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date: 22 January 2020

Duke, Washingtonlocked

(20 December 1820–08 May 1905)
  • Edward L. Lach, Jr.


Duke, Washington (20 December 1820–08 May 1905), industrialist and philanthropist, was born in Orange (now Durham) County, North Carolina, the son of Taylor Duke and Dicey Jones, farmers. His early life was largely spent working on his father’s farm, and he had little opportunity for formal education beyond a brief stint in a local common school. Duke began farming on his own at an early age, and in 1842 he married Mary Caroline Clinton, with whom he had two sons. His first wife died in 1847, and he then married Artelia Roney in 1852, with whom he had a daughter and two sons. By the late 1850s Duke, by dint of hard labor and frugal savings, owned and farmed 300 acres approximately four miles north of a new hamlet known variously as Durham’s Depot or Station (later the city of Durham). Tragedy continued to stalk his home, however; in 1858 his oldest son died of typhoid fever and was shortly followed by Duke’s second wife. Duke, gaining strength from his membership in the local Methodist church, continued to raise his children with the help of an unmarried sister and his sisters-in-law....

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