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The Red Bearded Ghost


Part 3

My wife Fran was a genealogist, and came up with Duncan family history. Clay Duncan’s story began in pioneer times. His father was Thomas Duncan born in Kentucky in 1802, dying October 2nd, 1878 in Breckinridge County. His mother’s name is unknown, but his wife was Sallie Board, born in 1805. They were born during a time where they may have been enslaved. In an interview I did with Bucky Board, he relayed the Board family’s slaves usually took the Board name, as did the Dittos and others.

According to the 1870 census, Thomas, Clay’s father, was a farm laborer married with six children. He lived in Hardinsburg. Clay, was 14, and worked on a farm, Thomas was 2, Isaiah 4, Melinda 30, Maria 17, Mary was 24. Thomas Duncan was apparently illiterate, signing his will with an X.

In the 1880 census, Clay was 23, Melinda 40, sister to Clay, Sarah 16 (?) Clay’s niece, Tim 10, nephew, Mary, 29, Clay’s sister and also Maria, 25, also Clays sister. They were shown to be living in Hudsonville.

In the 1910 census in Louisville, Clay’s brother, Henry Duncan 70 years old, was an inmate in South 9th Street Prison or Jail. He died at Little Sisters of the Poor. On his death certificate he is the son of Thomas and Sallie dying of nephritis, a chronic kidney disease or disorder. The trail of the Red Bearded Ghost, warms up.

Clay was born January 27th, 1856 in Breckinridge County, Kentucky. He died August 15th, 1930 in Meade County, of Bright’s disease, also a kidney ailment, and was buried the next day, August 16th in Zion Grove Baptist Cemetery. The death certificate information comes from Myrtle Cross a daughter of Clay.

In 1900, Clay was 44, lived in Guston, with Amanda, Myrtle and Annie, 1.

In 1910, Clay Duncan lived in Meade County with Mandy (Amanda), and both were 55 years old, Myrtle 23, Annie 9, (buried Zion Grove) M. Lue, 7, John Tom, 6, and James 2.

In 1920, Clay resided in the Courthouse District on Old Ekron Road and Brandenburg Road. Note: It was at this time he likely owned the land where he built his cabin and later his spirit manifested itself. Clay was 63, Amanda 48, Malissa 17, John 15, and James 13.

In 1930, Clay was still living in the Courthouse District, was 73, and lived by. He died alone. Amanda, Clay’s wife, died in Louisville at the house of a daughter, at 522 Garland Ave. There is no record available at this time, but my wife Fran did work on the Eastern Cemetery coincidentally with Philp Diblasi of the University of Louisville. Amanda could have been buried there due to the closer proximity, or could have been just as likely interred in Zion Grove Cemetery. Fran found mention of Amanda coming to Brandenburg by rail, about the time of her death, or after.

Clay lived in the Courthouse District and traveled to the Courthouse to vote. His cabin, near Ekron sat on the land where the new family built until the cabin was destroyed by fire. He lived in a remarkable time and through a remarkable period, likely freed by the Civil War. He was industrious and raised a family of six children.

The question of why, has never been answered. In my humble opinion, Clay was in some way bou