The Legend of Whitey:Â  W. C. Fields'
Philadelphia Roots (Part 2)
©  by Howard Tyson. Used by permission. Comments
   The 1860 census enumerates the family as follows:  John Duckenfield, 50, Combmaker, 19th Ward (near Front &
Norris Sts.), born in England, Ann, Wife, 44, Walter 25, Combmaker, John 23, Bricklayer, Edmund 21, Bricklayer, Farris (?) 20,
Peddler, George 18, Weaver, Clara 16, Arthur, 14, Aspen (?) 11, Mary 8, and Godfrey 5.  W. C.'s 19 year old father James is not
on the census sheet.
City Directory &Census Records for John & Ann Duckenfield
1861Â  JohnDuckenfield, Combmaker, Norris E. of Front
"Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  "Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  "Â Â Â  & Ann,
Trimmings Store, Same Address
1865Â         "Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â     Â Â Â  "Â Â Â Â Â Â  Tavern,
510 E. Norris St.
1868  Ann Duckenfield,   Liquors, 510 E. Norris
(The John Duckenfield who had a bar at 135 Dauphin St. in the early 1870's was James' older brother John Duckenfield Jr., the
former bricklayer.)
   James and George Duckenfield joined the PA 72nd Regiment on August 10, 1861.  The Regiment assigned James to Co.
"M" and George to Co. "I."Â  The enlistment record gives James' description as 5'5" in height, blue eyes, hair "light," complexion
"light," civilian occupation:Â  "potter."Â  On June 27, 1862 he was shot in the left hand and lost two fingers (and the top of
another) in a skirmish near Fair Oaks, Virginia.   After two weeks in a field hospital the Army transferred him to Philadelphia,
then gave him a medical discharge on July 18, 1862.  He began receiving a $15. per month disability pension from the
government around April, 1863.  James' brother George fought at Antietam (Sept. 17, 1862), Fredericksburg (Dec. 13, 1862),
Chancellorsville (May, 1863), and was killed in action at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863.  He is buried in the
NationalBattlefieldCemetery, Section C, Grave 18.Â
   The 1870 census lists Ann Duckenfield, who gave her age as 49, in the 19th Ward (5th & Norris Sts.) as an innkeeper
with household residents Alfred 21, Huckster, Godfrey 15, Huckster, and Mary 17.   John Duckenfield  passed away about a
year after his 26 year old son EdmundÂ’s death, which occurred on February 7, 1866.   In 1870  JamesDukenfield boarded
in a house near 4th & Diamond Sts. with 30 year old trader John Haines and his family.  James worked variously as a
bartender, driver, and produce dealer over the years.Â
   On May 18, 1879 James married 24 year old Kate Spangler Felton at MemorialMethodistChurch ("Church of the Glad
Hand,") 8th &  Cumberland Sts., before Rev. Jacob Dickerson (home address:Â  2508 N. 6th St.)
   Kate's father, Thomas Felton, was a pumpmaker who lived at 6th & York Sts. (1855,) Manor (near 4th   St,.) &
Montgomery in the mid- 1860's and at 2251 N. Franklin St. (8th & Susquehanna  Ave.) in the 1870's.   His forebears were
farmers occupying the "Bristol" area of Philadelphia, which encompasses present-day Logan, Olney, and Feltonville (named
after W. C. Fields' mother's family.)Â  The 1860 census lists the Feltons as follows:Â Â  Thomas Felton 35, Laborer, 21st Ward,
Ann 24, Kate S. 6, Abraham 4, and William C., 1.  A son named Ulysses S. Grant Felton would be born a few years later.  
William Claude Felton, W. C. Fields' namesake, later worked as a butcher, producer dealer, clerk, inspector, Deputy Sheriff for
the City of Philadelphia, and Methodist preacher.
