Ellis Duncan (1894-

by Tyriq Smith

Ellis Duncan was born August 1st, 1894, in Princess Ann County, Virginia. He was the son of Sarah Dozier and Daniel Duncan and was raised as a Methodist. His father Daniel was from North Carolina but moved north to Norfolk where he met Mrs. Dozier. Ellis was the youngest child of three. He never attended college that was documented and went into the workforce at an incredibly early age. At 16, he was working as a laborer at a barrel factory with his two older siblings. His mother and aunt ran a laundry service out of their home at 11 Landing Street, and his father was a street laborer. Before enlistment, a young Ellis worked as a steamboat cook. Documents show that he worked for New York/ Philadelphia Incorporated and Norfolk Railroad Services and for the Norfolk Warehouse Association until his enlistment.

 He enlisted as a private in the National Army on July 17th   1918 in Norfolk, Virgina. When he enlisted, he was assigned to Part of Company C 340th Service Battalion 1st Platoon, Quartermaster Corps. He was trained at Camp Lee in Virginia where he would eventually be deployed. He embarked from Newport News, Virginia headed for Breast, France . Other than as a private it is not made clear what role he served exactly. He is said to have never fought in the war though his time overseas was a wonderful experience. When explaining his time in the military he said to have learned a lot and gained profound knowledge both physically and mentally. 

   He was discharged from the army on July 18th, 1919, in Norfolk at the same base he trained at. It is unknown exactly why he was discharged but it was a year to the day of his enlistment. Though he never received any promotions he enjoyed his time and learned a lot. After he left the Army, he then began work as a Longshoreman. He never had any kids though he did get married to Ruby/Ruth Mae Porter. He lived a modest life in Virginia Beach, Virginia where he continued his work. On July 10th, 1975, at the age of 80 he succumbed at Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Hampton, Virginia to an illness called Myocardial Infraction. The illness is described as a blockage of blood flow to the heart. He also suffered from several aliments at the time acromegaly and diffuse arteriosclerosis. He was buried at Roosevelt Memorial Park in Chesapeake, Virgina. Though his time in the military was brief he made the most. He never had to fight at war but served his country with pride every day that he was enlisted and took extraordinary pride in it.


“United States, Veterans Administration Master Index, 1917-1940,” database, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QPRH-NRSW : 3 September 2021), Ellis Duncan, 18 Jul 1919; citing Military Service, NARA microfilm publication 76193916 (St. Louis: National Archives and Records Administration, 1985), various roll numbers.

“United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MPL4-7QX : accessed 5 May 2022), Ellis Duncan in household of Daniel Duncan, Norfolk Ward 4, Norfolk (Independent City), Virginia, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 41, sheet 14A, family 277, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1637; FHL microfilm 1,375,650.

“United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918”, database with images, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:7HS2-XRPZ : 25 December 2021), Ellis Duncan, 1917-1918.

“Virginia, Bureau of Vital Statistics, County Marriage Registers, 1853-1935,” database, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:8WQP-MQ2M : 21 January 2022), Ellis Duncan, 8 Nov; citing Marriage Registration, Norfolk, Virginia, United States, Virginia State Library and Archives, Richmond.

“United States Social Security Death Index,” database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VMY4-KJ7 : 8 January 2021), Ellis Duncan, Jul 1975; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).

“Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVRZ-G4WZ : 16 August 2019), Ellis Duncan, 20 Jul 1975; from “Virginia, Marriage Records, 1700-1850,” database and images, Ancestry(http://www.ancestry.com : 2012); citing Hampton, , Virginia, United States, entry #, Virginia Department of Health, Richmond.