Friday, May 15, 2009

B. Wilson Duke

Duke lived in (St. Louis) at the outbreak of the war, and was called B. Wilson Duke to distinguish him from Basil Duke, a lawyer, who still resides here.  When Claib Jackson was planning his treason and had a Legislature which went hand in hand with him, a law was passed reorganizing the police force of this city, and putting it under the control of five Commissioners of his appointing.  He appointed of course five strong secessionists, and Duke was one of them.  After the Camp Jackson emeule he was released from the arsenal along with the other prisoners captured there and went to Kentucky and joined Morgan, who I think is his cousin.  During the Kirby Smith invasion of Kentucky, he married a young lady of Bourbon or Woodford counties.  He was an active Douglas politician at the last Presidential election, and made frequent speeches during the canvass.
-Daily Evening Bulletin (San Francisco), January 27, 1863

I'm well aware of the duel Basil Dukes in St. Louis during this era and to make matters even more confusing, they were both lawyers.  They were also cousins and our Basil Duke, ballplayer and soldier, came to St. Louis to practice law with his relative.  

The young lady who Duke married was Morgan's sister and the two men were in-laws rather then cousins.   


Richard Hershberger said...

A similar situation arises in Philadelphia. One Hartman Kuhn was an early(ish) member of the Olympic. A Hartman Kuhn was also an early member of the Philadelphia Cricket Club, which in its early years played on the Kuhn estate in Camden, N.J. One might reasonably guess that these were the same person, but they actually were cousins. There was a third Hartman Kuhn, the cousins' father/uncle.

Kuhn was one of the only Olympic members to be legitimately a part of the Philadelphia social elite. To this day the Philadelphia Orchestra has a Hartman Kuhn award for the member "who has shown ability and enterprise of such character as to enhance the standards and the reputation of
The Philadelphia Orchestra". I don't which Kuhn set this up, but it indicates the circles they ran in.

The good news is that this also means that their genealogy is readily available.

Jeffrey Kittel said...

With the two Basil Dukes, it's actually rather easy to distinguish between them as cousin Duke is a generation older than soldier/ballplayer Duke. Also our Duke was relatively famous enough to easily identify in the records. But it did throw me for a loop when I first discovered cousin Duke and I was forced to go back and fact check everything. If there had been three of them, I think I may have pulled out what little hair I have left in frustration.

Luckily for our purposes, our Duke had a historical and literary bent and published several works on the Civil War and the history of Kentucky as well as a memoir. Because of that there's a great deal of information out there about him.