More from Charlotte on the infamous Dr. Duvall – Thank you, Charlotte!

Daily Louisville Democrat


What a guy!


March 19-21, 1852 – “The children go to Niblo’s”

Friday 19 March. 1852.
Chilling atmosphere.
Damp air, but clear sky.

I wished to go down to Bell’s, but
Mr H. could not shave, he is a lazy man; no beaux so
lazy as husbands.

I dressed, but before complete Mrs. Leati, came in
sat an hour. She is full of animation & business;
wished to excuse her husband for an hour later.
I went to walk, exchanged my boots at Millers.
Bought some worked trimming for a skirt. 22. shillings.
A collar 3 shillings. ribbon for apron 25 cts.

Dined on fish, my appetite good, but chills run
over me, and my skin rough. It troubles me very much.
Julia looks sallow, the brilliant tints of the
young rose, have faded; the sunshine has departed.

Mr H. took the children to Niiblo’s to see the “”Crown Diamonds,”

Crown Diamonds

Madame Thilon, a beautifull actress.
George W. came in sat an hour, followed them to Niblo’s.
Mr Christian spent the evening with me. Brought Julia two songs.
They sang together. I kept at my sewing during his visit.
Saturday. 20th March ./1852.

Clear and cold as winter.
Julia went up to her grandmothers.
I felt cold and a little sick. went to bed for two hours.
Maria came home with Julia, they came from Mrs Dr Smith’s
I went to dancing school after dinner, chills defying.
Louis & Remsen dance well.
Jane flourished around; looked very well in green.
Endeavored to get a stage for Maria, left before the
last dance; all full, she returned to tea.

Louis went home with her.
Mr H. engaged untill ten.
Julia went with Jane, and treated to oysters.
A friend, Mrs S. Brooks from the binders three of
Music for Julia. Pants altered for boys.

Sunday. 21st
Cool, and blustering.
I was unable to go out; not
feeling well. Julia went with her brothers.
Mr H. remained with me, and thinks his “mustache”.
one week old, too young for public attention. It comes out
very sandy; but G insists on it being becoming [sic]. Time will
Julia went twice to church. She misses the Meteor of the
“Snow Storms”, what a vacuum it leaves in our circle.
I sent a note from Julia to Rima, to inquire after
“Hugh Carpenter he has been dangerously ill; of congestion of
the Lungs. He is rather better.

Some of your comments…We have the great, great grand daughter of Dr. D writing in as well as Julia’s great great nephew!”

To Ashley [the great-great grand daughter of Dr. Duvall):

I am so happy that one of my followers found the info in a Kentucky newspaper. I had missed it!
What a thrill it must be for you to hear all about the escapades of your great granddad. I have wondered for years what happened. I expect to eventually discover the real reason. So sad he died so young. A charmer, he was!

Ashley Browning-Speer
Ashley Browning-Speer
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I want to thank you so much for posting this diary, I have been so excited to read this daily, I have loved the in site on what it was like back then, and have loved learning more about Dr. Duvall, I have no idea what he could have done, but would love to learn more about him and young Julia. Her family must have had a good reason for keeping young Julia away from him, and I would not be around if he had not meet his wife, and had his 4 daughters in Kentucky.

Ashley Browning-Speer
Ashley Browning-Speer
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I wanted to thank you so much for finding out what happened to Dr. Duvall, my grandmother Patricia was told by his daughter Jessie Maud Duvall that he did die during the Civil War, we having been looking for a long time trying to find out what really happened to him,, I am glad to know that what my grandmother has heard is true, She was the one that gave us (my mom Kathy Browning and I) his picture. Thank you again so much.

Ashley Browning-Speer

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You are welcome! It certainly seems like a strong possibility since Dr. D and his family were living in Union County, Kentucky in 1860. Thank you for the diaries – this is fascinating.

Brenda R
Brenda R
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So interesting! Whatever he did couldn’t have been so bad as cathouse visit etc or he would not still have been welcomed. More likely failing to pay debts, or flirting with other girls or public drunkeness. Where did a doctor in training find time? Things have changed! I think youg Julia may have realized she was in over her head and been relieved to blame her parents and let him go. Big Julia’s admiration for the handsome doctor’s looks was most amusing….maybe young Julia was a bit jealous? I would like to hear young Julia’s point of view!

Susan Stessin
Susan Stessin
5 days ago·
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It’s plagued be for 15 years. It took ten to find our the doctors first name, Agrippa!

Susan Stessin
Susan Stessin
5 days ago·
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I have tried, but still don’t know. I’m hoping one of our readers will figure it out. Possible answers in one of the next journals.

Dianne King
Dianne King
5 days ago·
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I’d love to hear what, if anything, young Julia had to say about the not-so-good doctor in her diary. As one commenter above said, if he had visited a house of ill repute, I doubt her parents would have let him continue to visit. Maybe gambling? Or possibly two-timing young Julia with another girl? If only we could know!

Dianne King
Dianne King
5 days ago·
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Have the dire accusations against Dr. Duvall ever been researched? Of what was he accused?

A cad indeed!

Susan Stessin
Susan Stessin
5 days ago·
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Wow! I think that is him. He was not a native of NY, but did attend school in NY. In December of 1862, a Guardian’s Bond was created for the care of Duvall’s children. It was created in KENTUCKY! I hadn’t seen this.

