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Manuscript Collection

Collection Title: Duncan (John) Letter

Collection Number: M151

Dates: December 15, 1863

Volume: 1 item

Provenance: Purchased August 1961

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

John Duncan, author of this letter, was a resident of Jackson, Mississippi, during the 1860's and early 1870's. He was born in New York and died on February 7, 1872, in Jackson. According to his will of December 11, 1865, John was married to Lucy (b. January 11, 1839 - d. April 29, 1863) and they had three children - Walker, Mary, and Garnett. All of the children, as well as Lucy, were deceased by the date of John Duncan's will. A note written on a copy of the will states that the wife and children died during a yellow fever epidemic.

Other family members mentioned in the will were three sisters: Mary D. Stewart, wife of Charles Stewart, Jane A. Duncan, and Louisa Brodie, wife of George Payne Quackenbos; a deceased brother William; and a niece, Mary J. (McFarland) Duncan, and nephew, L. Alex Duncan.

An obituary for Duncan appeared in the Semi-Weekly Clarion, Jackson, Mississippi, on February 9, 1872. It noted that Duncan's death left vacancies on the Board of Trustees for the State University and the University of the South.

A John and a Lucy Duncan are buried in the Greenwood City Cemetery in Jackson. John's birth date is given as 1812 although that date does not agree with his age on the 1860 Hinds County census. None of their children have marked graves in that cemetery or in Hinds County, Mississippi.

Scope and Content:

A letter dated December 15, 1863, from John Duncan in Jackson, Mississippi, to Confederate Brigadier General Daniel Ruggles, Commander of the Confederate Army in Columbus, Mississippi. The letter concerns two women, Mrs. Newman and Miss Byers, whom Duncan and his niece helped to cross into Federal territory in Mississippi. Duncan also writes of the possibility of Ruggles moving to Jackson. General Joseph E. Johnston, C.S.A., General William Canby, C.S.A. and Governor Charles Clark of Mississippi are also mentioned.


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Revised: December 9, 2004