Duncans in Washington Co. TN


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

Last revised December 23, 2010


"From the Court of the Watagua Association, 1772" (book in bottom cellar at Washington Co. TN courthouse in Jonesborough; from Charles Gordon 8/1984)
      Records of Oct. 16, 1775: (CJG: apparently taxables)
      William Dunkham, 17-6-4
      John Calaham, 20-0-0

Washington Co. TN; Jonesboro Educational Society records Aug. 1885 - Jan. 1923 (FHL film 825,501 item 2)
      C.A. Duncan an original member (1885)

Baptist Churches of Washington and Sullivan Co. TN 1845-1927 (TN State Library film #327; from Joyce Colliflower 8/1989)
      Limestone Meeting House (Muddy Creek), Washington Co. TN; 26 Dec. 1841, appointed a board of managers ... John Duncan.
      Obion (Mion?) Meeting House, Washington Co. TN; 27 Dec. 1846, Education society convened and was organized ... appointing Elder Rees Bayles chairman ... Board of managers includes Thomas Duncan, Phillip Moulky, John Spurgen, Joseph Duncan.
      Names of Contributors 1845-1846 includes "John Duncan paid 2.00"

Duncan-Melvin Cemetery, Knob Creek, Washington Co. TN (from Treva Lefler 6/1988)
      She received a letter from Mrs. George (Margaret Sherfy) Holley; they own the Charles Duncan log home and found his tombstone in the Duncan-Melvin graveyard after the graveyard was cleared in 1985. They are now keeping it mowed. The Duncans and Melvins that have marked stones are as follows:
      Chas. Duncan, b. 1748 - d. 1818
      Sarah Duncan, Jan. 16, 1816 - Aug. 1889
      Ralph Melvin, Apr. 22, 1806 - Jan. 28, 1823
      Mahala Melvin, Oct. 29, 1804 - Mar. 7, 1875
      Susanna Melvin, June 10, 1810 - July 15, 1872
      Mary E. Melvin, Oct. (blank) 1863 - Apr. 13, 1938
      { Margaret Melvin, Mar. 27, 1848 - Dec. 25, 1915
      { William Melvin, Nov. 29, 1853 - Mar. 3, 1919
      Stacy A. Melvin, Jan. 18, 1857 - May 25, 1933
      { James R. Melvin, Jan. 2, 1817 - Oct. 22, 1887
      { Nancy E. (wife), Oct. 23, 1823 - Nov. 11, 1871
      Raleigh Melvin, son of J.R. & N.E., Oct. 28 ____ - Sept. 28 ____
      There are numerous limestone markers, no dates.
      Also there was a Bill Melvin and he had a grist mill on Knob Creek, was a bachelor and was the son of Squire Jim Melvin.

Cemeteries of Greene, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington Co. TN 1780-1960 (TN State Library film #320; from Joyce Colliflower 8/1989; incomplete)
      Deed for the land for Fall Branch Baptist Church Cemetery, mentions "the old Duncan grant; called "Old Cemetery". Wash. Co. TN deed 32-81/82: 10 June 1847, reg. 4 March 1850, Jesse H. Crouch to Eldredge G. Edwards, 103a in 13th Civil Dist. of Washington Co. TN on the Fall Branch of Horse Creek, adj. lands of John Vincent, James Hall, John Hall and others, adj. A. Millers corner, east bank of Fall Branch, John Vincent's corner, corner to the old Duncan tract, thence with Vincent's line ..., James Hall's line, John Hall's corner and line, except that portion deeded to Fall Branch Church for a burying ground ... Wit. E.W. Headrick, James Wright.

Typed copy of letter, typed by Barbara D. Spurgin, Feb. 13, 1975 (from Larry Spurgin 4/1984; MAD's spacing)
      (from:) Dr. Geo. R. Duncan, Express Office, Fordtown, TN. Fall Branch, TN, April 16, 1913. (To) Miss Celia Spurgin, Bristol, TN. My dear Miss Spurgin,
      In answer to your inquiry in regard to the Duncans in this part of the Country I am fearful that I can not give you very much information as my parents both died when I was very young. I know that the Lucy Parker- and your Grand Mother Rosanna Spurgin were Sisters of my Father Rice Duncan and Uncle Horlan. My brother Dr. S.V. Duncan went also to Iowa and settled in Pleasantville - Perhaps if your parents settled near where Aunt Lucy lived that you also knew - my brother out there. He lives in Dallas Texas at the present time. Uncle Horlan died many years ago - & his 2 sons John & Richard went to Kentucky near Glassco. He had 2 daughters. The oldest Fannie married a Hall - they are both dead and their children are scattered. The other one married a Ford. She died but left no children. There were 6 of my family 5 boys & 1 girl. John S. the oldest went to Ill - before the war & was killed in a R.R. wreck about 28 years ago. His widow lives at Bluff City Ill- They have 2 children a boy McClelland who lives some where in Mo. The girl Eleanor married a R.R. man by the name of Burke. I have not heard from them in 2 or 3 years & don't know where they are. The next Dr. S.V. lives at Dallas Texas, only has one child Dr. Miles who also lives in Dallas. William died in the Confederate. Nam (?) married a Ford moved to Texas both are dead. Their children in Dallas Co. Texas. Jos. lives near Brownsboro in this Washington County. His children are all married & scattered. I have 8 children 5 girls & 3 boys. The oldest Dr. O.R. is located at Fordtown in the same Co Bristol is. 2 in Col. 1 in Oregon. 3 girls live at home and 1 married & lives a few miles a way.
      Your great great grand father on your grand mother Duncan had I think 5 brothers one of located near the place where my son Dr. O.R. is located. His family are all gone from here save one great grand son J.E. Duncan who lives in the neighborhood. One went to what is Madison Co. Tenn. I know nothing of his family. One went to what is now known as Blont Co. He has a great grand at Knoxvile John Duncan & one George at Knoxville, one settled in what is known as Lusbury settlement in this Washington Co. the other one was killed by the Indians & is buried in this Co. near the mouth of Boons-Creek on the Walanger River. They all came to this Country with the old Beans. So I guess I might have the right & pleasure to call you Cousin Celia. If you can I would be pleased to have you visit me & come to Bristol some time and if you remain there any length of time I will hunt you up.
      With best wishes I am yours most Respt.      Geo. R. Duncan
      You will please look over bad writing as I am 65 years old am sort of an invalid.