   James Dukenfield did not stay long in southwest Philadelphia after Claude's birth.  The 1882 City Directory states that he
lived at 2552   Germantown Ave. in the eastern section of North Philadelphia known as "RisingSunVillage," and traded as a fruit
& vegetable vendor.Â
Synopsis of James Duckenfield's Life:Â  1840(?)-1913
1840 or 1841 James Duckenfield, born Feb. 16, (1840 or 1841,) Sheffield, England
1854 Emigrated with family to Philadelphia (November, 1854.)
1861 James Duckenfield, Driver, Norris E. of Front,
             Enlisted in 72nd Regiment of Union Army with brother
George on
August 10, 1861.
1862 Shot in hand at Fair Oaks, VA on June 27, 1862; given medical discharge
July 18, 1862.
1863 Lived at Front St. below Norris with friend William Reimer while
             recovering from Civil
War wounds.
1866Â  Death of 26 year old brother Edmund (February 7, 1866.)
1867 (Approx.)Â  Death of father John Duckenfield.
1870 James Duckenfield, Huckster, 19th Ward, (1870 Census)
            near 4th & Diamond Sts.
1873Â Â Â Â   Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â   Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  Salesman, 3rd &  
Diamond Sts.              Â
1875Â Â Â Â                  Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  Bartender, 2132 Market St.
1876Â Â  Â Â                       Â Â Â Â  Clerk, 270 Diamond St.
1879 Married Kate Spangler Felton on May 18,  1879 at Memorial Methodist
             Episcopal Church, 8th & CumberlandSts. before Rev.
J.  Dickerson     Â
1880 James Dukenfield, Hotelkeeper, 64th & Woodland (per 1880 U.S.
             Birth of son William Claude DukenfieldJanuary  29, 1880
in Darby,  PA,
1882Â Â Â Â  Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  Provisions, 2552 Germantown Ave.,
birth of son Walter
                                                  Â      Â
1883Â Â Â Â  Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  
Bartender,    Â        Â
1884Â Â Â Â                                            Â Â Â Â  929 Somerset St.
(S. Louvish includes 2559   N. 11th St. as a short-term residence around this time.)
1886Â Â  Birth of daughter Elsie May (5/10/1886.)
1888                          Â    Driver,                                Birth of daughter
                   Â                   (September 21,
1889Â Â Â Â  Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  Huckster,
2803 Germantown Ave.
1893     Â             Â            Huckster,   92
Goodman St. (11th & Ontario)
1895Â Â Â Â                           Â Â Â Â Â Â  Birth of son Leroy (9/17/1895.)
1897Â Â Â Â                           Â Â Â Â Â Â  25 Rising Sun Lane (12th &  Ontario)
1898Â Â                            Â Â Â Â Â Â  Produce, 3911 Marshall St. (7th &  Pike)
1902Â Â Â Â Â Â Â                                   Â  Salesman,Â
1904Â  Traveled to England at son Claude's expense in September, 1904.
1905     Â“             Â“        Â
   Produce, 615 Pike St.
1906     Â“             Â“            
Huckster, 3923 N. Marshall St.
1910     Â“             Â“            
Retired,  3923 N. Marshall St.
1913     Â“             Â“              Â
  Â“             Â“     Â“        Â“  Â
(He died of cancer on April 15, 1913.)
The 1914 City Directory states Kate, widow of James, 3923 N. Marshall St.  The entries for Kate cease after 1923, though she
did not die until July, 1925.   James and Kate are buried in GreenwoodCemetery, Adams Ave. & Arrott St.   W. C. Fields
paid for the tombstones:Â  "
Dukenfield, James L. 1841-1913,  A Great Scout," (probably an allusion to his Civil
War service)Â  and
"Dukenfield, Kate S., 1856-1925, A Sweet Old Soul."
   Friends called young Claude Dukenfield "Whitey" because of his light blonde hair.  He probably attended William Adamson
Public  School on 4th   St. below Lehigh Ave. at first, then transferred to the new FairhillPrimary School at Somerset &  Marshall
Sts. circa 1888.Â
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Part 3