Tommie Able Riggs "Tom" Duncan
Navarro  County, Texas


Biography Index

October, a favorite month

By Gelene Simpson Corsicana Daily Sun The Corsicana Daily Sun Mon Oct 11, 2010, 09:41 PM CDT

I don’t think that I am the only one who really looks forward to the month of October. There is just something about the color orange that brings out this reaction in me. When pumpkins begin to appear in people’s yards and costumes for Halloween attract the children in the stores, I enjoy some special memories of my father. He was born on Oct. 1, 1903, in Oklahoma, which was Indian Territory then. His twin sister Mable married Albert Halbert. Daddy met Mother on the main street of Blooming Grove, and they married on Sept. 9, 1925, in Cryer Creek. He died on Jan. 5, 1975, at the old Memorial Hospital in Corsicana and was buried at Dresden Cemetery, where his twin and her husband were already buried.

Although Daddy was born in Oklahoma, his people, the Williamses and Duncans, came from Tennessee around Woodbury and Murfreesboro in Cannon County. His father’s name was Liberty Stephens Duncan. There was a well-known Confederate veteran by that name in that part of Tennessee I think my grandfather was probably named for him.

My daddy liked to whistle, one of his favorite songs being “Blessed Assurance,” and he carried in his pocket a coin stamped on one side with the words “Methodist Man.” On the other side was a quotation: “Bring ye all the tithes and I will pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

Daddy liked to find rocks and stones with interesting shapes and colors. But he never seemed to be looking for them. Instead, he always had his eye peeled for signs of changes in the weather. Every evening, especially in late fall, he would step outside and scan the sky to divine whether a “blue norther” was imminent.

Daddy was fond of tools and tool boxes, but he always had some tools that he liked to keep handy on top of the kitchen cabinet and under it. He liked to work with metal pipes and had a pipe threader. He would use vices to hold the pipes steady while he was working.

In nature, Daddy was very fond of trees — pecan and peach being his favorites. He also liked birds, but, I’m sorry to say that he did not appreciate the mockingbird, even though it was the state bird. I never could find out what caused his dislike.

I liked the song “Listen to the Mockingbird.” He didn’t seem to be bothered by that.

He enjoyed raising rabbits, and he could rob bees and butcher hogs. When he was a young man, he liked working with a team of mules Of course, back then, we had a cow, too.

On Sunday, Daddy would dress up and take us all to Sunday School and church. We would also go with him to pick up cotton seed meal and hulls for the cow, and often we would stop by the wholesale house for a case of canned goods or a large box of candy, especially Three Musketeers, which I assumed where is favorites because my brother and I liked Snickers best. Of course, all these errands had to be done on Saturday because businesses were not open on Sunday back then.

Daddy had a long apron with a bib made from cotton mill cloth. He was good at making breakfast on cold mornings, and he always got up first to light the fires.

One of Daddy’s favorite friends was Lyman Barnes. They were often partners in visitation for the church. Daddy also was an usher and served as a member of the Board of Stewards.

Daddy liked to put together jigsaw puzzles and play checkers. He loved to read the Bible in the evening. He also liked to read poems by Edgar Guest and to write letters to his family members.

When it came to refreshment, Daddy liked his coffee black and strong and served in a heavy white mug. He said he liked it “to stain the cup.”

He had a shaving mug and safety razor. But he also had a straight razor which he kept good and sharp and a razor strap which hung in a very visible spot. People of my generation know what I mean.

I can remember that long ago when I was a child, he had a tan gabardine suit. It went well with his auburn hair. When autumn comes and leaves begin to turn gold and orange and tan, and people put pumpkins in the yard, that’s Daddy’s time of year.


Gelene Simpson is a Daily Sun columnist. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? E-mail: [email protected]

  Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas - October 11, 2010

Tommie Able Riggs "Tom" Duncan - OBITUARY
Oct 1, 1903 - Jan 5, 1975

Tom R. Duncan

Funeral services for Tom R. Duncan, 71, who died Sunday at Memorial Hospital, were held at 2 p.m. Monday at the Corley Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Frank Williams officiating. Burial was in the Dresden cemetery.

A retired employe of Oil City Iron Works, he was a native of Oklahoma and had lived in Corsicana since 1929. He was a member of St. Luke Methodist Church.

Surviving are his widow, Mrs. Vera Duncan of Corsicana; one son, Tommie L. Duncan of Fort Worth; two daughters, Mrs. Gelene Simpson of Irving and Mrs. Geneva Davis of Frankfurt, Germany; five grandchildren; two brothers, Lester Duncan of Beaumont and Frank Duncan of Terrell, Okla.; and three sisters, Mrs. Hattie Langford of Terrell, Okla.; Mrs. Bessie Ingram of Waureka, Okla.; and Mrs. Nell McClintock of Waxahachie.

Pallbearers were S. B. Nowell, J. E. Hanson, Marshall Weems, T. J. Webb, Curtis Williams and H. P. Rumbelow.


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