, died 1927; (f) STEPHEN E. DUNCAN, died at nine months; (g) MARY BELLE DUNCAN, born December 29, 1857, Clinton county, Mo., died November 15, 1938, Craig, Colo., married December 6, 1877, William Allen Metcalfe, M. D., born in Trimble county, Ky., July 24, 1849 (son of Sanford and Louisa Spilman Metcalfe) and these were parents of Elizabeth Agnes Lee Metcalfe born October 20, 1878 at Bedford, Trimble county, Ky., who married John Christopher Carr, born October 19, 1876 near Osborn, Mo. (gr. gr. gr. grandson of John Carr, 1684-1794, from county Down, Ireland to Loudoun county, Va.), parents of Nanon Lucile Carr (address 4201 Holmes Street, Kansas City, Mo.), genealogist for this branch of the family of Duncan who writes-"One of the interesting things I have noticed in following my Duncan line is the prevalence of red hair, probably a dominant characteristic because Joseph and Juliet Duncan were from the same line"; (h) JEREMIAH T. DUNCAN lived one day; (i) HANNAH ELIZABETH DUNCAN, born 1867, died 1938, married Thomas Moore; (j) CHARLES STEWART DUNCAN, born 1869, died 1936, married January 17, 1894 in Clinton county, Mo., Myrtle Ethel Hall; (k) DAISY (DOLLY) DUNCAN, born 1873, married November 5, 1890, Preston Hogan Ringo, born 1856, Carrollton, Ky., died 1940, son of James Henry Ringo (1831-1904) (h) LETITIA DUNCAN married November 20, 1844 in Clay county, Mo., Judge William Harrison Lott, born Clark county, Ky., she was his second wife, his first wife being Sarah J. Duncan (died 1842) daughter of Matthew. Letitia Duncan Lott died 1845; (i) SARAH DUNCAN married James Winn; (j) NANCY DUNCAN married December 28, 1826 in Clay county, Mo., John DePriest Hall (Mrs. M. N. Perkins, Chino Valley, Ariz., is genealogist for this branch); (j) ELIZABETH DUNCAN married Peter Holtzclaw; (k) and (1) (twins-ELEANOR married first April 23, 1835, Jeremiah Hall, and second September 10, 1839, Samuel S. Ligan, and MARY DUNCAN married Col. Lewis Wood; (m) PERMELIA DUNCAN married her first cousin, James Duncan, January 25, 1838, Clay county, Mo.[1]
(4) THOMAS DUNCAN, born February 14, 1784. In Deed Book H, p. 74, Bourbon County, Ky., Clerk's office, is recorded a deed of gift from James Duncan and wife, Elizabeth, to their sons, Thomas and Joseph, for land located on Blyds Creek in Barren county, Ky., dated January 24, 1810. The record of marriage of Thomas Duncan to Eleanor Brooks is filed in Clark county, Ky., December 18, 1810, There is also the marriage of one Thomas Duncan recorded in Barren county, Ky., to Judah Foster, dated December 19, 1819.
(5) JOSEPH DUNCAN, born January 14, 1786, married May 8, 1809, Polly Brooks, born December 15, 1792, daughter of Abijah and Nancy (Strode) Brooks, removed to Glasgow, Kentucky, where a son, Thomas Duncan, was born 1824, and from thence in 1833 to Clay county, Missouri. Joseph and wife, Polly Duncan, died within forty minutes of each other and both were interred in the same grave October 1837. Their son, Thomas Duncan, married his cousin, Mary Ellen Hall, daughter of John Depriest Hall.
(6) MARY DUNCAN, born September 21, 1787, married (as his first wife) March 13, 1810, John Breckenridge of Bourbon county, who was born October 7, 1785, son of Alexander and Magdolene (Gamble) Breckenridge of Virginia and Bourbon county, Kentucky. Alexander Breckenridge was a Revolutionary soldier at the Battle of King's Mountain, and died 1813 on his farm a few miles from Paris on the Winchester Road, now the farm of Charlton Clay. John Breckenridge purchased land on the Hume and Bedford Road and built a brick home. His first wife, Mary Duncan, died 1818 and on February 3rd 1820 he married Ann Weir Brooks, daughter of Abijah and Nancy (Strode) Brooks of Clark county, who was born August 11, 1798. By his first wife John Breckenridge had a son, James A. Breckenridge, who died young, and a son, Oliver Hazard Perry Breckenridge, born September 25, 1813, who married Nancy Ellis and had a daughter, Sally Breckenridge, married Prof. J. W. Ellis and had John Breckenridge Ellis, well known Missouri author.
(7) SETH DUNCAN, born December 29, 1788, married Jane Penn (daughter of Joseph Penn, Revolutionary patriot, of Bourbon county, by his first wife, Charlotte Aker), moved to Henry county prior to the birth of his son, Joseph, in 1823. Family tradition is there were four children: a-JOSEPH, born 1823, married his first cousin, Juliet Jane Duncan (see children of James Duncan Jr.); b-CHARLOTTE DUNCAN, married John Quisenberry; c-JANE DUNCAN, married John W. Stewart, July 30, 1846, and d-SALLY; also probably e-SUSAN who married Mr. Collins.[2]
[1] Notes by Nanon Lucile Carr.

