Duncan research files of
1870 Lee Co. AL Census
Opilika Beat #7 (twp.pgs. 87 and 88)
Pg.271-272, #648-648, DUNCAN, A. (m) 41 NC BLACK hearding stock $0-$0
Jennie 35 AL BLACK house keeper
Helen ("m") 7 AL BLACK
Henry 4 AL BLACK
Mary 1 AL BLACK
WILLIAMS, A. (m) 15 AL BLACK
Danel (m) 18 AL BLACK farming
Anny (f) 19 AL BLACK cook
Frank 12 AL BLACK
Margaret 52 VA BLACK housekeeper
Pg.276, #708-708, DUNCAN, Jas. 35 NC BLACK cooper $0-$0
E. (f) 25 AL BLACK house keeper
L. (m) 3, L. (f) 4/12 b.Feb. AL BLACK
A. (m) 12 AL BLACK
Pg.276, #722-723, DUNCAN, H. ("f") 28 AL MULATTO quaryman $0-$0
(blank initials) 20 (m) AL BLACK keeping house
(blank initials) 2 (f), 1 (f) AL BLACKS
(blank initials) (m) 7/12 b.Nov. AL BLACKS
PAYNE, Thom. 23 MS BLACK cooper
HARRIS, Peter 13 AL BLACK (blank)
Pg.288, #145-145, DUNCAN, Allen 40 AL BLACK wagoner $0-$0
Jane 35 AL BLACK washer
J.W. (f) 17 AL BLACK house servant
Dan 16 AL BLACK farming
Allen 14, Red (m) 12, A.J. (m) 8 AL BLACKS
H.W. (m) 4, M.J. (f) 1 AL BLACKS
Pg.326, #103-103, HARRISON, H?. (m) 25 AL MULATTO farming $0-$0
Lucy 20 AL BLACK farming
W.G?. (m) 1/12 AL BLACK b.May
DUNCAN, Hary? (m) 20 AL BLACK farming
Pg.398, #33-33, DUNCAN, T.M. (m) 49 GA (white) farming $480-$500
M.C. (f) 25 AL keeping house
A. (m) 4, W. (m) 2 AL
Pg.432 (all households #1; twp.pg.10, line 17) DUNCAN, G. (m) 19 AL BLACK laborer farm $0-$0 (alone)
Pg.471, #357-357, DUNCAN, J. (m) 30 GA BLACK laborer farm $0-$0
M. (f) 28 GA BLACK keeping house
E. (m) 5, L. (m) 2 AL BLACKS
Pg.474, #401-401, DUNCAN, M. (f) 39 GA (white) keeping house $300-$250
S. (f) 29 GA domestic buso.
M. (f) 19 AL (white) (blank)
R. (m) 3 AL (white)
Pg.476, #5-5, DUNCAN, A. (m) 35 GA BLACK laborer farm $0-$0
E. (f) 30 AL BLACK keeping house
J. (m) 5, A. (m) 1 AL BLACKS
DUNCAN, M. (f) 62 VA BLACK keeping house
Lee Co. Marriage records, white, 1867-1875 (FHL film 1,287,152)
Lee Co. AL Index to Deeds, 1867-1898 (FHL film 1,033,471)
Direct index (FHL film 1,033,471 item 1)
HH-361: J. & J.E. Duncun to J.H. Weaver, 8/23/1882 - 8/28/1882
WW-50: J. Duncan & wife to T.W. Harrison, 1/15/1885 - 7/22/1886
A10-171: Jno. & J.E. Duncan to T.C. Larsiter, 11/4/1889 - 1/15/1890
Next 1891, quit
Indirect index (FHL film 1,033,471 item 2)
DD-262: H. Reed to John Duncan, 11/16/1880 - 12/2/1881
HH-504?: N.P. Banks admr. to J. Duncan, 11/2/1885 - 3/15/1887
OO-130: N.N. Curtis & wife to J. Duncan, 1/16/1884 - 5/7/1884
Deeds not copied
"Reports of cases argued and determined in the Supreme Court of Alabama during December term 1876" by Thomas G. Jones, Vol.LVI; Alabama Reports, Vol.56, pgs.486 to 493 (California State Law Library, Sacramento, 2/2004)
GRIFFIN v. PRINGLE; Supreme Court of Alabama; 56 Ala. 486; December, 1876, Decided.
