Family of Thomas Duke
Fairfield County, SC, d. circa 1793
This document is copyright © 1999 by Tony L. Cox. All rights reserved.
(It was last changed on December 13, 1999)
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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Thomas Duke
- Born: circa 1753
- Married: Mary Doughety about 1775
- Died: before April 10, 1793
- Known children: Robert, Mary, John D. and James
- Suspected children: Jeremiah
- Known Siblings: Rachael, Moses, Aaron, Hester, Anne, and Jesse
- Suspected Siblings: Jeremiah
- Parents: Robert Duke of Camden and Nancy Unknown

Thomas Duke lived most of his life on Twenty Five Mile Creek, in the area where the modern-day counties of South Carolina; Kershaw, Fairfield, and Richland meet. Public records concerning his life can be found in all three counties, or districts, as they were known in his time. However, Thomas Duke likely resided in southern part of old Fairfield District because his estate was probated there. This part of the Fairfield district is now the extreme northern part of Richland County and the land Thomas paid taxes on in 1787 is now located east of the present-day town of Blythewood. Thomas Duke died intestate before April 10, 1793. His widow, Mary, was executrix of his estate and arranged for the appraisal and the estate sale.

On October 23, 1773, a survey for a plat of one hundred acres was recorded in Thomas Duke's name. The land was granted to him on August 31, 1774. The Memorial he exhibited for the land was dated February 2, 1775. Thomas Duke was likely at least 21 when he applied for the land grant. This would place his birth date prior to 1753. There are two good arguments that Thomas was unmarried, without children, in 1774 when he applied for the land grant. Thomas, after obtaining the tract of land, reassigned it to his father on July 13, 1775. Second, one hundred acres were the maximum number of acres allowed at that time to an unmarried head of household. If Thomas were married, he would have qualified for an additional 50 acres and while he wasn't required to take the maximum amount, it is likely he would have. So we believe Thomas Duke married Mary after 1774. From census data we can estimate Mary's birth date was between 1755-1765.

Thomas Duke's father, Robert, died before January 28, 1785 leaving Thomas, a "beloved son", one shilling. We believe Thomas wasn't included in the will because he had already received his inheritance. On December 7, 1785, Thomas and Mary Dukes sold 100 acres on Wateree Creek to Robert and John Ellison. Later, on October 11, 1787, Thomas Duke paid taxes on 100 acres of land on Twenty Five Mile Creek. After Thomas' death, we believe Mary and her children continued to farm the 100 acres on Twenty Five Mile Creek. We believe this is the 100 acres granted to Thomas that his father returned to him as part of his inheritance.

In 1792, not long before his death, Thomas signed a note of indenture with John Dougherty. The appraisal of Thomas' estate indicates that at the time of Thomas Duke's death, Moses and Aaron, two of his younger brothers, owed him money.

The records show that on December 5, 1807, Mary Duke, widow and executrix, received receipts from two of the children, Robert and Mary, for their portion of the moveable estate. By that date, the daughter, Mary, was married to Jesse Horn and the son, Robert, was at least 21.

Later, on April 21, 1808, Samuel Duke, "on behalf of his wife" reported to probate court on the Thomas' estate. Samuel Duke apparently married Mary (Dougherty) Duke in early 1808. We have been unable to find record of an earlier marriage for Samuel. Later records show that Samuel Duke acknowledged, and provided for, a natural daughter named Harriet, born about 1800.

Mary died before January 17, 1815 when Thomas Duke estate was finally settled. The surviving children signing the final receipt were: Robert, Jesse Horn for wife Mary, John D., and James. In the probate file there is an additional final receipt, undated, signed by Robert Duke and by Jeremiah Duke. We do not know for certain what happened to Jeremiah or his place in the Thomas Duke family. We believe him to be an older son of Thomas Duke who either died or settled his portion of the estate prior to 1815.

The final receipt was also for the heir's portions of the estate of Mary's parents, John and Judith Dougherty.

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