Notes for Elizabeth Duke, deceased 1815
This document is copyright © 1999, 2000 by Tony L. Cox. All rights reserved.  (It was last changed on September 7, 2000)
CAVEAT: The content herein is a temporal blend of fact and current personal opinion that may not represent the total truth. This note is subject to, and will, change without notice. It is not genealogical data and should not be treated as such. The note is intended to convey and to document a direction of research that the reader may find fruitful. Please email comments or questions to us.

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Elizabeth Unknown
- Born: before 1755
- Died before May 24, 1815
- Suspected husband: Jeremiah Duke
- Died: before May 24, 1815
- Known Children: Robert, Samuel, Sarah, Margaret, Nancy, Celey, Rodey

The application for a Letter of Administration concerning the estate of Elizabeth Duke was made in Fairfield District, South Carolina on May 24, 1815. Elizabeth died prior to that date. She apparently was a widow for a number of years. She is listed on both the 1800 and the 1810 United States census for Fairfield District, South Carolina. Two of her sons, Robert and Samuel are listed on the 1790 census. It is likely she and her at-home children were included as part of Samuel's household. From later census data we know Samuel was less than 25 years old in 1790 when his household contained four males under the age of sixteen and six females.

There are very few records prior to 1790 concerning Elizabeth and her husband. It is not likely she was the Elizabeth Duke that witnessed the Ephraim Mabry will in 1778. Testimony associated with the Mabry probate places that Elizabeth Duke as a resident of Wilkes County, Georgia in the late 1780s. Also, it is not likely she is Elizabeth Ragland, wife of Adam Duke. We believe Adam spent little time in South Carolina. Like many of his relatives, he took advantage of South Carolina's land grant policy on his way through the colony to Georgia. In South Carolina, a single head of household was entitled to a first time grant of 100 acres. Adam was granted 100 acres on the south side of the Broad River. The tract was surveyed on April 25, 1773, granted on August 31, 1774, and deeded it to John Armstrong, the person who surveyed the plat, on February 15, 1775. Later, when the estate of his wife's father was settled, Adam apparently avoided a trip to South Carolina by selling the tract of land Elizabeth inherited from John Ragland to Henry Duke on April 25, 1775, Henry, in turn, sold it to Aaron Looncock on July 24 and 25, 1775. Additionally, it appears Elizabeth (Ragland) Duke, married Jacob Curry after Adam Duke died. Her son, James sued the heirs of Jacob Curry in Amite County, Mississippi during the 1820s.

We are unable to find a record that names the spouse of Elizabeth Duke. Despite the absence of supporting data, several potential candidates have been suggested for her husband. Our choice for her significant other is Jeremiah Duke who, we believe, was a close relative of Robert Duke of Camden, possibly a son who died prior to December 10, 1784, the date of Robert's Last Will and Testament.

Thus far, we have found only three records in South Carolina that name a Jeremiah Duke. The three records concern two individuals. One record was a receipt in the Thomas Duke probate file. We describe this record in the last paragraph of the research note on Thomas Duke and his family. The other two records are older and involve the 1773 land grant of Samuel Nipper. Both the memorial and the plat describe the tract as bounded on the northeast by Jeremiah Duke and William Simmons. In 1775, Samuel Nipper conveyed his grant of land to Robert Duke. The 100 acre tract was on both sides of Round Top Branch, a tributary of Twenty Five Mile Creek. We believe the Nipper land became part of the 600 acre plantation home that Robert Duke bequeathed to his sons, Moses and Aaron. In any event, this places the older Jeremiah in the right place and the right time to be the husband of Elizabeth Duke. We continue to search for data to prove this.

The Elizabeth Duke estate settlement was recorded December 2, 1818. John Brown was administrator of the estate. The Administration Bond of $500 was signed by John Brown, John D. Dukes, and Jesse Horn. The appraisers were James Cammer, Robert Duke, and Isaac Perry, chosen from a pool of five that also included Moses Dukes and Jesse Horn.

Buyers at Elizabeth Duke's estate sale were Lewis Duke, James Kennedy, John Simmely, Ralph Wilson, James Norris, James Craig, James Duke, John Wilson, Samuel Duke, Isah Neeley, John Simons, John Simmons, Sarah Wells, and Eli Elkins.

The heirs of Elizabeth Duke were Robert Dukes, Sam'l Dukes, Sarah Wells, Margaret Perry, Nancy Vann, Celey Horn, and Rodey Simmons, each receiving $14.225. The husband of Margaret was Lemuel Perry.

The final accounting shows both Elijah Jones and Lewis Duke received a judgment against the Elizabeth Duke estate.  The document implies Sarah Wells was involved in a lawsuit with Lewis Duke, perhaps Elijah Jones also.  Her lawyer fees were paid from the estate.  We have not located the details of the court proceedings.  There is a July 14, 1818 entry in the minutes of the Fairfield District, SC Court of Common Pleas; Sarah Wells vs Admor of the Estate of Elizabeth Duke.  There was a decree for the defendant.  We found no listing for Elijah Jones or Lewis Duke vs the estate of Elizabeth Duke in any court document.

In the absence of concrete data, we explain the documents as follows.  Elijah Jones and Lewis Duke both had claims against the Elizabeth Duke estate which the administrator agreed to pay.  The family disagreed with the claims and on their behalf, Sarah Wells hired a lawyer and sued the administrator.  She lost.  Both Elijah and Lewis received judgment in their favor.  Since Sarah sued on behalf of the heirs, her lawyer fees were paid out of the estate before it was divided.

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