Duncans in Washtenaw Co. MI


Duncan research files of
Mary Ann (Duncan) Dobson
the Genealogy Bug

Last revised August 21, 2007

Formed 1822 from Wayne
Jackson formed 1829 from Washtenaw
Ingham formed 1829 from Washtenaw, Jackson, Eaton
Livingston formed 1833 from Shiawassee, Washtenaw


1830 Washtenaw Co. MI Census
      No Duncan indexed

1840 Washtenaw Co. MI Census
Pg.68  Jas. Dunkin       1000,01   - 0010,1
   76  Jas. Dunkin       0010,11   - 0001,1

1850 Washtenaw Co. MI Census
Pg.549, #1486, James DUNCAN 50 SCT merchant $1500
                  Mary 30 St. Helena
                  Mary 10, James 8 MI
                  Catharine 3, Angus 4 MI
                  Isabella 1 MI

1860 Washtenaw Co. MI Census
Pg.9, #63-63, Albert STEVENS? 51 NY hotel keeper & family
                  Mary DUNCAN 19 MI servant
Pg.31, #224-224, Creansul? WALKER? (m) 51? NY farmer $400-$700
                  Nancy 48 NY & family
                  Isabell DUNCAN 11 MI servant

1870 Washtenaw Co. MI Census,
Township of Northfield
Pg.271R-272, #202-202, DUNCAN, Mary 49 St.Helena (white) keeping house $1500-$250, parents of foreign birth
                  Isabelle 21 MI at home
                  John 17 MI at home
                  (MAD: Mary's birth indexed as Africa; listed on 1880 census as Mary 62 IRE)
Pittsfield Township
Pg.280R, #79-78, SUTHERLAND, Nelson 30 MI (white) farmer $9400-$3000
                  Gabriella (f) 24 MI keeping house
                  Aels? (f) 1 MI
                  BALL, Louisa 14 MI domestic servant
                  DUNCAN, Sumner (m) 22 NY farm laborer
Salem Township
Pg.294, #36-34, LOWREY, H.B. (m) 46 NY farmer $5000-$1200
                  Lial (f) 45 NY keeping house
                  DUNCAN, Burt (m) 22 MI farm laborer
                  BULLOCK, Jas. 21 MI farm laborer
                  DICKERSON, John 74 NJ farmer $19,000-$3,000
                  BRINKMAN, Kate 21 Wurtemburg domestic servant, parents of foreign birth
                  VAN SICKLE, Geo. 22 MI farmer $5,600-$800
Sharon Township
Pg.376, #138-137, FAULKNER, John 60 IRE farmer $1,520-$820, parents of foreign birth
                  Elizabeth 64 IRE keeping house, parents of foreign birth
                  Hugh 23 CANada farm laborer, parents of foreign birth
                  DUNCAN, Ella 9 MI, parents of foreign birth
Superior Township
Pg.387R, #111-110, DUNHAN, Patrick 55 IRE farmer $5500-$0, parents of foreign birth
                  DUNCAN, Henry 19 NY farm laborer, parents of foreign birth
                  O'BRIEN, Mary 60 IRE keeping house, parents of foreign birth
                  DONIVAN, Catherine 40 IRE at home, parents of foreign birth
                  SMITH, Fredrick 6 MI at school, parents of foreign birth
                  Margaret 38 IRE, parents of foreign birth
                  Florence 7 MI at school, parents of foreign birth
                  WELCH, Ellen 40 IRE, parents of foreign birth
                  HAYES, George 38 NY farm laborer
                  (MAD: Patrick indexed as Donihan or Donovan)
Ypsilanti City Ward 3
Pg.510, #114-135, DUNKIN, Wm. 68 KY BLACK day laborer $600-$150
                  Frances (f) 49 MA BLACK keeping house
                  Irena (f) 7 IA BLACK attending school