Appeal from the Chancery Court of Lee. Heard before the Hon. N. S. Graham.
The original bill in this case was filed on the 11th June, 1874, by Andrew B. Griffin, against the heirs at law and distributees of the estate of James Pringle, deceased, who died in Russell county (in that portion now embraced in Lee county), in 1854; and whose last will and testament, which was there duly proved and admitted to probate, was in these words: "As to such worldly estate as it hath pleased God to bless me with in this life, I give, devise, and bequeath, unto my beloved wife and son, George Pringle, all my real and personal estate, such as land and negroes, stock of all kinds, hogs, cows, horses, mules, and all the plantation tools, for to support them during their natural lives; and immediately after my decease, it is also my desire that my son, Alexander Pringle, take the management and control of the negroes and plantation, for his mother, and brothers, and sisters; and it is also my desire that Sarah K. Pringle, Nancy A. Pringle, and Mary E. Pringle have their support. It is my desire, also, that Thomas W. Pringle work with his brother, Alexander Pringle, in helping to make a support for the family, and to assist him in paying the debts of the estate. I also constitute, nominate, and appoint Alexander Pringle and John G. Pringle, as my executors."
The bill contained only six paragraphs, in which the following facts were alleged: 1. The death of said James Pringle, and the probate of his last will and testament, a copy of which was made an exhibit. 2. That John G. Pringle, one of the persons named in the will as executors, was a nonresident; that Alexander Pringle alone qualified as executor, and, in the execution of the powers conferred by the will, "carried on farming operations on the testator's lands, and thereby made and provided a support and maintenance for the testator's family, as provided by said will, and thereby and therefor contracted the following debts," specifying the names of the creditors and the amounts of their respective debts; "all of which were articles for the support of the family, and to carry on the said farming operations, and constitute a valid charge on said testator's estate, but for which the estate of said Alexander Pringle is liable." 3. That the testator's estate consisted of certain lands, which were particularly described. 4. That Alexander Pringle died in 1872, not having fully executed said will, and the administration of said estate having been removed to Lee county; and that the complainant was duly appointed administrator of his estate, and also administrator de bonis non, with the will annexed, of said James Pringle, by the Probate Court of Lee county. 5. That the widow of said testator, and his son George, had both departed this life, the time of their respective deaths not being stated; and that the heirs and distributees of said testator's estate are: "John G. Pringle, over twenty-one years old, residing in Savannah, Chatham county, Georgia; Sarah K. Pringle, Nancy A. Pringle, and Mary Pringle, all over twenty-one years of age, and all residing in said county of Lee; Thomas G. Pringle, of unsound mind, over twenty-one years old, and residing in Lee county; and Avarilla Duncan, John A. Duncan, George W. Duncan, and Camilla Duncan, all over twenty-one years old, and residing in Cass county, Texas, post-office unknown." 6. The prayer of the bill was, that the court would, "on final hearing, declare that said debts constitute a valid lien and charge upon the said testator's estate, mentioned in the third paragraph of this bill, and the same be sold, and the said debts be paid and satisfied; and send an order to the Hon. Wilson Williams, the probate judge of said county, directing him to send all the papers pertaining to said testator's estate to this honorable court, there to be further and fully administered; and for other and further relief," &c.