Handwritten pages, apparently by Henry R. or Mary Deaderick Duncan, no date; from Henry R. and Mary Deaderick Duncan Collection, McClung Historical Collection, Lawson McGhee Library, Knoxville TN (copy from Mary Sutton 7/1984)
      Washington Co. Tenn. Bible record-
      1. Joseph Duncan - born Jan 6 1733. Was a revolutionary soldier. His wife was Ann Shaw.
      2. This second Joseph must have been a grandson of 1st Joseph.
      Joseph Duncan Born Feb. 27, 1818 and married a Miss Robertson Oct. 13, 1842. To this union were born 5 children- Bob, Jim, Hester Mrs. Walker (Bob Walkers mother), Jane now Mrs. Deakins (still living), Mrs. Beard. His second wife was Miss Ester Barkley. They had six children (MAD: ERROR; see Bible of Robert A. Duncan)
      1. Joseph D. in Jonesboro 1st married Mattie Carson who died when their daughter Mattie was born. (The daughter) she is now Mrs. S.C. Beard of Bristor. His second wife is Miss Byers.
      2. Lizzie married a Mr. Bacon, had 3 sons, she is dead
      3. Flora married Mr. Will Crookshanks. They had 3 children Ada (Mrs. Boyd) (had one daughter) Oak Crookshanks. He married a Miss Hunt they had 3 children - Bess (Mrs. Kirkpatrick) three living children Anna (Mrs. Hunt) Will & Helen.
      4. David married in the west had three children.
      5. Will never married
      6. Minnie (Mrs. Hart of Johnson City) has 6 children.
      James Duncan - Born Jan 8 1790
      Margaret Duncan, ", Aug 2, 1792
      Sarah Duncan, ", Jan 31, 1796
      Andrew Duncan, ", July 26 1799
      The book doesn't say who was these childrens father. Could he have been the old Joseph 1733 and it doesn't mention his 2 brothers -- I copyed all that was in the bible. As you see the record is very incomplete and very little satisfaction in it.

Loose pages in Duncan file; from Henry R. and Mary Deaderick Duncan Collection, McClung Historical Collection, Lawson McGhee Library, Knoxville TN; (handwritten copy from Mary B. Sutton 7/1984)
      Joseph Duncan and Andrew Duncan were brothers. Joseph b. Jan. 6, 1733, m. Anna Shaw, to Washington Co., Tenn. Andrew b. 1738 m. ----, 13 children: 6 sons, 7 daus., to Blount Co., Tenn.
      1. James S. Duncan, b. 8/25/1782 d. 1834, Big Springs Church Cemetery (MBS: there is a Big Springs in Blount Co. with Duncans in it); m. Mary Mitchell, b. 1788, 9 children. His wife moved to Iowa with 6 children.
      2. Samuel Duncan, b. 2/3/1786; Elizabeth Carmichel; 11 children. George, wife & dau. died in Blount Co., buried near Sweetwater, Tenn.
      3. John Calvin Duncan, b. 1789, m. Rachel Duncan (cousin), moved to Iowa.
      4. Alexander, 1790.
      5. Frank, 1799.
      6. George, 1796, m. Nancy Jones, lived in Blount Co.
            1. Melvin 1831-1913
            2. Susan d. young
            3. Richard Jones 1836-1911
            4. Sarah Arminta 1838-1864

"Wichita Daily Times" Wichita Falls, Texas, Sept. 16th, 1909 (transcription by and from Kathy Cawley 3/2004; MAD: Washington Co. TN)
      At Grave of First White Man.
      Johnson City, Tenn., Sept. 17. -- On the banks of the Watauga river, seven miles north of this city, representatives of the state of Tennessee and of various historical societies will gather tomorrow to erect a monument to mark the grave of JESSE DUNCAN, who was killed by the Indians in 1765, and was the first white man buried in Tennessee.
      The early white settlers had a stockade fort on the Watauga river and the south fork of Holston. According to tradition the whites made an expedition into the Indian territory and when they were returning, the Indians fired on them, kiling (sp) Duncan. The dead pioneer was buried where he fell, and on the spot the memorial is to be erected.