HISTORIES before 1923

1881 "History of Washtenaw County, Michigan : together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history, portraits of prominent persons, and biographies of representative citizens : history of Michigan : embracing accounts of the pre-historic races, aborigines, French, English and American conquests, and a general review of its civil, political and military history." pub. by Chas. C. Chapman & Co., Chicago (HeritageQuest image 2/2007, Local History Reel/Fiche Number 5015; FHL book 977.435 H2h and films 874,114 item 1 and 1,000,248 item 1)
      Ann Arbor Township, pg.982: Alexander Duncan (deceased) was a native of Paisely, Scotland, and a nephew of Alexander Wilson, the famous naturalist. Mr. Wilson [sic] settled in Oakland Co., Mich., in 1830, where he passed the remainder of his days. He was married to Eliza Mehaffey, and 7 children were born to them, 4 of whom are living - James, a farmer of Oakland county; Isabel, wife of John Thompson, a resident of Northville, and two others. Mr. Duncan was a man of unusual ability as a poetical writer.

"Portrait and biographical album of Washtenaw County, Michigan : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens, together with biographies of all the governors of the state, and of the presidents of the United States." (anonymous); pub. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1891, 633 pgs. (LH5014; HeritageQuest 5/2007; FHL book 977.435 D3w and film 1,000,248 item 2)
      Pg.200-201: CHARLES H. WINES is a native of the township of Shoreham, Addison Co. VT., born in November 1823, son of Mahlon and Annie (Mowerson) Wines ... (MAD: more on Wines family) ... to Sylvan Township, Mich., in 1834 ... married in 1847 to Miss Emily Durand, of this township, dau. of David Durand ... four children: Harriet, Gabrella, Walter C. and Charles S. ... Charles S. married Linda Duncan who died in 1890, leaving one daughter, Roena. ...
      Pg.270-271: HON. SAMUEL G. IVES ... native of Lansing, Tompkins County, N.H., born December 21, 1812, son of Orrin and Mary (Gibbs) Ives, ... (MAD: more on Ives family) ... in 1835 to Livingston County, Michigan, ... married Louisa Hedden ... who died in 1871 .... Our subject was again married, his bride being Mrs. Mary E. Duncan, of Livingston County, this State, and a daughter of John and Margaret (Davenport) Watson, natives of New York (MAD: nothing on her former husband)
      Pg.532: JAMES McLAREN, section 34, Lima Township, son of Daniel McLaren who came to Michigan 1830, James McLaren born August 9, 1835, in Lima Township, married in 1855 to Virginia, daughter of Charles and Sarah (Hospital) Duncan. Mr. Duncan is a native of New York, being born in Schoharie County and Mrs. Duncan was born in Leesburg, Va. They were the parents of five daughters and two sons. They came to Michigan in 1840 and lived in Unadilla Township, Livingston Co. until the death of Mrs. Duncan, after which he removed East and made his home near Niagara Falls, for the remainder of his life. He was a second time married to Mary Watson who is now Mrs. Ives of Chelsea, Mich. He was a miller by trade and a contractor and farmer and was an excellent business man. He filled the office of Justice of the Peace when he was living in Unadilla Township and was an earnest advocate of the Republican Party. (MAD: children of James and Virginia McLaren given, not copied here)

