Saturday, March 17, 2018

Mary (Knox) Pettus and Daughter, Rebecah W. Duncan

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

It is always nice when a single document links two generations after the younger generation has married and relocated to another state. This deed of conveyance from Mary Pettus of York County, South Caroline to her daughter Rebecca aka Rebecah W. (Pettus) Duncan in Madison County, Kentucky does just that. Included in the deed was Rebecca's sister Maria aka Mariah (Pettus) Campbell, who was living in Lancaster District, South Carolina.

The deed was recorded 19 September 1827 in York County, South Carolina Deed Bk L, p. 103.

It is interesting to note that Mary Pettus signed with her mark. Things between Rebecah and her mother and sister seem to be lacking in tension at this point, except for the fact that the two sisters have to negotiate the deed from a considerable distance.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Dora Alice Duncan, Wife of John W Gray

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

Between census years, the family of Dora Alice (Duncan) Gray experienced tragedies that were recorded in local newspapers. Dora Alice Duncan was the daughter of Isaac and Susan (Reese) Duncan of Sebastian County, Arkansas and the wife of John W. Gray.

Early in the morning, on April 27, 1916, a chicken incubator in the basement of the house caught the house on fire. At that time, they were living near Little Rock, Arkansas. Dora was in the backyard while her daughter Bertha (Gray) Jung and her grandchildren, Vincent and Rose Mary Jung, were asleep in the house. They were only able to save the youngest grandchild, Rose Mary. Walter Vincent Jung, who was only three, died of his burns. Both Dora and her daughter Bertha received burns in the fire. Walter Vincent Jung was buried in Bayou Meto Cemetery in Pulaski County, Arkansas on the following day. The house was a total loss.

Records of house fires are important in doing in research because they may indicate when family documents and photographs were destroyed.

Dora (Duncan) Gray died nearly thirty years later at the home of her granddaughter Rose Mary (Gray) Cuttings.

In 1955, Walter Jung, Dora (Duncan) Gray's son-in-law, who was a railroader, found the body of  Theodore Hubert Morris, another railroader, along the Rock Island tracks in Little Rock.

Two years later in 1957, Walter and Bertha (Gray) Jung were scammed by phony tree trimmers.

Googling the Jung's address, 2901 State Street in Little Rock, Arkansas, turned up their house as it looks today. Some of these trees, no doubt, were there in 1957.

Then  Bertha (Gray) Jung died in 1965.

Finally, Walter Jung died in 1975.

Isaac and Deletha (Wiley) Duncan's Tombstones

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

In late 1999, I was contacted by Ann Bellamy, who had seen a query of mine on the Cooper County, Missouri usgebweb page. My query was in regard to my great-great-great grandfather Isaac Duncan, who had moved from Madison County, Kentucky to Cooper County, Missouri. His wife Susan (Kavanaugh) Duncan had probably died before he make the move. My best guess is that if she had died after they arrived in Missouri, there would a grave for her there. After arriving in Cooper County, Missouri, Isaac Duncan married Delitha Wiley.

Ann was contacting me to let me know that she had found the graves of Isaac Duncan and wife Delitha on her recently purchased farm. One of the provisions of Delitha Duncan's will was that a tombstone like the one erected for Isaac be made for her. Evidently, they were buried on Isaac Duncan's Missouri farm under twin gravestones. Ann was able to provide me with a map of the location of their graves and the following photographs.

Isaac Duncan
Born August 20, 1776
Died October 5, 1842

Deletha Duncan
Born March 17, 1790
Died March 16, 1851

Duncan Graves on old Duncan Farm
in Cooper County, Missouri

Location of Duncan Cemetery

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Mansel Pinkney Kelley, Obituary 1912

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

Mansel Pinkney Kelley's obituary was included in his Confederate pension file as just a clipping with no date and no reference to the newspaper in which it was published.

Thanks to Historic South Carolina Newspapers, it can be seen in the context in which it was published in the The Camden Chronicle on 12 July 1912.

