Duncans in NC


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

Last revised February 13, 2004


The 1784-1787 NC State Census has been abstracted and published by Alvaretta K. Register in 1971, and should be consulted for early Duncans.

"Reports of cases adjudged in the Superior Courts of law and equity Court of Conference, and Federal Court" (title page missing) by Haywood, Vol.II, pg.9 (spine title "No. Carolina Reports [Vol.] 3 - Haywood's Reports Vol.II); Vol.3, pgs.157 to 160 (California State Law Library, Sacramento, 1/2004) (MAD: location of land not given)
      YOUNG vs. IRWIN; Supreme Court of North Carolina, Wilmington; 3 N.C. 157; 2 Hayw. 9; November, 1797, Decided.
      Ejectment. The land in question was granted by the King to Solomon and James Ogden on the 20th of February, 1735; they conveyed to Clark in 1737, and he to Gabriel Johnston in 1738. Johnston devised in 1751, that his executors should sell; his widow being his executrix, intermarried with Rutherford, and they conveyed to Orme in 1754, who in the same year re-conveyed to Rutherford, who in 1763 conveyed to Duncan, and he in the same year reconveyed them. Rutherford in 1773, pursuant to a decree of the Court of Chancery, conveyed to Murray, and in 1774 Murray conveyed to Young, who died, leaving the plaintiff his heir; but before the decree, Rutherford contracted for a sum of money to sell to Irwin, and to convey when he should have paid the consideration money. Irwin in 1757, made his will and died. He left Rutherford his executor, and it was proven that Rutherford wrote his will: he directed money to be raised out of his personal estate to discharge the debt due for the land, and then devised it to his sons, John and James; he died in possession, which he took, pursuant to the contract. Some time in the year 1753, Rutherford as executor, took the whole personal estate, to a much larger value than the debt in question, but said he had expended it in the payment of debts; what was the precise amount either of the personal estate, or debts of the deceased, did not appear.
      Taylor for the plaintiff, rested his case here; saying he had deduced the title from the original patentee to the lessor of the plaintiff, and should expect a verdict unless some material objection, more than he could at present foresee, should be stated against the plaintiff's title.
      The counsel for the defendant argued, that the lessor of the plaintiff should shew himself to have been in possession within seven years, otherwise he is not entitled to recover in ejectment. He cited Bull, N. P. 102, and other books, to establish the same doctrine. Secondly, he argued that an adverse possession in the defendant for the space of seven years, without any colorable title, will take away the plaintiff's right of entry; and that here was such an adverse possession for forty-three years and upwards; during all that time, the land in question has been occupied by the defendant and his ancestor, who have claimed the same as their own, pursuant to their contract with Rutherford.
      (Opinion) Per Curiam. Haywood, Justice only in court. After stating the facts as they were proven on the trial: -- The legal title has been regularly deduced from the original proprietor to the lessor of the plaintiff, and he is entitled to recover in this action unless barred by the act of limitations, or by Rutherford's sale, or the joint operation of both. With respect to the contract to sell and the taking possession in consequence thereof, by the permission of the vender; if that be considered independent of any concomitant or subsequent circumstances, it can give no title whatsoever; the land could not pass nor any estate in it upon the making of the contract and taking possession pursuant to it by the vender's consent. A deed properly executed and registered, is at least required to pass an estate of inheritance in this country; and this to avoid the danger of claiming estates as passed from the owner's verbal testimony, and of turning men out of their estates and possessions, by corrupt witnesses. When a purchaser in a case like the present, takes possession, he takes it by consent of the owner, and may continue it until he fails in payment, and then is liable at law to be turned out: he does not take a tortious possession and gain a tortious fee, as has been contended; if he is not, strictly speaking, a tenant at will, his possession is that of the owner, and not a distinct independent possession opposed to his: if he is ousted of possession by a stranger, he cannot regain it by an action in his own name, but only in an action which sets up and affirms the vender's title. Such possession of the purchaser is therefore not an adverse possession to the vender; and if by the act of limitations, an adverse possession is necessary to bar the plaintiff's title, such an one as has been in the present case, will not answer that description. Under the act of limitations, it is very true the English Law Books require the plaintiff in ejectment to prove himself to have been in possession within twenty years; but by our law he need not be in actual possession within seven years: if he has a title by deed or grant, he has a constructive possession by operation of law, which preserves his right of entry, until it be destroyed by an actual adverse possession, continued for seven years together, if he has never seen his land -- if he has not entered upon it for fifty years, his title may be good, if his adversary hath not been in possession for seven years continually, during the whole time, with a colour of title. The act of limitations operates between individuals having different grants of the same lands, or claiming by mesne conveyances under them, where there were two such claimants. The Legislature in the year 1715, when this country was a wilderness, and the great object was to procure settlers, thought it more politic to prefer a patentee or a grantee under him who had actually settled upon his land and continued in possession for seven years, than another who had not settled upon the land, though he had a prior grant or deed; but it did not mean to give any preference to an usurper who settled upon the King's or proprietors' land, without obtaining a title at all or paying for it; or who settled upon the lands of an individual proprietor, knowing he was a trespasser in doing so, which he must have known if he had no colorable title. It is argued that the will of old Irwin was a color of title in his devisees -- in some cases perhaps, a will may be so considered: It cannot, however, in the present case, because this will expressly takes notice that the title was in Rutherford, and provided for the obtaining a title by payment of the money -- so here is neither an adverse possession nor color of title, both which are necessary to accompany a seven years's possession, in order to give a title to the defendant.
      There was a verdict and judgment for the plaintiff.

