RICHARD DUCKELS came to this county while it was still in its infancy, and casting in his lot with its pioneer farmers, has been no unimportant factor in developing its agricultural resources. He has acquired wealth by unremitting and well-directed toil and a few years ago he retired from active business to his present home in Western Mound Township, though he still retains possession of his extensive and well-ordered farm.
Mr. Duckels was born in the village of Goole, Yorkshire, England, July 4, 1811. Thomas Duckels was the name of his father, and he was a native of the same village, born in 1770. He in turn was a son of Richard Duckels, who was born in Yorkshire in 1734, and there spent his entire life, carrying on his trade as a blacksmith. The father of our subject was reared to agricultural pursuits, and was a life-long resident of his native shire, dying at the ripe age of seventy-eight years. The maiden name of his wife, a native of Armein, Yorkshire, was Ann Golton. She died at the age of seventy-two years. She and her husband were both devout Christians and members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. They had a family of eight children, three of whom came to America - Nancy, who married John Leach; William, who is dead; and our subject.
The latter of whom we write passed his boyhood and early manhood on his native soil. Deeming that he could better his conditions by emigration to America, in 1835 he set sail for these shores from Hull in the moth of May, and landed at New York City after a voyage of seven weeks. He came directly to Illinois by the way of the Hudson River to Albany, thence by Erie Canal to Buffalo, from there by the lakes to Chicago, whence he continued on his journey by team to La Salle, where he embarked on the Illinois River for Naples, and from that point he proceeded by team to Jacksonville, that long and tiresome route being the most expeditious in those days. He was a single man at that time and not ready to make a permanent settlement. He therefore remained some three months at Jacksonville, and then after visiting this county he took up residence at Alton, where he obtained employment in the store of Godfrey & Gilman, general merchants. In 1841 he returned to England and revisited the scenes of his youth a few months.
Coming back to this country in 1842, Mr. Duckels bought a farm one mile south of Chesterfield, and dwelt upon it three years. He next bought a farm three miles west of the village, upon which he lived until 1889. In that year he took possession of his present cozy and well-appointed home, where he and his estimable wife live retired from active labor, as they have accumulated a goodly amount of property and are well fortified against want, so that they can pass the sunset of life serenely, untrammeled by the cares and anxieties that beset their earlier years. Our subject has bought land from time to time until he now owns seven hundred acres of fine farming land as can be found in this section, and by his industry he has placed himself among the most substantial citizens of the county. Mr. Duckels was married February 23, 1843, to Miss Elizabeth Morris, and their wedded life has been blessed by the following children: Mahilda, their eldest born, who married Jefferson Lee, and died at the age of forty-seven years; Edwin, who died at the age of nine years; Richard, who died at the age of five years; George; John; Henry C.; Oscar; Ann Lovelace; Laura; Rollie; Clara and Grant.
Mrs. Duckels was born near Thorne, Yorkshire, England, January 18, 1827. Her father, John Morris, who was one of the early pioneers of this county, was also a native of Yorkshire, and was there reared and married, Ann Sextz, likewise of that shire, becoming his wife. He resided near Thorne in that old English shire until 1832, when he and his wife and nine children set sail from Liverpool in an American-bound vessel, and after a voyage of seven weeks landed at New York. They came directly to Illinois, and locating in what is now Western Mound Township, Mr. Morris bought a squatter's claim to a tract of Government land, which he entered at the land office at Edwardsville. There was a small cabin on the place at the time of purchase, which the family occupied the succeeding nine years, when the father replaced it by a substantial frame house in which he resided a number of years. He then removed to Chesterfield and lived retired the remainder of his life, both he and his good wife dying in their home there at a ripe age.