... our families through the years
The McDowell Genealogy

The Ancestors of the Duke Family

(Editorial comments from Jerry McDowell)

The most obvious answer to this question is very simple. I wouldn't have been born without the genealogy lines that connect me (and our McDowell Families and others) directly to the Dukes and Duke University.

In 1964, I attended Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. The summer after graduation in 1968, I started a masters program at Duke University called the "Masters of Arts in Teaching" and in 1968 became a mathematics teacher for the then Raleigh City Schools, now the Wake County Public School System. Later in 1976, I started and completed a program to be a principal at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This was a 36 hour program designed to give you the administrative skills to be a principal. I completed the program in 1978 and received my certication. I spoke at length with a professor Dr. Lester Ball, now long since passed away, about continuing my education. At that time, Duke University was the only University in the area that would allow you to continue a full-time job and work on your doctorate degree and with two young children, I had no choice. With Dr. Ball's assistance, I did transfer my credits over to Duke University and began and completed in 1986 my Doctorate in Education and Administration.

Those of you who have been to college are familiar with the annual update, computerized forms that universities send out. Duke's form always allowed you to list your ancestors that attended Duke in the past and then they would update your files. Every year for nearly 10 years, I would submit to them that I was related to both Washington Duke and James B. Duke. The never updated my forms. So, now, I can make it public and all "they" can do, if they were to check, is to agree - finally - that I was correct. I really tried to get a reduced tuition, but to no avail.

I never knew anything about the Duke family relationship until the 1970s when mom and Grandmother Roney (now that's an important last name that was my grandmother's first name) started talking about a redistribution of funds on the estate of James B. Duke. I do believe there was some sort of commission set up to study the feasibility of doing so but found that there were so many descendants, that it was impossible to determine all the participants in the distribution of funds. Fortunately, my gread grandmother Odelia Holt Stanley was one of the recipients of the first distribution after the death of James B. Duke when he died on October 10, 1925.

There is a book published and in the Duke University library (GR 929.2 D877D) that lists all the recipients of the first distribution. I have included a few pages for your viewing. My great-grandmother, listed in the book as Mrs. J. M (Odelia) Stanley, Route #3, High Point, NC received 1 portion. I've been told that one portion amounted to about $15,000 and that's in 1920's dollars. So, she bought each of her children a home. If you read the names, you'll notice that she was a descendant through the family of John T. Roney, brother of Artelia R. Duke. My grandmother's full name was Roney Della Stanley, and we always called her "Mother Roney" - I don't know why she wasn't called "Grandmother Roney" but it was just what we grew up with. I suppose my mom would refer to her as her mother Roney and that phrase just stuck.

So, for those of you interested in part of the Duke genealogy, the following comes from the book which listed schedule A and started it as follows:


The parents of Washington Duke were Taylor Duke and Dicey Jones, whose marriage bond is dated August 14, 1801 and their children were:

      • William J. Duke, born July 18, 1803
      • Mary Duke, born August 22, 1805
      • Reany Duke, born December 20, 1807
      • Ameila Duke, born March 8, 1809
      • Kirkland R. Duke, born June 6, 1812
      • Malinda Duke, born March 13, 1815
      • John T. Duke, born March 22, 1818
      • Washington Duke, born December 18, 1820
      • Doctor B. Duke, born September 27, 1823
      • Robert Duke, born April 29, 1825

To shorten the descendancy, there was an Arteila Roney who had a brother John T. Roney and they were children of John Roney and Mary Trollinger. There were twelve children in this family. Artelia Roney married Washington Duke. Washington Duke and Artelia Roney Duke were the parents of James B. Duke.

Now, Artelia Roney Duke's brother John Thornton Roney married and had several children one of whom was his daughter Emily Roney. Emily Roney married Henry R. Holt. One of the daughters of Henry R. Holt and Emily Roney was Odelia Erastus Holt (August 23, 1874 - May 26, 1935) who married John Montrose Stanley (August 8, 1869 - April 23, 1928). John and Odelia Holt Stanley were the parents of my grandmother Roney Della Stanley (April 13, 1899 - April 15, 1996 at age 97 and 2 days). "Mother Roney" was married three times, but her marriage to Daniel Porter Hawks (May 5, 1899 - September 2, 1978) produced my mom, Evangeline Hawks who married my dad Harding Atlas McDowell on December 23, 1941.

When I was very young, our family lived on "The Old Brickyard Road" in Trinity, NC. Our small house was across the street from a small airport and there was a railroad track separating the road from the airport. For the first two and a half years of my schooling, I went to Trinity School. At that time, the old building was still standing that used to be part of Trinity College. Trinity College later became Duke University when it moved to Durham. Little did I know that I went to "Duke University" for the first two and half years of my education.

Brickyard Road House

Evangeline McDowell at home on Old Brickyard Road in Trinity, NC around 1954

Jerry McDowell in Trinity

Jerry McDowell in the back yard at the McDowell home on the Old Brickyard Road in Trinity, NC around 1954

Trinity School was formed from Trinity College. Below is an older picture of the school when it was Trinity College, but the big building with the pointed roof was still in existence in the 1950s when I attended grades one, two, and part of grade three when we moved to High Point in the middle of the year. The graveyard is Trinity Cemetery. It was just off the Old Brickyard Road about 5 houses up from the one in the picture above.

Trinity College and Elementary School

Trinity College

Trinity Cemetery, NC

Trinity Cemetery