A joint answer to the bill was filed by Sarah, Nancy, and Mary Pringle, in which was incorporated a demurrer, assigning the following grounds: "1st, that said bill has no equity; 2d, that it shows no right in the plaintiff to sue for a sale of the lands of James Pringle's estate; 3d, that it shows no right in Alexander Pringle to charge the said lands; 4th, that it states no facts showing that he did so, or endeavored to do so; 5th, that no account is rendered between said Alexander and the estate said to be in his charge, so as to enable the court to strike a balance between him and the trust estate; 6th, that the bill does not show the character in which the plaintiff sues."
An amended bill was afterwards filed, alleging "that said Alexander Pringle, in executing said trust, expended a large sum of money, which is a proper charge on said estate; that said expenditure was reasonable, just, and necessary for the execution of said trust; that said Alexander Pringle devoted his personal services and time to the execution of said trust, for eighteen years; that said services constitute a valid charge on said trust estate, and are reasonably worth the sum of $2,500; and that complainant, as administrator of said Alexander Pringle, or James Pringle, deceased, has no effects whereby to repay said expenditures, and to pay for said services." The amended bill prayed, "in addition to the relief hereintofore prayed," that the court would "declare that said expenditures and charges for personal services constitute a valid charge on said estate; that a reference be had with the register, as master, to determine and report what sum said Alexander Pringle did so expend in the execution of said trust, and what sum his said personal services to said trust estate are justly worth."
The said Sarah, Nancy, and Mary Pringle, answering the amended bill, demurred to it, on the ground of a variance and inconsistency between it and the original bill; and to the bills original and amended, on the grounds of multifariousness, uncertainty as to the character in which the plaintiff sued, lapse of time and staleness of the demand, and want of equity. The chancellor sustained the demurrer, and dismissed the bill, for want of equity; and his decree is now assigned as error.
[opinion] STONE, J. -- James Pringle died, testate, in 1854. He left surviving him a widow, and the following children: John G., Alexander, Thomas W., George, Sarah K., Nancy A., and Mary Pringle; also, probably, another daughter, or children of a daughter, named Duncan. The will is an anomaly. The property consisted of lands, slaves, stock, plantation implements, and, doubtless, household furniture. The language of the will is: "I give, devise, and bequeath, unto my beloved wife and son, George Pringle, all my real and personal estate, to support them during their natural lives; and immediate after my decease, it is also my desire that my son, Alexander Pringle, take the management and control of the negroes and plantation, for his mother, and brothers, and sisters; and it is also my desire that Sarah K. Pringle, Nancy A. Pringle, and Mary E. Pringle, have their support. It is also my desire that Thomas W. Pringle work with his brother, Alexander Pringle, in helping to make a support for the family, and to assist him in paying the debts of the estate. I also constitute, nominate, and appoint Alexander Pringle and John G. Pringle, my executors." Alexander Pringle alone qualified, and took upon himself the trust.
1. In construing a will, it is our duty to consult the whole will, and give effect to the expressed intention of the testator, when we can gather it, and such intention does not violate any rule of law. Clauses apparently conflicting must be harmonized, if possible; and if they cannot be harmonized, then the later clause will prevail over the earlier, as being the latest expression of the testator's will; and a general intent will prevail over a particular intent, if irreconcilably repugnant to it.
2. The proper construction of the will before us is no easy task. Part of it is devoted to bequests that are beneficial; while, so far as Alexander and Thomas W. Pringle are concerned, it imposes only burdens. Whether they are to share in the income of the property is no where expressed. We have no hesitation in saying, that a life-estate in the title to all the property was thereby vested in the widow and George Pringle, while the management and control of the negroes and plantation were put in the hands of Alexander Pringle. This is said to be "for his mother, brothers, and sisters." What is meant by this, it is difficult to say. It probably depends on the then condition of his family; to what extent scattered and provided for, and constituting a part of his family. The next clause rather confuses, than sheds any light on this. It directs that the three daughters, Sarah K., Nancy A., and Mary E. Pringle have their support; evidently out of the property, or its income: the latter, if sufficient. To go beyond the latter, would trench on the life-estate to the widow and his son George; therefore, we hold that it must come out of the income. This is made a charge on the life-estate.
