Duncans Went to Garbacon during the Civil War

When Union troops took over Fort Macon (April 25, 1862) and occupied the town of Beaufort during the Civil War (1862-1865) - the Thomas Duncan family, refusing to take an oath of allegiance, was provided transportation "beyond the lines." According to family legend, the Duncan family at 105 Front Street stashed some valuables, perhaps in the cistern, and went to Garbacon Creek Plantation in South River. (“Garbacon” was derived from the fact that gar, a small variety of the bony fish, when hung out to dry, looked like strips of bacon.)

Garbacon Creek Plantation was owned by Capt. John Nelson (1675-1759); he also owned large tracts of land north and south of the Neuse River. Capt. John Nelson signed a petition in 1712 asking that the court be held in the area. He was on the first vestry of St. John’s Parish. Capt. Nelson’s great-great grandson John Hancock Nelson inherited Garbacon and also purchased 201 Front Street from Thomas Duncan in 1875.  This photograph of the original Nelson plantation was uploaded to ancientfaces.com in 2001 by Gail Swain.


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Image courtesy of The History Place (Museum of the
Carteret County Historical Society).
A year after the occupation of Beaufort, 27-year-old Wm. B. Duncan received this letter, dated June 23, 1863, from Brig. Gen. Spinola. (Carteret County History Museum archives)

William Benjamin Duncan (1836-1911), son of Thomas Duncan (1806-1880) and Elicia Howland (1814-1869), first married Sarah Ann Ramsey (1835-1867) in 1856; they were parents of William Ernest (1858-1929); Isaac, born 1859; Thomas Isaac (1860-1938); Edward Carl (1862-1920); and Graham Duncan, born 1864. In 1873, William Benjamin Duncan married Emily Frances Jones in 1873; they were parents of David Jones (1875-1904); Emily E., born 1876; Sarah E., born 1879; Julius Fletcher (1881-1963); James Shepard (1884-1969); and Lillian Duncan (1885-1953). William B. Duncan inherited the Duncan House.