Part of an old map of the San Jacinto area from the Texas Revolution

Veteran Bio

Texian Location:  Participant

The Kemp Sketch

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DUNCAN, JOHN -- Born in Pennsylvania in 1788. He moved to Alabama where for a time he operated a line of steamboats on the Alabama River between Catawba, Mobile and Selma. He also owned a plantation. He was married to Julia Coan. In 1835 he came to Texas and located in what is now Matagorda County. He enlisted in the Matagorda and Bay Prairie Company of volunteers of which George M. Collingsworth of Matagorda was Captain and was at the capture of Goliad, October 9, 1835 (See the Lamar Papers, Vol. 1, page 242.) At San Jacinto he was a member of Captain Moseley Baker's Company and on April 4, 185l, he was issued Donation Certificate No. 274 for 640 acres of land for having participated in the battle. He received a Headright Certificate, dated January 7, 1839, from the Matagorda County Board for a league and labor of land. In the certificate it was stated that Mr. Duncan arrived in Texas in 1835. The land was surveyed in Matagorda County.

After being discharged from the army, Mr. Duncan went to Alabama for his wife and children, returning with them to Matagorda County. In time he owned one of the largest plantations in the County. On May 18, 1839. Mr. Duncan, D. Davis, D. Baker and Isaac E. Robertson founded the town of Palacios.

Mrs. Duncan died in 1846 and her remains were returned to Mobile for interment. Mr. Duncan died on his plantation on Caney Creek, Matagorda County, March 21, 1878 and was buried in the Duncan family cemetery on the plantation about twenty miles from Wharton. The plantation was sold by Mr. John Duncan, Jr. in 1882 to Shanghi Pierce. Mr. Duncan was a member of the Texas Veterans Association.

Children of Mr. and Mrs. Duncan were Thomas, Samuel, Sarah, Mollie and John. Samuel died young. Sarah was married to Jesse Gordon and they had one son, Duncan Gordon. After the death of Mr. Gordon his widow was married to Dexter Wallcot. There were no children by this union. Mollie Duncan was married to John Reeves but died shortly after the marriage leaving no children. Mr. John Duncan, Jr., was born on his father's plantation in Matagorda County, August 31, 1838. He was married to Miss India Green, daughter of William and India (Griffith) Green. Mr. and Mrs. Duncan had one child John Green Duncan who died in September, 1909.

Written by Louis W. Kemp, between 1930 and 1952. Please note that typographical and factual errors have not been corrected from the original sketches. The biographies have been scanned from the original typescripts, a process that sometimes allows for mistakes in the new text. Researchers should verify the accuracy of the texts' contents through other sources before quoting in publications. Additional information on the veteran may be available in the Herzstein Library.

Battle Statistics

  • Died in Battle: No
  • Rank: Private
  • Company: Capt. Moseley Baker

Personal Statistics

  • Date of Birth: 1788
  • Birthplace: Pennsylvania
  • Origin: Alabama
  • Came to Texas: 1835
  • Date of Death: 1878 Mar 27
  • Burial Place: Duncan family cemetery , Matagorda Co., Texas
  • Other Battles: Goliad
  • Donation Certificate: 274
  • Wife: Julia Coan