JAMES DUNCAN, Rev. Pension Application S-37901, PA, NC, GA (MS) (FHL film 970,863; National Archives Roll 863)
      Applied 19 Nov. 1827, age 74-5? in Feb. 1827, in Baldwin Co. GA; enlisted in 1776 for 2 years at Pittsburg (PA) under Capt. Andrew Waggoner, Col. James Wood; witnesses Benjamin Gilbert of Putnam Co. GA who served with James, Wm. Y?. Hansell of GA.
      Statement of James Duncan, son of James, 22 Jan. 1850; that James Sr. lived in Baldwin Co. GA 4-5 years before his death, before that he lived in NC; James Sr. d. 17 Feb. 1834 in Baldwin Co. GA, leaving no widow and only 4 children heard of in 4-5 years: James, John, Jane Harris, Edy Neely. Eady Nealy of Jasper Co. MS on 16 June 1851; John Duncan and Jane Harris of Pontotoc Co. MS on 26 July 1852; James Duncan Jr. still living 26 July 1852.
      Click here for a more extensive extract from the pension file.

"The Cherokee Wars" by Tony Hays, 1987 (FHL book 973 M22h)
      Compiled index to service records of volunteers who served in the Cherokee disturbances & removal of the late 1830s from states of GA, AL, NC & TN. These service records are not on microfilm, therefore, this listing is the only printed index for these four states available at this time.
      MAD: see that book for the index

Also see the published abstracts and indexes to military records by Virgil D. White and others for Duncans who served in the various wars.

Many early NC state and county records, newspapers, and Bibles have been published in books by various authors and the DAR. The Quaker records have been published by William W. Hinshaw and others. Periodicals by NC Historical or Genealogical Societies have also published state and county records.

Many North Carolina counties have had recent "Heritage" books published in the 1980's and 1990's, similar to the early County Histories, with biographies of early residents compiled by current descendants.

1905-1917 "Biographical History of NC" Vol.1-8, by Ashe, Weeks & Van Noppen (FHL book 975.6 D3a)
      No Duncan biography indexed, no detailed index

