Duncan, William (ca. 1786–1836)

By: Robert Wooster

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 16, 2020

William Duncan, early settler in East Texas, was born in South Carolina about 1786. He apparently married and had at least one son in South Carolina. By 1818 he had moved to Louisiana, where two more children were born. Duncan married Jane Oden in St. Mary's Parish, Louisiana, on July 24, 1825. In 1826 Green DeWitt gave him and Col. Elijah Stapp letters of introduction informing fellow empresario Stephen F. Austin that the two men were bound for the San Marcos River or the Guadalupe to locate land "for a number of families." Duncan, however, decided to move his family to the Atascosito District. In 1827 he was one of a number of district residents who petitioned Anastasio Bustamante for recognition of their land claims. In 1831, unlike many other Americans in the area, Duncan received title to his land, which was on the west bank of the Trinity River. He also secured a town lot across from the courthouse square in Liberty. He remained loyal to Mexico during the early stages of the Texas Revolution, when he joined John A. Williams in opposing William B. Travis's armed attack on Mexican troops at Anahuac in 1835 (see ANAHUAC DISTURBANCES). Duncan died in late 1836; a Liberty County Bicentennial celebration group commemorated his prerepublic homesite with a marker in 1976.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Miriam Partlow, Liberty, Liberty County, and the Atascosito District (Austin: Pemberton, 1974). C. Allen True, "John A. Williams, Champion of Mexico in the Early Days of the Texas Revolution," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 47 (1943).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Robert Wooster, “Duncan, William,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/duncan-william.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 16, 2020