Subject:William (Willie) F. Duke (1858 - ?), born Newton Co., MS
Post Date:July 17, 2002 at 11:39:44
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Forum:Hamilton County, TX Genealogy Forum
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I am seeking information about the "other" family of my great-grandfather, William F. (Franklin?) Duke, who may have Hamilton, Texas, connections. He was born in Newton County, Mississippi in 1858. His parents were Wellington Duke (1828 - 1900) and Martha Alethia (Leatha?) Gardner (1838 - >1900). Although he had a wife and three children in Mississippi - including my grandfather William Thomas Duke (1884-1950) - William F. Duke, known as "Willie", left for Texas, then Illinois in the 1880's or 1890's.

Dr. Harold Graham, a highly regarded genealogist, says in his book "Hollingsworth Family Records: The Book of Jacob", that Willie Duke divorced his wife, Sarah Catherine Hollingsworth (3/2/1866 - 7/11/1929) in 1890: "Following their divorce, Willie Duke moved first to Hamilton, Texas, then is later said to have moved to Illinois. He remarried and had five children by his second wife. He died in Newton County, having returned there to be near other members of his family, and is said to be buried next to a sister Alice Duke Redd in Pinckney Baptist Church Cemetery. Following their divorce, Catherine had a difficult time raising her three children and approached the church for financial assistance. The Minutes of Macedonia Primitive Baptist Church reflect, however, that she was not treated sympathetically by the church, and eventually her descendants would organize their own church meetings and maintain separate minutes."

Interviews with my relatives in Mississippi produced the name of one grandaughter of this "other" Texas/Illinois family, a Carmelite nun with the name Sister Robert Joseph (Mary Scheel). I have been able to contact her in California, but she is quite elderly now, and I did not wish to burden her with too many questions. She was able to tell me she was born to her mother's first marriage, which was to a Brigham. When her mother remarried, it was to a man named Scheel, who in turn adopted her. She seemed to imply she was born in Illinois, but only lived there for a short time, as the family moved to various places in the Deep South during the Depression to find work (including Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee). She mentioned the name Margaret, but I was not clear if that was her mother's name or her grandmother's name. Our family history is very much incomplete without information on these "lost" relatives, and any help from the readers of this forum would be greatly appreciated. Thank-you. James A Duke, Jr.