[2] "The Rollins Family," by Mrs. Josephine R. Barnard; Clark County, Ky., Notes.


Part Four

(8) WILLIAM DUNCAN, born March 29, 1790, served in the War of 1812, married March 24, 1813, Jemima S. Scott and removed to Platte county, Missouri. His wife was the daughter of Samuel Scott of Bourbon county. She died in 1837 and he was evidently married a second time. Among his children were WILLIAM and THEODORE, both of whom saw service in the War Between the States, and LOUISE, who was born 1824 and married at the age of thirteen years Gibson T. Owen who went from Henry county, Kentucky, to Missouri, and in 1846 these were the parents of two daughters and one son; and a daughter, Mary Ann, who was mentioned in a letter dated 1846 as having married and was then the mother of two daughters and one son.[1] The Kentucky Register, in obituaries published by G. Glenn Clift, gives the following: "Mrs. Elizabeth Dunn, relict of C. Dunn, and daughter of Captain William Duncan of Clay county, Mo., died in Fayette county, Ky., residence of Benjamin Scott, June 15, 1835." William Duncan, in his letters, also mentioned niece, Elizabeth Breckenridge who married, November 17, 1837, Thomas Brasfield, his cousin, John and Asa Ecton, cousins, and Elizabeth Ecton, niece.


(9) MAJOR JEREMIAH DUNCAN [2] was born May 11, 1792, rendered service in the War of 1812 and the Mexican War; represented Bourbon county in the Lower House of the Kentucky General Assembly 1845; was an extensive importer and breeder of pure-bred short-horn cattle. On October 14, 1820 Major Duncan was married to Hannah E. Scott, who died May, 1823, sister of his brother William's wife, and daughter of Samuel Scott. His death occurred October 5, 1876. Issue: One son, CAPTAIN JAMES S. DUNCAN, born April 22, 1823; educated at Harrodsburg, Ky., and Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; married Decefhber 14, 1843, Mary C. Williams (daughter of Major George W. Williams, lawyer and man of prominence in his profession) and died August 17, 1849; his wife, born 1825, died 1899; issue: (a) WINIFRED DUNCAN, married 1865, James Keith Ford, born October 23, 1844, had one child, died in infancy; (b) HANNAH DUNCAN, born 1848 died 1917, married October 30, 1873, William M. Taylor, born 1846 died 1893, left three sons, viz: J. Duncan Taylor, born 1881, married Lillian Ogden and died 191-8 at Sandlake, New York, leaving daughter, Sarah, wife of Henry Watson Marble, editor, of Fort Scott, Kansas, had daughter, Sarah, she married Mr. Manette; William Taylor married Maria Worthington but left no issue; Louis Webb Taylor born 1886 married first Leslie Turney, born 1887 and died 1936, leaving one son, Amos Turney Taylor, born July 6, 1913, married Betty Brouse Roberts and these have a daughter, Mary Martin Taylor, born January 6, 1940. Louis W. Taylor married second Sue Jordan, of Paris, Ky.; (c) KATHERINE (KATE) DUNCAN, born 1844, died 1915; married December 5, 1865, William P. Chambers born June 13, 1842, at Louisville, Ky., and in 1859 became identified with business interests of Paris, died 1898; left one son, James Duncan Chambers, born October 28, 1881, married lone MacLean, had two children, William and Dorothy. (d) JAMES (JIMMIE) ANNA DUNCAN married George R. Bell September 26, 1867 and had two sons, James Duncan Bell born August 18, 1869, married Gertrude Trimble Renick, these are in possession of the beautiful portraits of Captain James and Mary (Williams) Duncan, shown in this publication, and have contributed numerous valuable family documents to the Duncan Tavern Museum; the second son, Jeremiah (Jerry) Bell, born 1871, was accidentally killed at age of thirteen years.
(10) SARAH J. DUNCAN, born December 8, 1793, died September 19, 1876, married May 21, 1829 John (Jack) Grigsby, born February 2, 1799, removed to Missouri, died October 20, 1865; left issue: a-FRENCH GRIGSBY, married Mollie Bright, no issue; b-JAMES LEWIS GRIGSBY,- born January 1835, died August 7, 1892, married first Louisa Cravens and had (a) Sarah Frances Grigsby, born October 30, 1861, died November 3, 1935, married William Byrd Hodgkin, born July 24, 1865, died December 11, 1935, had Elizabeth Hodgkin, born October 25, 1894, married Floyd Wilkerson Clay of Winchester, Ky., and (b) Lewis Eugene Grigsby married Emma A. Miller, he died 1932 and she 1930, no issue. James Lewis Grigsby married second-Cravens Outten, widow, and sister of first wife, no children by this marriage, married 3rd Talitha Quisenberry, born January 12, 1852, and had three children by this marriage, viz: (a) ELIZABETH Q. GRIGSBY born March 1, 1884, married October 20, 1909 Thomas Stanley Clay born November 20, 1885 and these had Stanley Elizabeth Clay (continued)
[1]Letters written by William Duncan.