1880 "History of Kalamazoo County, Michigan : with illustrations and biographical sketches of its prominent men and pioneers." by Samuel W. Durant, pub. Philadelphia: Everts & Abbott (pg.452 from Louis Boone 3/1985; HeritageQuest image 2/2007, Local History Reel/Fiche Number 4959; FHL book 977.417 H2d and film 908,703 item 2)
      Pg.444-445, Township of Prairie Ronde: Delamore Duncan, a native of New Hampshire, visited Michigan in 1825, and stopped from six to nine months at Dexter, Washtenaw Co. He then returned East as far as probably Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, where he stayed about a year, and then went to Vermont, remaining some two years. In March, 1829, he came to Prairie Ronde and making a claim, returned to Huron Co., Ohio, and "took unto himself a wife," and in October of that year came back to Michigan, with his father, leaving his wife behind. The family of his father accompanied them. A log house was built on the bank of Rocky Creek, about one hundred yards west of the present residence of Charles C. Duncan : the place occupied by the latter is the old Delamore Duncan homestead, and is now the property of his widow. William Duncan had made his claim in April, 1829, the next month after his son's choice was made, and, remaining upon it through the summer, returned for his family and brought them back in October as stated. Delamore Duncan's wife followed in January, 1830, in company with her father, Joel Clark, who drove through with a horse-team. The Duncans came with an ox-team, driving their stock and camping out by night. When they arrived, Col. Fellows had his house up and partly finished, and they stayed with him until they had built for themselves. William Duncan, whose farm was situated next north of his son's, went at an early day to Iowa and built and operated a saw-mill and a grist-mill near Des Moines. He finally returned to Michigan, and continued to reside here until his death, which occurred about 1850. In the spring of 1836 he had, in company with his son, built a saw-mill on the latter's place, which is yet standing, though greatly improved and extensively repaired. They had previously built a saw-mill on the Paw Paw at Watervliet, in the edge of Berrien County. Delamore Duncan and Timothy Fellows were afterwards interested in another saw-mill, north of one previously mentioned in Prairie Ronde. Delamore Duncan held numerous offices in the township, and was the first sheriff of Kalamazoo County. His widow remarks that "her house was the first jail in the county and she was the jailer," that being on the occasion of the first justice court, held in October, 1831. Mr. Duncan died April 30, 1870, aged sixty-five years. His father, William Duncan, was a Territorial justice of the peace, and held court as far away as Gull Prairie. He was also the first clerk for the county of Kalamazoo, his commission being dated Aug. 17, 1830, and signed by "Lew. Cass," Governor.
            The following is some of the evidence presented at a suit before William Duncan, Esq., the parties to the suit being George Brown and John C. Carpenter: "Territory of Michigan, Kalamazoo County, SS. The evidence given on oath and in the presence of George Brown by the several witnesses before William Duncan, Justice of the Peace, ... 4 May 1832, ... (MAD: more not copied here)
            It has been previously stated that when Mrs. Delamore Duncan came to Prairie Ronde, in January, 1830, her father, Joel Clark, accompanied her. The farm of Mr. Clark was located on section 2. His son, Justin Clark, had preceded him to the township in August, 1829, and was living with the Duncans at the time of his father's arrival. Mr. Clark and the son named are now both deceased; two other sons, Edwin and Philo D., are residents of the town. (MAD: footnote on the Clark family, not copied here)
            In the spring of 1830, Delamore Duncan built on his place a frame barn, and, notwithstanding the expressed fears of many that the "raising" could not be accomplished without the aid of liquor, which was the plan contemplated, the work was successfully carried to completion, and not a drop of liquor was used. This barn was the first frame structure erected in the township of Prairie Ronde or the county of Kalamazoo. The timbers for the frame ... The barn built by Mr. Duncan is yet standing. ...
      Pg.452: William Duncan. The Duncan family, as the name indicates, was originally from Scotland, but some of its members settled in the north of Ireland, and from them are descended the Duncans of Kalamazoo Co. George Duncan, the father of William, emigrated from Londonderry, Ireland, to America in 1742, when his son William was twelve years of age, and settled in Londonderry, NH, which place has been named in honor of the famous old Irish city.
       A second son, John Duncan, was born in Londonderry, NH, on 29 March 1752. John married Margaret Dickey, Feb. 5, 1778, and to them was born, at Acworth, NH, on 14 Oct. 1778, William Duncan, the subject of this memoir.
            William remained with his father until he was 26 years of age, when he married Ruth Coffran Gilmore, in Feb. 1805. To this couple were born the following children: Delamore, Nov. 24, 1805; John Gilmore, July 14, 1807; Corina Jane, April 5, 1811; Eliza Ann, Oct. 19, 1814; William Jr., June 3, 1818.
            In 1805 the family removed from Acworth to Lyman, NH, where Mr. Duncan became a prominent citizen. He was a justice of the peace for several years, and on 20 July 1810 was commissioned captain in the 10th company of the 32d Regiment, State militia, by Governor John Langdon. He soon after removed to Monroe, in the same State, where he ... until 1821, when the death of his wife broke up the family. In 1822, leaving his children with his father and brothers, he went into the lumbering business on the CT River, until 1824, when he removed to Syracuse, NY ... in April, 1825, in company with his son Delamore, who had joined him, he started for the Territory of Michigan ... to Dexter, in Washtenaw Co., on 3 May, ... until 3 Sept. following, when his son went to Brecksville, Cuyahoga Co. OH. In May, 1826, Mr. Duncan also proceeded to Brecksville ... In March, 1827, he went to Lyme, Huron Co. OH, where he purchased a farm ... On 1 Jan. 1828 he married Mrs. Lydia Wood, a widow, and on 1 April 1829 sold his farm and proceeded once more to Michigan. ... returned to OH; 5 Oct. 1829 left OH with his family, consisting of wife, two sons Delamore and William, daughter Eliza Ann, and stepdau. Lydia Wood, and returned to Prairie Ronde. ....
