William C. Duncan

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William C. Duncan
Mayor of Detroit
In office
Preceded byChristian H. Buhl
Succeeded byKirkland C. Barker
Personal details
BornMay 18, 1820 (1820-05-18)
Lyons, New York
DiedDecember 19, 1877 (1877-12-20) (aged 57)
Detroit, Michigan

William Chamberlain Duncan (May 18, 1820 – December 19, 1877) was a brewer, politician, and mayor of Detroit, Michigan.

Life and politics[edit]

Duncan was born in Lyons, New York on May 18, 1820.[1] The family moved to Rochester, New York in 1825, and in 1841 Duncan began working as a steward[2] on the passenger steamers crossing the Great Lakes. In 1846, he changed employers and began working on a steamer traveling through Lake Superior.[2] In 1849, Duncan moved to Detroit and became a brewer.[1]

Duncan was a Democrat,[2] and in 1852, he was elected an alderman, serving five years. He was first council president, after a revision of the city charter created that position.[2] He was mayor of Detroit for two years, 1862 and 1863, and in the fall of 1863 was elected to the Michigan State Senate.[1] He began in the banking business in 1865, but soon gave up the trade due to impaired health[2] and to take care of the property he had accumulated and to visit Europe.[1]

In 1873, however, Duncan was chosen as a member of the newly created Board of Estimates.[2] In the same year, the city Democratic Party asked him to again be their candidate for mayor, but Duncan declined due to his ill-health.[2]

William C. Duncan married Emma J. Hammer who died in 1863. They had a son, Frank C. Duncan, and a daughter, Kate Mary Emma Duncan. After the death of his wife, he married Sara Elizabeth Heath.

William C. Duncan died on December 19, 1877.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Silas Farmer (1889), THE HISTORY OF DETROIT AND MICHIGAN, p. 1044
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Charles Richard Tuttle (1874), General history of the state of Michigan: with biographical sketches, portrait engravings, and numerous illustrations. A complete history of the Peninsular state from its earliest settlement to the present time, R. D. S. Tyler & co., pp. 714–716
Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of Detroit
Succeeded by