Bartlett Smith Duke, Sr., born 1810


Sarah Jane Foster, born 1816

by Gary D Duke 2006

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This third son of Moses Duke and Nancy Keziah Burge was born in Kershaw District, South Carolina, on February 16, 1810. In the same area of South Carolina a man named “Bartlett Smith” lived near to Moses’ and Nancy’s parents, and I assume this son was named after this neighbor but I don’t know why? Bartlett grew up in Kershaw but moved about 1831-1832 with his father to Lowndes County, Mississippi. His Aunt Elizabeth Duke, sister to his father, had married in Kershaw to Thomas Lloyd Foster, and they had moved in the early 1820's to northern Alabama, probably Madison County. By 1826, Elizabeth and Thomas Foster had moved again to extreme western Alabama, first to Marion County and then into adjoining Fayette County. When Bartlett’s father decided to join his sister’s family, he probably first lived briefly lived with them while looking for his own property. In 1833, he selected land a few miles to the west of the Fosters, but this land was just across the state border into Lowndes County, Mississippi. A few months later Moses bought some more adjoining land and, on 10-24-1833, Bartlett was one of the witnesses to this deed.

When they moved to Alabama/Mississippi, Bartlett, his older brother Richard, younger brother Burrell and younger sister Sarah, went along with their parents but older brother Austin moved to south-central Alabama and never again lived close to the rest of the family. Sister Elizabeth may have already died in South Carolina.

Moses Duke and Nancy Burge had these children:

1. Richard 1804 South Carolina

2. Austin Peay 1806 South Carolina

3. Bartlett Smith 02-16-1810 South Carolina

4. Elizabeth ? 1812 South Carolina

5. Burrell Burge 01-05-1816 South Carolina

6. Sarah Keziah 1818 South Carolina

7. Martha ? 1821 South Carolina

The question marks indicate uncertainty about the identity of the two girls. At the time of the distribution of Nancy’s assets after her death, the record says there were “seven heirs” which might indicate she had seven children who were all still alive at that time but it has been reported that Martha “died young”. No record has ever been found concerning Elizabeth but it is also possible that Elizabeth (or Martha) had married, had two children, that both Elizabeth and Martha were dead, and that the “seven heirs” consisted of the five living children and two grand-children who would be entitled to the amount due their deceased mother. (I tend toward this latter possibility)

When his parents moved to Mississippi, Bartlett was 23 years old and still single and probably continued living with them.

On November 12, 1833, Moses gave a Power of Attorney to Bartlett, then 23 years old and still single, authorizing him to sell “all or any land which Moses then possessed in South Carolina”. Bartlett traveled back to South Carolina and, on 12-17-1833, for $82 sold 85 acres of land in Kershaw County to Peter Rush, then, on 12-20-1833, for $218 he sold another 147 acres in Kershaw to David Montgomery.


Elizabeth Duke and her husband Thomas Lloyd Foster had seven children:

1. Ambrose F. 1807 m Hannah Mixon

2. Susannah 1809 m Alexander Mixon

3. Moses Duke 1812 m Nancy Tunnell

4. Sarah Jane 09-10-1816 m Bartlett Smith Duke

5. Richard Duke 1819 m Sarah Woodham

6. Andrew Jackson 1823 m Mary T. Williams

7. George Washington 1824 m Amanda Milly Spruill

When Elizabeth and Thomas moved away from Kershaw, South Carolina, about 1823, their daughter Sarah Jane was only 7 years old. Undoubtedly, this child had known her first cousin Bartlett S. Duke who was then 13 years old and the families lived near each other. By 1832 when Bartlett’s father moved to Mississippi, Sarah was 16 years old and on April 10, 1834, Bartlett Smith Duke married his first cousin Sarah Jane Foster in Lowndes County, Mississippi.


When Bartlett & Sarah married they began their lives by living in Fayette County, Alabama, about 10 miles east of Moses & Nancy Duke and about 6 miles south of where Elizabeth and Thomas Foster lived.

On July 3, 1840 Bartlett personally appeared at the Lowndes County Courthouse and attested to the deed he had witnessed for Moses back in 1833.

In mid-1841 Moses Duke died. He was then living in Fayette County, possibly with Bartlett, and, on 8-12-1841, Bartlett was appointed Administrator of the estate. Because of later court house fires, the records of this estate administration no longer exist.

Bartlett and Sarah had these children:

1. Moses born 2-1835 but died before 1840

2. Thomas Lloyd 12-10-1836 AL

3. Austin Peay 05-12-1839 AL

4. Elizabeth Foster 03-08-1841 AL

5. Susannah 03-03-1843 AL

6. Bartlett Smith 07-05-1845 AL

7. Rebecca Jones 07-29-1847 AL

8. Nancy Keziah 11-17-1849 MS

9. James Hampton 01-15-1852 MS

10. Andrew Jackson 10-06-1855 MS

After 1844, Bartlett’s mother Nancy lived in Fayette County and developed some kind of mental problem requiring a guardian be appointed for her. Moses Duke Foster, son of Elizabeth Duke Foster, who also lived in Fayette, was appointed for this position.

The first record of land for Bartlett in Alabama was on December 4, 1848 when he bought 120 acres of land from Sarah’s brother Andrew Jackson Foster. From the birth record of their children, they obviously had been living in the area since 1835. Bartlett may have owned land or used land owned by relatives.

