Thomas Duncan Obituary

Thomas Duncan was our Duncan immigrant ancestor.  More of his story is here.  This is his obituary from The Palmyra Enterprise (Wisconsin).  My favorite part is the mention of being the head of the Duncan family in the US and how this is now transferred to his brother William.

Cation – Duncan Part 2

Eliza Cation and Thomas Duncan lived in the Ottawa/Eagle area of Wisconsin from the late 1840s to the late 1860s.  During this time Thomas applied for US citizenship.  On 20 September 1855 he filed a declaration of intent.  This document gives his year and country of birth and his date and place of emigration.  It also has his signature – one of my favorite things.
td intention

On 19 November 1858 he was granted citizenship.  Eliza did not file – only the men applied.  I don’t know if the Scottish born children of theirs (William, Thomas, and John) had to be naturalized.
td naturalization

By 1870 according to the Federal Census, the family had moved to Johnstown, Rock county, Wisconsin.  Four of the children were still living at home, John, 28, James, 19, George, 15, and Eliza, 11.
thomas duncan signature

By the time of the 1880 Federal Census Thomas, 64, and Eliza, 63, are living alone in Osage, Mitchell county, Iowa.  The children have all left.  T.C. wed Emma Osborne in 1866.  David married Helen Barlass about 1870.  Frank married Martha Pennell in 1872.  John married Anna Hopkirk in 1874 when he was almost 32 years old.  James wed Anna English in 1875 and after her death married Nettie Patchen in 1880.  The only daughter, Eliza, married Frank English in 1877.  George was the last to marry – to Ella Whitbeck about 1878.

About 1880 a formal photograph was taken of the family.  I’ve posted it before and probably will again as it show so many generations in a high quality print.  My guess is that it was taken in Iowa based on the people present.

Adults standing: L-R:  Eliza Duncan English, Frank English, James Duncan, Nettie Patchen Duncan, Front row: L-R:  Mamie English, Clifford Duncan, Eliza Cation Duncan, Belle English, Thomas Duncan, and Howard Duncan.

Adults standing: L-R: Eliza Duncan English, Frank English, James Duncan, Nettie Patchen Duncan, Front row: L-R: Mamie English, Clifford Duncan, Eliza Cation Duncan, Belle English, Thomas Duncan, and Howard Duncan.

In 1886 Eliza wrote a letter to her sister and brother in Scotland.  The family of Isabelle Cation Barclay saved the letter.  I began to transcribe it, but the quality of the copy, Eliza’s punctuation and handwriting made it unlikely I could do a good job.  But here’s a photo of it.  It’s nice to see her handwriting.  And it has her signature.
eliza duncan letter 1886eliza duncan signature

At this time they are living in Mendota, Illinois with their son Frank Duncan – and using his stationery for her letter.  They had emigrated from Scotland and lived in New York, a couple of places in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois.  Several of their sons were doctors and I think at least the last years of their lives were lived in comfort.


William Duncan Part 4 (William D. Alderman)

On 4 January 1887 William Duncan Alderman married Ida Maretta Roebuck, daughter of Mary Jane and Nathan Roebuck. William and Ida lived in Waterloo, Blackhawk county, Iowa.  Two children were born to them here:  Edward Duncan Alderman, 18 February 1888, and Lura G., 3 March 1890. In 1895 Charles and Mary Alderman lived in St. Paul, Minnesota, with their son Albert according to the state census. On 21 February 1897 Charles E. B. Alderman, step-father of William, died.  Mary filed for a widow’s pension and it was granted.  Charles was buried at the Avoca cemetery in Oakfield, Fond du Lac county, Wisconsin. 4 chas alder death 4 accrued pension4. marys widow pension In 1905 (Wisconsin state census) and 1910 (Federal census) Mary Alderman was living alone in Oakfield.  It was in Oakfield that Mary O. Lurvey Duncan Alderman died on 22 December 1914, aged 71.  She was buried next to Charles in the Avoca cemetery.  There were many communications regarding her pensions and funeral expenses.  It’s nice because we get to see her son William’s signature on some of them. 4 mary ald dc 4 mary funeral cost 4 livery cost query4 livery cost ans On 29 May 1918 William D. Alderman, grandson of Thomas and Eliza Duncan, was the engineer on a train that plunged off the tracks where a bridge had been weakened by a downpour.  He and several other men died.

Waterloo Evening Courier & Reporter 29 May 1918 front page.

Waterloo Evening Courier & Reporter 29 May 1918 front page.


William Duncan 1838-1863 Part 1

William Duncan was born in Strathmiglo, Fife, Scotland on 29 September 1838 to Eliza Cation and Thomas Duncan (story here).  He was christened on 7 October 1838.

He emigrated with his mother and two younger brothers, Thomas Cation and John, to the US in 1843 (story here) settling in New York state where his father joined him.

About 1848, the family moved to the Ottawa-Eagle area of Waukesha county, Wisconsin, farming there for many years.  In 1850, the Federal Census Thomas is 34, his wife Eliza is 32.  The children are William, now 12 years old, Thomas, 10, John, 8, David, 5, and Francis, 2.  All the children are in school.  The value of their land is $600.

1 1860 census

Duncan family 1860 Federal Census, Ottawa, Wisconsin.

By 1860, the family had grown.  In the census that year, William is 21.  Other changes:  Francis is now called Frank.  James, born in 1851, is 9, George, 5, and Eliza, the lone daughter, is 1.  The value of their land is now $2100.