1900-1903 "NC Historical and Genealogical Register" 3 vols, by James R.B. Hathaway (Vol.1 & 3, FHL book 975.6 D25n; Vol.2, FHL film 1,033,858)
   Vol.2 (FHL film 1,033,868)
      Abstract of Chowan Co. NC Wills (p.1): Littlejohn, William, Edenton, Mch. 23, 1812, June term 1817; cousin Alexander Littlejohn, atty at law, Stirling North Britain in trust for my sister Mrs. Jean Duncan; my children, sons Thomas Blount Littlejohn, Joseph Blount Littlejohn, John Wilson Littlejohn, and son-in-law John Little exec; Test. John W. Littlejohn, Jos. Blount, Edmund Hoskins, Nath'l. Bond. (pg.10)
      Soldiers of NC Continental Line, Rev. War: 1st Reg., Thos. Clark, Colonel: Duncan, Jesse, pt. Reid's Co., May '76, 2-1/2 yrs, Disc'd. May 28, '79. (pg.583)
      Soldiers of NC Continental Line, Rev. War: 4th Reg., Thomas Polk Colonel: Duncan, Robt., P.Mr., '97 Omt'd Jan. 1778. (pg.584)
   Vol.3 (FHL book 975.6 D25n)
      NC Gleanings in England, by Lothrop Withington 1903 and unprinted manuscripts of Mr. Henry Fitzgilbert Waters. ... John Dalrymple, Esq., second lawful son of Sir John Dalrymple of Courland in the Kingdom of Scotland, Barronet. Will 25 Feb. 1742-3, proved 8 Oct. 1767. All estate of lands, slaves, goods &c to beloved wife Martha Dalrymple and in case I survive Martha Dalrymple, then to be sold and one third to my good Friend The Honourable Roger Moore Esq. and the other two thirds to be divided amongst my dearly beloved brothers and sisters, vizt., William Watters, Joseph Watters, John Watters, Samuel Watters, Sarah Tillingham and Elizabeth Howes. Lastly, I will that the Plantation of Spring Garden be appraised and that the Name of Watters beginning with the Eldest may have the first offer of buying it. Execs. Martha Dalrymple, Honourable Roger Moore Esq., William and Joseph Watters. Wit. Jno. Swann, Geo. Lockhart, George Moore. Admin. of John Dalrymple late of Brunswick County in the Province of North Carolina and a reduced Captain of Sir William Pepperel's Regiment of Foot, Esq., deceased, for purpose of sueing from Richard Crosdill of Petty France in parish of St. Margaret, Westminster, or his Representatives all money due by virtue of two separate Letters of Attorney from said John Dalrymple dated 24 and 25 Nov. 1760 on account of 3% Annuities erected by Act of 25th King George the Second and for half pay due said John Dalrymple deceased as a reduced Captain in Sir William Peperill's late Reg., but no further, granted to Alexander Duncan, attorney of Martha Dalrymple, widow, the relict of deceased and only surviving executor, now residing in Brunswick Co. aforesaid, Hon. Roger Moore Esq., William Watters and Joseph Watters other executors dying without taking execution. 12 Dec. 1787, administration with will annexed of John Dalrymple, late of Brunswick Co. in the State (Ed: sic) of NC, late reduced captain in Sir William Peperill's late Reg. of Foot, left unadministered by Alexander Duncan, deceased, attorney of Martha Dalrymple deceased, relict, surviving executor and universal legatee granted to Elizabeth Dalrymple otherwise Hamilton Maegill, widow administratrix with will and codicil annexed of aforesaid Martha Dalrymple. Legard, 369 (MAD: apparently source of the documents). (pg.465-6)
      Soldiers of NC Continental Line, Rev. War: 10th Reg., Abraham Shepard Col. (pg.97):
            Duncan, Wm., pt. Hogg's Co., Apl. 20, '76, 2-1/2 yrs, Dischgd. Oct. 19 '78.
            Duncan, Geo., pt. Hogg's Co., Apl. 20, '76, 2-1/2 yrs, Dischgd. Oct. 19 '78.
            Duncan, Peter, Sergt., Sharp's Co., May 30, '81, 12 mo., Omt'd in '81.
            Duncan, Geo., pt. Bailey's Co., May 2, '81, 12 mo, left service May 29, '82.
            Duncan, Elijah, pt. Taylor's Co., Musd. Feby. '79, destd. Apl. '79.
      Tyrrel Co. NC Marriage Bonds: 1779, Davenport, Jacob, & Elizabeth Duncan, Feb. 17, Jno. Snell. (pg.110)
      Abstract of Wills of Perquimans Co. NC (pg.195)
            Weekes, Elizabeth, March 3, 1778; Feb. Court 1793. Son Joseph Barclift, son William Weeks, son Wilson, my 4 daus; sons Joseph Barclift & Wilson Weeks, Execs; test Sarah Dunken, John Saunders, Mary Saunders.
            Weekes, Thomas, Nov. 2, 1762; April court 1763. Youngest sons James and Wilson, sons John, Thomas, Benjamin & Samuel Weekes, Grand-dau. Sarah Roberts, dau-in-law Lavinia Barclift; wife Elizabeth and sons Thomas & Benjamin execs.; teste Robert Cox, Joshua Morris, Benj. Roberts.

1880 "The History of Miami County, Ohio : containing a history of the county; its cities, towns, etc.; general and local statistics; portraits of early settlers and prominent men; history of the Northwest Territory; history of Ohio ...." by W.H. Beers (Sacramento FHC book; FHL book 977.148 H2 and film 962,534 item 1) (MAD: See Newberry Co. SC)
      Pg.505: Spring Creek Twp.: SAMUEL Duncan, b. 9 Nov. 1815 in Miami Co., son of Amos Duncan b. in N.C. 27 Feb. 1782, in 1805 to Greene Co. OH, where he mar. Rachel Coats (b. NC), in 1808 to Miami Co. where died 1 July 1868, his wife in 1843. ...
      Pg.645: Monroe Twp.: JOHN Duncan, son of Amos Duncan who came to this township 1807, native of NC, married in Greene Co. Elizabeth Beal, probably in 1806. Had three children, Isaac, Elizabeth and Amos. His wife died a few years after coming to this county, and he married (2nd) Rachel Coates in 1812 or 1813. Had five children, John, Samuel, Nelson, Moses and Sarah; last two are dead. Mrs. Duncan died in 1855, her husband in 1873. ....

1878 "History of Morgan Co. IL" pub. by Donnelley, Loyd & Co. Publ. (FHL book 977.346 H2h)
      Pg.544: "Morgan County Directory" DUNCAN, J.C., farmer and stockraiser, Sec. 24, P.O. Waverly. Mr. D. was born in North Carolina, May, 1840. His parents, moving to Virginia, he there remained until he attained his 14th year, when he went to Missouri, where his mother died. The father, not altogether pleased with the prospect in Missouri, removed to Virginia. Of a restless, stirring disposition, however, prior to the rebellion he made his way to Illinois, where he lived in the several counties of Morgan, Sangamon and Macoupin. J.C., who heads this sketch, married Mrs. Arminda J. Allis, relict of Richard Allis, and a daughter of Andrew J. Stice, an old pioneer of this county. Mrs. Duncan died April 27, 1878, leaving to the care of her husband five children: Clara A., Ira J., Irwin L., Minnie A., and Chas. W.


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