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Biography of Thomas H. Duncan

Thomas H. Duncan; P.O. Oakland; born in Clark Co., 111., April 29, 1844, where he attended school and engaged in farming until August 1, 1862, when he enlisted as private in Co. A (Capt. James B. Hill), of the 123d Regt. I. Y. I., and went forward to battle for the Union; he first went to Louisville, Ky., then marching South, was engaged in the battle of Prairieville, Ky., Oct. 8, 1862, going then to Murfreesboro, Tenn., where he remained until May, 1863, when, on account of disability, he received his discharge, and, returning home, engaged in farming for a short time; then, after attending the Westfield College one term, he engaged as clerk in the dry goods store of J. M. Miller, at Charleston, which position he held for nearly two years, when, on account of ill-health, he returned home, where he remained until the fall of 1868, when he entered the college at Eureka, where, after attending one term, he worked as clerk in the stores of Kirkbride and Marcilleot, at Eureka, during the summer, and in the fall again entered the college, but on account of ill-health was unable to remain but a short time. In early life, he had formed a determination to obtain a collegiate education, and his lack of means only tended to stimulate his energies in that direction, and to obtain the means to defray his expenses while attending college, he employed all his time, Saturdays, mornings and evenings clerking; this labor, added to his hard study, so impaired health that he was obliged to give up his long cherished hope of graduating from college; he then returned home and remained (luring the winter, and the following spring was employed as clerk for Wilson Bros., Charleston, Ill., for six months, when he engaged dealing in pictures, chromos, etc., until the following January, when he engaged in the sewing-machine business, which he followed until July 1, 1873, when he purchased a stock of goods and located in Oakland, where he has since continued to live; be was described to the writer as being the tallest man in Oakland, being six feet five and one-half inches in height, and while in the army was known as little Tommy Duncan. His marriage with Ione B. Decker was celebrated Nov. 28, 1872; she was born in Coles Co., Ill., March 17, 1851; they have two children by this union, viz., Gertrude Q. and Jacob L. Mrs. Duncan is the daughter of Jacob K. Decker, one of the early pioneers of Charleston, Coles Co., Ill.

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