On 21 October 1861 William became the first of his siblings to wed.   At age 23 he married Mary O. Lurvey in Palmyra, Wisconsin.  Later statements said she lived in Leroy, Dodge county, Wisconsin, at the time of her marriage, but no Lurvey is found there in the 1860 census.  There were many Lurvey families in this area, but I have not found her in the 1850 or 1860 census.  When she married William, she was about 17.  The birthdate on her tombstone is 4 June 1843.   On her death certificate, it showed her parents as Elisie George and B. Lurvey and her birthplace as Pennsylvania.  The informant was her doctor.

When she later applied for a pension, she had to prove that she was married to William.  This is the deposition of the minister given in 1863.
1 proof of marriage

On 15 August 1862 William enlisted in Company B, 28th Regiment of the Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers to fight in the Civil War.  He was mustered into service 13 October 1862.  It was recorded that he was 24, had blue eyes, brown hair, fair complexion, was 5’ 8” tall and was a farmer.
1 muster roll 1

Between enlistment and muster, his son, William Duncan, was born 10 September 1862.  Caroline Schutte was present at his birth and provided proof in 1866 for young William’s minor’s pension.  It’s a little short on punctuation, but proved the connection.
1 caroline affid

State of Wisconsin
County of Jefferson
Caroline Schutte being duly sworn on oath says that she resides in Palmyra County of Jefferson State of Wisconsin that she is acquainted with Mrs. Mary O. Alderman mother and guardian of William Duncan an infant & minor child of William Duncan deceased who was a private in Co B. of the 28th Regiment of Wisconsin Vol Infantry that she has known the said is Mary O. Alderman for more than ten years…that she was present at the birth of the said William Duncan who was born at Ottawa in Waukesha County on the 10th day of September 1862  that there was no attending physician present and no other person except Mrs. Grace Grant and Eliza Duncan mother of said deceased soldier.  that she has been…acquainted with said infant William Duncan and knows it to be the same of which Mary O. Alderman is guardian and minor child of William Duncan deceased…

From the regimental history:  the regiment organized at Milwaukee and mustered in 14 October 1862.  They left 29 December for Columbus, Kentucky; then moved to Helena, Arkansas in June.  This regiment was attached to the 2nd Brigade, 13th Division, 13th Army Corps, Army of Tennessee.  They were part of the Yazoo Pass expedition and operations against Fort Pemberton and Greenwood, Mississippi.

1 muster roll 2

On 18 March 1863 William came down with typhoid fever.  On 30 March on the steamer St. Louis in front of Fort Pemberton, William Duncan died.  He was 24; he left a widow and young son.  Many accounts of his death were recorded in Mary’s pension application.
1 muster roll 3From his commanding officer:1 townsend formFrom the 28th Regiment’s physician:1 proof of death1 ag proof of death1 off cert death

Duncan & Patchen – Part 1 (& English)

J.C.’s Story

j c duncan

James Cation Duncan

James Cation Duncan is my great grandfather on the Scottish branch of the family tree.  His parents, Eliza Cation and Thomas Duncan as well as three of his (James’) older brothers (William, Thomas Cation, and John) were born in Scotland, emigrating to the US in 1842.  Another brother, David, was born in Peoria, New York in 1846.  The family continued to move west settling near Ottawa, Waukesha county, Wisconsin.  Another boy, Frank, was their first child born in Wisconsin in 1848.

James Cation, known as J.C., was born 3 March 1851 in Ottawa, Wisconsin.  His birth was followed by a brother George in 1854, a sister Eliza, who died as an infant in 1856, and a sister, also named Eliza, born in 1858.

Two of J.C.’s brothers, William and T.C., enlisted to fight in the Civil War.  William died from fever, T.C. returned.  J.C. studied at Milton College in Wisconsin, graduating in 1869.  Soon after that the family moved to Osage, Mitchell county, Iowa.

On 21 May 1875 James married Anna English, daughter of Samuel and Mary English.  She was born 4 May 1856 in Iowa.  Years later her brother Frank would marry J.C.’s sister.

duncan english marr cert

anna english stoneOn 10 September 1876 Anna and J.C.’s son Clifford James Duncan was born in Osage.  Seven months later on 30 April 1877 Anna English Duncan died and was buried in Osage.  She was almost 21 years old.



According to a county history, J.C. went to Chicago in 1877 to study medicine – probably with his brother Thomas who was a prominent homeopathic doctor.  He then returned to Iowa.

Nettie’s Story

Nettie Patchen Duncan

Nettie Patchen Duncan

Annette Mary Jane Patchen always went by the name Nettie – even in legal papers.  [There was a genealogy lesson for me here – I had been looking for her full formal name].

She was born 2 December 1858 in Cassell Prairie, Wisconsin to Cassie Ann Rosenberry and Orson Patchen.  Her father died from illness in the Civil War in 1862.  Her mother married again, this time to Michael Gallagher, who also died in the war.

Before 1870 Cassie married her third husband, Lewis Abbott who had been married previously and had adult sons.  The Abbotts lived in Iowa.

In 1878 Cassie and Lewis have a daughter, Lillian.  Nettie’s famly consists of her mother Cassie, stepfather Lewis, brother Clarence, and half-sister Lillian.

On 8 April 1880 James Cation Duncan and Nettie Patchen marry in Osage, Iowa.  He is 29 years old, she is 21.

duncan patchen marr cert

Part 2 can be seen here.  Part 3 is here.