From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Duncan, Cruz [Cruz McClusky]

(born: 1844  -  died: 1916) 

In 1910, Cruz Duncan was appointed an aid on the staff of Commander-in-Chief Van Sant of the G. A. R. (Grand Army of the Republic). Duncan was a former enslaved person known as Cruz McClusky. He escaped slavery in Kentucky and joined the Union Army in Pennsylvania, serving with the 8th U.S. Colored Infantry and surviving the Civil War.

After the Civil War, he changed his last name to Duncan and returned to Kentucky, where he married Mary Beal (also from Kentucky) with whom he had three children; Mary's daughter, Florence Keller, also lived with them. They lived in Louisville, KY, until 1871, then moved to Indianapolis, IN, where the family lived at 23 Columbia Street.

Duncan was employed as a laborer. He became a minister and also held all of the leadership positions with the G. A. R. Martin R. Delany Post [Colored] in Indianapolis. He was one of the first African Americans to be elected to the G.A.R. National Encampment.

For more see "Wooden Indian inspires; starts Negro in ministry," The Indianapolis Star, 1/16/1910, p. 12; and "No color line allowed", New York Times, 8/7/1891, p.  1. A picture of Cruz Duncan appears on p. 12 of The Indianapolis Star, 1/16/1910.

Kentucky County & Region

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Kentucky Place (Town or City)

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Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Indianapolis star (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The New York times (newspaper)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Duncan, Cruz [Cruz McClusky],” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 27, 2022,

Last modified: 2022-04-11 16:13:43