[2]Perrin's History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison and Nicholas Counties, Ky.; Collins History, Vol. II, p. 640; Court Records.


Part Five

born July 8, 1914, married October 1, 1938 Miller Adams Welch and Mary Eleanor Clay born February 8, 1917 married January 1, 1938 William Ingram Goodwin who have William Joseph Goodwin born June 3, 1942; (b) ELLA FRENCH GRIGSBY born May 18, 1885, married March 23, 1907 John Hudson Hardwick and had three sons viz: Theodore Hudson Hardwick born February 13, 1908 married August 29, 1931 June Bush Hunter and these have Barbara Bush Hardwick born March 1, 1934, and John Hudson Hardwick born October 22, 1935; John Harold Hardwick born January 12, 1910 married May 21, 1938 June Lanford Warden and these had John Harold Hardwick Jr., born January 10, 1940 and Robert Duncan Hardwick born October 31, 1942; Lewis Eugene Hardwick born March 20, 1913, married September 18, 1938 Mary Emily Downton and these had Pearce Downton Hardwick born June 18, 1940 and Eleanor Dana Hardwick born April 7, 1942; (c) GERTRUDE GRIGSBY born January 28, 1893, married February 15, 1917 Robert Raymond Reid and these had Robert Raymond Reid Jr., born November 12, 1927 and Talitha Reid born June 22, 1930.


(11) ELEANOR DUNCAN born January 1, 1795, married January 23, 1817 Eddy Linn Breckenridge, born December 7th, 1788, son of Alexander and Magdolene (Gamble) Breckenridge of Bourbon county, Kentucky. Eddy Linn Breckenridge served in the War of 1812 and later moved with his family to Clay county, Missouri, October 29, 1829. He died July 1st, 1875.
(12) STEPHEN DUNCAN, born October 17, 1797, married September 17, 1797 in Bourbon county Lucy Browning, born April 9, 1809, moved to Henry county, Ky., and later to Saline county, Mo., where she died May 26, 1836. There were seven children of this marriage. Stephen Duncan married second 1839 Nancy Nicholson (daughter of John Nicholson) born in Trimble county, Ky., October 15, 1814, died April 13, 1875, probably in Clay county, Mo. There were eleven children of this union, only five living to attain majority.
(13) JONES DUNCAN, born August 11, 1800-no record, may have died young.
IV-MAJOR JOSEPH DUNCAN, builder of Duncan Tavern, was born about the year 1752. He served during the Revolution in the 7th Virginia Regiment, enlisting prior to December 28th, 1776, when his name appears on the muster roll; appointed corporal June 1st, 1777 and sergeant July 1777; was detached about July 1777 to Captain Thomas Posey's Company, Colonel Daniel Morgan's famous regiment, Continental troops, on rolls of that regiment until October 1777 and was given furlough November 1777 through January 1778.[1] In depositions contained in old Bourbon county suits, Joseph Duncan stated he "made several trips from Virginia to the Kentucky territory" before he took up his "permanent residence in 1788." In 1791, upon the recommendation of the county court he was commissioned captain in the militia by Governor Beverly Randolph of Virginia and served as a Major of the 14th Regiment of Bourbon County Militia, resigning August 29, 1795, when Governor Isaac Shelby appointed George'Scott to succeed him.[2]
It is to this early settler we are indebted for historic Duncan Tavern which he used first as a residence and later as a tavern. Four years before Kentucky was a state the hand-hewn beams for this magnificent stone building were being lifted into place by sturdy pioneers. It stands today as a memorial to the expert workmanship of those first adventurers into the Western wilderness. Major Duncan conducted his tavern at the time Bourbon county contained within its boundaries thirty-three later Kentucky counties. As early explorers and surveyors in this vast wilderness had to travel to Bourbon county court to transact business one can readily understand the stream of pioneers that passed through the elaborate hand-carved entrance to Duncan Tavern.
Immediately in front of this entrance, Colonel John Floyd, deputy surveyor to William Preston of Fincastle county, Virginia, marked a tree to establish a colonial military grant to Walter Stewart for service in the French and Indian War. This mark, made in 1776, is said to have been the first surveyor's mark on land where the city of Paris stands today. Since Daniel Boone represented Bourbon county in the Virginia Assembly 1787-1788 and Simon Kenton, Michael Stoner, Colonel James Smith and other famious pioneers lived in Bourbon county at the time this building was operated as a tavern, they were unquestionably among those who were extended hospitality. In an old (continued)
[1] War Dept. Record.

[2] Kentucky Historical Register, vol. 28, p. 207; Duncan vs. Fleming, Ct. Ct.





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