Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Major Duncan Mc Kercher.

Major Duncan Mc Kercher.

Birth: Jan. 14, 1819, York, Livingston County, New York.
Death: 1900, Newton, Harvey County, Kansas.

Inscription: (10th) or (40th) Wis Inf.

Burial: Prairie Lawn Cemetery, Peabody, Marion County, Kansas.

COL. DUNCAN MCKERCHER, engaged in loan, insurance and real estate business. Col. McKercher came to Peabody in the fall of 1870, virtually before there was any town, and as a member of the Wisconsin Kansas Colony, but subsequently withdrew from that organization and improved a farm northeast of town two miles, on Section 34. This was his home until 1877, when he removed to the town. Col.

McKercher was born in Livingston County, N. Y., January 14, 1819. His father, John McKercher, was a farmer. His mother's maiden name was Margaret McMartin. His early schooling was obtained at Temple Hill Academy, Genesco, N. Y. At seventeen, he showed an aptitude for mechanical work and was apprenticed as a carpenter, and learned the trade; removed to Perry, and in 1843 was married to Miss Betsy Benedict. In 1846, he with his family, moved to Oconomowoc, Waukesha County, Wis., where he remained until he was enrolled by Governor of the State of Wisconsin, on the 29th of July, 1861, and commissioned a Captain, and ordered to raise a company, which when raised, was assigned to the Tenth Regiment Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, on the 5th of October, and left the state from that point on the 9th of November following; they went to Kentucky, and were under the command of Gen. Mitchell.

Was at the taking of Bowling Green, Nashville, Murfreesboro and Huntsville, Ala., where we cut communication between the two rebel armies about the time the battle of Pittsburg Landing was fought, in April, 1862. Soon after, he was at Bridgeport, where the Union forces drove the enemy across the bridge and they burned one-half of the same. In September, of the same year, he was in the retrograde movement of Gen. Buell from Huntsville to Louisville and the first day out his regiment, with a Michigan regiment, had a fight with the rebels at Stevenson, while transferring some trains. They were twenty-two days on that march, and it was extremely hot and dusty, and suffered much.

Col. McKercher was present with his regiment at the battle of Perrysville on the 8th of October and out of 276 men he lost 145 in killed and wounded in two and a half hours and had six men killed within six feet of him and two of them he caught in his arms as they fell. He was at the battle of Stone River on the 31st of December, 1862, and the first days of January, 1863, and did considerable scouting and skirmishing during the following summer; was at the battle of Chickamauga, Ga., on the 13th and 20th of September, 1863.

On the first day of the battle, in a charge, his horse was shot and killed. On the second day his brigade held a good location and had repulsed the enemy four times and at 4 o'clock P. M. he received orders from Col. Scribner, who commanded the brigade, to hold the line that night, if possible. He held it till about sundown, while the Union forces were forming a new line in the rear, when the enemy concentrated a heavy force and charged them.

They held their ground till the enemy came right in amongst them and captured a large number, the Colonel among the rest; was sent to Richmond, Va., and put in Libby Prison, on the night of the 30th of September, 1863, and was there until the 10th of May following, when he with others, was sent to Macon, Ga.; was there till about the middle of July, when 600 of the officers of the highest rank were selected to be sent to Charleston, S. C.

Col. McKercher was of that number to be placed before the fire of our own guns, for the protection of that city. He remained there till the 5th of October. Some time before that date, the yellow fever had broken out among the officers in the prison, and on the above date they were removed to Columbia, at which place he remained until Sherman came through when he, with the others, were sent to Raleigh and from there were sent to Wilmington, N. C. where they were paroled and sent to our lines on March 1, 1865. From Wilmington he went to Annapolis, Md., where he was mustered out on account of expiration of his term of service.

Col. McKercher at once tendered his services again to the Governor of Wisconsin, but before taking the field again the rebellion was virtually broken, and he did not leave the State. On his return from the service, he moved to Ripon, and was appointed Postmaster of that city by President Johnson, which position he held for four yearts. He had previously held the position of Clerk of the District Court of Junean County.

Col. McKercher has been connected with the municipal government of Peabody nearly constantly since his residence in the city. He is the father of four children, three of whom are living-Sarah (now Mrs. William Holmes, of Chicago), Emma (now Mrs. Lockwood, of Kansas City), Frank B., (agent Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Rrailroad at Peabody), Helen (Mrs. William Cole, of Olathe, Kan., died January 1, 1881, aged thirty-six years). Col McKercher is a member of the Halcyon Lodge, No 120, A. F. & A. M. and the G. A. R. of Peabody. He is the present Mayor of the city.

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