But a difficulty arises here. These three females are sisters of Alexander Pringle, and are embraced in the trust confided to him, to manage and control the property "for his mother, brothers, and sisters." To what extent for them? If for their present support, then there was no use for the later expression, that they were to have their support; and, in this connection, it becomes material to inquire, what are the meaning and object of the testator, when he directs that, immediately after his decease, "Alexander Pringle take the management and control [of the property] for his mother, and brothers, and sisters?" In the absence of averment of the then residence of the different members of the family, we are not able to reconcile and give operation to the several clauses of the will. We do not hesitate to declare, that the support of the three named females was made a charge on the life-estate, being the usufruct of the property, which the will gives to the widow and George Pringle. We hold, further, that the will only disposes of a life-estate to the widow and George, who, under our statute, must be held to have taken as tenants in common. The reversion of the entire estate was left undisposed of, and, as to that, the testator died intestate. And we hold, too, that the trust to manage and control, confided to Alexander under the will, continued only during the life-estate; and that, after that, he was remitted to his powers as executor only.
3. The bill avers, that Alexander Pringle entered upon, and discharged the duty of managing and controlling the estate; and there is nothing in the bill tending to show that he did not do it faithfully. We judicially know, as a matter of public history, that slaves were emancipated by the close of the war, in 1865. Mr. Pringle's estate consisted of a plantation and slaves. The chances of working the plantation successfully and profitably were materially diminished by that event. The will shows that the testator, at the time of his death, owed debts, but their amounts are not shown. Under these circumstances, and in the troubles incident to the war and its results, it is not surprising that the managing trustee, with the purest intentions and strictest economy, would sometimes find it necessary to incur liabilities in the execution of the trust, and to save the trust property. The law does not exact infallibility from a trustee, nor hold him accountable for errors of judgment, if he act in good faith. Men of ordinary prudence, many of them, fell into serious errors, and suffered grievous losses, in their early experiments with freed laborers. It was Alexander Pringle's duty to manage and control the property; and the law exacted from him only integrity of purpose, and that degree of diligence which an ordinarily prudent man bestows about his own affairs. Bringing to the service this good faith, and this measure of diligence, the law does not hold him accountable for his misadventures.
4. In Alabama, and generally in the United States, trustees are entitled to reasonable compensation for their services and risks.
5. In the present bill, it is not shown when Mrs. Pringle and George Pringle died; and hence we cannot tell when the special trust to manage and control ceased. There are many other defects in the bill, among which we mention a failure to set forth, either generally or specially, how Alexander Pringle administered the trust, or accounted for the income; whether the debts described in the bill were contracted before or after the termination of the life-estate, and the necessity or reason for contracting them, and on what consideration. There is no averment, negativing the receipt and use by Alexander of the income of the estate, or some part thereof, as compensation to himself; and no account rendered, or denial of liability to account, so as to show the trust fund in fact owes said Alexander's estate. Nor is there any averment, or prayer, offering to settle said Alexander's executorship or trust, or praying, for that purpose, to transfer the settlement to the Chancery Court, the only court having jurisdiction to make the settlement between the two estates, of each of which the same person is administrator.
What we have said above is in great ignorance of the real merits of the present controversy. We have only considered the bill, and amended bill, as they and the demurrers are all of the pleadings that are properly before us. It may be that this family lived and labored together for their common support and benefit, with no thought or intention, on the part of any member thereof, to make a charge for the same. The very long period such a relation appears to have been kept up, gives, at least, plausibility to this theory. If such was the case, no allowance for such services should be made. We do not affirm there is a liability for the other debts, those set forth in the original bill. The averments of the bill, as we have shown, are too meagre to justify us in hazarding an opinion.
The bill is fatally defective, and the chancellor did not err in dismissing it; but, inasmuch as it is possible the complainant may be entitled to some relief, we will so modify the decree as to make it a dismissal without prejudice.
