Transcribed by: Mary Ann KaylorPage 226
JAMES S. DUNCAN, the present county coroner of Macoupin county, was born in Palmyra township, near where he now resides, May 16th, 1836. He was the son of William T. and Clementina Duncan, both natives of Cumberland county, Kentucky. William Duncan emigrated to this state in about 1830. The following year he married, and began farming in Palmyra township, an avocation he followed until his death in 1861. He served as a soldier in the Black Hawk war. His aged wife still survives him, and lives with her children. They raised a family of eleven children, eight now living. The subject of our sketch was the second child. During his boyhood and youth he assisted his father on the farm, and as he was one of the oldest children, much hard labor devolved upon him in the work of opening up a farm in this, then new county. During the winter months he attended the subscription schools that were occasionally organized, and by hard study and close application, he acquired the rudiments of an education. He lived with his father until his death. In 1861 he was united in marriage to Miss Mary J. Weller, a daughter of T. J. Weller, and a native of the same township. Mr. and Mrs. Duncan were raised within a half mile of each other, consequently they were acquainted from childhood. They have had a family of eight children, seven of whom are living, five boys and two girls; namely, William T., Thomas J., Lillie B., Robert P., James S., David D. and Rosie E. They are all living at home. As Mr. Duncan was raised on a farm, and educated to farm work, he has made that his life occupation; he now lives on the place he was born - the old Duncan homestead, situated on the Carlinville and Palmyra road; the land was entered from the government by his father, near a half century ago. In politics Mr. Duncan is a staunch democrat, and takes quite an interest in the success of the party. In 1878 he was nominated on the democratic ticket for county coroner, and elected by a large majority. He filled the office of Justice of the peace in his township for six years, to the entire satisfaction of the people.