Tuesday, November 8, 2016

My Politician Ancestor

For election day today I thought I would write about my politician ancestor, James Wesley Duncan.

James Wesley Duncan was born in Tazewell, Claiborne County, Tennessee on December 18, 1868 to William Marshall Duncan and Sarah Simmons. He first married Martha Jane Lewis in Harlan County, Kentucky on October 27, 1887. J. W. Duncan and Martha had a total of six children. Martha died in Kaufman, Texas on July 11, 1911. J.W. Duncan then married Ethel Land Gies from Atlanta, Georgia and to this union six more children were born.

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Around 1893-1894 he moved his family to Texas from Tennessee.  When he came to Texas he brought with him his Republican views whom many shared in Tennessee however he was very outnumbered with Kaufman County and in Texas as the two were being controlled by the Democratic Party. Though the County and State were held by the Democratic party the national party was held by the Republican Party, His first local level position was being appointed as the Postmaster of Daughtery, Texas, later change to Gastonia in 1907, on March 31, 1898. He would be the last Postmaster for Daughtery as the post office was discontinued and moved to Crandall in 1906.

Over the years he became a more and more involved in Kaufman County governmental affairs by 1923 he was a precinct chairman of the Republican Party and was also a chairman for the Kaufman County Republican Party.

On March 5, 1923 he traveled to Austin, Texas and lobbied to the Commissioners Court to sign an "agreement between the State Highway Department and Kaufman County, for 10.74 miles of road No. 40[Which is the Hobby Highway stretching from Marietta Oklahoma to Dallas] in district No. 8 and to forward said contract to the Highway Department at Austin, Texas." Source: Kaufman County Commissioners Court on March 5th 1923. The road was completed in 1926 and stretched from Dallas to Jacksonville, Texas.

Being a delegate of District 3 [Kaufman and Henderson County] he attended three Republican National Conventions. First in 1924 in Cleveland, Ohio, the second in 1928 in Kansas City, Missouri and his last attendance to a convention in 1932 in Chicago, Illinois. He later went on to become a part of the Texas State Executive Committee.

As a final project he went to Washington D.C. to lobby for a post office and a new federal building to be built in Athens, Texas during the Hoover presidency. In Washington, Duncan managed to obtain the post office for Athens despite the town of Henderson having four representatives and spent more than 5,000 dollars on getting the post office in Henderson.

Duncan passed away on New Years Eve 1933, while playing dominoes with a group of friends.  
                                                        James Wesley Duncan