Duncans in Winnebago Co. IL


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

Last revised February 5, 2014

Formed 1836 from Jo Daviess
Boone formed 1837 from Winnebago
Stephenson formed 1837 from Jo Daviess, Winnebago


1840 Winnebago Co. IL Census
      No Duncan indexed

1850 Winnebago Co. IL Census
Pg.421, #56-59, Henry DUNCAN 35 CT carpenter $600
                  Mary 35 CT
                  Frances (f) 14 NY
                  Mary 11, Henrietta 9 OH
                  Juliett 3 IL

1860 Winnebago Co. IL Census
Town of Peccatonica
Pg.64, #454-461, John A. DUNCAN 25 PA Editor of Independe. $0-$800
                  Virginia 20 OH
                  Elizabeth 6/12 IL
                  (MAD: J.E. Duncan per biography)
                  (MAD: J.E. Duncan per biography; 1870 Lafayette Co. WI census)
Town of Rockford
Pg.345, #2537-2558, Henry DUNCAN 47 CT (occup) Ninsaforun? $3000-$2000
                  Mary G. 51 CT
                  Frances? (f) 23 "NY State"
                  Mary E. 21, Henrietta 18 OH
                  Julia E. 13 IL
                  (MAD: 1870 Cook Co. IL census, Chicago Wd-13)
Town of Rockton
Pg.426, #3142-3152, Thomas CARPENTER 58 MA farmer $0-$700
                  Ann G. 60 NY
                  Elizabeth J. 18 MA
                  Thomas M. 22 MA farm laborer
                  Nathaniel 69 MA farmer $1500-$280
                  Nelly G. DUNCAN 5 IL
Pg.426, #3146-3156, Lewis FAIRCHILD 35 NY farmer $0-$595
                  Lucinda 34 NY
                  Melvin 12, Emery 10, Henry 8 NY
                  Mary E. 2 WI
                  George DUNCAN 19 WI farm laborer
                  (MAD: 1850 Racine Co. WI census; one George H. Duncan was in Co.F 13th Cav., from Rockton [Winnebago Co.] IL, from IL Civil War database)

1870-1880 Winnebago Co. IL Census
      No Duncan indexed


Winnebago Co. IL Deeds (SLC 9/13/2013)
   No General Index; indexes included at front of most volumes
   Deed records, vols. A - D (to p. 247) --- ca. 1836-1843 (FHL film 2,365,073)
      A-95/97: 6 Nov. 1837, Mark Noble Jr. & Charlotte his wife of Cook Co. IL, to Thomas J. Dunkin of afsd, for $500 paid, sell tracts of land in Winnebago Town of Winnebago Co., Illinois, Lots No.1, 2, 3 and 4 in Block No.246, together with appurtenances, warrant title. /s/ Mark Noble Jr., Charlotte Noble. Wit. John Noble. Ack. before George Davis, Clerk, Cook Co. IL, 8 Nov. 1837. Filed Nov. 12, 1837, recorded Nov. 30, 1837. (FHL film 2,365,073; SLC 9/13/2013)
      No Duncan Vol.B, no index Vol.C or D
   Deed records, vols. D (cont.) - G (to p. 430) --- ca. 1843-1846 (FHL film 2,365,074) and later
      No Index Vol.C to K, no Duncan Vol.L, M, N, no index Vol.O - quit


