Mary Knight was the daughter of William Knight and Mary Jenkins. She married John Walter Duncan.
John W. Duncan, filed a pension application
no. 528, dated 10-31-1898, for his service during the Civil War. He said that
he was a native of Mississippi, born in Marion County in 1839, and he was
currently a resident of Franklinton. He enlisted in Washington Parish in May,
1862 in Co. A, 9th Battalion under Col. James
Winfield and Capt. J. J. Slocum. He was never wounded, and he served
until the close of the war. He was at Hazelhurst, Mississippi at the time of
surrender. He was never a prisoner. He had been a resident of Louisiana for 57
years. He was married. The size of his family living with him was six. His wife
was 54 years old, and his children were 15, 14, 12 & 10 years respectively.
He had a total of 13 children; 10 sons and 3 daughters. He was a farmer earning
$50.00. He, nor his wife, owned any property. He supported himself and his
family "By my labor, a severe case of hernia." He had an attorney, R.
B. Carter of Franklinton and 2 comrades for witnesses, Alex Jenkins and A C
Pool, both of Franklinton.
John W. Duncan was never awarded his pension.
After her husband's death, Mary
"Polly" Knight Duncan applied for a Widow's Application for Pension,
application no. 10474, dated March 10, 1916.
Mary Duncan filed the application on March 9,
1916, with M. A. Thigpen, Clerk of Court of Washington Parish, La. She stated
that she was 66 years old, a resident of Franklinton, widow of J. Walter Duncan
who entered the service as J. W. Duncan at Franklinton in the spring of 1862 as
a Private in Co. A, 9th La. Battalion, serving honorably until the
close of the war at which time she "thought" that he was out on a
scout in Washington Parish, LA and until surrender he was in Washington Parish,
LA. (Note: This would conflict with her husband's earlier account in which he
said that he was in Hazelhurst, MS at time of surrender.) She said that they
were married on the 28th day of August, 1865 by Stephen Ellis, a preacher
in Franklinton. John Duncan died the 8th day of August 1905 at
Maxie, MS. She had resided in Louisiana for 5 years next preceding the date
of this application. At the time of her husband's death, the family was in
indigent circumstances, and he was having kidney and bladder trouble. He was
buried in Griffin Graveyard in Maxie, MS. She said that her only means of
support was the help of her one legged son [Luke Duncan]. She owned no
property, and had not conveyed any property to anyone. The two witnesses that
she had for proof of her husband's service in the war were A. C. Pool and T. J.
Sims, both from Franklinton.
A. W. Daniels also testified that he was well
acquainted with Mary, widow of J. W. Duncan. He said that he knew of his own
knowledge that J. W. Duncan had served in the Confederate Army, served
throughout the war, and that he "thinks" that the said Duncan was at
Gainesville, Alabama at the time of the surrender. Benjamin Passman and Jos. R.
Givens also testified that they had served with J. W. Duncan and that the said
Duncan surrendered at Gainesville, Alabama.
March 22, 1916, A. B. Booth, of the
Commission of La. Military Records, T. W. Castleman, Commissioner, No. 604
Canal, La. Bank Bldg., New Orleans, LA wrote to Col. E. F. Brian, Sec., Pension
Board, Baton Rouge, LA that Muster Roll of Co. A. 9th. Battn.
La. Partisan Rangers, showed J. W. Duncan, Private, enlisted May 13th, 1862, at
Camp Moore, for the war. He had a bounty of $50.00. Another Muster Roll (not
dated) showed the same enlistment, with pay for horse, at 40 cents per day,
$48.00. They found no other record of him. This company subsequently became the
3rd. Regt. La. Cavalry.
A letter of rejection was written to Mr. M.
A. Thigpen, Franklinton, LA. "In regard to the application for pension,
the Board has never seen it, they having refused to examine any new claims at
their last sitting owing to the fact that there was no money to pay pensioners
when they were placed on the roll, Mrs. Duncan is among the new applicants and
shares with them in the action of the Board. There is no evidence of the
service of J. W. Duncan after his enlistment and it would be well for you to
get the services of your Congressman in the effort to get a record that would
give the widow the pension. The affidavit of A. W. Daniels will not assist her
because he says that "he believes that Duncan was at Gainesville".
These affidavits should be more positive than that, and if Duncan was at
Gainesville Ala when the war closed he was paroled there, and if this be true,
the Records will show it and the widow will get the pension."
The last page that I have is where Lewis L.
Morgan from the House of Representatives, Committee on Elections No. 3,
Washington, D. C., dated August 2nd, 1916 asked the
Adjutant General to furnish the record of service of J. W. Duncan.
Mary Duncan was denied the Pension on
September 13, 1916, most probably for two reasons. First, the Board had run out
of money to pay pensioners when they were placed on the roll and, also, because
of the conflicting testimonies as to where her husband was at the time of
surrender of the war. J. W. Duncan said that he was in Hazelhurst, MS at the
time of surrender. Mary said that she thought that he was in Washington Parish,
and the witnesses said they thought that he was in Gainesville, AL. You must
note that many years had passed since the close of the war, and she only had
fading memories to rely upon, and very poor state records were kept. Up to 20%
of all Confederate Veterans' service was either never documented or the
documentation for their service has been lost over time.