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Joseph Duncan's Geni Profile

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About Joseph Duncan

DAR Ancestor #: A034951

I was a private in the Revolutionary War.

The following is a rejected claim of his widow (Lydia) to apply for an Act 7 pension plan. To qualify for this pension, the widow must prove the following:

1. Service of 6 months or greater in the service of the Continental Army,

2. The marriage took place prior to 01/01/1794.

The claim was rejected due to a court finding that his service was less than 6 months. He served as an indian spy and the testimony recalls some epic Indian battles.


Revolutionary War Pensions, Bounty Land Warrant Application Files; National Archives Microfilm Publication, Microcopy 804, Roll 863 and 864 and 867

     Duncan, Alexander to Duncan, Jesse (FHL film 970,863; National Archives Roll 863)
     Duncan, John to Dungan, Thomas (FHL film 970,864; National Archives Roll 864)
     Dunikin to Dunlap (FHL film 970,867; National Archives Roll 867)
     Did not copy envelopes or most requests for copies of documents.

JOHN DUNCAN, widow Lydia, R-3126, VA, KY, TN, IL: (FHL film 970,864; National Archives Roll 864)

     John Duncan, Franklin Co. IL, who was a Private in the Co. commanded by Capt. Thuson? of the Regt. commanded by ... in the VA line for 6 mos. & 15 dys; Inscribed on the Roll of IL at the rate of $21.66 per annum to commence on 4 March 1831; Certificate of Pension issued 1 Nov? 1833 and sent to W(alter) B. Scates, Frankfort, IL; Rev. Claim, Act 7 June 1832.
     Lydia Duncan, Rejected, widow of John, Printed List 1852, suspended & rejected claims shows cause of rejection of widows claim "not 6 mos. service"
     Declaration of John (+) Duncan, 5 March 1833, before Franklin Co. IL County Commissioners Court; resident of said Co. and State of IL, aged about 70 years; to obtain benefit of Act 7 June 1833; that he entered the service of the US under the following related? officers and served as herein stated. He was born in Culpeper Co. VA to the best of his recollection, about 1763; there was once a record of his age but his father having been killed by the Indians in 1772 or 3, his sister took the bible containing the record of his age, which has been destroyed. His father moved to Washington Co. on the frontier of VA in 1771 or 2, and was killed in about 12 months after by the Indians. He stated that the whole neighbourhood were forted up at Duncan's fort, his father's residence and after his father was killed they employed one James Green to spy out 2 or 3 times a week 10 or 15 miles toward? the fort, that as he left the fort on one of those excursions he had not proceeded more than a mile until he was fired at by the Indians and returned immediately. When collecting a force and himself among the rest. They pursued the Indians some distance until the scattered so that they could trail them no further. When they returned without effecting anything. His mother married again & moved to Kentucky some time in the year 1780 just before the Battle of the Blue Lick where Cols. Todd, Trigg and Daniel Boones second son were killed. He states he was ordered to the Blue Lick but being tired & just off a long journey in moving he did not go but was immediately ordered out to guard the forts in which service he was employed two months. He had no officer but was employed as a spy in guarding & protecting the forts mostly Englishes station. He then moved to Tennessee about 2 years after & shortly after went back to Kentucky and joined Genl. Clarks expedition against the Indians as a substitute for William Mannyfield. He marched from the Falls of Ohio where he joined the expedition to Fort Vincent, now Vincinnes. They found the post occupied by French & 30 or 40 Indians and took the Indians prisoners. He then returned home and was again employed in a tour of 2 months service as a spy and guard on Red River in Tennessee in which service he had no skirmish or encountre with the Indians. He volunteered again the year he does not now recollect, under Capt. John Rains in an expedition undertaken by him & Capt. Thomas Johnson against the Indians. They raised 80 or 90 men & marched down Elk River for some distance, crossed over and were about (blotted)ring when they discovered Indian sign. They camped however on Duck river that night and next morning, it being thought advisable. He with 8 or 9 others volunteered as spies; while creeping through the thick cain they came upon the Indian