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Doctor Stephen Duncan (1787-1867)

by Bob Franks


Editor's Note: Dr. Stephen Duncan was a resident of Natchez but had considerable holdings in Issaquena County including Homochitto, Carlisle, Holly Ridge, Oakley, Reserve, Duncannon, Middlesex and Elleslie plantations. Duncan's son, Henry P. was a resident of Issaquena County and was enumerated in the 1860 Issaquena County Federal census. The biographical sketch below is an excellent report on the parentage of Henry P. Duncan.

Dr. Stephen Duncan (deceased) was a native of the Keystone state, born in Carlisle March 4, 1787, and was educated at Dickinson college, in his native city, from which he graduated in medicine in 1805. Three years later he came to Natchez, and practiced his profession there with marked success for a number of years. He subsequently became very extensively engaged in cotton planting, and was one of the largest cotton planters in the South. He was one of the most successful and thorough business men in the Union, and from a small capital amassed a great fortune, being one of the leading capitalists of the South. He was president of the State bank at Natchez during the most prosperous days of Adams county, and was a man of strong and vigorous mind, rare sagacity, wonderful ability, great enterprise, and was noted for the interest he took in public affairs. He was not alone noted for his acumen as a business man. He was a litterateur of more than average attainments, and he arose to a prominent position in the first rank of physicians. He was twice married, first, to Miss Margaret Ellis, a descendant of one of the prominent pioneer families of Adams county, and after her death, or in 1819, he was married to Miss. Catherine Bingaman, a very intelligent and refined lady, who was born at Natchez in February, 1801, and who died October 1, 1868. She was a sister of the lamented and distinguished Col. Adam L. Bingaman, who graduated with high honors in belles-lettres from Harvard college, and who became one of the wealthiest planters in Adams county. He was born in 1793, and died about 1867. His wife was a Miss Julia Murray, the daughter of a celebrated Unitarian clergyman of Boston. Colonel Bingaman was the acknowledged leader of the democratic party for many years, and was a member of the legislature with Hons. S.S. Prentiss, who was perhaps his only superior in the state as a debater and politician. Mr. Bingaman was a man of rare qualifications for a popular leader, being gifted by nature in mind and personal appearance (which was most dignified and commanding), with a polished education and fascinating manners; he was a natural orator. Dr. Duncan continued to reside in Natchez until 1863, when he removed to New York, and there his death occured January 29, 1867.

Source: Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi, Volume 1, Chicago: The Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1891, page 676.

Genealogical Notes

A Dr. Stephen Duncan, of Mississippi, a large planter, and well known in the North, has written a letter in which he says: -- "If the Union is dissolved, I, for one, would be for selling out my possessions immediately. Any man of sense and reflection cannot fail to see that after disunion, we would be in no better condition in any one respect, and almost in all respects infinitely worse. Our taxes alone would consume more than one quarter of our products; for under a Southern republic there would be no premium collected from imports, but all derived from direct taxation and to an enormous extent."

Source: The Farmer' Cabinet, Amherst, New Hampshire, September 26, 1860, Page 3
Duncan -- On Tuesday, Jan. 29, DR. STEPHEN DUNCAN, late of Natchez, Miss. in the 80th year of his age. The friends of the family are invited to attend the funeral services at Grace Church, on Thursday at 10 o'clock A.M.

Source: The New York Times, January 31, 1867, Page 5
Henry P. Duncan. Natchez, Miss. Is now residing opposite to Natchez, on the Mississippi River; spending his summers at the North. Was married to Mary Sargeant of Philadelphia, October 6, 1847. Has no children.

Source: Report of the Class of 1844 From 1844 to 1854, Decennial Reunion at Yale College, Thursday July 27, 1854, pp. 12-13.


