Early Settlers of Union
Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Duckworth, Corporation Lawyer
brother to Chief
Henry Duckworth of the Georgia Supreme Court was James Lon Duckworth
chose a career in law.
James Lon Duckworth was born October 29, 1899 to John
Francis (known as Jack) and Laura Jane Noblet Duckworth.
He was the fifth child of ten, eight of whom
grew to adulthood. When his father died December 26, 1910,
eleven years of age. The family was
living on a farm near Old
part of the property where David and Mary Williamson Duckworth had
settled. Lon’s lineage went back to
early settler David; David and Mary’s
oldest child, John Williamson Duckworth who married Susannah Jackson; General Jackson Duckworth who married Celia
Collins, parents of Lon’s father, John Francis Duckworth.
Laura Duckworth was faced with a
at age thirty-five when she was left a widow with eight children. For a time she managed on the Choestoe farm,
but desiring that her children have better educational opportunities,
to Young Harris. She worked hard to keep
the children with food and clothing. The children early learned to work
At a young age Lon Duckworth
vowed that if
he were ever financially able, he would see that his mother had a good
and economic stability. She moved from
Young Harris back to Choestoe where she married, second, Joe Townsend,
and miller, and they had thirty years together before his death. She then moved to the Jacksonville
community near Young Harris
where J. Lon Duckworth helped to provide a comfortable and convenient
her declining years.
J. Lon Duckworth graduated from Young Harris
College in 1920. From there he entered the Emory University
Lamar School of Law and graduated in 1923.
He spent a year practicing law in Lousiana, but returned to
where he was in the McElreath and Scott law firm, and soon was made a
in that firm with the partnership name of McElreath, Scott, Duckworth
The Life Insurance Company of Georgia invited
him to become its corporation lawyer and he began work there on January 1, 1942. Through hard work, integrity and vision, he
became Vice-President and General Counsel of the company and held that
when he passed away on October 31, 1964 at a farm he owned near Powder Springs, Georgia.
Two days before his death, he and his family
had celebrated his sixty-fifth birthday.
He taught the Men’s Bible Class at the
Druid Hills Baptist
Church in Atlanta for many
and at the Kirkwood
as well. He was active in Kiwanis
International, serving as Lieutenant Governor of the Georgia District
and as president of the downtown Atlanta Club in 1955-56.
His greatest support, however, went to
the school that befriended a farm lad eager to get an education and
money to pay costs. He was on the Board
of Trustees of Young Harris College and served as Executive Vice
Less than a month after his death, the
Board of Trustees of Young Harris College, meeting in Atlanta on November 12, 1964,
passed a resolution honoring
the long-time Board member. Citing his
“unselfish service to Young
the resolution applauded his business acumen in “a path that led ever
upward.” Noted also were his
“gentleness and humbleness…He never forgot the way he had come; nor did
put from his mind the simple faith and beliefs learned from his
The Duckworth Library at Young Harris
Duckworth and his brother, Chief Justice William Henry Duckworth. Lon’s wife, Ruth and their daughter, Margaret
Duckworth Sewell, survived him.
Jones; published November 11, 2004 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Jones is a retired educator,
freelance writer, poet, and historian. She may be reached at
phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA
Updated September 8, 2008
Back To Union County, Georgia GenWeb Site