encampment and one of the spies fired on & killed one of the Indians; the forces coming up & the Indians being dispersed they returned home. He was again ordered out for 2 months as a spy near Palmyra on Cumberland River; he served 40 days when returning home to look after his family; he hired his brother to serve the remaining 20 days. Subsequently again he was ordered out in a light horse company to Nashvill in TN and there go in pursuit of the Indians under the command of Coln. Robert Hays, under an apprehension from the report of one Durock? and a half breed that the Indians intended attacking & taking Nashville; but the Indians not making the attack at that time, Genl. Robinson ordered the men to return home but to be ready at a minutes warning. A few nights after, he received a summons to repair immediately to Nashville & started next morning, but when he arrived the Indians were gone. They however had attacked Buchanan's Station on Mill Creek, near Nashville. The Indians were about 6 or 700 strong; the Station about 30. The Indians approached in the evening & demanded who commanded the fort & upon being told demanded the gates to be opened & upon refusal commenced firing. They fought all night but no lives were lost in the fort. One Indian rushed up with a torch to fire the fort & was killed, the only one the whites found though they thought from the sign they killed a great many more. The Indians were commanded by Double head. He was again employed in an expedition down Cumberland River for the purpose of burying Col. Montgomery and Evan Shelby who had been killed by the Indians, nothing transpiring worthy of note. He was again ordered down to the mouth of Cumberland to guard up some boats, and in performing this service nothing occurred worthy of note. At another time the Indians came into his neighbourhood, killed a young lady & took some horses, he with others immediately pursued but were unable to overtake them on account of high water. He was engaged in many more similar expeditions and in like service for many years, always being prompt and ready at his country's call, living in a country in a constant state of alarm, and (blotted) to be called on at any moment. He never was regularly mustered into or out of service. He never was discharged regularly. He received some little pay but does not now recollect how much. He is unacquainted with the names of any Regular or Continental Officers or companies, nor ever served with any unless some of the above named may be termed such. He never was regularly enrolled in any company or corps unless it might be Genl. Clarks or Col. Heamp's?. He belonged to none at home. He has no documentary evidence of his service; he knows of no living witness who can testify personally as to his service or as to the events of the period and the history he has related but Col. Thomas M. Domp? & Dempsey (blurred) citizens & his neighbours can testify as to the tradition of his services and the events of the period, and also to the general belief of his services in the neighbourhood. He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present, and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state.
        Mr. Dempsey Odum, a clergyman residing in Franklin Co., and Thomas M. Dorris residing in same, certify that we are well acquainted with John Duncan, who has subscribed and sworn to the above declaration; that we believe him to be 70 years of age, that he is reputed and believed in the neighborhood where he resides to have been a soldier during the time of the revolution and that we concur in that opinion.
        Certificate by County Court that the above applicant was a soldier during the time of the revolution and served as he states; and that Dempsey Odum and Thomas M. Dorris are creditable witnesses.
     Form, 29 April 1833 from War Department Pension Office asking for more information.
