Duncans in New Hanover Co. NC


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

Last revised August 23, 2007

Formed 1729 from Craven
Bladen formed 1734 from New Hanover, Bath
Duplin formed 1749 from New Hanover
Brunswick formed 1764 from New Hanover, Bladen
Sampson formed 1784 from Duplin, New Hanover
Pender formed 1875 from New Hanover


1790 New Hanover Co. NC Census
Pg.193  Duncan, Joseph      200xx

1800-1860 New Hanover Co. NC Census
      No Duncan indexed

1870 New Hanover Co. NC Census
Holden Twp., P.O. Rocky Point
Pg.261, #99-99, DUNCAN, Louisa 56 NC keep house $1000-$600
                  Joseph 20, Patrick 18, Daniel 16 NC
                  Ennise (m) 14, Ceyla (f) 12 NC
                  (MAD: indexed "Catherine" Duncan; Louisa the widow of George W. Duncan, made will 1872, died Pender Co. NC)
City of Wilmington
Pg.358, #204-269, POTTER, Wm. F. 24 PA (white) planter $10,000-$1000
                  Florence 20 NC keeping house
                  DONSON, Annie (f) 23 NC MULATTO house srvt
                  MIDDLETON, Ransom (m) 16 NC MULATTO house srvt
Pg.399, #776-993, McKAY, Rentz (m) 60 NC BLACK drayman $0
                  Catherine 35 NC BLACK
                  DUNCAN, Sophia 17 NC BLACK
                  Candes A. (f) 13 NC BLACK
                  LOMAX, James 30 NC BLACK laborer


1912 "NC Wills and Inventories, Copied from Original and Recorded Wills and Inventories In the Office of the Secretary of State" includes 1733-1773; by J. Bryan Grimes, Secretary of State (FHL book 975.6 S2g; FHL microfiche 6,051,125; copy of pages 163-165 from Dorothy Franks 11/1990; MAD's extract)
      Will of Alexander Duncan of Wilmington, Merchant, Intending, please God, going soon for Great Britain and knowing the uncertainty of Human Life, in case of my death do make this my last will and testament ... To my brother Robert Duncan if alive £300 Sterling to him or his heirs; in case of his death or having no heirs, this legacy to be divided equally between surviving children of my sisters, Elizabeth Ronaldson, Decd, and Margaret Henery, now supposed to be in Edinburgh, if not there, let enquiry be made where my said Nieces & nephews do live; I also will to said children of my sisters, as many as there may be, £700 sterling equally divided. These legacies to be made to Alexander Purves Esq. in Edinburgh, or to John Clark, Goldsmith there; in case of their death, to Mr. Thomas Smith, merchant there, as soon as my executors can, not exceeding two years at farthest.
       To John Rutherfurd Esq. of this Province £1000 Sterling to be disposed of as he pleases, to be remitted to his order in London as soon as (possible), not exceeding three years.
       My executors may within 2 years purchase 4 young Negro men and as many young Negro women that are likely, to make a present of to James Moore Esq. for his use during his life, in case of his death before his wife they are to decend to her and their increase to be willed & disposed of as she pleases.
       To Thomas Cunningham Jr. who has lived with me with great fidelity, £400 Proclamation money to assist him to follow trade if he pleases; if he does, my exec. may procure for him in England credit of £500 sterling, they to be his security. To ammount of £400 Proclamation money, my exec. are to remitt for him, it being the sum I give him & his heirs, the rest he to make payment of himself.
       Toward the finishing or if finished toward the adorning of Wilmington Church, £400 Proc. money ...
       To Frances Rutherfurd, dau. of John Rutherfurd Esq., the same legacy I have given to Colonell James Moore above mentioned, in case she returns to this province and marries here; in case she lives in Europe and marying there, £400 Sterling to be paid her when she marys or is of age, to her and her heirs.
       To the daughter of John Walker a carpenter in Wilmington, by his wife Isobell Walker, being his last marriage (this girl lives or did live at Richard Lyons at Cross Creek), if alive at my death, three Negro girls to be purchased in like manner as the others, to be in trust for this girl till she comes of age or is marryed, with the wife of Thos. Cunningham in Wilmington, if dead, young Thomas Cunningham to take care of them for her use forever.
       Sums be paid as a token of my friendship & esteem to following persons either to purchase mourning rings in remembrance of me or disposed of as they think poper: Cornelius Harnett £20 Sterling, his wife the same sum; Mary Grainger, widow of Caleb Grannger the same; Mr. Maurice Moore the same, his wife the same; Captain John Forster the same, his wife the same; and to Alexander Chapman the same; all which is to be understood if these persons are alive at the time of my death and are in NC.
       Having an opinion of the good qualities of Arthur Benning, of Wilmington, and considering him as unfortunate in this part, my exec. make over to him for his sole use if alive £500 Proc. money out of such debts as may be due me in this province ...
       To Robert Schaw, my now Partner, after my debts and other legacies, one half all outstanding debts that may be my part in this Provice or in America at the time of my death, as also one quarter part of all the ready effects or Negroes that are now my part in company with him & Mr. Ancrum.
       To John Ancrum, my now partner, the residue not before given, who with Robert Schaw I appoint my executors. Dated 11 May 1767 at Wilmington. /s/ Alexr. Duncan.
       P.S. Mrs. Elizabeth Hall may be in Ordinary Circumstances, in case of her being so, during her continuance as such, my exec. to pay her yearly £30 Proc. money for her assistance.
      Will proved 18 May 1768 by Thomas Cogham and William Lord, well acquanted with handwriting of Alexander Duncan; that at the time of the will he was of sound and disposing mind and memory. John Ancrum and Robert Schaw the executors took the oaths appointed for their qualification.

