Duncan Reunion of 1953 in Roxboro, N.C.

The Children of Josie McGee Jones and George A Duncan

The Children of Josie McGee Jones and George Alexander Duncan.

The siblings are, left to right in order of age, Robert, Rebecca, George Comer (Tony), Zephia, Jessie, Howard, and Malcolm. Grandmother Josie McGee Jones Duncan seems very happy and proud of her seven children.

What I record here are mainly my meager memories about the reunion and most importantly the pictures which I have of the get together that day. What follows then are the pictures with some captions and comments. I was eleven years old then so probably I don’t remember everything important. But I want to record what I do remember here and hope that my cousins will see this and perhaps add comments.

In the summer of 1953 we had been in out new house on Sievers Circle for almost two years. Mother and Dad had built the house in 1950 and we moved in in October. Dad had done a lot of work designing the patio in the back yard and doing all the construction. I remember helping him some as he removed tree stumps and laid the wall for the terrace. So he and Mother decided it was a good time to get all his siblings and their spouses and children together for a long overdue Duncan family reunion.

If one ever needed understanding of the importance and comfort afforded by having a large family, this gathering shows quite clearly the truth of this.  Our Duncans began in Virginia in the mid 1760s and some moved to Arkansas for a while and then went back to Virginia. My grandfather George A and grandmother Josie came to Roxboro, NC in the early 1920s (note I am not sure of the exact year).  Uncle Robert and Aunt Rebecca did not accompany the family to Roxboro. By that time they both had lives in Virginia.  Uncle Robert lived in Williamsburg, where he was a banker. Aunt Rebecca lived in South Boston, VA. My grandfather George was station master for the Norfolk and Southern railroad in Roxboro, having come from Wakefield, VA. As time went by, only my father Toney, Zephia, and Jessie stayed in Roxboro and had families there. Occasionally various members of the Duncan children would come back to Roxboro to visit their siblings and of course Josie. My Grandfather George had passed away in 1934. Grandmother Josie principally stayed with Jessie.  I know that those not in Roxboro were much missed, so when they were able to visit it was a big deal!

Later edit:  I have learned from cousin Rachel (Long) Buchanan something which I don’t recall hearing before. Rachel says that our grandmother Josie was never called Josie but rather was called ‘Marmee’. This I totally agree with her about but recorded her official name so as to give her an equal status to grandfather George! What Rachel pointed out too was that Marmee, a name which some of the children called her, was based on a character in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women novel. Marmee was the mother of the little women!  Interesting. I never know where that came from so thanks Rachel.

I recall we had some visits from Uncle Howard, Naomi, Joanne, Bob, Ben, and Betty in the next few years after this reunion.  Mariam and I were lucky enough to go back with Howard and Naomi to Salisbury Maryland.  It was a week of excitement and seeing a lot of things I had not seen before. I remember we went crabbing and brought home the catch and boiled the crabs that night. It was very yummy. We also went swimming in a river not too far from Uncle Howard’s house. I remember the river was very cold and seemed to really flow.  We also got to go across a large ferry with what seemed a huge number of cars.  Very exciting and new to Mariam and me.

We also went to visit Uncle Malcolm when he was living in Charlotte, NC.  He had a Cocker Spaniel named Susie which I liked very much. As it turned out, we ended up acquiring Susie and by the time this reunion happened Susie was scampering around the festivities.  A neat dog! We also went to Jacksonville, FL to visit Uncle Malcolm.  It was a great trip. I remember how welcoming they were and how gracious Betty was.

Now here are the reunion pictures I currently have. Note that if you click on these you will see the full size rendered. The actual sizes of these images at much higher resolution. These images are scaled down and stored as jpeg files whereas the originals are all tif files. If you click again after the higher resolution images load, you should see a further magnification letting you see more detail of those in the photos.

For a long time I thought Mr. Elam, the local photographer of record in Roxboro those days did the shoot of the reunion. However, I have recently learned that the photos were shot by John Merritt, who was another freelance photographer in town.


The family of Robert, including Kathryn, Bettie, Katie, Charles Modys (spouse of Bettie), Robert, Madison Parker (spouse of Jean), and Jean (with daughter). Josie is standing prominently out front.




The family of Rebecca, including Edwin Tucker (spouse), Rebecca, Josie, Rebecca’s daughter Mary Jo , spouse and two girls.


The family of George Comer (Tony), including George Comer Jr (me), George Comer Sr (Tony), Mariam Elizabeth, grandmother Josie, and Elizabeth my mom (Bet).


The family of Zephia, including Zephia, Lawrence Woods (spouse of Zephia),  June, Brown Hofler (spouse of June), and children. Hans, oldest son of June and Brown,  is standing with Brown. Absent is Zephia’s son Larry Woods.


The family of Jessie, inluding Franklin (Jock) Long (spouse of Jessie), Rachel, Jessie, and in front on the right of Josie is Joe and to her left is Frank.


The family of Howard, including Howard, Joanne, Naomi, Robert (Bob), Benjamin (Ben), and Betty to the left of Josie.


The family of Malcolm, including  Betty with Andrea, Josie, and Malcolm holding Mary Elizabeth.  Doug was not yet born.

And here are two group pictures taken at the dinner.reunion-joanne-baby reunion-everyone-close

groupduncans_talbertI no longer had the photo of Aunt Rebecca’s family. However, Eddie Talbert has access to many photos shot by John Merritt in Roxboro, including our reunion. He has kindly supplied the missing photo. In addition, he recently supplied the last photo, a group shot taken in back yard after a tasty mid-day picnic dinner. Thanks Eddie.

I welcome comments from Duncan family members on the contents of this page. I am more than willing to make modifications which would make this record more complete and more accurate if necessary.


3 thoughts on “Duncan Reunion of 1953 in Roxboro, N.C.”

  1. Matthew Bolado said:

    Greetings from Petaluma,

    I’m Betty Duncan’s 3rd child. Mom forwarded this to me and my siblings.

    I just wanted to say that these photos and your recollections are great and made my day!!

    I sure wish there was a way to make the reunion, but I can’t. I will think of you all and hope you have a fantastic time!

    Best regards,


  2. I am glad you have enjoyed the page. I will try to update and maybe add other pages related to the get together. Stay tuned. Best regards!

  3. I have learned that I had the date of the reunion wrong. Betty Duncan, Uncle Malcolm’s spouse who now lives in Greenville, Ga let me know that her daughter Mary Elizabeth was not born until 1952. Thus the reunion was held in the summer of 1953. I have edited the page to correct this error. Sorry about that.

    If Duncan relatives find other facts which need correcting or ammending, please let me know!


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