            In April, 1830, in Brady Twp, then part of St. Joseph Co., included present county of Kalamazoo, William Duncan elected to offices of supervisor and justice of peace. ... On 17 May following, following names sent to the Governor of the Territory for appointment to respective offices ... for Clerk, William Duncan; for Sheriff, Delamore Duncan. ...
            Pg.452-453: Mr. Duncan's name appears on the record but a short time; as it is believed that when the county-seat was located by the commissioners at Bronson (now Kalamazoo), in February, 1831, he declined to further serve. He, however, continued to serve as a justice of the peace, holding court in his log cabin.
            In April, 1830, he and his son Delamore erected the first frame building in the county. It was a granary, and in dimensions 20 by 24 feet. In this building were held, during 1830, several justice courts.
            On the 3d of September, 1833, occurred the death of his second wife. After this sad event he moved in with his son Delamore's family, where he remained until the spring of 1835 ... Mr. Duncan's health becoming seriously impaired, he determined upon a change, and selling his property, in March, 1837, he removed to Des Moines, Iowa, where he built a grist-mill on the Des Moines River, across which he constructed a stone dam. On the 30th of November, 1837, he married a third wife, Miss Sarah Jones. He continued the milling business until the autumn of 1844, when he exchanged his Iowa property for lands in Cass Co., Mich., upon which he removed and improved a fine farm. Politically he was originally a Whig, but upon the formation of the Free-Soil party became one of its active members. ... His death occurred on the 19th day of November, 1852.
      Pg.453-454: DELAMORE DUNCAN. This gentleman was the eldest son of the preceding, and born Nov. 24, 1805, at Lyman [Grafton Co.], N.H. At Monroe, to which place his father removed in 1810, he attended the common school, of which his father was teacher, until 1815. After his father's purchase of the wool-carding and cloth-dressing mill, he worked in the mill during the summer and attended school in the winter months. His mother died when he was sixteen years of age, and in the following year, his father giving up housekeeping, he went to live with his grandfather at Acworth [Sullivan Co. NH], where he worked on the farm and acted as secretary to his grandfather.
            In April, 1825, with his effects in a knapsack strapped upon his back, he took his way over the Green Mountains through the snow on foot, ... but ... took passage in the stage-coach, and soon after joined his father in Syracuse [Onondaga Co.], N.Y., whither he had preceded his son. From thence he accompanied his parent to Michigan, and as stated in the preceding biography, assisted him in building a mill-dam at Dexter, Washtenaw Co. On the 3d of September, 1825, he left his father at Dexter and proceeded to Brecksville, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, where he engaged in cutting stone for locks on the Ohio canal. Here he remained until the autumn of 1826, when, his health failing, he returned to his grandfather's in New Hampshire, where he continued until the spring of 1827, at which time he removed to McIndoes Falls, Caledonia Co., Vt., and engaged in lumbering until the fall of 1828, when, in company with his brother William and sister Eliza Ann, he journeyed to Lyme, Huron Co. OH, to which place his father had removed and purchased a farm.
            At that place he taught school until Feb. 1829, when, in company with Elisha Doane, he once more started for Michigan, ... in March they reached Prairie Ronde, where Mr. Duncan selected his land and chose the site of his future home. Leving his stock with a Mr. Wilmarth, he returned to Ohio, reaching Lyme on the 1st of April. From there he shortly after went to Dayton ... until August, when he returned to Lyme, where, on the 8th of September, 1829, he married Miss Parmela Clark. This union ... happy one ... She united with the Baptist Church in early life and has ever since been an earnest and consistent Christian and faithful member. Mrs. Duncan was born in the town of Johnson, Lamoille Co., VT, August 18, 1811.
            To this union were born nine children, as follows: Cordelia Ann, William Gilmore, Granville Joel, Jane Coffran, Delamore, Jr., Delia Parmela, Edwin Freeman, Charles Clark, and Helen Marian, of whom four are living, to wit: Delamore, Jr., Edwin F., Charles C., and Helen Marian. The others died in childhood. Mr. and Mrs. Duncan, in addition to their own, have had the care of no less than sixteen other children, whom they have sent into the world useful men and women.
            On the 5th of October, 1829, Mr. Duncan, in company with his father, again set out for Michigan. ... his wife remaining with her father, who was to follow in January, 1830. ... They finally arrived on Prairie Ronde on the 20th of October, and moved in with Col. Fellows until they could prepare their own house for occupation. ... At an election ... on the 17th day of May, 1830, he was nominated the first sheriff of Kalamazoo County, his commission dating from Oct. 1, 1830. ... In Feb. 1832, he sold his farm, on the west side of Prairie Ronde, to John Knight, and removed to Gourd-Neck Prairie, where he purchased a farm and built a plank. Knight failing to fulfill the contract, the farm fell into his hands again, and he sold the one on Gourd-Neck Prairie to Asa Briggs and removed to his old homestead in July, 1832. ... In December, 1839, in company with his brother-in-law, Justin Clark, he made a prospecting tour of the State, ... In politics a Whig, subsequently a Free-Soiler, and upon the formation of the Republican party became a member of that organization. ... until his death, May 1, 1870.