"Reports of cases argued and determined in the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois from April and November terms 1858" ("Illinois Reports") by E. Peck, Counsellor at law, Vol.20, pg.581 to 599 (California State Law Library, Sacramento, 12/2003; see another case in La Salle Co. IL, James Duncan of New Orleans, LA)
      ALEXANDER FERGUSON et al., Appellants, vs. ASA TALLMADGE, Appellee; Supreme Court of Illinois, at Ottawa; 20 Ill. 581; April, 1858, Decided.
      Appeal from Winnebago. This bill in chancery states, that in May, 1839, a joint stock company was formed at Aberdeen, Scotland, to loan money to persons in the United States, desirous to purchase lands at the government sales, particularly in Illinois, called "The Aberdeen North American Investment and Loan Company." Its affairs were under the direction of D. Chalmers, Littlejohn, Yeates, Catto, Williamson, A. Smith, C. Chalmers, Farquahar and Foulerton, residing in Aberdeen and its vicinity. On 10th of May, 1839, these directors entered into an agreement under seal, with one William Taylor, then of Thomaston, Scotland, appointing him manager of the company's business in America, for the term of five years, and Taylor covenanted to proceed to the United States, and continue in the service of the company for five years, and to act as manager, for a salary stipulated in the agreement, and would not enter into or be concerned with any transaction whatever in business in. America, in his own name or that of another, and that all investments in America which should be made in his name or another's for his behalf should be held to be made with the funds and for the behalf of the company.
      The directors furnished Taylor with a large amount of money, with which he came to Illinois, to loan the same to persons desirous of borrowing it to purchase public lands at government sales thereof, upon the security of such lands. For that purpose he attended previous to and at a land sale at Chicago, previous to the sale at Galena, afterwards mentioned in the bill, and loaned a large number of thousand dollars to a great many persons, to enter lands at the sale, at the rate of thirty-three and a third per cent. interest to the year or higher, and to secure the payment of the loan and interest, had the lands bid off in his own name, and gave the purchasers thereof contracts to convey the legal title to their lands respectively upon the repayment of the loan and interest, in the same printed form as the contract between Taylor and complainant, afterwards mentioned in the bill, the parcels entered lying in McHenry, Boone, De Kalb and La Salle counties.
      For two or three years previous to the land sale at Galena, in the latter part of October, 1839, complainant was settled upon a tract of land in the county of Winnebago, consisting of south half of section thirty-four and west half of section thirty-five, township forty-five north, range two east, third principal meridian, containing six hundred and forty acres. He had a preemption right to a quarter section of it, by residence, and had improvements thereon of considerable value. The tract, including improvements, was then worth $2,000; and he held the whole tract as his claim, according to custom. He intended to acquire the legal title by purchase from the government, for his own benefit, when it should be sold, and he held possession for that purpose. A sale of lands, including this section, was proclaimed by the president, at Galena, about 24th October, 1839, but the proclamation was known in the vicinity only about six weeks previous to the sale. ...
      Complainant went to Galena shortly before the commencement of the sale, for the purpose of effecting a loan from Taylor to purchase the two half sections at the usual rate of $1.25 per acre. Complainant made application to Taylor, to lend him $800 for that purpose, to which he readily consented, and thereupon a discussion arose as to the rate of interest; whereupon Taylor stated to complainant that he had loaned money to all others at the rate of thirty-three and a third per cent. or more, and that he would lend to complainant at no lower rate. Having no other resource, complainant was obliged to comply, or lose his improvements, and the chance of entering the half sections, and was forced to and did consent to borrow the $800 at the rate of thirty-three and a third per cent. by the year, to be paid in four installments, or fifty per cent. for one year, if complainant desired to pay it in one year. ... (MAD: more not included here)
      Patents were issued to Taylor; and about April, 1842, he died at New Orleans, having 4th September, 1841, made and published at New Orleans, a paper purporting to be his will, whereby he bequeathed pecuniary legacies to several relatives, payable out of his personal property; and he inserted a clause purporting to leave and bequeath the residue of his estate whatsoever to the defendant Ferguson, of St. Louis, and James Duncan, of New Orleans, and appointed them and defendants Farquhar, G. Porter, G. Taylor and W. Primrose, his executors.
      The will was not attested by two witnesses, as required by statute of this state, nor by any witness whatsoever, so that it was insufficient to convey land or any interest therein lying in this state. The will was not admitted to probate in this state.
      At Taylor's decease, the first three installments only had fallen due, and no part had been paid; and after his decease, there was no person in this state authorized to receive the money, nor was there any person authorized to release or convey the legal title to the land.
      The directors of the loan company, on the 8th of February, 1845, filed in this circuit court their bill in equity, setting forth the contract between them and Taylor, and that Taylor received from them a large amount of money for investment in the United States, with which he came to Illinois as manager; that defendant Ferguson, of St. Louis, when the bill was filed, was appointed accountant; that Taylor, at divers times, entered with those moneys divers tracts of land in Illinois, in Winnebago, Boone, McHenry, DeKalb, Whiteside, Rock Island, La Salle, Kane and Madison counties, specified in schedules, including the half sections purchased by complainant as aforesaid, amounting to fifty-three half quarter sections in Winnebago, forty-five in Boone, fifty-four in McHenry, twenty-seven in DeKalb, seventeen in Whiteside, twelve in Rock Island, fifteen in La Salle, twenty in Kane, and one in Madison; that Taylor, in direct violation of the agreement, purchased and took the title to those lands in his own name, and not in his and Ferguson's, as manager and accountant, as he ought to have done, and thereby Taylor became trustee of the directors, and was bound to convey the lands as they might appoint; that after the purchase of the tracts, Taylor made several contracts in his own name for sale of portions thereof, which were outstanding and unperformed; that about the 4th September, 1841, Taylor, at New Orleans, made his will, appointing Ferguson one of said directors, George Porter of Aberdeen, George Taylor, of 93d regiment, British army, William Primrose, of Harrisburg, Pa., Ferguson and James Duncan, of New Orleans, his executors; that he made several bequests in money, specified in the said bill; and that the residue of his estate, of whatever kind, he left and bequeathed to Ferguson and Duncan, after paying debts and funeral expenses; that he directed his executors in six months to sell sufficient of his personal property to pay the legacies, so as to leave Ferguson and Duncan in the undisturbed possession of the residue of his estate. A copy of the will was annexed. That about April, 1842, Taylor died at New Orleans, leaving Isabella Taylor, his mother, his said brother George, his sisters, Ellspet Porter and Elizabeth Primrose, his only heirs him surviving, and sufficient personal individual estate to pay the legacies without resorting to real estate; that the will was, on the 22d of April, 1842, admitted to probate and record in New Orleans, but no letters testamentary had ever been granted, nor administration had; that after the probate, Duncan died at New Orleans, leaving heirs or devisees unknown to the directors. The directors insisted that, notwithstanding the devise to Ferguson and Duncan, the lands in equity belonged to them as directors and trustees of the company, and they had an equitable and legal right to require them to be conveyed as they might appoint, to be disposed of for the benefit of the company. They made Isabella Taylor, Elizabeth Primrose, and William Primrose, her husband, Ellspet Porter, and George Porter, her husband, Ferguson and the unknown heirs and devisees of Duncan, defendants; required them to answer without oath, and prayed that the lands might be conveyed to Ferguson.
      The defendants were brought in by advertisement only, and at April term, 1845, the bill was taken as confessed, and without proofs a decree was made, declaring that Taylor purchased the lands with the moneys of the directors as such directors, and in trust for them; that said persons named as his heirs were his heirs; that the real estate of Taylor was devised to Duncan and Ferguson; that the heirs of Duncan were unknown; that a conveyance of all the interest the defendants might have in any of the tracts ought to be made by them to Ferguson, in trust for the directors; that the trust in Taylor and his representatives for said directors be established; that what Ferguson had by the devise be held by him in trust for the directors, for their exclusive benefit; and that defendants should, by 24th of April, release to Ferguson.
      No release was made. James M. Wight was appointed commissioner, and in May, 1845, executed a deed in conformity to the decree, which was confirmed 19th of August, 1845. Under color of that conveyance, Ferguson ousted defendant Tallmadge in November, 1846. In 1848, Ferguson negotiated with defendant Robert Smith, for the east half of the southwest quarter, and the east half of the northeast quarter of section 35, township 45 north, range 2 east of the third principal meridian, containing 160 acres. (MAD: much more not included here)
      CATON, C. J. Admitting that the original arrangement between Tallmadge and Taylor amounted to a loan of money, and that the title was made to Taylor in trust for Tallmadge, and to secure the money loaned, and it does not advance the case for the complainant in the least, till he brings home notice of those facts to the subsequent purchasers. The papers, on their face, show simply an entry by Taylor of the land at the land office, and afterwards an agreement to sell the land to Tallmadge, on a credit of one, two, three and four years, making time of the essence of the contract. After the expiration of the term of credit, the payments not having been made, the parties holding the title of Taylor, brought ejectment against Tallmadge, and recovered of him the possession of the premises. After this the present owners purchased the premises, paid the purchase money, took conveyances and possession and made improvements, long before this bill was filed. It is unnecessary to examine whether the defendants purchased with a knowledge of the original contract of sale from Taylor to Tallmadge, for there is not, in the whole of this record, any fair pretense for saying that they had any notice of the secret parol understanding which would change it from an agreement to sell into a security for a loan. If they were chargeable with notice of anything, it was with the rights of the parties as they appeared on the face of the papers. If they knew that Tallmadge had a contract for the purchase of the land from Taylor, they also knew that he had forfeited all rights under that contract by not complying with its terms, and had even been ejected from the premises. If he had any equities by which he was entitled to enforce a conveyance of the land, not apparent on the face of the papers, it was due to third persons that he should have interposed these equities in a proper mode at the time he was sued in ejectment. When he let judgment go against him in that action, without a pretense of either a legal or an equitable claim to the land, and without even a struggle -- when he afterwards abandoned the possession of and tore down the house, and carried off the fences, and left it without improvements -- when he proclaimed publicly that he intended to have no more to do with the land, and advised others to purchase of Ferguson and Primrose -- the subsequent purchasers certainly had a right to suppose that they were getting a title divested of any claim which he might have had to the premises. The decree in this case will have to be reversed and the bill dismissed.


