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Historic taken from wchsutah.org

Chapman Duncan, Alma Minnerly, and a few others settled this area in 1861. But a flood in January of 1862 washed away much of the good farmland. Most of the first settlers moved away and sold their claims to William Theobald, Joseph Wright, William Wright, Clayborne Elder, Jonathan B. Pratt, Robert W. Reeve, and Thomas Burgess. Other settlers moved into the area and formed the village of Duncan’s Retreat.

There are several theories about the origin of the name, Duncan’s Retreat. One of them is that the name came the idea that Chapman Duncan had retreated from this area. Another is that Duncan retreated to this area after botching a canal surveying job in Rockville.

Farming produced good crops of cotton, corn, wheat, and sorghum.

A post office was built in 1863 and a schoolhouse in 1864. They also built an L.D.S. meetinghouse.

In 1866, when the Black Hawk War caused widespread fear of Indian attacks, the town was evacuated to Virgin, although farmers returned to Duncan’s Retreat each day to work their fields. Residents moved back permanently in 1868.

The Duncan’s Retreat settlement was all but abandoned in 1891. By 1930, hardly a trace remained – only a few foundations and trees.


  • About 70 at the end of 1862
  • 50 in 1864
  • There were 11 families and 79 people in 1880
  • There were 9 families in 1890
  • The village was all but abandoned in 1891

L.D.S. Church History

  • William Theobald was Presiding Elder between 1864 and 1866.
  • William Martindale was Presiding Elder starting in 1868.
  • Joseph Wright was Presiding Elder and/or Branch President until he died in 1873.
  • The Duncan Branch of the Virgin Ward was formed in 18?? and continued until about 1891.
  • Samuel Stansworth was Branch President starting in 1873.
  • Moses W. Gibson was the next Branch President.
  • David B. Ott was the next Branch President.