12-04-1848 SW1/4SW1/4 t17S r15W s20 40acres

NW1/4SW1/4 t17S r15W s20 40acres

SW1/4NW1/4 t17S r15W s20 40acres

These lands were a little more than two miles west of the town of Millport, in present-day Lamar County and just on the north side of present-day highway 96.

In 1849 Bartlett recorded another 40 acres of land which was about 3 miles northwest of his other lands.

09-01-1849 SW1/4SW1/4 t17S r16W s2 40acres

This was a federal grant of land and there is no way to tell just when he first got it. I suspect this was where he and Sarah first lived after they were married and he did not bother recording the grant - this was common - until 1849 as they were about to dispose of it and move away.

Bartlett’s older brother Richard also lived in Fayette County and had 320 acres of land about 10 miles to the north.

In early 1849 Bartlett and Sarah moved west about 60-70 miles and settled again in Chickasaw County, Mississippi. We don’t know what drew them but for whatever reason they and a large number of their relatives moved to Chickasaw about the same time.

Bartlett’s mother Nancy died in Chickasaw County in August of 1849.

When the census was taken 9-24-1850 for Chickasaw County, the families of Bartlett and his younger brother Burrell Duke and Moses D. Foster all lived side-by-side. Bartlett’s family was:

Bartlett S. Duke 40m SC

Sarah 34f SC

Thomas 13m AL

Austin 11m AL

Elizabeth 9f AL

Susannah 7f AL

Rebecca 5f AL

Bartlett 4m AL

Nancy W. 6/12f MS

The 1860 census record for the western portion of Chickasaw County has been lost so that record for Bartlett is not available.

After the Civil War began in 1861, Thomas Duke and Austin Duke both joined the 8th Mississippi Cavalry in early 1862. Thomas was already an ordained minister, as was his cousin Andrew J. Foster, and both were Chaplains in the 8th Mississippi. Austin joined as a private soldier but was discharged in July 1862 because of a pre-existing hernia condition.

Thomas Duke married during the War to Henrietta Stone in Chickasaw County.

On 10-15-1862, daughter Elizabeth Duke married in Chickasaw to Rufus A. Nichols.

On 3-14-1867, daughter Rebecca Duke married in Chickasaw to Ed A. Appling and they immediately moved to California.

On 1-15-1868, daughter Susannah Duke married in Chickasaw to Perry C. Smith.

On 2-9-1869, daughter Nancy Duke married in Chickasaw to Jarrett H. Luther.

At an undetermined time, but before August 1870, son Bartlett Smith Duke Jr, left the family in Mississippi and went somewhere in Texas where he married Parlee C. Wilson in 1873.

On August 8, 1870, in the census, Bartlett & Sarah still lived in Chickasaw County near the small town of Montpelier. This was in the eastern portion of Chickasaw and was cut off in 1872 to become Clay County. Their family was:

Bartlett Duke 60m SC

Sarah 54f SC

James 18m MS

Andrew 14m MS

and next door to them lived:

Jarret Luther 22m MS

Nancy 20f MS

Sarah 1/12 f MS

Elizabeth Foster 90f SC

As is seen, Elizabeth Duke Foster, now an elderly widow and Bartlett’s aunt, is living with her granddaughter Nancy.

Bartlett’s family had always been strongly oriented in the Methodist Faith. His father had been instrumental in organizing the first Methodist Church in Lowndes County, and several relatives, including Bartlett’s son Thomas and cousin Andrew J. Foster, were Methodist ministers. About 1 mile southeast of the town of Montpelier, Andrew J. Foster deeded land for, and Bartlett Duke was one of the first members of, another Methodist Church which was named the Palestine United Methodist Church. In the cemetery across the road from this rural Church is buried Elizabeth Duke Foster, Moses Duke Foster, and several other family members. The Church is still in existence today.

On 8-20-1873 in Chickasaw, son James H. Duke married Charnella F. R. Hightower and, shortly afterward, Bartlett and almost all of his children left Mississippi and moved to Baxter County, Arkansas, right on the northern boundary of that state. Their home was near Independence Township and close to the White River.

On 7-30-1874 son Andrew J. Duke married in Baxter to Lucinda J. Cooper.

Son Bartlett S. Duke Jr had been living in Texas but his wife died and he moved to Baxter County with his young son, Lycurgis C., and married again in 1878 to Mary Nelson.

Daughter Susannah’s husband Perry Smith died in Mississippi in 1876 so she also moved to Baxter and married again there to Jasper W. Allen.

Son Austin P. Duke married in 1879 in adjacent Marion County, Arkansas, to Sarah Jane ------.

And daughter Elizabeth Duke’s husband, Rufus Nichols, had died in Mississippi, she had remarried there to Samuel Thompson and he also had died, so before 1880 Elizabeth moved with her Nichols and Thompson children to Baxter County.

On June 3, 1880, still at Independence Township, Bartlett, 70 years old, and Sarah, 64 years old, lived alone although they had many children nearby.

Bartlett died at his home about 1883 and is buried there. I am told that, fifty years later, Lake Norfork was created on the White River and that Bartlett’s farm and grave are now underneath the waters of this lake.

Sarah Jane Foster Duke continued to live in Baxter County until 1895 when several of her children left Arkansas and they all moved to southern Indian Territory near the present town of Durant, just north of the Red River. Sarah died near Durant in 1899.

Additional information about the families can be found in my sketch “Duke Families of Baxter County, Arkansas”. I will do a separate report on the further lives of the children of Bartlett Smith Duke and Sarah Jane Foster.