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Below is a family biography included in The History of Jasper County, Missouri published by Mills & Company in 1883.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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WILLIAM DUNCAN. Prominent among the pioneer settlers of Jasper county is the subject of this sketch. Mr. Duncan was born in Sumner county, Tenn., March 4, 1806. His parents, Moses and Sarah Duncan, were natives of South Carolina. Our subject grew to manhood in his native state, receiving a liberal education in the common schools. In 1828 he moved to Sangamon county, Ill., and engaged in farming near Springfield. He came to Missouri in 1836, locating in what was then Barry county, near the noted Cave Springs, where he now resides. Mr. Duncan was one of the first settlers in southwest Missouri, and of course experienced all the hardships of pioneer life. At the time of his coming here the Cave Springs were, as indeed they are yet, quite noted. Oftentimes as many as twenty immigrant wagons could be seen around them, sometimes remaining for days. Game was plenty; so, too, were the Indians, although not hostile, except to the corn-crib, smoke-house, etc. William Duncan and the Cave Springs have been so long associated that the name of the individual at once suggests the name of the place, and vice versa; in fact they are in a sense synonymous. We therefore venture to give here briefly, though perhaps somewhat out of place, a description of them. The hills surrounding are a part of the Ozark range, and are in many places exceedingly rocky. The springs flow from an immense ledge of rock at the base of a very precipitous bluff or hill. The flow of water is almost sufficient to run a mill at times, and again not so profuse. The cave from which it comes, although rather small at the entrance, so much so as to require one to stoop slightly on entering, becomes quite large as the individual proceeds, and in places presents the beautiful spectacle of an immense cavern, irregular and artistic in the extreme. How far this cave extends is not known. One-fourth of a mile distant a neighbor in digging a well struck the spring stream at a place where the water was many feet deep. This was ascertained in rather a novel way. A hog belonging to the neighbor in venturing too close to the unguarded well fell in and after some days wandering around came out at the mouth of the cave. During the war Mr. Duncan tried to be neutral, preferring unconcerned quietude at home to the carnage of unnecessary war. Both armies stole from him, however, and to such an extent that at one time he was compelled to yoke up several calves with which to plow his ground. He was taken prisoner by the Federals as a Southern sympathizer, but soon after dismissed. He was married in Sumner county, Tenn., Feb. 14, 1828, to Miss Eliza, daughter of Thomas and Judith Potts, natives of Virginia. Mrs. D. was born April 19, 1812. This union has been blessed with twelve children: Lucinda, born May 1, 1829, now relict of Price Henry, who was killed at the battle of Carthage; Thomas W., born Oct. 6, 1831, now of Pierce City, Mo.; John W., born November 22, 1834, died May 7, 1866; Nancy E., born May 1, 1887, now wife of Harris Forsyth, of Pierce City; Wm. Dryden, born Nov. 14, 1839, now of Pierce City; Eliza J., born Jan. 14, 1842, now wife of Wm. Sparks, of this township; James Henry, born Dec. 7, 1844, died June 20, 1867; Mary E., born March 27, 1847, now wife of Wm. Morgan, of Cave Springs; Linneus Case, born Jan. 16, 1845, now of Kansas; Millard Fillmore, born Jan. 7, 1852, died August 26, 1854; Sarah A., born Aug. 10, 1854, now wife of William Rutherford, of Sarcoxie township; and Charles Pierson, born Jan. 1, 1856, now of Sarcoxie. Mr. and Mrs. Duncan, are and have been for forty years, consistent members of the M.E. Church. In 1846 our subject was licensed as an exhorter, and in 1862 was licensed to preach. Although he and his estimable wife are growing quite old, they retain in a surprising degree their vigor of mind and body, and we sincerely hope they may yet live to enjoy many happy years in our midst. Mr. D. is a man of excellent business qualifications and noted for his philanthropy.

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This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in The History of Jasper County, Missouri published in 1883.  For the complete description, click here: Jasper County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Jasper County, Missouri family biographies here: Jasper County, Missouri Biographies

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