Madison Co. IL Deed (SLC 12/12/2013)
      27-455/457: 13 Sept. 1845, James M. Wight, a special commissioner appointed by circuit court of Winnebago Co. in the Chancery Suit on behalf of Isabella Taylor, George Taylor, William Primrose and Elizabeth Primrose his wife, George Porter and Elspet Porter his wife, and unknown heirs and devisees of James Duncan decd, to release and convey to Alexander Ferguson all the interest which the said Isabella Taylor, George Taylor, William Primrose and Elizabeth Primrose his wife, George Porter and Elspet Porter his wife, and the unknown heirs and devisees of James Duncan decd. all or any of them have or by any possibility might have to several tracts or parcels of land of the first part, to Alexander Ferguson of City of St.Louis, MO. Whereas David Chalmers, William Sitle?, John George Grals, Robert Cotler, Peter Williamson, Alexander Foulertan, Alexander Smith, Thos. Chalmers and Nathaniel Huguhon? as directors of the Aberdeen North American Investment and Loan Company, lately, on 8 Feb. 1845, filed their bill of complaint on the chancery side of said Circuit Court of Winnebago Co. against Isabella Taylor, George Taylor, William Primrose and Elizabeth Primrose his wife, George Porter and Elspet Porter his wife, Alexander Ferguson, and the unknown heirs and devisees of James Duncan decd, setting forth that one William Taylor late of city of St.Louis decd, in his lifetime as agent of the complainants but in his own name purchased diverse parcels of land in Winnebago Co. IL, and after purchase, William Taylor died seized of the legal title of said land but as trustee of said complainant ... leaving as his heirs at law Isabella Taylor, George Taylor, Elizabeth Primrose wife of William Primrose and Elspet Porter wife of George Porter, that said William Taylor by his last will devised his real estate to Alexander Ferguson afsd and to James Duncan now decd but then of city of New Orleans LA, which will after the death of said William Taylor was duly admitted to probate and recorded in the Parish and city of New Orleans, LA, and after the admission of the will to probate, the said James Duncan had died, the heirs and division unknown to said complainants, the complainants praying the Court of Chancery would decree the said Isabella Taylor, George Taylor, William Primrose and Elizabeth his wife, George Porter and Elspet his wife, Alexander Ferguson, and the unknown heirs and devisees of James Duncan decd, to convey and release the tracts of land to Alexander Ferguson or such other persons ... and the Circuit Court on Chancery sitting on 21 April 1845 by its decree ... required ... to make a deed to Alexander Ferguson ... and they having neglected to do this, ... appointed a special commissioner, James M. Wight, in behalf of (the above), for $1, sell tracts or parcels of land in Madison Co. IL, equal undivided 1/4 of W 1/2 SW 1/4 Sec.27 and equal undivided 1/2 of N 1/2 NW 1/4 Sec.34 Twp.3 Range 1W, with appurtenances ... to Alexander Ferguson. /s/ James M. Wight. Wit. S.M. Church. Ack. 13 Sept. 1845 before Selden M. Church, Clerk, Winnebago Co. IL. Recorded Oct. 20, 1845. (FHL film 484,059)

