Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
DUNCAN. Among the well-known and most highly respected residents of
Thamesville is the genial postmaster, John Duncan, who has held that
office for the past quarter of a century.
Duncan family has long been known in the County of Kent, and is of
Scottish extraction, grandfather Duncan, the first of whom any authentic
record has been preserved, having been born in Scotland. At an early day
he settled in the County of Essex, Ontario, where he followed farming
until his death. His children, all born in Scotland, and all now
deceased, were: James, George, Betsy and Margaret. Betsy married Duncan
McVicar, and settled in Chatham township, but both are now deceased, and
none of their family now resides in the County of Kent; Margaret married
George Wallace, of Chatham township, and both are deceased.
Duncan was born in Scotland in 1814 and was twenty-one years of age when
he emigrated to the New World, settling in Ontario. In 1834 he located in
Malden, and thence moved to Chatham township, where he engaged in farming
for about two years. In 1855 he moved to Thamesville, where for twenty
years he was employed in a general store, during that time being appointed
postmaster, which office he held until 1876, when he resigned in favour of
his son John. His death occurred in 1879, when he had attained the age of
sixty-five years, and his wife died in 1861. James Duncan was twice
married, his first wife having been Janet McVickar, by whom he had seven
children: James, of Windsor; George, deceased; Jessie, deceased; Jean
Noble, wife of William Laughton, of Bothwell; Helen, deceased; and John
and Margaret (twins); Margaret married Stearne J. Ball, and died leaving
three children, Helen,m Charles and Frances. The second wife of James
Duncan was Mrs. Ann (Minshall) Anderson, by whom he had two children
Charles George and Ann Jessie; the former is a millinery salesman of
Toronto, and the latter the wife of Stearne J. Ball.
Duncan was born in Chatham June 13th, 1853, and was only a
child when his parents moved to Thamesville. There he grew to manhood,
and with the exception of two years spent in Chatham has made Thamesville
his home. While in Chatham he was connected with the post office in that
city, and upon the retirement of his father was appointed to the position
of postmaster at Thamesville. In 1903 Mr. Duncan erected the Duncan
block, in which are located the post office and the Merchants Bank, and in
connection therewith is Mr. Duncans fine brick residence. Mr. Duncan
served most creditably as town clerk from 1886 to 1896, and is now
Canadian Pacific Railway ticket agent and Dominion Express agent for
Thamesville; for thirteen years he was librarian of the public library of
the city. In his social affiliations Mr. Duncan is a member of the
Masonic fraternity and of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
Mr. Duncan married Miss Helen McDonald Johnston, daughter of James H.
Johnston, an early settler of the County of Kent, and two children have
been born to them: Katherine McVickar, who is a student at the University
of Toronto, class of 1904, B.A.; and James Kenneth, who is associated
with his father in the post office. Mr. and Mrs. Duncan are consistent
members of the Presbyterian Church of Thamesville, and are justly numbered
among the leading people of that place.
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