Lucinda Parker Duncan

Lucinda Parker Duncan
Eureka County, Nevada


The grave of Lucinda Parker Duncan was moved a short distance to its present site during realignment of the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1906 and called “The Maiden’s Grave.”

fenced grave site of Lucinda Duncan with markers and cross
Lucinda Duncan gravesite

Far from being a maiden, Lucinda Duncan was a seventy-year old grandmother traveling with her family to Galena, Nevada, from their home near Richmond, Ray County, Missouri in 1863.

The daughter of John and Charlotte Parker, Lucinda was born in Fauquier County, Virginia, ca. 1792. Early in life she moved with her parents to Anderson County, Kentucky, where she married Daniel Duncan on December 11, 1820. Ca. 1830, with their first four children, Daniel and Lucinda moved to Ray County. Four more children were added to the family in Missouri. In 1849 Daniel Duncan and his three oldest sons joined a wagon train captained by Lucinda’s cousin, Judge Daniel Parker. Daniel Duncan died in the California gold fields late in 1849. Lucinda Duncan remained a widow for the rest of her life.

In 1863, Lucinda and her family decided to emigrate to Nevada, then in the midst of a gold and silver boom. Lucinda was called the “mother of the wagon train” as it consisted primarily of her seven surviving children, their wives and husbands, many grandchildren, and various other close relatives. It was said that Lucinda, still strong and vigorous at the age of seventy, occasionally drove her own horse-drawn carriage, the only team of horses in the company of sixty ox teams and wagons.

Accounts of the death of Lucinda Duncan vary. Family stories say that she suffered a heart attack on the trail above Gravely Ford, lingered for a day and then died the night of August 15. The only contemporary account comes from the diary of James Yager, one of the contingent of non-Duncans in the train.

Sunday Morning 16. An event occurred last night that has cast a gloom over our camp; the death of one of its members. An old lady the mother and grandmother of a large part of our train. She had been sick for several days & night before last she became very ill so much so our train was compelled to lay over yesterday & last night she died. She was pious and beloved by the whole train, relatives & strangers. Her relatives took her death very hard. All of her children and grandchildren were present except a grandson who is in the confederate army.

Camp Wide Meadows Monday 17. We left Camp Reality yesterday about noon. Before leaving Mrs. Duncans funeral was preached by Captain Peterson [Peterson was captain of another train.] Her remains were carried to its last resting place as we proceeded on our journey & up on a high point to our left about one mile from camp, we paid our last debt & respect to the remains of the departed mother. There upon that wild & lonely spot, we left her, until Gabriel shall sound his trumpet in the last day. The scene was truly a sad one to leave a beloved mother on the wild & desolate plains. A board with the name of the deceased was put up at the head & boulders was laid over the grave to keep wolves from scratching in it. After this the train moved on.


About 3 miles east of Beowawe, Nevada

From I-80 take the Beowawe exit to Wyoming 306 and drive south 5.8 miles to the railroad tracks, just beyond the Humboldt River. From the tracks, bear left (southeast) through the town for 0.4 miles. Turn left on a gravel road. The cemetery is 2.2 miles east at the top of a bluff. Look for the large white cross that marks the Duncan grave.

The site is open to the public and owned by Eureka County. The cemetery is maintained by the Crescent Valley Historical Society, Crescent Valley, Nevada.


Source: Randy Brown and Reg Duffin, Graves and Sites on the Oregon and California Trails, OCTA, 2nd edition, 1998, pp 116-117

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