Duncan Family History - Overview

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Fleming - Duncan

 John Duncan (1700-1745)
Mary Fleming (abt. 1703 - early 1740's)

Glasgow, Scotland

Charlottesville, Virginia area

About 1720,  Glasgow, Scotland:  Marriage of John Duncan (age about 20, b. about 1700)  and Mary Fleming (about age 17, b. about 1703 in Glasgow,  Scotland). 

Among Duncan family researchers of this branch of the family, the above statement is is the most commonly agreed-upon hypothesis about the events of the early 1700's.   (See end of this page for list of sources.]

Duncans of Scotland reports on this record in Scotland:
1727 July 7 , Delkeith or Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland (Edinburgh area):  Marriage of John Duncan & Margaret Fleming

Map of Great Britain

From about 1725 to 1730 ( 5 years time), Glasgow, Scotland:  John Duncan & Mary Fleming had 3 sons -- from Mary & John's ages   22 & 25   to   27 & 30 : 

1. 1725 (ca):  Tandy Duncan
1728 (ca)George A. Duncan  (our ancestor)
1730 (ca):  John D. Duncan

Duncan Family naming practice -- preservation of the names over the generations
American generations of the Duncan family frequently gave their children -- as both first and middle names -- the names of the original Scottish family members:  John, Mary (Molly), Fleming, George, and Tandy ( in Scotland a common nickname for Andrew).

Early 1740's:  Sailed by ship from Scotland to America:  John Duncan (age early 40's) with their three sons (ages about 19, 16, & 14) 
There is no written evidence that the family's mother, Mary Fleming Duncan came along with her husband and 3 sons, and it is possible that she died in Scotland.  Did her death influenced the family to go to America? Was the Jacobite rebellion of early 1700's Scotland another possible influence for leaving?

American southeast & mid-atlantic


For photos & maps of Virginia, see  Virginia:  James River Tidewater Area & Charlottesville - - Early English & Scottish Immigration

The 3 Young Duncan Brothers

In the early 1740's when the Duncan family arrived in Virginia Colony, Tandy Duncan -- the oldest of the three brothers, possibly around 19 years old  -- was considered old enough to strike out on his own. In records for Virginia's then-Albemarle County (near Charlottesville), there is evidence for the father John Duncan and his two younger sons -- George and John.  There are no records for the oldest brother, Tandy, and he is thought to have gone to North Carolina to settle.  No further information is known about him.

Charlottesville, Virginia area:  St. Anne's Parish, Albemarle County records on the Duncan family
From records of St. Anne's Parish, Albemarle County, we know that John Duncan and two sons lived in area south of Charlottesville, Virginia -- the countryside of Thomas Jefferson and his Monticello

1745:  Death of  the family's father, John Duncan, age about 45
Soon after the Duncan family's early-1740's arrival in America, the Albemarle County records report that the father, John Duncan, died in 1745 -- leaving his teenage sons as orphans. 

1745:  Indentured servitude of the two younger brothers, George Duncan & John Duncan
In the early days of  white settlement of America, many people could not afford the fee for ship's passage from Europe to America.  To fill this financial need, the practice of bonding was used: someone made the capital outlay for someone else's berth on a trans-Atlantic ship.  The traveler understood that for a designated period of time in the new world, he would be "bound out" to work for wages which would go toward paying off the bond.  The term used for a person doing this work was called a "bonded" or "indentured" servant, or "bondsman."

- Unknown date:  A record of Martin Duncan -- possibly a kinsman? --  an indentured servant in the household of William Cabell -- whose servitude was for payment to Cabell for passage to John Duncan and sons, Tandy, George, & John.
- 1745 May 28:  The church wardens "bound out" George "Duncomb" (a mis-spelling), age 17, to carpenter Thomas MacDaniel (Marmaduke). 
- 1745 Aug 23:  Petition filed by the church against "John Dunkin" (another mis-spelling).
- 1746 Jan 23:  Another petition on behalf of the children. 

Relationship of the 2 younger Duncan Brothers' - - George Duncan & John Duncan - - with the Prominent Citizens of Central Virginia, Dr. William Cabell & Rev. Robert Rose

Was the Duncan family among the gentry of Glasgow, Scotland?  Was this why the two Duncan brothers -- George Duncan (b. abt 1728) & John Duncan (b. abt 1730) -- came to be among the Virginia gentry?  Or did established people like Cabell & Rose see the promise of these two young Duncan brothers, and therefore were moved to take them under their wings and help them along?  Whatever the reasons, despite the these two Duncan brothers' early servitude, they both prospered significantly in the New World.