HENRY S. LEVERICH plaintiff, against STEPHEN DUNCAN and HENRY P. DUNCAN, surviving Executors of the last will and testament of Stephen Duncan, deceased, Catharine B. Davis, Charlotte D. Davis, Stephen Duncan Pringle, Catharine Duncan Pringle, Charlotte D. Pringle, Susan Pringle, Charlotte D. Pringle and S. Bingamin Duncan, defendants -- Summons -- To the above named defendants: You are hereby summoned to answer the complaint in this action and to serve a copy of your answer on the plaintiff's attorneys within twenty days after the service of this summons, exclusive of the day of service, and in case of your failure to appear, or answer, judgement will be taken against you by default for the relief demanded in the complaint -- Dated New York, Dec. 21st, 1878.
PLATT, GERARD & BOWERS, Plaintiff's Attorneys, P.O. address and Office No. 54 William St. New York

To the defendants Charlotte D. Davis, Susan Pringle and Charlotte D. Pringle; The foregoing summons is served upon you by publication, pursuant to an order of the Hon. George C. Barrett, one of the Justices of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, dated the seventh day of January, 1879, and filed with the complaint in the office of the Clerk of the City and County of New York, and said City of New York. -- Dated New York, January 7, 1879.

Pl'ff's Att'ys.

Source: The New York Times, January 24, 1879, Page 7



Dr. Stephen Duncan was born, March 4, 1787 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was the son of John Duncan and Sarah C. Postlehwaite. Stephen Duncan married (1) Margaret Ellis and (2) Catherine Binghaman (born 1801, died 1868) during 1819. Catherine Binghaman was the daughter of Adam Lewis Bingaman (born 1767, died Oct 27, 1819) and Charlotte Catherine Surget (born 1777, died August 12, 1841). Catherine Binghaman's maternal grandparents were Pierre (born 12 May 1731, died 27 July 1796) and Katrina (Catherine) Hubbard Surget. Dr. Stephen Duncan died at his home at Number 12, Washington Square in New York City on Tuesday, January 29, 1867. He was buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, back in his native state of Pennsylvania.

Issue of Dr. Stephen Duncan and Margaret Ellis:

1. John Duncan

2. Sarah Duncan (married Dr. William Irvine)

Issue of Dr. Stephen Duncan and Catherine Binghaman:

1. Henry P. Duncan (born in Adams County, Mississippi ca. 1823; married Mary Sergeant of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 6, 1847, died during December of 1879) (resident of Issaquena County) Henry P. and Mary Sergeant Duncan had no children.

2. Samuel P. Duncan (married Martha Parker)

3. Charlotte Duncan (born ca. 1833, married Samuel Manuel Davis of Natchez on 6 June 1846, resided in New York City after the Civil War). Her children included: Catherine B. (b. ca. 1848 Natchez), Maria (born ca. 1849 in Natchez) and Charlotte D. (born ca. 1852 in Natchez).

4. Maria Linton Duncan (born January 1,1826, died October 15, 1908, buried Sabaou Cemetery, Biarritz, France), married on March 20, 1849 at Auburn in Natchez, John Julius Pringle (born September 2, 1824, died 30 October 1901, Biarritz, Basses-Pyrenees, France, a Louisiana sugar planter in Pointe Coupee Parish, son of South Carolina rice planter William Bull Pringle and Mary Motte Alston. John Julius Pringle was educated in England and graduated from the Naval Academy. He served in the Mexican War at Vera Cruz. After marrying Maria Linton Duncan, the young family spent much of their time in Europe and lived in Paris and Biarritz France during and after the Civil War. However, frequent trips were made to their Louisiana and Mississippi plantations). Her children included: Stephen Duncan (born January 17, 1854, died July 13, 1917, never married), Catharine "Cassie" Duncan (born February 22, 1850, died October 29, 1923, buried in Versailles, France, never married), Mary Motte (born January 13, 1852, died May 6, 1945 in Biarritz, France, never married), Maria "Maizie" Duncan (born May 4, 1856, died January 15, 1940 in Biarritz, France, never married) , Susan (born in Newport, Rhode Island, died January 21, 1942 in Biarritz, France, never married), and Charlotte Duncan (born August 21, 1859 in Newport, Rhode Island, died 1945, married ___ Radcliffe of Devon, England. No children).

