Edward G. Duckles, one of the prominent and substantial farmers of Polk Township, Macoupin County, where he owns a fine farm situated in section 4, was born in 1842 in Chesterfield township, Macoupin County and is a son of William and Frances (Garlick) Duckles.
William Duckles was born January 19, 1805, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England, and was a son of Thomas Duckles who was a prosperous tenant farmer of the Southern family of that locality. William received fair educational training and assisted his father in farming until he decided to find a new home in America. With his wife and infant daughter, he left England on May 20, 1834, taking passage in a sailing ship bound for Quebec, Canada. His objective point was Morgan County, Illinois, but after reaching his destination he did not feel entirely satisfied, and in February, 1835, removed to Macoupin County and settled in Chesterfield township, in section 14. Here he first entered 160 acres of land, 80 of this being in timber, and on the other 80 he erected his first home. Although Mr. Duckles was much more fortunate than many of the early settlers, having brought means with him from England, it required much of the persevering industry, for which his race is noted, to bring this wild prairie land under cultivation. This he gradually accomplished and added largely to his first purchase, and at the time of his death, in 1891, he owned 700 acres of land in Macoupin County, part of it lying in Polk township and part in Chesterfield. All is arable, well watered, finely located land, and this farm is included among the best in the county. Mr. Duckles was a man of robust physique and was endowed by Nature with those qualities which commanded the respect of those with whom he came in contact, making him a natural leader in his locality, and much of the educational development of his section as well as its agricultural may be attributed to his influence. In early life a Whig, his opposition to slavery made him a strong supporter of the principles of the Republican party, when it was organized.
In September, 1830, in his native village, Mr. Duckles married Frances Garlick, and a family of 10 children were born to them, the surviving members being the following: Sarah Ann, born in England, who is the wife of Judge T. L. Loomis, of Carlinville; Thomas, who resides at Jacksonville, Morgan County; Edward G., the subject of this sketch; Eliza, who married John W. Armstrong of Polk township; Victoria, who married John Simms, now of Colorado Springs; and Joseph R., who resides in Chesterfield township, Macoupin County. William, the eldest child, and Grace (Carter) are deceased.
Edward G. Duckles attended the local schools and found plenty of work on his father's farm until the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1862 he offered his services to his country, enlisting in the 122nd Reg., Illinois Vol. Inf., and served faithfully until mustered out at Springfield, in 1865. He participated in innumerable skirmishes and the following serious engagements: Parker's Cross Roads; Tupelo; Town Creek; Nashville; and the last engagement of the war, which took place at Fort Blakely. At Parker's Cross Roads he was slightly wounded.
After his return from the army, Mr. Duckles resumed work on his father's farm and continued there until 1869, in which year he was married to Emma L. Lawson, who is a daughter of Z. B. and Louisa (Williams) Lawson. The Lawson family is an old settled one in Herkimer County, New York, from which section the father of Mrs. Duckles came to Illinois, a pioneer, and located first at White Hall, later in Polk township, and died in 1877 in Chesterfield township, aged 63 years. Mr. and Mrs. Lawson had a family of six children, two of whom died in infancy. Edwin, the eldest son, died in 1869, from the effects of a wound received in the army. William, another son, became a civil engineer, located at Denver, Colorado, and died there in 1900, survived by two children. Mrs. Duckles has one sister, Lucetta, who resides with her. For 20 years Miss Lucetta Lawson had charge of the orphans' home located at Chattanooga, Tennessee, and at Atlanta, Georgia.
Mr. and Mrs. Duckles have these children: Emma Fay, who married W. A. Hoblit, now resides at Jacksonville, Illinois; William L., the cashier of the Bank of Chesterfield, who married Cora Snell, a daughter of Silas and Annie Snell of Polk township; Myron E., formerly engaged in teaching in the city of Mexico, but now an assayer, who married Grace Murdock, formerly of Jacksonville, but for many years a resident of Mexico with her parents; Perry, who served in the 5th Illinois Regiment, in the Spanish War, - he married Kitty Phelps, a daughter of Jeremiah Phelps of Chesterfield, and resides at home; and Frederick, who is attending school at Jacksonville. Lewis L. died in infancy.
In politics, Mr. Duckles is a Republican. In religious views he is a Congregationalist. Fraternally he is a Mason and a member of the Modern Woodmen of America.
Mr. Duckles is a man of sterling business qualities, a factor in shaping political and public movements in his locality, and one who is active in promoting the general prosperity of the community. His portrait accompanies this sketch.