Here is the intertwined story of these 4 people:  George Duncan, John Duncan, Dr. William Cabell, & Rev. Robert Rose

Adapted and quoted from Nelson County, Virginia - - Land Grants from the King by Jessie Martin & Joseph Clement
"In the early 18th century, King George II of England encouraged expansion westward to central Virginia.  According to Randolph Cabell's 20th Century Cabells and Their Kin, the seemingly endless amount of land was not useful to [King George II] unless it could be kept colonized, taxed and out of the hands of enemies."  Early settlers looked for unclaimed areas for which to apply for grants. Some people became land agents and obtained patents (legal ownership deeds) to available land plots, conducted land surveys, then advertised these land plots to prospective buyers back in Great Britain.

During the period between 1730 and 1750, official documents and personal diaries document that there were at least 500 settlers in Nelson County, Virginia.  One of the settlers of that time period was Dr. William Cabell from Warminster, England gentry.  When he came to Virginia, he chose the Wingina area for his home, bought land on the James River southwest of Charlottesville, and built his estate, "Warminster."  He married Elizabeth Burks, great granddaughter of Trader Hughes, and their descendants still live in the county.

"Cabell was often credited with being one of the founding forces in the formation of the county, and chopped out about 25,000 acres along the James River - - beginning above Howardsville and continuing to the present Amherst-Nelson county line. Upon his death, Cabell gave the majority of his land to his four sons and the children of his only daughter."

"Dr. William Cabell was a historian and religious doctor who treated Patrick Henry. Over the years, various Cabells located in Amherst, Nelson and Buckingham counties, on plantations that lasted until the 1800s." 

"Other families who permanently settled in the county at about the same time include: Howard, Nevil, Jopling, Rose, Taliaferro, Carter, Clark, Higginbotham and many others.  Some have vanished from the county. Others, like the Ruckers, have published volumes about the family's genealogy."

Rev. Robert Rose .was a minister in the area and established the Piney River and Roseland areas.  He also wrote a famous book about this time of history, entitled, The Diary of Robert Rose

Robert Rose and
Dr. William Cabell were land agent partnere, and together they owned or shared title in 155,000 acres of land granted from the English Kings George II and III. 

(end, adapted excerpts from Nelson County Land Grants from the King)

Cabell surveyed the land which became the plantation of our ancestor George Duncan. 

George Duncan & John Duncan married two Hall sisters -- Ann Hall & Jane Hall, respectively -- daughters of Richard Hall and Ann Allen. 

The wedding of our ancestors George Duncan & Ann Hall was held at the Cabell estate and was officiated by the minister Rev Robert Rose.

George Duncan became a prominent landowner in the Hardware River area.  See George Duncan (abt. 1728-1783) & Ann Hall (abt. 1730 - 1804/09). 

The youngest brother of the family, John Duncan, became a well-known Baptist minister and landowner in the area southeast of Charlottesville, Virginia. Around 1767, he moved his family from Albemarle/Fluvanna County to a little south-westward in Amherst County, Virginia.   There is a record of a second marriage -- to Sarah Talbert Camden -- and that he served in the Revolutionary War.

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Duncan Family History - Overview

Information sources for the early years: 

David Duncan's rootsweb compilation
His sources of information
Walter Buckingham, "Russell Duncan pedigree chart"
Ella F. Clausen, "Ancestor's of Elinor Frances Scallion"
Walter N. Langham, Jr, "Ancestors of Erik Brandon Toles"  &  "Ancestors of Cora Louella Ketchum"
Juanita Boppe, "Ancestors of Daniel Franklin Boppe"
Carrie Carter, "The Bailey-Carter Family Tree"
Theda Womack, "The Duncan Family"
Mary Ann Dobson, Descendant Lists, research files, and notes:  "Considerable information was obtained courtesy of Mary Ann Dobson whose research and sources are used by permission."

Other sources -- references and webpages cited

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Work Log
2009:  2, 11/21, 12/2
2010:  7/20