Duncan descendants finally settled in the Opp community

Published 1:06 am Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Duncan name appeared in the Andalusia area of Covington County during the early 1820s, which is when the area was being settled.

Since Andalusia was not established until 1854, two Duncan descendants, William V. and Matthew, acquired land in the area of the Montezuma settlement. On December 11, 1823, William V. Duncan purchased 80.14 acres in the Montezuma Township.

On the same day, he bought 80 acres in the Buck Creek Township.

It may be significant that a Jonathan Duncan was one of the land surveyors who worked in the Covington County area at an earlier date.

In the same year of William V.’s land purchases, he and Matthew Duncan signed the petition requesting that Governor Pickens appoint William Hewitt to serve as Sheriff of Covington County.

After this year, there are no further records of these men remaining in this county.

They may have chosen to move from the area as Montezuma began to decline. Neither of them were found in the 1830 nor the 1840 federal census for Covington County.

There were other Duncan descendants who arrived in the county at a later date. Anderson A. Duncan migrated from South Carolina to Crenshaw County circa 1830. He was the youngest son of Elleck Bennit Duncan, who emigrated from Scotland and settled in the State of Virginia.

Anderson A. brought his wife and five children with him to South Alabama.

Those five children included the following: Julius Benate, b. 1823, d. 1901, m. (1) 1848 Sarah Dean (1818-1867) (2) 1867 Mary Elizabeth Edwards (1841-1926); Jane; John Anderson, b. ca 1823, d. 1903; James P., b. 1826; and Martha, b. ca 1828.

Today’s writing will focus on the family and lineage of the older son above, Julius Benate Duncan, who had descendants to move to the Andalusia area.

He and his first wife, Sarah (Dean), had the following children before her death: Tabitha, b. 1848, d. 1914; Henry A., b. 1851; Mary, b. 1853; George W., b. 1854; James Buchannan, b. 1857, d. 1926; Joseph Alexander Columbus, b. 1859, d. 1944; and John. Sarah died in 1867, so Julius was married soon afterwards in 1867 to Mary Elizabeth Edwards, to help him rear the children.

Julius and his second wife, Mary Elizabeth, had the following children: Julius Francis Marion, b. 1868, d. 1903, m. Arrona Antoinette Hartin (1875-1901); Martha A., b. 1870, d. 1892; Sarah Elizabeth, b. 1873, d. 1958; Willie David, b. 1875, d. 1962; and Andrew Lafayette, b. 1865, d. 1956.

The oldest son of Julius Duncan’s second marriage, Julius Francis Duncan, was married in 1889 to Arrona Antoinette Hartin.

They reared the following children: Lillie Verna, b. 1890, d. 1995; William Bennet, b. 1893, d. 1964, m. Lena Franklin (b. 1892); Robert Levi, b. 1895, d. 1978, m. Rosa Lee Reeves (1895-1989); Moses David, b. 1898, d. 1964; and Lydia Adelle, b. 1899, d. 1970.

The oldest son of Julius Francis Duncan, William Bennet Duncan, and his wife, Lena Franklin, moved to Andalusia in 1924 with their five oldest children.

They reared the following children: Timerson Bennett, b. 1913, d. 1987; Julius Marion, b. 1915, d. 1990; Elizabeth Marie, b. 1917, m. ? Godwin; Annie Maude, b. 1919, d. 1997; Terry Austin, b. 1921, d. 1980; Clyde Corman, b. 1924, d. 1982; and Elgie Lee, b. 1928.

The family was residing near Prestwood Bridge and Loango when the son, Clyde Corman, was born.

Julius Francis Duncan’s second son, Robert Levi Duncan, and his wife, Rosa Lee Reeves, moved with their children in 1926 to Ben Barnes’s peach orchard in the Duval community, located near the Town of Opp. Covington County, Ala.

Their daughter, Mary Alice, was born while the family was living in this location. Robert Levi and Rosa Lee’s children included the following: Lorenzo Dow, b. 1918-1981; Elizabeth Arrona, b. 1920; Tommy “Tom” David, b. 1922, m. Mildred ?; Lydia Rudell, b. 1923; and Ilia Brunize, b. 1925, m. ? Parish.

Robert Levi got a job as section laborer for the L&N Railroad. Seniority on this job enabled him to move and work in River Falls, Lockhart and Castleberry at different times. After several moves, the family moved to and settled at 310 East Avenue in Opp in 1937.

During a lay off from the railroad, Levi was hired as a janitor for the Opp Schools.

The family recalls that each morning he would take one of the sons with him to the school at 2:30 a.m. to fire the boilers, which heated the steam radiators in both school buildings.

All six of the children were graduated from Opp High School during Mr. H.N. Lee’s tenure as School Superintendent.

Robert Levi’s wife, Rosa Lee, and children worked industriously during these years.

They picked cotton for 35 to 50 cents per 100 pounds for local farmers, Perry Clemons and Vernon Cannon.

They also gathered tomato plants for 15 cents per hour for Man Morgan who operated a seed store in Opp.

During President Roosevelt’s New Deal Programs, Rosa secured a job as overseer for a crew on the WPA.

She later worked as a battery filler in the Opp Cotton Mills.

Robert Levi retired on disability in 1946, and he died in 1978 while residing on Maloy Street in Opp.

A number of his descendants continue to live in the Opp area.

The primary source for this narrative was a family story written by Bernice D. Respress of Atmore, Ala. She submitted it for publication in The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama.

Her sources included family records, census data and marriage records.

Records of land sales were taken from Wyley D. Ward’s Original Land Sales and Grants in Covington County, Alabama.

Anyone who might find an error in the above genealogy or have additional information on this family is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.