Big thank you!!!!!

Susan Stessin
Susan Stessin
5 days ago·
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Well, since you are the only one here that is a relative, you have the best insight, Mike!

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Hmm. My guess would be drink or maybe gambling. She seemed to think his friends had a bad influence. Also, the Dr. was still visiting the family after whatever it was that happened. Would they have allowed access to their young daughter if it had to do with other women? One more vote to see what young Julia had to say!

The Louisville Daily Democrat had a brief mention of a Dr. Duvall in their 23 Oct 1862 issue (page 1):

“Dr. Duvall, a noted leader of a small marauding gang of guerrillas in Union county, Ky., was killed a few days since in a skirmish with a detachment of Federal soldiers at Vandersburg, near the Henderson line. The doctor was a native of New York.”

Right place. Right time. New York? Could this be “our” guy?


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well I always thought that there was something shocking about a grown man who kept a 14 year old girl out till 1 am in the morning. I have no doubt that he proposed, but J&G were right to convince young Julia to refuse him. I think that Duvall, although charming, was rather immature himself, and both would have eventually been sorry with their partner. My own g-grandparents were married by 14, so it did happen, but there is something so sad about the loss of innocence at such a young age. I cannot wait to see what comes next as I have come to view Julia’s entries like family.

Sharon Engel
Sharon Engel
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He probably enjoyed the drink too much. I would also like to see Julia’s diary. Thanks for all you do!

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Julia was heartbroken but listened to her father who had discovered that Dr. Duvall was not all he appeared to be.

Darline DeMott
Darline DeMott
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I agree, it sounds like what Mr. Wilson said above. Either that or some other promiscuity… I’d like to hear what Julia wrote in her diary!

Mary D’Entremont
Mary D’Entremont
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Wow, I am very curious but I really have no idea and just a couple of guesses. I thought maybe that he and the guys were drinking and acting badly in front of others. My other thought was that he may have been flirting with other women. What I find rather interesting about Julia’s diary, is that she does not go into specifics but, even with her diary, does not speak in detail about such things, perhaps indicating her fine upbringing and the desire for discretion.

7 days ago·
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She had no choice in the matter. Wiser heads prevailed.

March 17 and 18, 1852 – “Fanny tells the facts about Dr. D”

Wednesday 17. March. 1852.
A storm of rain, hail, and sleet.
St. Patricks day.
I pass this morning in
writing this journal.
The storm is terrible, and the ground white with snow, wind
blowing, and everything to indicate the equinox.
We took a late dinner on ham an eggs. Mr H. did
not come up untill late.
Julia wrote a composition on the “Widow of [Nair”]. I finished
it for her; while she sang me some songs.
Took a short nap before tea, G. ditto.
Raining in torrents to night.
Mr Christian, did not come.
English lovers, are not as chivalrous as the southern ones;

all the elements combined would not deter them from
their lady love.
A storm, added fresh fuel to their flame,
never extinguished it. I did not regret the presentation or Julia
either, she wished to write.

Thursday. 18. March. 1852.
Mild rain, melting off the snow.

Mr H. inclined to early rising this
morning, but I felt like a good late sleep.
He is irregular about rising, and often oversleeps the bell
Julia in time for the stage.
My morning has passed in arranging the
clothes and mending; time is not long enough for all my
employment. Dust accumulates, and garments will
become useless; and every thing about the house requires
strict attention.
Julia’s mending, would give work to one person.

Margaret feels unable to get through her
work, and spoke to me about leaving for a few weeks,
I regret her determination, she is a nice girl.
Louis & Remsen go to a ball at [C Larand’s] to.night
They’r [sic] pants came from the tailors, and were too wide.
The poor boys were much disappointed, Remsen in
particular, as he loves dress, and was anxious to look fine
on this occasion. They wore the blue vests, and both
were very genteel.
The light drab plaid pantaloons were dismissed for
this evening, with contempt; and a [row] not to patron
ize [Thorn], again.
We sat untill near twelve in conversation about the Dr.s
Julia wrote her “French composition”, and was busy
untill eleven.
I made a pair of under sleeves for her.
Finished a cushion for Julia to give to Margaret;
a bundle of stockings also.
G. thinks I had better keep Mar.
garet and get help to wash & iron.
The storm is over, and streets dry.
Fanny went to Jane’s with Julia, they came back in a
shower. Fanny told me facts about D. but I doubt the

March 16, 1852 – “Another lover gone, poor Fanny!”

Tuesday 16. March. 1852.
Charming day, the sky clean as amber

I went out early and called on Ms. Tileston.
She gave me the particulars of Outlaws departure.
Fears Fanny loves O. and looks for his return. He
promised to write about D. and other things.

Something new may turn.up, I hope to clear the

From there I went to Millers in Canal St.
took a pair thin boots, soles, and slippers.
All too large, must return them.
Sent Annie to Bells, to say we would
pass an evening with her, she was from home.
Mr Leati gave his lesson.
Julia went to walk. At six we rode up to 19St
took tea. G. came for us.
Miss Hoffmans, and Eleanor taking tea; I did not
think of meeting any company.
Julia sang some songs, but looked dull,
and seemed out of sorts.
G. thin, and complaining.
Mother told me she expected Laura, [Julia’s sister-in-law] and the
two children next week.
This will be fresh trouble for her, but so it is,
She must bear up against the ills of life.