William Jesse Duckwall was born Nov. 12, 1808 in Virginia and his wife Susannah Hill Duckwall was born Jan. 24, 1818, and were married on the 9th day of November, 1830 in Snow Hill, Hilsboran [sic] Co. Ohio, and settled in Batania Co., Ohio.
Mr. Duckwall spent 6 years of his life in Virginia then the family moved to Ohio where he grew manhood, after obtaining such education as was to be had in the backwoods young Duckwall went to Cincinnati which then consisted of a blacksmith shop, post office and saloon and secured a place in the store as clerk, after a few months he engaged in farming, but tiring of that occupation he opened a country store of his own. About this time, he met a bright rosy cheeked girl by the name of Susan Hill, the daughter of a farmer and after a brief courtship they were married. In 1840 the Duckwalls with three children that had been born to them moved to Clark County Illinois. Thee they remained upon a farm until 1852 when they came to California by wagon. In September of that year they reached Tuolumne Co. and opened a hotel in Columbia. They came to this state by the Old Immigrant or Walker River Route, their wagon, being the first one that successfully passed over that perilous trail. While in Salt Lake City, Utah the Duckwalls and their five children had dinner with Brigham Young and exchanged their heavy schooner wagons for lighter ones. While traveling to California they met scores of immigrants who had attempted the road but turned back. They saw train upon train that had been abandoned or destroyed, but Duckwall and his brave pioneer wife pushed on, endured all the hardships and arrived safely in California. After leaving Colombia the family moved to Hopeton, Merced County, where their daughter Ann died, that was in 1859, but only remained there two years and then bought the place that is know now as the White House, Tuol., County. Duckwall Mountain was named for Mr. Duckwall and stands around six thousand feet elevation, where a 100 foot steel tower is erected and is used for a fire lookout in the summertime. The government has a man constantly on guard, he is equipped with a large telescope to observe all the surrounding country. Duckwall Mt. is the highest mountain in that region. Mr. Duckwall died Nov. 15, 1896 at the age of 88 and Mrs. Duckwall died on March 10, 1905 at the age of 92 years. Five children survived them.
Children: Cordelia R., Althea Jane, Sim, Dave, and Lou Duckwall, Ann. Ann died in Merced County.
Contributed by Carol Lackey