DUNCAN JAMES, fifth son of Rev.
Edward and Mary Ann (Brown) McMillan, was born in Tennessee; his ancestry
on both sides were Scotch. His father, Edward, was the son of Malcolm and
Joanna (Jacobs) McMillan. Malcolm was the son of Edward and Janet (Huie)
McMillan, who were married in Kintyre, Scotland, about 1770, and came to
America three years later. Before the Civil War the family removed to
Illinois; the father and three sons, of whom Duncan was the youngest,
served in the array. The death of the father in the service of his country
left the family dependent upon their own resources.
Duncan worked hard at whatever
offered, as farm-hand, wool-buyer, salesman, schoolteacher, and finally as
tutor in college, until he completed his collegiate and theological
courses. He received the degrees of A.B., S.T.B., and A.M. from Blackburn
University. He was superintendent of the Carlinville city schools for two
years, then pastor of the Walnut Grove Presbyterian Church, Carroliton,
Ill., until impaired health compelled him to seek the Rocky Mountains.
He established schools among the
mormons, incurring the enmity of Brigham Young, who denounced him as "an
imp of perdition, a minion of Satan, a Presbyterian devil,’’ then
instructed the ‘‘saints’’ to "get rid of him as you would a wolf that had
entered your sheep-fold." There followed several attempts at
assassination, in his room, parish and pulpit, which he bravely resisted.
Thus he wrought and conquered, won the confidence of the people, and in
ten years opened about forty mission schools, including four academies.
His mission jurisdiction was extended over Utah, ldaho and Montana; he
founded the College of Montana, and was six years President.
He was Secretary of the Presbyterian
Board of Home Missions for eight years pastor of the New York Presbyterian
Church twelve years, and in 1911 was called to be Secretary of the Board
of Church Erection. He has represented his Presbytery in the General
Assembly seven times, has been seventeen times representative of the
Boards, was once Chairman of the Assembly ‘s Judicial Commission, and once
Moderator of Synod. The degree of D.D. was conferred upon him by
Washington and Jefferson College.
In 1879, he was married to Miss
Emily Kent, daughter of Rev. Adam Johnston, a native of Glasgow, Scotland.
They have two children: Clarence, a lawyer, member of the New York Bar,
and Florence, a professional musician.