JOHN WESLEY DUNCAN. This gentleman is engaged in the lumber business in Palmyra and also handles lime, coal, hair, cement and grain. He devotes himself closely to his business and is doing well in that line in which he decided to embark a few years since. He is associated in business with his brother, Joseph B., and the lumber yard they now own was purchased by them in the fall of 1888. Mr. Duncan is quite a young man, having been born October 26, 1865, but he is showing the qualities of which the good business man is made, and carrying on his work according to the truest principles remembering that even in matters of trade, honesty is a duty as well as good policy.
James Duncan, paternal grandfather of our subject, is thought to have been born in Virginia. For many years his home was in Washington County, Tenn., and there his son James was born and reared. The latter began his lifework as a school teacher, but having been reared to agricultural pursuits he abandoned the profession after he had taught several terms and took up farming. He had come to this county and his first term of school was at Simpson Hill in South Palmyra Township. He began his farm work near Girard, but after a time removed to the village and for two years was occupied in the grain trade. He then bought land in South Palmyra township and resumed farming, giving it his entire attention until 1881, when he took up the lumber business, although he still occupied his farm. He died there in 1888. He left a widow and three children, John Wesley, Joseph B. and James T. The widow still occupies the homestead. She bore the maiden name of Abigail Proffitt. She was born in Washington County, Tenn., and is a daughter of Daniel and Sarah Proffitt, pioneers of this county. Grandfather Duncan came hither after the death of his wife and spent his last days with his son James, dying about 1863.
The birthplace of our subject was the village of Girard, but he was reared on the farm. After taking a course of study in the public school he spent a year in Shurtleff College in Upper Alton. He made his home with his parents until his marriage, then located in the village of Nilwood, but still gave his attention to farming. He lived there two years, then moved to Palmyra and entered upon the work he is now pursuing. He was married in 1888 to Miss Fannie B. Thacker, who was born in Nilwood Township and is a daughter of Zachary and Nancy Thacker, a biographical sketch of whom appears on another page of this Record. Husband and wife belong to the Baptist Church, of which Mr. Duncan's mother is also a member and his father for many years was a Deacon. Our subject and wife have one daughter living, Bertie F. Mr. Duncan votes the Republican ticket. He is connected with the Palmyra building and Loan Association and socially belongs to Palmyra Camp, No. 149, M.W.A.