History book a family autobiography

By Lynn Moncus: QCS columnist

Gene Duke stopped at the coffee table recently to do a little visiting and mentioned that he had just published a book called Thirteen Chapters of Dukes.

Naturally, I had to have a copy because I have know the Duke family most of my life and was fascinated when I last learned that each offspring of Fred and Zella Duke had written a chapter.

Gene had most definitely come up with a unique idea of presenting a family autobiography and told me I might learn more history about Quay County and one of the outstanding families who lived in the area.

He certainly didn’t lead me astray and gave me the privilege of reading 13 chapters describing life in our county from the points of view of people who had lived it and were willing to tell about their many experiences.

Not only did they relate their life stories, but they also included many great pictures to illustrate those lives.

They allowed the reader to tag along from the early 1900s to the present and to view the developments and changes in our county and in our living conditions.

Those of us who have call Quay County home for a very long time can certainly relate to many of the experiences those people had because we had similar ones and could recall them as we perused each chapter.

We could envision each place in which they lived because we have traveled around in our county in order to learn the geography as well as to see the changes from pioneer days to present.

Even though several of the siblings recounted the same experiences, each provided a personal view and added a different perspective. Each certainly presented the love of family whether telling about the good times or describing the harsh ones.

They certainly dwelled on the work ethic that was instilled and took pride in explaining the part it played throughout their lives.

No one was idle, and no one seemed to resent all the hard work they did from the time they could walk. They managed to turn some of the hardest work into games as they presented vivid descriptions of their lives.

Their love for each other and their wonderful senses of humor shine through each chapter and show in each picture.

Of course, being privileged to know the family makes the reading a real pleasure because I could see the family in action and could relate to the feeling they described.

They brought our history to life and gave it the personal touch to make it meaningful.

Whether they were talking about dressing a thousand turkeys or mentioning some of their mischievous moments, they allowed the reader to see and feel what was happening.

Those of us with a pioneer heritage can savor such a book and can be even more proud of that heritage as we read.

I’d certainly like to thank Gene for coming up with such a novel idea and for getting all his siblings to contribute to Thirteen Chapters of Dukes.

Surely he will place the book in the area so many of you can enjoy a good read.