1910 "Abstract of North Carolina Wills [1690-1760] compiled from original and recorded wills in the office of the Secretary of State" by J. Bryan Grimes (Sacramento FHC book 975.6 P2gr, FHL fiche 6,046,876; some from Evelyn Sigler 3/1/1981; index & pg.104-5 from Laura Jones 7/16/1983)
   New Hanover County:
      George Cloase. August 8, 1750. April 28, 1760. Father-in-law: Nework Ingrim. Mother: Jean Ingrim. Executor: Alexander Duncan. Witnesses: A. McKeithen, Jas. Campbell, Jr. Will proven before Arthur Dobbs. (pg.74)
      Alexander Duncan. Wilmington, New Hanover County. May 11, 1767. May 18, 1768. Brother: Robert Duncan. Other legatees: Alexander Purves of Edinburgh, John Clark Goldsmith, Thomas Smith, John Rutherford (1000 pounds sterling), James Moore (eight young negroes), Thomas Cunningham, Jr., Frances Rutherford, daughter of John Rutherford (8 young negroes), John Walker, Cornelius Harnett, Mary, wife of Caleb Grainger, Maurice Moore and wife, Capt. John Forster and wife, Alexander Chapmen (20 pounds to each), Arthur Bennet, Robert Schaw, John Ancrum (two last named appointed executors). Proven by Thomas Cobham and William Lord before Wm. Tryon. (pg.105)
      Caleb Grainger. 1763. October 31, 1765. Sons: Caleb (houses and lands on Smiths Creek and No. Et. River, north side of the Main or King's Road); Cornelius Harnett Grainger (houses and lands on Smiths Creek on South side of the Main Road); William (land on the Sound). Daughter: Mary Grainger. Wife and Executrix: Mary. Executors: Maurice Moore, Cornelius Harnett, Alexander Duncan. Witnesses: Samuell Green, Anthony Ward, Joseph Stockley. Testator was a Mason and desired to be buried with Masonic honors. Codicil to will dated October 5, 1765, provides for child "in ventre sa mere", and also for erection of sawmill. Witnesses to codicil: Mary Grainger, Margaritt Douglass, Edmond Foger. Will proven before the Lieutenant Governor, as evidenced by letter from Fountain Elwin. (pg.139)
      Benjamin Morrison. April 14, 1760. June 10, 1760. Wilmington. Executor: Alexander Duncan. Witnesses: Thomas Turnbull, James Rutherfurd, Henry Toomer. Proven before Arthur Dobbs at Brunswick. No legatee named in will. (pg.257)

New Hanover Co. NC Will (FHL film 19,361)
      C-84: We, John Ramsay and Samuel Perry, were at the habitation of George Duncan on 4 July 1817 who was confined to his bed and extremely ill; Dr. Samuel Perry the attending physician informed Mr. Duncan of his approaching dissolution and enquired if he wished to give any direction with regard to the disposition of his affairs. Mr. Duncan then of sound and disposing mind and memory declared that he wished Alexr. Peden and his family to become possessors of and heirs to his estate. This wish was frequently repeated by Mr. Duncan in the same solumn nature during the conversation and we believe his expressions designed as a verbal will for the disposal of his estate. /s/ 7 July 1817. Nuncupative will of George Duncan decd. exhibited in court May 1818.

New Hanover Co. NC Original wills at Raleigh, NC; Clark - Giles (FHL film 1,577,515)
      No other Duncan
      Nuncupative Will of George Duncan, deceased, exhibited to court May term 1818 & proved by the oaths in open court of John Ramsey & Samuel Perry & ordered to be recorded. Recorded in Book C, pg.84, by order of court at Sept. Term 1845. We, John Ramsay and Samuel Perry, were at the habitation of George Duncan on 4 July 1817 who was then confined to his bed & extremely ill; Samuel Perry the attending physician informed Mr. Duncan of his approaching dissolution and enquired if he wished to give any direction with regard to the disposition of his affairs. Mr. Duncan then of sound and disposing mind and memory declared that he wished Alexander Peden and his family to become possessors of and heirs to his estate. This wish was frequently repeated by Mr. Duncan in the same solumn nature during the conversation and we believe his expressions designed as a verbal will for the disposal of his estate. Mr. Duncan died on the 7th July 1817. /s/ John Ramsay, Samuel Perry.

