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Biography of Lew Wallace Duncan

Lew Wallace Duncan. The close of the Civil war launched a new era of settlement in the West. Young men who had lately fought the battles of freedom and restored the unity of the nation abandoned their birthplaces and “hit the trail” leading to the boundless and trackless region beyond the “border.” Distance alone separated them from the beckoning prairies of an unknown plain and the scream of the locomotive had not been heard west of St. Louis, so that the “prairie schooner” method of reaching their destination had to be resorted to. Once across the Mississippi the mecca of the homeseeker was reached and the pioneer emigrants from Ohio, Indiana and Illinois began to “fall out” and squat among the guerillas and Bushwhackers of Missouri. James P. Duncan, one of this patriot band of homeseekers, did this and dropped down near Gooch’s Mill in Cooper County in the wilderness of forest and wild turkeys. Mr. Duncan’s stay in that semi-hostile region was a brief two years before he moved on to Kansas. He chose his location at Lawrence when the classic crown of “K. U.” was being added to the dome of Mt. Oread and he settled on the Colmore farm whose early owner was one of the victims of the Quantrell raid. Two years later the call of the Missouri wild beckoned him back among the “pukes and mossbacks” of Grundy County where he spent a season and raised a crop on the banks of Grand River near Trenton. But having once breathed the Kansas air and learned the Kansas tongue, Missouri environment failed to soothe and...

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