Ogle Co. IL Deeds (FHL film 1,415,810; SLC 12/11/2013)
      M-235/236: 6 Feb. 1854, Henry H. Duncan and Mary Duncan his wife of town of Rockford, Winnebago Co. IL, to Thomas W. Updike of town of Elida, county & state afsd, for $100 paid, sell parcel of land in town of Byron, Ogle Co. IL, 25 acres and 8/100 of an acre from off W end or side of SW 1/4 NW 1/4 Sec.4 Twp.25N Range 11E, with appurtenances, warrant title. /s/ Henry Duncan, Mary Duncan. Wit. Duncan Ferguson. Ack.6 Feb. 1854 before Duncan Ferguson, Notary Public for Winnebago Co. IL. Filed March 2, 1854. (FHL film 1,415,810)
      O-216/217: 31 Jan. 1855, Henry Duncan and Mary Duncan his wife and Thomas W. Updike and Julia A. Updike his wife, Winnebago Co. IL, to George W. Weaver of Schohari Co. New York, for $200 paid, sell tract or parcel of land in town of Byron, Ogle Co. IL, 15 acres from off the E end or side of SW 1/4 NW 1/4 Sec.4 Twp.25 Range 11E, with appurtenances, warrant title. /s/ Henry Duncan, Mary Duncan, T.W. Updike, Julia A. Updike. Ack. 31 Jan. 1855 before Reuben Alwirde?, J.P. for Winnebago Co. IL. Filed Feb. 5?, 1855. (FHL film 1,415,810; SLC 12/11/2013)