     Statement by John (+) Duncan, 23 May 1833, before Thos. M. Dorris, Franklin Co. IL JP; that by reason of old age and the consequent loss of memory, he cannot swear positively as to the precise length of his service, but according to the best of his recollection, he served not less than the periods mentioned below and in the following grades -- for one month under Capt. Price in the expedition under Genl. Clark to Post Vincent now Vincennes in the year 177- (blotted), Barnett was my Colonel; I served as a private (substitute for William Mannyfield) for two months as a spy & guard on Red River in TN, I had no officer nor was I with any Corps, in the year 17(blotted); for 15 days under Capt. John Rains I served as a private in ???; for 40 days as a spy near Palmyra on Cumberland River in the year 17(blotted) I had no officer nor was I with any Corps; for 2 months under Col. Hays (the Capt's name I do not recollect) at the time Buchanan's station near Nashville was attacked in the year 177(blotted) I served as a private; for one month under Capt. Benjamine McIntosh in the expedition down Cumberland River to bury Col. Montgomery & Evan Shelby in the year 1782? I served as a private; for one month under Capt. Benjamine McIntosh in the expedition down Cumberland River to guard up the boats in the year 178(blotted) I served as a private. And for such service I claim a pension.
     Letter from Walter B. Scates, 23 May 1833. According to your instructions as I understood them, I have amended Mr. Duncan's Declaration. In your polite favour of the 4th inst. inclosed to me with the declaration and accompanying brief, you state "this case is accompanied by a brief. The objections are contained in the negative answers in red ink given to the questions." In looking over the brief & declaration, I perceive no negative answers in red ink to which you refer. Possibly you may have omitted to send me the negative answers so marked. You also refer in this printed letter to .... (MAD: did not copy brief)
     Letter from Martin W. Dorris, Frankfort, IL, 29 July 1833. I herewith return the claim of John Duncan with the amendments as per your last instructions. You required the year and if possible the month in which the applicant served. From his age and consequent loss of memory he is unable to state positively as to the precise time of his service but thinks to the best of his recollection that it was performed in the years mentioned in (interlined) the amended declaration. ...
     Revolutionary claim envelope: Illinois 19920 (same number as John), Joseph Duncan, of Franklin Co. IL, who was a Private in the Co. comanded by Captain Johnston? in the VA line for 6 months 45 days; Inscribed on Roll of IL at rate of $21.66 per annum to commence 4 March 1831; Certificate of Pension issued 25 Sept. 1833 and sent to W.B. Scates.
     Letter from Walter B. Scates, 18 Oct. 1833, from Frankfort IL. Enclosed I send you a certificate of a pension purporting to be allowed to Joseph Duncan of this county (i.e. Franklin). There is clearly a mistake in the given name of Mr. Duncan, his name being John instead of Joseph. There was but one man by the name of Duncan applied from this county and his name was John, being the person whose business was entrusted to my care. You will perceive the mistake by reference to the declaration and papers of Mr. Duncan in the Secretary office. I have no hesitation in believing that you intended allowing the pension to John Duncan whose papers you have on file. If I knew any man by the name of Joseph Duncan who had applied for a pension I would hand over the certificate to him but knowing of none, I herewith enclose it to you for correction.
     Declaration of Lydia (X) Duncan, 7 Sept. 1841, before Williamson Co. IL Court; in order to obtain benefits of Act 7 July 1838; resident of Williamson Co. IL, aged 70; that she is widow of John Duncan decd who was a private with Army of Rev. War and that he is the same person named in a (pension) certificate herewith enclosed dated 1 Nov. 1833; that she has no other proof as to the time he entered service; she has no family Record to refer to having had her house burned and the record in it many years ago; that she was married to John Duncan after he left the service of the US but previous to 1 Jan. 1794, that is to say, on 10 March 1786 in Roberson Co. TN by John Grammer a Clergyman; that she has never been married to any other person but the one above named; she does not know how to get the record of her marriage from TN for they were married by a Clergyman publishing the bans of matrimoney without license; that her husband John Duncan died on 31 Dec. 1834 in Franklin Co. IL but since his deth Franklin Co. has been divided into Franklin and Williamson counties in which latter county she now resides.
        Affidavit of William Spiller Senior, aged 72 years, resident of Williamson Co. IL; he is well acquainted with Lydia Duncan who subscribed the above declaration and do posatively know her to be the widdow of John Duncan deceased who was a private in the army of the Rev. and drew a pention; that Lydia Duncan was lawfully married to John Duncan in his presance in 1786 in Roberson Co. TN and that Lydia Duncan has never been married since the deth of her husband; that Lydia Duncan has been a resident of Williamson Co. formaly Franklin Co. upwards of 20 years; that Lydia Duncan is about 70 years of age and is very feble and inffirm and that John Duncan dyed to the best of his belief in the year 1834 in Franklin Co. but now is Williamson Co.