Letter from Sarah E. Thompson to Robert Allison Russell, January 1860 (from DeVault letters, transcript from Tracy DeVault 12/20/2010 with permission to share)
      (Tracy DeVault comments: Written in January of 1860, sent from Philander, Gentry County, Missouri to Harriet Russell's brother in Leesburg, Washington Co. TN. It is probable the letter is talking about John Bovell Duncan and his wife, Harriet W. Russell, married 2/16/1846 Washington Co. TN.)
            Philander Mo Jan
      Mr. Russell
      Sir in compliance with the request of your departed sister with a sad heart I take my pen to perform the mournful task enjoined upon me. Your loved sister Harriet bid adieu to the sorrows of earth on the eight of Jan 1860. She made the request of me several months ago that when she was gone to write to you and give you all the satisfaction I could. I feel incompetent for the task, did not a sense of duty prompt me to it. I, with others, am bereaved for when lone without a home and my heart broken and bleeding, she took the lone orphan in sorrow and stricken in wore [?] and gave her a sheltering home. Spoke words of peace to bind the broken heart. God give me strength [that] I will not prove faithless in performance of the duties enjoined upon me.
      When I first come to live with her in August she was at times able to walk about, her cough was distressing. About the first of Oct she took her bed entirely. Said she never expected to be up again nor never was, except to sit a short time. About the middle of Dec she was taken worse and we had watches until she died. She suffered greatly but patiently. The reed on which she leaned was not broken. She enjoyed great peace of mind and retained her mind entirely until the last breath told us she was no more. She made requests as to the disposal of everything except her children. She could forn me flan [?]. Told Mr. Duncan to do the best he could with them. She told me once, were you differently situated, she would like for you to take Russell. But as you had the care of step brothers and sisters, she could not ask it, if she knew his father was willing to separate them.
      She made known the spot she wished to be buried and the kind of coffin she wished (plain walnut). I don't think I ever saw one so sensible in death. Spoke bravely to the last. She had her pipe and tried to smoke the last thing. She tried for relief. I wish I could tell you all you would like. When she was not so bad she often spoke of you. Sometimes her feelings would be too tender. I asked her once if she did not think you would come if she would write. Yes, she said, I know he would drop all and come, but then she said unless he could stay until the last it would be best for him not to come. Said she could not bear it.
      She said death and the cold grave had no terror. If her friends follow in her footsteps, it would be but a short time until they would be reunited, never to separate.
      I am staying with the family still. A young man and wife are staying with us. Mr. Duncan's business is in a very unsettled condition. He is deeply distressed. He first talked of taking his family to Iowa. But, upon reflection, he thought if I would remain with them, the children being used to me and attached to me, the weather being inclement, difficulty of amend, that he had best remain as he was until spring. In his present state of feeling is not capable of coming to any definite conclusion what to do. He is quite steady. Your sister had the satisfaction to see him again find peace with his sorrow and rejoice with her in a saving faith.
      All the rest of the family are well as usual. Russell was very ill when his ma died, is almost well. Joseph is deeply grieved. He is old enough to realize his loss. I fear he will be a victim to the same disease.
      Russell is standing by me. I told him I was writing to his uncle and what must he tell you. Said tell him I want to go and live with him for he is the best man in the world. Says he has not forgotten how you used to talk to the ducks. I asked little Bobby, the pet, what I should say, he said tell my uncle to be a good boy. He is a fine looking, sprightly boy.
      I have tried to do my duty to your sister. I loved her dearly. She was my dearest friend to her children despite the feel tongue of slander that may be leveled at me, I will try to fulfill her request. No one ever has treated me as tenderly, dear to me as a sister. Kindly, though a stranger, write to me on the reception. Let me know this is received. Ask me anything you care to know. I will take a pleasure in answer you.
      I have written an obituary notice. If published, we will send you a paper. Perhaps it would be a satisfaction. Mr. Duncan has gone to Albay to tend to some business. Respects and the boys love to you.
      Nothing more at present.
      } Respectfully
      } Sarah E. Thompson
Mr. A. Russell}
      P.S. Mr. Duncan has just come in. Says tell you will write soon as he gets little composed. Never had write and will soon it give the req pleasure and to my lonely heart a word of kindly cheer would be great received. you're a stranger can not a strange for you ???? has been a hose cold bard
      [TD: This last part is very hard to read.]

MAD: See "Some Duncan Families of Eastern Tennessee Before 1800" by Mary Ann (Duncan) Dobson for information and lineages about some of the Duncans in Washington Co. TN.

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