Duncan–Hayes family fonds

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Duncan–Hayes family fonds

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  • 1865-1955 (Creation)
    Duncan-Hayes family

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Physical description

25.5 cm of textual records
1 photograph

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Biographical history

The son of a farmer, George Duncan was born at Chester in 1827. In 1861, he purchased a Mahone Bay property (now 6 Edgewater Street) from Casper and Sarah Joudrey, who had inherited the land from the blacksmith John Mader. The following year, Duncan married Lucy Catherine Hayes, who was born at Lunenburg in 1837. Not long after, Duncan built a store and residence on the lot that he had acquired from the Joudreys. (This building still stands and now houses “The Teazer,” a well-known gift shop.) Over the course of the next few years, Duncan emerged as a prominent Mahone Bay merchant. In addition to running a general store, he was involved in the West Indies trade and served, for a time, as the town postmaster. George and Lucy Duncan had three children: Jane Dorothea “Dora” (born in 1865), Edith Helen (born in 1867), and John Henry (born in 1869). Following George’s death in 1871, Lucy Duncan remained active in the town as a business woman, acquiring rental properties and loaning money. Although the family retained possession of the former store property in Mahone Bay, they lived for many years in Blockhouse. Lucy’s brother, John Hayes, a Nova Scotian who had served in the United States Navy during the American Civil War, also lived with the family for several years. After Lucy Duncan’s death in 1915, her son, John, and her daughter Dora, lived on in the family home. John, who worked for many years as a postal clerk, died in 1951. His sister Dora died in 1959. The following year, the George Duncan property, held by the family for nearly one hundred years, was sold by Dora Duncan’s estate to the Merchant family.

Custodial history

Following Lucy Duncan’s death in 1915, responsibility for the records of both George and Lucy Duncan apparently passed to their son John, as did the surviving records of his uncle John Hayes, who died in 1917. After John Duncan’s death in 1951, these records were held by Dora Duncan, together with her own personal records and those of her sister, Edith. The custody of the family’s records following Dora Duncan’s death in 1959 remains largely undocumented; however, the bulk of the records were apparently donated to the Mahone Bay Museum by Lois (Merchant) Smith in the mid-1990s. Additional records were donated by Charlotte McGill of Kingsburg in 1997.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of correspondence, diaries, notes, an autograph book, indentures, invoices, financial statements, certificates, grey literature, ephemera, memorabilia, and a photograph documenting the activities of both George and Lucy Hayes Duncan, as well as their three children and Lucy’s brother John Hayes. The fonds has been arranged in six series: George Duncan Records, Lucy Catherine (Hayes) Duncan Records, John Hayes Records, Edith Helen Duncan Records, Jane Dorothea “Dora” Duncan Records, and John Henry Duncan Records.

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