New Hanover Co. NC Orig. wills at Raleigh, NC; Sanders - Williams (FHL film 1,577,611)
      (Missing center strip of pages, about 1" wide, probably where will and codicil were folded in half; also, writing from back bled onto front of page)
      Will of Joshua Toomer, 22 Aug. 1761, weak health; leave use of house lott & buildings to my wife (missing) Toomer for widowhood, if she (marries) again I leave her the box? of the Hall ... ... grand.. two years; I likewise ... wife ?? use of a Negro wench ... ... Chloe for life, then Chloe may ... that Naney may ... beloved wife Sophia ... choose of the furniture. After my wife's decease or remarriage, I give my house & lott to ... devided between my three sons Henry, Joshua and ... Toomer (more cannot read) residue equally divided between my wife Sophia, my sons Henry, Joshua, Anthony and my dau. Elizabeth Fullerton; but my dau. ... ton silver ... my son Henry a silver pu...; appoint wife Sophia Toomer admx and my sons Henry and Joshua Toomer and loving friends Dr. Moses John DeRosset and ....ander Duncan to be my execs. Wit. John Walker, Wm. Purviance, James Walker. Codicil ...62, Joshua Toomer, to my wife Sophia one bed & furniture, ...(etc.) for two years after she may marry again. As I have left my house and lot after her death or marriage to be equally devided between my three sons Henry, Joshua and Anthony, then any that may be born after this date, I leave hog? of land in Anson Co. ?? called Gold? Grove near 4th Broad River of 800 acres to be sold & to be devided as mentioned in the will before this codicil. 6 May 1762. Wit. John Syoz?. Outside of document: Mary Daniell?, James Walker; Joshua Toomer's will; proved in court by oath of ... Purviance one of the witnesses ... March Inferior Court 1763, thence into court Mrs. Sophia Toomer & ... Henry Toomer & qualified as execs ...nly 10 1765. (MAD: executors named as Dr. Moses John DeRosset and William Alex. Duncan, from Toomer Family History, on pg.145 of "DAR NC Misc. Records, 1700-1970" on FHL film 883,722) (MAD: see Anson Co. NC grants 1754 to Joshua Toomer on Duncans Creek; from "NC Land Grants in SC, Anson & Mecklenburg Cos., 1749-1770" Vol.II, by Brent H. Holcomb; FHL book 975 R28h V.2 and from Evelyn Sigler and Joyce Graf)


"The Colonial and State Records of NC" pub. 1886 by William L. Saunders, Secretary of State, index by Stephen B. Weeks (FHL books 975.6 N2n, fiche 6,078,231 and film 874,168, NC Archives at Raleigh NC, and other libraries, some from Evelyn Sigler 1984)
      Volumes 1-10 are titled "The Colonial Records of North Carolina, 1662-1776" and volumes 11-26 are titled "The State Records of North Carolina, 1776-1790"
      4:765: 11 April 1745, Council held at New Bern. Petition for warrant: James Duncan, 300 acres, New Hanover Co.
      5:821: At Council held at New Bern Dec. 1, 1757. His excellency the Gov. produced a letter to his Excellency Sam Martin in which were enclosed a copy of an affidavit sworn by Alexander Duncan, Mr. Rutherford's clerk, before the provost of Edenburg.
      6:766: 22 Oct. 1762, read petition of William Powell and Alex Duncan, Dec. 1760, they obtained warrants for 4 parcels land near Richardson Creek, Anson Co.
      6:1008: 1 Jan. 1763, Ordered that Alex Duncan and John Gibbs be added to the Committee of the Peace and Decimus for New Hanover. (indexed Alex Duncan J.P.)
      6:1121: 2 March 1764, one of commissioners for regulating pilotage of Cape Fear River: Alex. Duncan.
      6:1197: 2 March 1764, Alex. Duncan and others appointes commissioners of Pilotage of Cape Fear River.
      7:177-8: 15 Feb. 1766, Attorney Gen. Ans. to the queries of his letter relative to the vessels seized by Capt. Lobb. A letter signed by many persons to William Dry Esq. dated Wilmington, 15 Feb. 1766. One of signers: Alel. Duncan. (indexed Alexander)
      17:1013: 13 April 1781, NY. The "Medea" shall sail for Cape Fear soon. Perhaps your Lordship may take the opportunity of returning in her; and as we can prevail upon the admr. here to spare Capt. Duncan to conduct the naval part of our business in the Chesapeak. signed H. Clinton.
      22:311: Militia Returns 1754-1755, also 1758 and 1767: Bladen Co., Capt'n Will'm Mackenzie's Troop in New Hanover County consists of 27 men and 6 officers, 33. He recommends John Merrick to be Lieut. in room of Coll. Grainger; John Burgwin to be Cornel, Alex'r Duncan, Quarter master; John Poer, Clerk. No remarks.
      22:383, 22:384: (Letter preceeding list is dated 24 Nov'r 1755; no date this list) A list of the Officers and Troopers in the New Hanover Troop commanded by Capt. William Mackinzie, Vizt.: Alexander Duncan, clerk. The Properest Persons to be promoted, Vizt: Alex'r Duncan, Quarter Mast'r.
      23:535-7: 1760, law passed to raise money by a lottery towards finishing of churches at Wilmington and Brunswick. Managers Alex. Duncan, Cornelius Harnett, Thomas Davis and John Payne.
      25:391: 1759 Laws, 8th Session. Chapter 1. Act to raise money for finishing churches in Parishes of St. James and St. Philip, in New Hanover Co., by Lottery. That Mr. Jehu Davis, Mr. Marmaduke Jones, Mr. Alexander Duncan, and Mr. John Paine, or any three, appoint managers to ... (conduct) lottery in Wilmington.


