GEORGE ELLIS DUNCAN.
One of the old and honored families of Southern Illinois, whose advent here dates from the pioneer days of Williamson county, is that of Duncan, members of which have distinguished themselves in the various walks of life, and a worthy representative of the family is found in the person of George Ellis Duncan, of Johnston City, who is prominently connected with the real estate and insurance interests of this section. Mr. Duncan's birth occurred near Johnston City, February 22, 1885.
The family of Duncans traces its ancestry back into one of the Carolinas, out of which state some wandering member of the house sought out a new home in Tennessee, where his lasting footprints are seen in the propagation of a famm. There Thomas Duncan, the grandfather of George Ellis Duncan, was born, and shortly after his marriage migrated to Williamson county, Illinois, where he died in 1877, at the age of seventy-one years. He had these children: Thomas, who is a citizen of Johnston City, Illinois; William P., of Malden, Missouri; Hiram Martin, father of George Ellis; Mary E., the widow of Mr. Chapman, of Johnston City; and Julia, the wife of Thomas Odom, of Benton, Illinois.
Hiram Martin Duncan, or Martin, as he was generally known, was born in the vicinity of Johnston City, June 6, 1840, and grew up with the new advantages afforded in this new part of Illinois. His schooling was light, and amongst his first acts as a young man was his enlistment in the Union army for service during the Civil war. His company was B, of the One Hundred and Twenty-eight Regiment, Volunteer Infantry, and he served through as a private, being in Logan's Corps of Sherman's army, participating in the fighting preliminary to the capture of Atlanta, although he was in the hospital until after the fall of that Confederate stronghold. He was with his regiment under Schofield when Hood's army was being pursued north from Atlanta, and took part in the battle of Nashville, where the Confederates were completely routed. After three years spent in uniform he returned home and took his place among his old friends in the peaceful vocation of farmer. Hiram Martin Duncan married Miss Joann S. Bidwell, a daughter of Charles M. Bidwell, who came to Illinois from near Nashville, Tennessee, during the war. Mrs. Duncan was born in Tennessee, November 4, 1852, and was a helpful companion for her industrious husband for nearly forty years. They lived quietly near Johnston City, where Mr. Duncan made one of the best farms of this county, and on which he worked right up to the hour he was stricken fatally. He became identified with the substantial growth of Johnston City, owned some of its best property, and erected some of its desirable and valuable residences and business houses. He comported himself admirably as a citizen, participated modestly and unselfishly in civic affairs, was a Democrat when political principles were at stake and contented himself with simply emphasizing his right of suffrage. The children born to Hiram Martin and Joann Duncan were as follows: Mary E., the wife of David J. Clayton, of Franklin county, Illinois; Charles W., a hoisting engineer of Johnston City; Thomas C., engaged in agricultural pursuits in this locality; Alva M., assistant manager of the Boston Store, in Chicago; George Ellis; Lela V.; Clyde F.; and Clara B.
George Ellis Duncan began his life as a youth of seventeen years with only a country school education. He found the farm growing monotonous long before his majority was reached and went to Chicago, where he spent some time as a clerk in N. B. Holden's shoe store, but,
leaving there, subsequently went to Quannah, Texas, and found employment in the cement works at that place. Yearning somewhat for home, he returned and established himself in the confectionery business at West Frankfort, but a year later took up work in connection with the development of the mines in the home neighborhood, sinking shafts and doing other contract work as a shift leader. Following this, Mr. Duncan took up real estate in Johnston City and, since his father's death, has assumed charge of the home farm. The handling of real estate and the writing of insurance are matters that interest him deeply, and his entry into this sphere of business adds a new factor to the enterprising business men here. He has never married. Mr. Duncan's fraternal connection is with the Modern Woodmen of America, and in political matters he is a Democrat, and has never aspired to public office.