Biography of John C. Duncan

John C. Duncan, a native son of Oklahoma and a member of one of the pioneer families of the state, is numbered among the progressive real estate operators of Ochelata and is a man of keen business discernment and sound judgment, who has attained high standing in commercial circles here. He was born in the southern part of the state, near Fort Smith, on the 20th of April, 1859, his parents being John and Elizabeth (Saunders) Duncan, the latter of whom removed from Georgia to Indian Territory with the Cherokee tribe, of which she was a member. The father was also a native of Georgia and became one of the pioneer settlers of Indian Territory, devoting his attention to the cultivation of the soil. Both parents are deceased.

In the Cherokee Male Seminary at Tahlequah, Oklahoma, John C. Duncan acquired his education and upon starting out in life for himself he chose the occupation of farming, which he continued to follow for some time. For the past seventeen years he has been engaged in the real estate business at Ochelata, during which period he has negotiated many important property transfers. His judgment is rarely at fault concerning the value of real estate and its possible rise or diminution in price, and the integrity of his business methods has commended him to the confidence and support of the public.

In 1885 Mr. Duncan was united in marriage to Miss Joanna Rogers, a daughter of Charles and Nancy (Patton) Rogers. Her father, a native of Georgia, came to Indian Territory when a child with his parents who were early pioneers of Oklahoma. He was a son of Captain John Rogers, the first chief of the Cherokees west of the Mississippi river. W. C. Rogers, a brother of Mrs. Duncan, was the last chief of that tribe to rule west of the Mississippi. He was a man of brilliant mind, a forceful writer, and was associated with every progressive movement in the state. He followed the occupation of farming and was also a prominent and successful merchant, owning a chain of stores in Oklahoma. He was a thirty-second degree Mason and stood high in that order, to which all of the male members of the Rogers family belonged. He passed away on the 8th of November, 1917, his demise being the occasion of deep and widespread regret. Mrs. Duncan’s mother was a native of Missouri, while Mrs. Duncan’s birth occurred on a farm on Bird creek, five miles north of Skiatook (which is a Cherokee word, meaning big man), in Osage county, Oklahoma, on the 3d of February, 1861. She was educated at the Female Seminary at Park Hill, near Tahlequah, from which she was graduated with the class of 1881, and for twenty years she devoted her attention to teaching, becoming well known as an educator. From 1881 until 1883 she had charge of a school in Pawhuska, after which she returned to the Cherokee Nation, where she engaged in teaching until the admission of Oklahoma to statehood. She is a woman of marked intellectual attainments and was the originator of the grade system in this state, which is patterned after the system used in Illinois. Her work in this connection was highly complimented by Hon. John D. Benedict, who served as a member of the first state board of education, under appointment of Governor Haskell. She is greatly interested in civic affairs and is president of the Parent Teachers Club of Ochelata and also of the local organization of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and she is likewise identified with the Eastern Star. During the World war she devoted much time to Red Cross work and she is deeply and helpfully interested in church activities, her support being given to those measures and movements which tend to uplift the individual and thus bring a higher moral standard to the community. Mr. Duncan’s activities in the real estate field have been a direct agency in the up-building and improvement of Ochelata and an organization of his life record indicates a ready sagacity and a keen discernment in business projects, as well as a notable wisdom in investment. In all matters of citizenship his influence is cast on the side of advancement and improvement and his many substantial traits of character have won for him the esteem and goodwill of a large circle of friends.



Indian Territory,

Benedict, John Downing. Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma: including the counties of Muskogee, McIntosh, Wagoner, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Adair, Delaware, Mayes, Rogers, Washington, Nowata, Craig, and Ottawa. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1922.

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