HISTORIES before 1923

1877 "The History of Winnebago County, Illinois, Its Past and Present" pub. by H.F. Kett (FHL book 977.331 H2h, and film 1,000,524 item 5, and fiche 6,334,325)
      Pg.385, Newspapers etc.: "Pecatonica Independent," established May, 1859, at Pecatonica, by J.E. Duncan. Its publication was continued for a little over a year, when the office was removed to Darlington [Lafayette Co.], Wisconsin.
      Pg.536, Winnebago Co. Directory. Rockford City: CHARLES WORKS, Justice of the Peace, Conveyancer and Collecting Agent; office E. State st.; residence 501 Seminary st.; East Side; born in Westmoreland, NH, Nov. 24, 1803; lived in Dutchess Co. NY from 1827 to 1830; from 1830 to 1834 in Oswego Co.; came to Ottawa, IL, in 1834; lived there until Feb. 1836 when he came to Rockford, where he has resided since that time; he was one of the first voters at the first election in Winnebago Co.; was first Supervisor of Guilford Twp.; elected in 1850; Assessor of same Twp one year; ... First wife was Mary L. Kellogg of Mexico, NY, married in 1832; she died in 1843; they had one son, Wm. W., who enlisted in the First Board of Trade Regt., Chicago, in 1862, and was killed at Vicksburg, May 19, 1863; second wife was Jeannette S. Duncan; married in 1846; she died in 1862; three children living by this marriage, Chas. A., Mary H. and Laura J.; present wife was Mrs. Ann D. Wheeler; married in 1865. (MAD: Charles Works mar. Mrs. Jennet Duncan 9/20/1846 Winnebago Co. IL)

"History of Rockford and Winnebago County, Illinois : from the first settlement in 1834 to the Civil War" by Charles A. Church; pub. Rockford, Ill.: New England Society, 1900, 405 pgs. (LH6210, HeritageQuest images 4/2007; FHL film 1,000,524 item 7)
      Pg.221: The Pecatonia "Independent" was established in May, 1859, by J.E. Duncan. Its publication was continued a little more than a year, when the plant was removed to Darlington, Wisconsin. (MAD: Pecatonia, Winnebago Co. IL)