5. Stephen Duncan Jr. (born 1836, never married), oversaw the Duncan and Pringle Mississippi River plantations during and after the Civil War in Louisiana and Mississippi. He did this so profitablly that by 1873 he was free to leave the operation of the plantations to others and spend the rest of his life a wealthy, globe-trotting expatriate in Europe. He made his headquarters in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany but traveled extensively and often kept company with his brother-in-law, John Julius Pringle in his travels to Paris, London and Louisiana. He died during 1910.

Parentage of Dr. Stephen Duncan

John Duncan, father of Dr. Stephen Duncan married Sarah C. Postlehwaite. He was the son of Stephen Duncan and Ann Fox. He was killed in a duel with James Lamberton during June of 1793, after a hotly contested militia officer election in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Issue of John Duncan and Sarah C. Postlehwaite:

1. Dr. Stephen Duncan (extensive landowner in Issaquena County, resident of Natchez)

2. Dr. Samuel P. Duncan (never married, born October 28, 1788 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, died January 17, 1830 in Natchez) (At Natchez, his late residence, on the 17th of Jan. 1830, Samuel Duncan, M.D., much regretted, as he was greatly beloved by his relatives, and highly respected and esteemed by his mumerous friends and acquaintances. Dr. Duncan was a native of Carlisle Pennsylvania. The National Gazette, January 30, 1830)

3. Mary Anne Duncan (married Dr. James Gustine on April 5, 1808, moved to Natchez)

4. Matilda Duncan (never married)

5. Emily Duncan (never married)

Parentage of John Duncan

Stephen Duncan, father of John Duncan was born 1729. He was a prominent merchant and landowner in Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. He married Ann Fox. He died on March 30, 1794 in Carlisle.

Issue of Stephen Duncan and Ann Fox:

1. Margaret Duncan (married Judge John Carson
2. Thomas Duncan (married Martha Callender
3. John Duncan (married Sarah C. Postlehwaite
4. Lucy Duncan (married Judge Jonathan Hoge Walker
5. Ann Duncan (married Rev. Samuel Mahon
6. Robert Duncan (married Eleanor Duncan)
7. James Duncan
8. Stephen Ducan (married Harriet Elliott
9. Mary Duncan (never married)



Grand Dress Ball at the United States Hotel, Saratoga Springs At a meeting held at the United States Hotel, Saratoga Springs, on Thursday, Aug. 16, 1855, for the purpose of making arrangements for a GRAND DRESS BALL, to be given on FRIDAY EVENING, Aug. 24, 1855, JAMES W. GERARD, Esq. was called to the Chair, and Col. A.G. RICE appointed Secretary.

The following gentlemen were appointed directors:

