Richard Thomas Walker Duke (6 Jun. 1822-2 Jul. 1898) was descended from the Duke family of Hanover and James City Counties, Virginia. His father was Richard Duke (1777-1849) and his mother was Maria Walker, the granddaughter of Dr. Thomas Walker of Castle Hill in Albemarle County.
R. T. W. Duke attended private schools, then entered the Virginia Military institute in 1842. He taught for several years, then entered the University of Virginia in session 26 (1849-1850). He graduated with a Bachelor of Laws, and settled in Charlottesville, VA. In 1858 he was elected the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Albemarle County, and held that office until 1870. He served in the 41st & 42nd U.S. Congresses, from 1870-1873.
In 1859, Duke organized the Albemarle Rifles, which in 1861 was mustered into the CSA as Company B, 19th Virginia Regiment. In 1862, he was elected Colonel of Wise’s Brigade in the 46th Virginia Regiment, where he served until March 1864, when he resigned his position. By May 1864, he had taken command of a battalion of reserves in Richmond. He was with Gen. Custis Lee’s Division on the retreat, and was captured at Sailor’s Creek. He was first imprisoned in the Old Capital Prison in Washington, DC, then taken to Johnson’s Island. He remained a prisoner of war until July 25, 1865.
On 26 Jul. 1846, Duke married Elizabeth Scott Eskridge (1820-1896). The couple’s children were William Richard, Margaret Brown (d. infant), Richard Thomas Walker Jr., Maria Walker (d. infant), and Mary Willoughby Duke. R. T. W. Duke Sr. died in Charlottesville, and is buried in Maplewood Cemetery there with his wife.
Richard Thomas Walker Duke, Jr. (27 Aug. 1853-5 Mar. 1926) was born in Charlottesville. He attended the University of Virginia in sessions 47-50 (1870-1874). His last year at U.Va. was in the Law School. In 1875, he joined his father in a successful law practice. In 1888, he was elected Judge of the Corporation Court of Charlottesville in which he served until 1901. He was a member of Zeta Psi Fraternity and was a Past Grand Master of the Masons of Virginia.
R. T. W. Duke, Jr. married, first, Edith Ridgeway Slaughter (1863-1921) on 1 Oct. 1884. The couple’s children were Mary Willoughby, Richard Thomas Walker III, John Flavel Slaughter, William Eskridge, Helen Risdon, and Edwin Ellicott Duke (d. infant). In 1923, Duke Jr. married his first wife’s sister-in-law, Mary (Richardson) Slaughter.
- Barringer, Paul B., University of Virginia, its history, influence, equipment and characteristics. New York, 1904, v. 2, p. 154-157.
- Duke Family Papers. [website] http://www2.lib.virginia.edu/small/collections/duke/index.html
- Duke tombstones, Maplewood Cemetery, Charlottesville, VA. Findagrave.com