Family Histories

Family Histories for the Rose and Kirkpatrick Families

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Military Monday: Jesse Asbury Duncan, Prisoner of War

Jesse Duncan was born in Henry, Georgia in 1830.  He married Caroline Kirkpatrick in Newton, Georgia in 1855; they eventually became parents to five children.  The family moved to Randolph, Georgia, near the Alabama state line, just prior to Civil War.  In 1862, Jesse volunteered with the 55th Georgia Regiment Infantry. 

The Battle of Cumberland Gap was fought in September 1863 as Union forces tried to make their way down into Knoxville, Tennessee.  The 55th Georgia Infantry was among those fighting here and Jesse was captured and sent to Camp Douglas in Chicago.  Camp Douglas was one of the largest prisoner of war camps in the Union, holding more than 26,000 prisoners at one time.   Conditions were bad, with no working sewage system when the camp opened, one hydrant to provide water for all prisoners and low-lying ground that flooded (and then froze in winter) with every rain.  More than 4,000 Confederate prisoners eventually died before the prison was closed at the end of the war.

Jesse was fortunate to survive and return home to Georgia after he was discharged in May 1865.  He and Caroline remained in Randolph county with their children through 1870, then joined most of her family in moving to Cass, Texas before 1880.   They raised their family (with the exception of one daughter who died at age 2) there until his death in 1900.  Caroline survived to the age of 91, dying in Gray, Texas, in 1931.  She had by then outlived all but one of her children, John, who had become one of the city of Pampa, Texas' most prominent citizens.

Jesse is buried at O'Farrell Cemetery in Cass, Texas, near his son George, who had passed away in 1899.  Caroline is buried in Gray, Texas.

Jesse A. Duncan, 1830 - 1900

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