Tarrant County, TXGenWeb

A.J. Dukes
by Margaret R. Bates
Dukes Family Page


Andrew Jackson "Dutch" Dukes was born in Independence, Missouri, on April 11, 1841, the son of Robert Sherard Dukes and Eliza Hall.

He joined the cause of the Confederacy December 26, 1962, and served as a private in Company D, 12th Missouri Cavalry in the Civil War. He was present at muster January and February 1864, was taken prisoner in New Orleans in General E. K. Smith's surrender to Maj. Gen. E.R.S. Canby on May 26, 1865. Dukes was paroled 14 Jun 1865 at Shreveport, Louisiana. According to William F. Dukes, A.J. "had an argument with an enemie's ball during the Civil War before he came to Mansfield. Dad (A.J. Dukes II) said the other day that A.J. told him he was firing at Union soldiers, his rifle at his shoulder and in his hands when he himself was hit. A.J. said that the ball hit his hand first then went into his chest." According to another story, A.J. Dukes claimed the 12th Missouri Cavalry didn't have enough horses to be called a cavalry.

After the war, he returned to his father's home in Kearney, Clay County, Missouri. He was recorded on the 1870 U.S. Census there, occupation, Trader.

As the story goes, A.J. Dukes went to Mansfield, Texas, attracted by stories told him by his superior officer in the cavalry, Captain Johnson. He is said to have arrived with 50 cents in his pocket.

Dukes first worked for wages and board for other settlers. As he saved money, he began to buy what was known as "black land," when sandy land was preferred for its ability to grow good gardens and orchards. Some of this land was bought for 25 cents an acre, and it dramatically gained value when crops such as cotton began to be propagated in the area.

It was in Mansfield that Dukes met Miss Martha Virginia Boydstun at a dance in the Spring of 1873. When he saw her enter the ballroom with her escort, he turned to the gentleman standing near him and said, "Who is the lady in the door? Introduce me to her. She will be my wife or I will never have one."

A.J. Dukes and Mattie Boydstun were married on November 13, 1873 at the home of her sister, Mary Margaret Boydtun Wolcott. Little Annie Laura Davie, three years old when Aunt Mat married, made the assertion in 1935 that she possibly was too young to remember the wedding, but, "I certainly remember the 'enfare;' I never before had seen so many pies and cakes."

Martha Virginia Boydstun was the daughter of Jacob Gardner Boydstun and his wife, Drusilla Ground, who were early area settlers, having received a land grant in extreme southwest Dallas County in Peters Colony. The Boydstun family, together with the Ground, Dawdy, Holland, Lowe and other families moved from Barren and Warren counties in Kentucky to Knox County, Illinois, and thence to the Dallas/Ellis/Johnson/Tarrant county area of Texas in the mid-1800s.

The Dukes had the distinction of owning Mansfield's first bathtub. The bathtub, having arrived from St. Louis by wagon train, was too big for the kitchen, and the solution was to build a brick bathhouse. Water had to be heated in the kitchen and carried to fill it.

In 1890, Dukes bought the residence of John C. Collier, located west of what was Mansfield Male and Female College from 1870 and 1887. The Dukes alternately called this home "the house on the hill" and "Lonepine." It is located on a sharply rising slope (at the foot of which lived Frances Ralston and her family, one of Roberta Dukes' favorite pals) which provided an excellent view of the then little village of Mansfield. Behind the house, the hill sloped gently down to the edge of the banks of Walnut Creek. In the yard was a pine tree of huge proportions, hence the name, "Lonepine."

The house at 401 East Elm had 15 rooms, many fireplaces, and twelve "outside doors." The main entrance door is at least 8 feet high, and heavy pine and oak woodwork abounds. Major alterations were made during their residence, including the installation of the first indoor plumbing in Mansfield. Three children were raised in this home: Martha Lena Dukes, born October 25, 1874; Leonidas Sherard Dukes, born August 25, 1876, and Roberta Drusilla Dukes, born November 1, 1889.

In an upstairs room, Mattie kept a collection of sea shells, fish scales, and mounted birds of all kinds. She took sea shells and fish scales and dyed them different colors and put them together with wire and formed them into flowers.

Dukes and his family spent most of the hot summer months at their home, "Luff," in Flour Bluff near Corpus Christi. The children were required to go to school only from September to February. Despite sporadic studying, the children were well educated. Lena and Lon studied at Ad-Ran-Jarvis College, and Roberta went to New York City to study music and voice. The Dukes enjoyed fishing. Mattie once caught a 6' 1" tarpon, which A.J. had mounted and put in a glass showcase on the front porch of the house on the hill.

Mattie Dukes died on March 16, 1903, and was buried in the Mansfield Cemetery.

Dutch Dukes considered himself a good judge of character and helped people he believed in. There are many stories about gifts and loans to friends, neighbors, and organizations, but Dukes believed in helping people without fanfare. For example:

One night, A.J. saw a man stealing corn out of his corn crib, grabbed his break-top 38 Smith & Wesson, shot the man and wounded him. When A.J. saw who the man was, he hitched up the horse and buggy and drove to Ft. Worth and put the man in the hospital. He never revealed the identity of the man he shot.

A.J. walked to town every day and sat on a bench in front of the grocery store and talked and joked with friends or sat in the First National Bank, of which he was a stockholder and director. The long walk to town from Lonepine finally convinced Dukes in 1909 that he should trade houses with Dr. William B. McKnight, whose home was only one block from downtown, on the corner of Oak and North Streets (then Cardinal Road). It was originally the home of Dr. Julian T. Feild, one of the founders of Mansfield.

Upstairs in the old McKnight house were three bedrooms and a bathroom. Downstairs was one bedroom, living room, large dining room and kitchen. In the kitchen was a huge iron stove with 8 eyes on top, two ovens below, a warming oven above, and a coil in the fire box that heated the water in the hot water tank. By 1941, the old McKnight home had been torn down and three rent houses built from the material obtained.

In this beautiful home, reminiscent of Jeffersonian architecture, A.J. Dukes died of pneumonia on December 28, 1921. He was buried beside his wife in Mansfield Cemetery.

Lena Dukes married on April 24, 1893 to William Silas Poe. They had one child, Andrew Jackson Poe. Lena Dukes Poe died of "slow fever" on April 27, 1894, when the child was only a few days old. Andrew Jackson Poe never married.

Lon Dukes married May 30, 1898, Margaret Alanzie Hopson. They had two children, Andrew Jackson Dukes and Mattie Faye Dukes.

Roberta Dukes married September 23, 1918, Jewell Moser Richardson. They had one child, Jackson Moser Richardson.


This page was last modified 15 Jan 2003.

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