Jerrine who married Clifford Hughes; June who married Reuben Monroe; Mabel who married Elmer Vine; and Geneva who married Orville Ruen. Isaac Duff passed away 25 May 1917 in Frankville at age 83 years and 7 months, bearing the distinction of being the last survivor of the original pioneer Duff family which had come to Winneshiek County some 66 years prior.
The fourth child of David and Catherine was Jacob Duff, born on 12 Jun 1836. ‘Jake” was married three times and is the subject of another sketch.
David and Catherine’s fifth child—and fourth son—was Aaron, who was born about 1837. Aaron’s marriage to Harriet Allen was recorded in Prairie du Chien on 26 Oct 1866. To Aaron and Harriet were born: Phillip Husted in 1867 and who was named after Sarah Duff Husted’s husband; Isaac Henry on 11 Jun 1869; John R. on 21 Apr 1873, named after his uncle; Sarah, who married Will Snow; Charles R.; and Elmer.
The sixth child of the pioneer Duffs was Mary Eliza, born 21 Jun 1845. She married Benjamin Birdsell on 24 Mar 1861 in Winneshiek County. Ben was born in Ontario in 1838 and was likely from Norfolk County.
The writer of the Duff sketches resides in Monrovia, California, and is a “Duff" by marriage. As mentioned earlier, there may have been other members of the Duff family who remain as yet unknown by the writer of the present family sketch. It is also presently unknown whether or not descendants bearing the Duff name of this family—or descendants bearing family names into which this family married—reside currently in Winneshiek County.
Duff Family - Canadian Link
The Duff family were among the early pioneer settlers of Winneshiek County, first settling in the area of Moneek (a town no longer in existence, but which vied for the County seat position—and well might have succeeded, were it not for a bit of “chicanery” resulting in the selection of Decorah). Over the years the Duffs were associated primarily with Frankville Township and Bloomfield Township. Jacob Duff, then 14 years of age, is said to have come to Frankville Township in November of 1850, possibly accompanying William Padden and wife and Walter Rathbun and wife, and perhaps also an uncle named John Duff or his older brother John. In 1851, the Duff family relocated to Winneshiek County, coming from Clayton County, Iowa, where they had been living for about three years prior.
Before coming to the United States, the Duff family had made their home in Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada for the previous 35 years or more, and in Ontario from around the turn of the century or earlier. It would appear that Norfolk County contributed significantly to the early population of the Moneek and nearby areas. Many names familiar to the early years of Winneshiek County also appear in the history of Norfolk County in Ontario: Birdsell, Boughner, Dean, DeCou (and its variant spellings), Smith, and Walker are among the names the two counties share in common. Many of these families were interrelated by marriages which had occurred in Canada and co-located as they continued to be, it was only likely that various marriages among them would also occur after the relocation to Iowa.
It would seem as though many of these early settlers from Canada may have had “pioneering” in their blood, as a number of their parents and families had pioneered the settlement of the Norfolk area with which they were associated—also known as the Long Point Settlement— on the north side of Lake Erie. The region had been unbroken wilderness until the 1790s.
Developments in Canada around the mid-point of the nineteenth century may have influenced the move from Canada to the United States. But it seems very likely that these early settlers may have been drawn to this corner of Iowa by the accounts circulating during that time period of gloriously fertile lands available in the new territories at low cost to those hardy settlers willing to use youth and energy as assets in breaking new prairie. The raw, uncleared, unimproved frontier lands would have had particular appeal to those of limited means, and perhaps, not so limited vision and aspirations. Certainly, “word of mouth” may have played a role, as new Norfolker arrivals followed on the heals of their predecessors.
However, it may be conjectured that for some—or even perhaps most—of these Canadians who were pioneers of the Moneek settlement, their coming to the United States was in a sense also a “homecoming.” The Long Point area had largely been settled around the turn of the century by United Empire Loyalist families. Indeed, Ontario as a whole owes much of its early settlement to American expatriates; during and in the years after the American Revolutionary War, many families left—or sometimes fled—to Canada, especially from New York and Pennsylvania, but from other states as well.
Duff, Jacob - Pioneer
Jacob Duff was the third son of David Duff and Catherine Lemon, and was born on 12 Jun 1836. Known as Jake,” he was thrice married. His first marriage was to Catherine, born about 1835 in Pennsylvania, who died 8 Jul 1863 at age 28. Rebecca C., born in 1859 or 1860, is thought to have been born of this union. Jake subsequently married Susanna Califf(?) or McSwain, having two sons. The first was Frank A., born June 1864, who married Mary Halsey of Forest Mills, Allamakee County, Iowa, daughter of Job Halsey and Anna Clark.
Jacob and Susan’s second son was Nelson Jacob, born 16 Mar 1868(?) and who died in July 1949(7). “Nels” married at least twice, first to Matilda—known as Lillian— Johnson, youngest child of Robert Johnson, born in 1818 in Ireland, by his second marriage to Helen Griffin, who was born in Ontario in the early 1830s. The Johnson family resided in Winneshiek County for some years, later locating to Wisconsin. This marriage was concluded by divorce, but produced two sons: William Ward—known as Ward— on 3 Jan 1892 and Paul LaRue on 20 Mar 1898(7). Lillian moved with son Ward to Detroit, Michi-
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this page was last updated on Sunday, 28 March 2021