Biography of Major L. A. Duncan



Berrien County

Online Biographies


Also see [Railway Officials in America 1906]

MAJOR L. A. DUNCAN, was born in Columbus, Bartholomew Co., Ind. His father was a native of Leesburg, Va., and his mother of Chillicothe, Ohio. When two years of age his father died, and he, with his mother, went to Charlestown, Clarke Co., Ind., to live with his grandfather, the late Judge James Scott. His grandfather and father being newspaper men and editors, he, it may be said, grew up in the profession.

In 1856 he removed West, stopping in Iowa City, Iowa. In 1858, in connection with G. H. Jerome, he assumed the editorship of the Iowa City Republican, and in 1861 was appointed, by the Governor of the State, one of the swampland commissioners to settle swamp land claims of the State against the general government.

While in Iowa he was instrumental in helping that veteran Abolitionist, John Brown, through the State to Harper's Ferry, though ignorant of his destination and full purpose.

In 1862 he resigned his commissionership to enter the Union army. He was appointed adjutant of the 40th Iowa Infantry upon the formation of that regiment, and took part in the siege of Vicksburg and capture of Little Rock, Ark.; in the battles of Prairie D'Ann (where, when on staff duty and leading the 50th Indiana Infantry into action, he had a horse shot under him), Jenkins' Ferry, Little Missouri River, and several minor engagements. He was commissioned major March 17, 1865, this being the highest vacancy occurring in his regiment during the war. After the surrender of Lee he served some months in the Indian Territory, and was finally mustered out with his regiment at Fort Gibson, Aug. 15, 1865. Though he was three years in his country's service, he claims only an inconspicuous part in the war.

In February, 1866, he came to Niles, and, in connection with E. C. Dana, bought two newspaper establishments, the Niles Enquirer and the Berrien County Freeman, which he consolidated under the name of the Niles Times. At the expiration of two years Mr. Dana retired, and the name of the paper was changed to the Niles Republican, since which time Maj. Duncan has been sole editor and proprietor. He claims to publish a good, clean, reliable, local paper, and his patrons and readers acknowledge the justness of this claim.

In 1872 he was elected presidential elector for the Fourth Congressional District, and cast a personal vote for U. S. Grant and Henry Wilson. He served four years on the Republican State Central Committee, and was one of the board of visitors to the State normal school in 1879.

Maj. Duncan, since the formation of the Republican party, has always been a warm supporter of that party and its principles. Prior to its organization he was a Whig, having been reared in that political faith.

History of Berrien and Van Buren Counties, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers.
D. W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia 1880
Press of J. B. Lippincoff & Co., Philadelphia.

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