F.L. Waddell, New York
C.T.M. Eaton, Baltimore
Geo. M. Thacher, Boston
Dudley Bean, New York
W. Whitewright, New York
A.P. Edwards, New York
Elwood Fisher, Washington
T.L. Crittenden, Kentucky
Jno. B. Worrell, Philadelphia
John C. White, New York
Judge Betts, New York
S.F. Fisher, Philadelphia
Hon. E. Flower, Hartford
Col. Hallett, Alabama
E.M. Seebrook, South Carolina
Hon. A. T. Burnley, Kentucky
Hon. F. Granger, New York
Hon. J.S.T. Stranahan, Bklyn.
J.F. Abrio, Philadelphia
W.K. Thorn, New York
Col. Hamilton, Albany
J.W. Gerard, New York
Peter Lorillard, New York
J.L. Paul, South Carolina
Jno. D. Bates, Boston
C.P. Leverich, New York
L.R. Marshall, Mississippi
Henry Ketellas, New York
Thos. D. Day, St. Louis
Hon. C. O'Conner, New York
W.C.R. English, Boston
Isaac V. Fowler, New York
Col. Gambel, Florida
Judge Grier, Washington
Dr. H. Miller, Louisville
Judge McLean, Ohio
Hon. J. McLean, Washington
Capt. Paine, U.S.N.
Royal Phelps, New York
George Law, New York
John A. Stevens, New York
Hon. Aug. Schell, New York
James S. Thayer, New York
R.W. Tyson, Baltimore
B. VanRennsalaer, Albany
Chas. Wilmerding, New York
Gen. E. Ward, New York
E.P. Williams, Buffalo
Col. J. Wat Webb, New York
Mayor Wood, New York
Com. Perry, New York
Col. H. Pierson, California
Hull Adams, U.S.N.
Col. Thorn, New York
R.H. Rush, Penn.
I.N. Phelps, New York
W.C.H. Waddell, New York
P.K. Dickinson, South Carolina
John J. Palmer, New York
James W. Corlies, New York
A.L. King, Cuba
C.W. Lawrence, New York
R.L. Stuart, New York
Dr. S. Duncan, Mississippi
S.B. Hunt, New York
Judge R. Morris, New York
Dr. G.S. Bedford, New York
Com. Vanderbilt, New York
S.B. Davis, Baltimore
Col. Jas. Monroe, New York
M.O. Roberts, New York
E. Ketaltas, New York
Judge Roosevelt, New York
Colonel Stuart, Mobile
Dr. G. Cummings, Georgia
Hon. Dan. Ullmann, New York
E.W. Simms, Washington
Col. Jas. Barrett, Washington
Col. J. Davis, Baltimore
T.N. Platt, New York
W.H. Vanderbilt, New York
Stephen Duncan, Mississippi
Cadwal Ringgold, U.S.N.
Hon. H. Maxwell, New York
Col. A.G. Rice, South Carolina
T. Polhemus, New York
Col. Chapin, New York
Hon. H. Seymour, New York
Capt. Granger, U.S.A.
Maj. W.D. Frazer, U.S.A.
Wm. G. Fango, Buffalo
Henry Wells, Aurora
S. Alfonzo, New York
Hon. J.P. Phenix, New York
J.G. Anthony, Providence
Jno. C. Brune, Baltimore
Geo. W. Bull, Philadelphia
Hon. J. Bayard, Delaware
G.W. Burnet, Ohio
J. Butterfield, Utica
S. Blatchford, New York
Hon. D.W. Barringer, N.C.
R.L. Cutting, New York
Gen. Cadwalader, New Jersey
E. Corning Jr., Albany
Hon. A.D. Crossman, N.O.
Hon. C.M. Conrad, N Orleans
L. Draper, New York
Harry McCall, New Jersey
Jno. Stuard, New York

Tickets of Admission for a Gentleman with or without Ladies, FIVE DOLLARS The Managers will be designated with a Blue Badge
Entre and Dancing to commence at 9 o'clock. Supper at 12 o'clock
Tickets will be ready for distribution on THURSDAY MORNING
J.W. Gerard, Chairman
A.G. Rice, Secretary

Source: The New York Times, August 24, 1855, Page 5
Saratoga Springs Illustration: Robert Dennis Collection of Stereoscopic Views, Photography Collection, Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints & Photographs, The New York Public Library

The Story of Thomas Duncan and His Six Sons: Katherine Duncan Smith, Tobias A Wright, Inc., New York, 1928

1850 Adams County, Mississippi Federal Census: page 49, dwelling 242, family 212, Stephen Duncan family

1860 Issaquena County, Mississippi Federal Census: page 5, dwelling 51, H.P. Duncan family

Auburn Photograph: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Buildings Survey or Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number: HABS, MISS,1-NATCH.V,4-1


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