Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   
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.

Back