Keywords: M.P. Kelley, M.P. Kelly, Mansel Pinkney Kelly

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Richard E. Duncan and Wives

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

The picture below is of my great-grandparents, Richard E. Susie Gertrude (Nevill) Duncan, who lived near Avery in Red River County, Texas.  He was the son of Isaac and Susan P. (Reese) Duncan; she was the daughter of Grandison "Granville" D. and Rebecca Louise (Walker) Nevill. This picture made sometime before Susie's death in May, 1940.

Richard E. and Susie Gertrude (Nevill) Duncan

After Susie's death, Ricard E. Duncan married Ester (Crow) Jackson.

Ester (Crow) and Richard E. Duncan

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Nancy M. (Owens) Kelley, Plaintiff - Kershaw County

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

This week I discovered Historic Newspapers of South Carolina, a free digital newspaper archives. It contained some of the same newspaper notices that I had already seen for my great-great-great grandmother, Nancy (Owens) Kelley's lawsuit against the administrators of her husband John Kelley's estate in Camden, Kershaw County, South Carolina. He died in 1859. The notices provide information as to where their land was but do not shed any light on why she felt it was necessary to sue her own children.

The oddest part, was that as near as I can tell, this suit did not damage her relationship with her children. In fact, several of them were still living with her during the Civil War and after when these requests for partition were occurring.

The Historic Newspapers of South Carolina turned up an earlier notice that I had never seen before. 

Kershaw--In Equity
Nancy M. Kelley vs. Mansel P. Kelly, J. Ross Dye,
Admr, et al


It appearin to my satisfaction that ------ Redding and his wife, Nancy Redding, John K. Thomas, ------ Staggs and his wife, Charlotte Staggs, Thomas Thomas, Jr., ----- Booth and his wife, Francis Booth, and William Thomas, defendants to the above Bill, are without and reside beyond the limits of this State.

It is ordered, on motion of Shannon, Complainant's Solicitor, that the said defendants do answer, plead or demur to the above Bill within three months from the publication of this order. In default whereof an order pro confesso will be entered against them.
WM. R. TAYLOR, C. E. K. D.
Commisioner's Office, March 2d, 1860
March 6

Who are these people?????

From looking at many, many estate notices over the years, I know that generally speaking, everyone named is a legatee or relative. If a man is a bachelor, the legatees could be his parents, siblings, and the children of a deceased sibling. If a man is married with a family, the legatees tend to be his spouse, his children, and the children of a deceased child.

When I look at the people named in this notice, the only child of Nancy and John Kelly's who is named is my great-great grandfather Mansel P. Kelly. His other siblings are not named. I also know that none of  Nancy's children, even if they were deceased, were old enough at this time to have grown children. So these people are not Nancy and John Kelly's grandchildren.

It is possible that John Kelly had children by a previous wife and children by her? He was about 20 years older than Nancy, but was married to Nancy by the 1850 census. There were no children from a previous marriage in their household. Thus, the 1850 census does not have any clues. Yet.

This looks like a group of married daughters of John Kelly's. Unfortunately, their husbands are not named. That makes it harder to track them. The three Thomas males have me stumped. Shouldn't their names be Kelly unless they are grandsons by a deceased daughter? Are they grown or children? At what point did they leave South Carolina? Did they migrate together or have they scattered in all directions? Were they born in South Carolina? How old are they? Should I guess that they are roughly Nancy's age--maybe slightly older or younger?

It appears to me that settling the estate has been hampered by the absence of the other heirs, and the suit is an attempt to clear up loose ends.

But who are these people?????

Isaac Duncan, Sebastian County During the Civil War

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

My great-great grandfather Isaac Duncan, son of Browning and Rebecah W. (Pettus) Duncan, lived with his first wife, Martha Sales, and their children in Sebastian County, Arkansas during the Civil War. His Civil War service has always been a question mark.