"History of La Salle County, Illinois" by U.J. Hoffman; pub. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1906, 1177 pgs. (LH5450, HeritageQuest images 4/2007; FHL film 825,502 and 934,997 item 3)
      "Running title: Past and present of La Salle County"
      Pg.1029-1030: VINCENT J. DUNCAN, accorded by the consensus of public opinion a prominent position at the La Salle county bar, was born in the city of La Salle, December 1, 1861, a son of Nicholas and Isabella Duncan, the former a contractor and builder. His early educational privileges were supplemented by the study in Niagara University at Niagara, New York, graduation June, 1882. ... University of Michigan, in 1883, alumnus of the class in 1885, in which year he entered upon active practice in La Salle, where he remained until December, 1892. He was then elected to the office of states attorney and removed to Ottawa, where he has since remained, .... He is now vice president of the La Salle State Bank and a member of the firm of Duncan Brothers & Carlin, private bankers at Utica, Illinois. On the 7th of January, 1886, Mr. Duncan was married at Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Miss Frances A. Devany, who was born in Ann Arbor in 1862 and is a graduate of St.Mary's convent at Monroe, Michigan. Mr. Duncan has been connected with the Modern Woodmen since 1888 and with the Knights of Columbus since 1903. Democrat in his political views, and in the Roman Catholic church. ... (MAD: Ann Arbor, Washtenaw Co. MI)


DUNCAN Family material in the Ross Coller Collection, Archives and Regional History Collections, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008 (photocopy of handwritten index cards, from Sue Husband, Curator, Regional History Collections, 10/1999; permission by Sharon Carlson, Director, to post on MAD's website)
      SH: Coller was an area historian and newspaper journalist whose reference card information spans over 110 years of Kalamazoo County History.
      DUNCAN, William. Lived Lyman N.H. Ran carding mill but closed 1821 when death of wife broke up family. Lumbered on Conn. River until 1824. In April 1825 with Delamore Sr. went to Mich., Washtenaw Co. Wm. then to Ohio but in 1829 came to Prairie Ronde. April 1830, Supervisor & Justice, Brady. Aug. 17, 1830, named Co. Clerk by Gov. Lewis Cass. March 1837, sold prop. & moved to Des Moines. In 1844 to Cass Co. Nov. 19, 1852, Died.


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