Affirmed, and bill dismissed without prejudice.
AL Confederate Service Records, 1861-1865, cards in AL State Archives; Driver to Elich (FHL film 1,462,918)
MAD: most items were small typed cards, 3x5; some items were very blurred in the filming and were double images and hard to read. Cards had name and rank in upper left corner, service unit usually in upper right corner, notation if Home Guard, details from source were given in center of card, and the "Authority" as the last line on the card. The service record from the Historical Record Roll frequently listed several engagements he served in, dates wounded, absent, present, etc., and I usually did not copy all the details.
Duncan, Elias G., Private (age 25), Co.A, 37th AL Inf. Reg., enlisted March 22, 1862, Auburn [Lee Co.]. Authority: Muster in roll, Auburn, 13 May 1862.
Duncan, George W., Private, age 23, Capt. L.T. Hamner's Co., 37th Regt. AL Vols., James F. Dowdell Col. May 1, 1862, at Camp Johnson by Capt. Hamner for three years or the war. Authority: Muster roll dated May 13, 1862, at Auburn [Lee Co.], AL.
Duncan, George W., Private, Co.B, 37th AL Inf., enlisted May 1, 1862 at Camp Johnston by Capt. L.P. Hamner. Authority: Original roll dated May 13, 1862, at Auburn [Lee Co.], AL, by Capt. Hamner.
Duncan, H.H. Letter 8 April 1931, War Department to AL Archives, one H.H. Duncan, name also born as Henry H. Duncan, Private, Co.C, 45th Regt. AL Inf., CSA, enlisted May 1, 1862 at Auburn, AL, age 18 years. Union Prisoner of War records show captured Jan. 5, 1863 at Murfreesboro, TN, and received at City Point, VA, April 17, 1863. Again captured Nov. 30, 1864 at Franklin, TN, imprisoned at Camp Douglas, IL, where discharged June 18, 1865. Resided at Macon Co. AL, age 18, height 5 ft 9 inches, complexion fair, eyes blue, hair dark, profession student, born in Illinois.
Duncan, Henry H., Private, Co.C, 45th AL Inf. Reg., Auburn, AL, wounded in action. Authority: Statement of Charles C. Hay. (MAD: no date given)
Duncan, H.H., Private, Capt. G.W. Carter's Co.C, 45th AL Regt. Enlisted by Capt. Carter at Auburn [Lee Co.] May 1, '62 for 3 years. Born in IL. Age 18, 5 ft. 9", fair comp., blue eyes, dark hair, profession student. Authority: Capt. Thos. Swanson's Company Book.
Duncan, H.H., private (age 17), Co.C, 45th AL Inf. Regt. Enlisted Macon Co. AL. Authority: Muster in roll not dated.
Duncan, H.H., Private. Hospital service, General Hosp., Eufaula [Barbour Co.], AL. Regt: 45th AL, Co.C. Complaint: V.S. Admitted Aug. 19, '64. Authority: Register of P. DeLacy Baker, Surg. in Chg, Hosp., General Hospital, Eufaula, AL, Aug. 20, '64.
Duncan, H.H., Private, Co.G, 1st AL Regt. (was Co.C & K, 45th AL Regt.). Authority: Capt. Thos. Swanson's Company Book (Smithfield, NC, April 8, '65).
Duncan, James A., Private, Co.C, 47th Regt. AL Vols. Enlisted April 9, 1862 at Loachapoka, Lee Co. AL, by J.T. Russell. Authority: Original roll dated May 23, 1862 at Loachapoka, signed by Capt. Russell.
Duncan, Jas. A., Private, Co.C, 47th AL Inf. April 9, 1862, Loachapoka, AL. Authority: Pay roll dated Loachapoka, May 23, 1862.