GEORGE DUNCAN, Rev. Pension Application S-41513, NC (from Alice Duncan 1978-79 and FHL film 970,863, National Archives Roll 863)
      Applied 13 Sept. 1819, age 61, in Person Co. NC; enlisted spring 1776 for 2-1/2 years, in Capt. William Glover's Co. of Continental Line, 6th NC Battalion under Alexander Lillington; transferred to 3rd NC Reg. under Col. Hogan, Capt. Hogg; poor, wife & three of his own ch. & 4 grandch. to support, small tract poor land; supporting statements 9/7/1819 by John Washington in Granville Co. NC court re War service, 9/13/1819 by Jsh. Edwards a near neighbor that George was poor and honest, 9/13/1819 by J?.M. Glover that George is poor. Statement 9/7?/1820 Person Co. P&Q Court, George Duncan age ca 63 years, res. of county, served at Wilmington [New Hanover Co.] NC 1776 under Capt. Glover, Reg. under Col. Taylor, then under Col Hogan; schedule of property incl. 125a valued at $125, farm animals, all conveyed by trust deed to William Williams to secure debt due from George Duncan; George has Alfred Duncan age ca 33, Benjamin Duncan age ca 15 and orphaned grandch. without parents Lorenzo Duncan ca 14, Sally Duncan ca 12, Saml. Dixon ca 7, Washington Dixon ca 5. Statement 9/25/1821 Person Co. P&Q, George Duncan, age 64 years, (service & schedule of property 9/7/1820), living with him (Alfred Duncan crossed out), Benjamin Duncan ca 16, & grandch. orphans Lorenzo Duncan ca 15, Sally Duncan ca 12, Samuel Duncan ca 7, Washington (blank) ca 5. Letter 2/12/1824 mentions his children all free, has one dau. with 2 grandch. to maintain; if Isham Edwards should sell the property under deed of trust ... Letters and statements 1825-1829 that pension papers were misdirected to [the wrong] George Duncan in Halifax Co. NC who obtained payments 9/13/1819 to 3/4/1820, and returns 4/30/1823.
      Click here for more from the pension application file.

HISTORIES before 1923

"A history of New Hanover County [NC] : and the lower Cape Fear region : 1723-1800" by Alfred M. Waddell; pub. Wilmington, N.C.?: unknown, 1909?, 240 pgs. (LH13624, HeritageQuest images 5/2007)
      Pg.196: In the years 1755 and 1756 the people seemed to be much exercised on the subject of fires, several having occurred ... the fire engine ... Mr. Alexander Duncan contracted to keep the fire engine and hose "in order and oyl, and to play it once a month," for which care two of his family were exempt from working on the streets.


Brunswick Co. NC Deed (FHL film 18,311)
      Deed A-125: 20 Oct. 1766, Wilmington, NC; Robt. Howe to Alexander Duncan of Wilmington [New Hanover Co.], merchant, £619.15, negro slaves; men and boys Quash, Sammy and Simeon; women and girls Judith, Willoughby, Kenour?, Allice, Flavia, Jenny, Katy, Peggy, Nanny and Hannah Jr. Wit. Saml. Neale.


Many of the early records and newspapers have been published by various authors. These books contain indexes to all Duncans in the documents or items and should be consulted. Wilmington, New Hanover Co. NC, was a port used by immigrants to the United States and some of the immigration records have been published.


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