Seeking structural support

Governor Duncan Barbecue raises funds for improvements to historic mansion

Photos and story by Julie Gerke

No hoopskirts or top hats were in sight, but a warm summer twilight supper and auction could have been just what Gov. and Mrs. Duncan ordered for a backyard party at their home.

The second annual Governor Duncan Barbecue at the Duncan Mansion, 4 Duncan Pl., in Jacksonville, brought together several score of friends and mansion supporters for wine, cocktails, period music and food on June 24, followed by silent and called auctions that raised money for the historic mansion’s upkeep. Auctioneer Jess Spradlin provided the ongoing patter to encourage bidders.

Among other projects, auction proceeds will help with restoration of one of the mansion’s balconies.

A number of local businesses and families donated goods for the auctions. Waters Edge Winery hosted a wine tasting, with mint juleps and other refreshments also available for a social hour that included music by the trio, Wild Columbine. Hamilton’s Catering served the barbecue supper under white tents pitched behind the mansion.

Joseph and Elizabeth Duncan built the mansion in 1834. Joseph Duncan, the state’s fifth elected governor, served 1834-1838, when the state capitol was in Vandalia. The building was the official executive mansion and the family home during his tenure.

The home is owned and operated by the Rev. James Caldwell chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and is open for tours. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

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