Thomas L. Duncan Interview

These are notes Mom kept from a talk with her father, Thomas LeRoy Duncan, on December 7, 1981.

It was 1907 and 08 that I was in California. It was on the Lucky Baldwin Ranch. Dr. Cooke was President of Northern Illinois (University). His son came out to the observatory.

(You liked it out there, didn’t you?)

Oh yes, I always thought we’d move there someday. After that I went to work for the Steel Company. I was 19. We lived across the street. There was a church on the corner. That was at 4th and Locust. Mr. Payton taught me all the departments and the billing and payroll. We lived across from the forestation and I spent lots of time there. They had two fire wagons – horse-drawn. They kept them inside and the men slept upstairs. There was a pole down. One day I slid down with one hand and hit the big rubber platform below. Just that minute Mr. Murray walked in the door. He was the fire chief. He said, “Don’t you ever do that again” and I didn’t.

(This photo is of T. L. Duncan (r) and his half-brother Clifford (l) sorting oranges in Alhambra in 1909.  Lucky Baldwin owned most of what is now Alhambra and Temple City, including the Santa Anita racetrack area.  This photo might be from the ranch.)