Duncan, James M., Private (age 23), Co.A, 37th AL Inf. Reg., enlisted March 22, 1862, Auburn [Lee Co.]. Authority: Muster in roll Auburn, 13 May 1862.
Dunkin, James M., Private, Co.A, 37th AL Regt., Baker's Brigade, Stewart's Div., Army of TN. Hospital Record: Furloughed for 30 days because of pneumonia of recent duration, /s/ Robert Battey, Surgeon. Residence Clopton, Dale Co. AL. Authority: Disability cert. from Fair Ground Hospital No.1, Atlanta, GA, dated July 3, 1864.
Duncan, John, Private, age 34, Co.K, 48th AL Inf. Reg., Calhoun Co. AL. Authority: Muster in roll dated Auburn [Lee Co.], AL, May 30, 1862.
Dunkins, S., 5th Sergt., age 28, Co.E, 45th AL Inf. Reg. Lochapoka [Lee Co.], AL, March 20, '62. Authority: Muster in roll dated May 14, 1862.
Duncan, T.M., Pension 36561, Lee Co., pensioner Mrs. M.C. Duncan, widow of T.M. Duncan, Pvt., Beaunau's Battn.
AL Confederate Pension Applications, in AL State Archives, Duke - Dunn (FHL film 1,502,781)
MAD: Did not extract all pension applications for the same person if they gave no other genealogy information. Documents were extracted in order on film. Did not usually copy reason for pension request, which was frequently old age or rheumatism or feebleness; did not always copy witnesses names, which sometimes only said they knew the applicant was of good character and in need of the pension. "Cavalry" was frequently abbreviated "Calv" and spelled "Calvary." Did not usually copy the schedule of property unless it listed land. The complete pension papers should be rechecked individually, following is very brief extract of contents.
DUNCAN, T.M., widow Mrs. M.C. Duncan, Lee Co. AL, Private Co.B, Seay's Art. Beaureau's Btn. Application 8 June 1899 by Mrs. M.C. Duncan, Lee Co. AL, widow of T.M. Duncan who served as Private in Co.B of Seay's Artillery, Beaureau's Battalion, her husband died 18 Sept. 1894; owns 160 acres in Lee Co.; witnesses W.L. Stroud, T.B. Gibson.
1904 "Notable Men of AL; Personal & Genealogical with Portraits" by Joel Campbell DuBose (FHL book 976.1 D3no and film 1,026,263 items 1-2; and from Donna Little 8/1982 from Duncan Family Files at AL State Archives)
Vol.1, pg.184-5: GEORGE WEBSTER DUNCAN, of Auburn [Lee Co.], AL, was born Oct. 12, 1866, at Rockwood, Franklin Co. AL. His father, Thomas Alfred Duncan, was born July 21, 1841, and lived at the same place. He was in the army of the Confederacy four years as a soldier and was the son of Robert Duncan and Martha (Hargett) Duncan, who lived near Russellville, AL. George W.'s mother, Margaret Hargett, was the dau. of Richard Hargett and wife, Elizabeth Hartis, who lived in Charlotte, NC. His ancestors came to America from Scotland about 1783 and lived successively in VA, KY and TN. They removed to AL about the time the State was admitted to the Union. They settled in Franklin and Marion Cos. The Hargett ancestors (maternal) came to AL from NC at an early date in the history of the State. George W. was prepared for college in a private school at Russellville, AL ... master of sciences in 1900, special course in law, 3 years principal of city school of Florence, AL, and 7 years as principal of Auburn Female institute, Auburn, AL; first vice-president of AL Educational Association ... Democrat, Baptist, Knight of Honor; on Jan. 19, 1893, he mar. at Lowndesboro, AL, to Julia Alexander, the dau. of Edmund Alexander and wife Emily (Young) Alexander, who lived at Lowndesboro, AL. Julia Alexander graduated at the State Normal college, Florence, AL, in 1892.
Return to Index to Duncan Research Files in Alabama
Return to The Genealogy Bug's Home Page