"History of McHenry County, Illinois" by special authors and contributors; pub. Chicago: Munsell Pub. Co., 1922, 1076 pgs. (LH12098, HeritageQuest images 4/2007; FHL film 1,000,504)
      Chapter IV, Land Titles, by George W. Lemmers. ... Pg.38-43:
About 4,000 acres of land in McHenry County and also in Boone and Winnebago, just over the county lines. William Taylor was sent to the country from Scotland to buy land and died here after many peculiar experiences. The language of the documents left in the recorder's office of McHenry County .... The first document bares no date of execution, but is a power-of-attorney given by David Chalmers, William Littlejohn, George Yeates, Robert Catto, Peter Williamson, Alex Fonlerton, Alexander Smith, Charles Chalmers, and Nathaniel Farquhar to one Alexander Ferguson to act as the agent for what was known as the North American Investment and Loan Company, of which they were the directors.
      The power of attorney (MAD's extract) that by contract dated 8th and 10th of May 1839, between parties of the first part as named above, and William Taylor who has since deceased, it was agreed that the directors of the company having engaged the said William Taylor as Manager of the Company's business in America for five years, Taylor to go to North America, and invest Two Thousand Pounds Sterling in the original Capital Stock of the company, and Taylor makes over to the company for the time being the whole property of whatever description which he may afterwards acquire in North America, ... that Taylor did go to the United States and purchased sundry tracts or parcels of land in the State of Illinois, and that titles to the land were taken by William Taylor in his own name and so remain of record, and that the said William Taylor has since departed this life; therefore this indenture made and entered into in 1844 between the parties of the first part and Alexander Ferguson, all the title to lands not already conveyed by deed from William Taylor to the parties above. And the parties direct that the executors, administrators or heirs at law of the said William Taylor, deceased, to convey to the said Alexander Ferguson whatever legal title they acquired to the lands. The parties appoint Alexander Ferguson their agent and attorney in fact. ... Document was acknowledged December 31, 1844, in City of Aberdeen, Kingdom of Great Britain.
      Conveyance by commissioner's deed which indicates that some litigation followed William Taylor ... (MAD's extract) Deed recites that, whereas David Chalmers, William Littlejohn, George Yeats, Robert Catto, Peter Williamson, Alexander Fonlerton, Alexander Smith, Charles Chalmers and Nathan Farquhar, as Directors of the Aberdeen North American Investment and Loan Company, on the 8th of February 1845 filed their bill of Complaint on the Chancery side of the said Circuit Court of Winnebago County against Isabella Taylor, George Taylor, William Primrose, and Elizabeth Primrose, his wife, George Porter and Elspet, his wife, Alexander Ferguson and the unknown heirs and devisees of James Duncan, deceased, therein setting forth, among other things, that one William Taylor, late of the City of St. Louis, deceased, as agent of the Complainant in the Bill of Complaint named, ... but in his own name, purchased all the tracts and parcels of land ... described. That after the purchase of the land, William Taylor died seized of the legal title, but as Trustee for the said Complainant, leaving as his heirs at law Isabella Taylor, George Taylor, Elizabeth Primrose, wife of William Primrose, Elspet Porter, wife of George Porter; that William Taylor in his (pg.42) last Will and Testament, devised all his real estate to Alexander Ferguson aforesaid and to James Duncan, now deceased, but then of the City of New Orleans, in said State of Louisiana; that after the admission of said Will to Probate the said James Duncan had died and that the names of his heirs and devisees were unknown to said Complainants; that the said Complainants also therein praying that the said Court of Chancery would decree the said Isabella Taylor, Geogre (MAD: sic) Taylor, William Primrose and Elizabeth, his wife; George Porter and Elspet, his wife; Alexander Ferguson and the unknown Heirs and Devisees of James Duncan, deceased, that each and every of them to convey and release by Deed the said several tracts of land to Alexander Ferguson, or to such other person or persons as the said Complainants might ... On the 21st day of April at the April term of said Court in the said year 1845, such proceedings were had that the said Court... fully established the said trusts in the said William Taylor in his life time and after his death in the said Isabella Taylor, George Taylor, William Primrose and Elizabeth, his wife, George Porter and Elspet, his wife, and the unknown Heirs and Devisees of James Duncan, deceased, by the 24th of April, aforesaid, by good and sufficient Deeds of Conveyance, to convey and release to the said Alexander Ferguson ... On the 26th day of April, by further order and decree of said Court ... appointed a Special Commissioner to make the deed. (MAD: see Winnebago and LaSalle Co. IL court case)


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