        Certification by clerk of court that William Spiller is a man of known respectability and has resided where he now resides for upwards of 20 years.
        Statement by F.F. Duncan, Joab Goodall and John N. Calbert, County Commissioners of Williamson Co. about the clerk of Williamson Co.
     Declaration of F.F. Duncan, 7 Sept. 1841; that he is well acquainted with Lydia Duncan and that he knows her to be the widdow of John Duncan deceased who was a private in the Army of the Rev. of the US; that she never has been married since the deth of John Duncan; that according to Act 7 July? 1838? that she is entitled to and of right ought to have a pention.
     Letter from F.F. Duncan, undated. I enclose the dellaration of Lydia Duncan and send to you for the inspection of the department in the matter of a pension. I also enclose the certificate of John Duncan decd. If the declaration is found to be correct I will expect you to send Lydia Duncan a pension certificate. If not please send me a letter stating the defect.
     Letter from Pension Office, 1 Oct. 1841. The papers in the case of Mrs. Lydia Duncan, widow of John Duncan decd, have been examined. Upon referring to her husband's declaration under Act 7 June 1832, it is found that his alleged service was principally after the termination of the Rev. War and was of that character not provided for by Act 7 June 1832. Had the Dept. been in possession of the information which it now has, the claim under that act would not have been allowed. The first tour of two months is alleged to have been performed in 1780 about the time of the Battle of the Blue Licks in KY, and in two years thereafter he again performed a tour of service. The battle of the Blue Licks took place in 1782, consequently the other alleged service was after the termination of the revolutionary war and no provision is made by the pension laws for such service. The claimant is consequently not entitled to a pension.
     Letter from Daniel Has?, undated. A declaration for Mrs. Duncan widow of John Duncan was sent to the Pension office a few years ago by Frederick Duncan Esqr. of Franklin Co. in this State. The pension was not allowed, he says, on account of John Duncan her husband having misstated by 2 years the date of the Battle of the Blue licks. Mr. Duncan says if by a reexamination of the case you can have the pension allowed, you can make your own charge. Did you get my letter from Washington last Feb. in the case of Mrs. Scudder. How far is the department behind with their business. I have had one case there 18 months not yet acted on. I cant say that I am very patient.
     Letter from Pension office, 26 Oct. 1844. The claim of Lydia Duncan has been disallowed on the ground that her husband did not serve as much as six months within the revoy war. He claimed for three tours as Indian spy which he estimated at 6 mo. 15 days and one of those tours was after the revvy. war as is thereon? by his own statement. The better information of the Dept. acquired since his claim was adjusted would shew that he has confounded in all the service claimed, the duties of vigilance & spying with the organized service under the law of the State which entitled him to soldiers pay then & to a pension now.
     Statement by Thomas J. Duncan, 20 July 1854, before Williamson Co. IL JP; of Williamson Co. IL, appoint Charles C. Tucker of Washington City D.C. attorney to prosecute the claim of Lydia Duncan widow of John Duncan for any amount of Rev. Pension or increase of pension that may be due under Act of 3 Feb. 1853 or any other Act; authorize attorney to examine all papers.
        Further statement by Thomas J. Duncan; that he is directly interested in said claim and makes the affidavit to be filed with such additional evidence or arguments as the attorney may use in prosecuting the claim.
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Joseph Duncan's Timeline

December 12, 1732
Culpeper, Virginia, USA
June 6, 1751
Age 18
Fauquier County, VA
Age 32
Age 35
Age 43
Culpeper, Culpeper County, Virginia, United States
November 14, 1781
Age 48
December 3, 1792
Age 59
Culpeper, Virginia, USA
Age 59
Age 59
Age 59