Isaac Duncan's biography in the 1903 Atlas of Sebastian County by E.L. Hayes states--

"Duncan, Isaac Mr., was born February 15, 1828, in Kentucky, near Richmond. His father was Browning Duncan, born in Kentucky. His father, grandfather of Isaac Duncan was born in Virginia. He was in the War of 1812. Mr. Duncan was in the State Guard U.S. Militia. Mr. Duncan married a Miss Martha Sale, born in Tennessee. The first time by whom 8 children were born; 2 are now living. Becca F. Mannon and Sallie Wight.  He married Mrs Susan P. Hodges, born in Tennessee, and raised in Washington County, Ark.; the second time by whom 5 children were born: Samuel, Hodges, John, Thomas, Dora and Richard. Mr. Duncan now has 160 acres of good land - variety land. He has two wells on his premises of good capacity. Gas well in lot 7. He would sell."

There are errors in this entry--Sallie was married to a Knight not a Wight. Samuel Hodges was one person and a step-son.

Was the service in the State Guard U.S. Militia also an error? I've never found him on an enlistment list or receiving a pension. Can I even prove that he was a Northerner sympathizer??

The Oath of Allegiance that he signed sheds some light on this:

Name: Isaac Duncan
Residence: Sebastian
Description - Age: 36 years
Height: 5 ft. 8 in
Eyes: Black
Hair: Auburn
Complexion: Dark
Peculiarities: Stout

The age and residence match my Isaac Duncan and the description is in keeping with his portrait.

Click on Image to Enlarge

It is important to note that his Oath of Allegiance was signed in Fort Smith, Arkansas on 20 January 1864 before the Provost Marshall. 

In September of 1863, the Confederate capital moved to Washington in Hempstead County, Arkansas, which was in the southwestern corner of Arkansas below Fort Smith. Northern and southern sympathies in Arkansas were deeply divided. As the war was nearing an end, Lincoln wanted to be in a position to reestablish governments loyal to the Union in the South. States could receive Federal recognition and financial assistance if ten percent of those who voted in 1860 signed an Oath of Allegiance.  

On 19 January 1864, delegates adopted a new state Constitution. The following day, Isaac Duncan was in Fort Smith signing his Oath of Allegiance. On March 14 - 16, 1864, the new constitution was ratified in a 12,177 to 266 vote. Among other things, the new Constitution abolished slavery in Arkansas. In so voting, they had attempted to insure a "smooth" transition back into the Union when the war ended. Meanwhile, the Confederates maintained a capital in Washington, and the war would rage on for another year.

Preserved among family documents in a cousin's family were Isaac Duncan's Poll Tax receipt for 1906 and a tax receipt for 1907. Another indication of the value Isaac placed on voting.

Click on Image to Enlarg

The other thing this receipt did was give me the idea to search for I. Duncan instead of Isaac Duncan or Ike Duncan. This reference to an I. Duncan who served in Captain Turner's Rangers turned up:

FORT SMITH NEW ERA, May 14, 1864, p. 2, c. 1 

The Rangers.

 Captain Turner's company of Rangers are doing good work, ferreting out and killing bushwhackers. They are on the move all the time and render the government efficient service, as well as defend their own homes. They are in earnest, and not only know how to hunt, fight and whip bushwhackers, but know how to treat them when they happen to take prisoners. 

On the morning of the 5th inst., Sergt. Sails and I. Duncan, of Capt. Turner's company, were taken by the bushwhackers and after being kept for two or three hours Duncan was released, but Sails was stripped of all his clothing but his drawers and was then brutally shot. He was a worthy young man, a good soldier, and his loss is deeply felt by the company. 

On the night of the 6th, while camped near Smedley's Mill, Capt. Turner and 25 men were attacked by 54 bushwhackers, under Lafayette Glass. The Rangers repulsed them twice, killing three of the rebels and wounding seven, among whom was Glass, who is mortally wounded. Three of the Rangers were wounded, but not mortally.
[Source: Betts, Vicki. "Fort Smith New Era,  October 1863 - December 1864" (2106). By Title. Paper 34.]

I stumbled across a forum with the information that in Arkansas the Union Home Guards that were mounted were known as "Rangers." 

This seems very likely to be my Isaac Duncan, serving along side a relative of his father's first wife Martha Sales.