Frank Duncan – End of the Line

In December 1905 Thomas C. Duncan’s only child, his adopted son Frank, boarded the train in Chicago with his new bride Ida.  They were the first in this close-knit family to leave the Midwest. Frank hoped to find a cure for his heart disease in a southern California clinic.

“Frank Duncan and Dad”

Dr. T. C. Duncan was a prominent Chicago homeopath and brother to my great-grandfather, James C. Duncan.  On the board of various medical facilities in Chicago, he wrote several books on homeopathy, ran a successful practice, and mentored many students, but he and his wife Emma, had no children.  It is likely that Dr. Duncan knew through the medical community of this infant needing a home and they adopted Francis Duncan shortly after his birth on March 19, 1877.  Frank enriched his parents’ life as he followed in his father’s footsteps becoming a medical doctor.  T.C. referred to him as “my beloved adopted son” in his will.  But T.C. died in 1902 before even knowing that Frank would marry Ida and head west.

After a journey lasting about 5 days, covering over 2300 miles, the young doctor and his bride arrived in San Diego on December 30, 1905.  They found lodging at Fourth and Beech Streets, close to downtown.  Three days later Dr. Frank Duncan died of heart failure.  His body was sent on the train back to Chicago for funeral services at his mother’s home and he was buried next to his father in Racine, Wisconsin.

Ida did not return to Chicago or her family.  She made her home in San Diego, went into business for herself (quite an accomplishment for a woman at this time) and a few years later married a military man, Calvin Yelvington.  Her story continued another 45 years, but it is for someone else to tell.  This is the end of Thomas Cation Duncan’s line.

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