Sentimental Sunday: John Berry Duncan’s Signature and Other Significant Details

This signature, from the Confederate Pension Application of John Berry Duncan, hurts my heart. It’s so tentative and misspelled. You can tell it was written by someone who doesn’t have to write much.

John Berry Duncan's Signature, 1910
John Berry Duncan’s Signature, 1910

John Berry Duncan was born Feb 16, 1822 in Greenville, SC and died April 21, 1915. He moved to Georgia in 1836, where he married Lucinda (Unknown) in Cobb County in about 1845. She died and he married my ancestor Jane Agnes Eddington in abt. 1853. He had at least 10 children, including my ancestor James Solomon Duncan (1859-1939.)

This is John Berry Duncan in around 1912-1915 in Cherokee County, Georgia:

John Berry Duncan and his Cotton Bales
Photo courtesy of Leslie Cook Cox

To his left is the bale of cotton that family legend tells he grew and picked himself at over 90 years of age. So while his penmanship may not have been so stellar, he was very good at many other things. For instance, his obituary in the April 23, 1915 Cherokee Advance read:

“OLDEST MAN IN COUNTY — An Aged Citizen Of Cherokee Stricken With Paralysis — Uncle Berry Duncan, perhaps Cherokee’s most aged citizen, was stricken with paralysis Monday night of this week. He was in his 95th year and attended Sunday School at the First Baptist Church last Sunday. Supt. R. T. Jones called attention to his presence, asking Uncle Berry to stand. He rose, spoke a few words, thanking God for his goodness to him, closing his remarks by waving his hand over the large audience saying โ€˜I like such as this and want to be in it to the end.’ He passed away early Wednesday morning ripe and ready for the rest that remaineth for one so long in service. Last Sunday in Sunday School on earth, next Sunday at the feet of the great teacher in glory.”

(Thanks to Nan Duke on Ancestry.com for finding this!)

John Berry Duncan and Jane Agnes Eddington Tombstone, New Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, Acworth, Georgia
John Berry Duncan and Jane Agnes Eddington Tombstone, New Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, Acworth, Georgia

His tombstone inscription reads “An honest man is the noblest work of God.”

I really wish I could have known this old fellow. ๐Ÿ™‚ While I already have and had awesome grandpas, he seems like he would have been another great one.

Happy detecting!

6 thoughts on “Sentimental Sunday: John Berry Duncan’s Signature and Other Significant Details

  1. Hi! John Berry Duncan was my 3rd great grandfather! I really wish I could find more info on his first wife, Lucinda. Their daughter, Francis Clarissa Duncan, is my great-great grandmother. Family folk lore says Lucinda was a Cherokee, but I can’t find any proof since we aren’t sure of her maiden name.
    Hi there cousin!

    1. Hi! Thanks for following and leaving a comment. Have you had your DNA done yet? I don’t have any Native American on that side of the family, but the way DNA works that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t. I highly recommend doing DNA with FTDNA or 23andMe if you haven’t yet!

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