Lafayette County Historical and Genealogical Society logo
Home » duke

The Duke Family and the Corner of 9th and Jackson Ave.

A nice two-story residence looked like any other family home in Oxford, MS in the 1940s.  With porches, balconies and lots of gingerbread, it was where Homer Clyde Duke and his wife, Octavia Kendel Duke raised three sons and a daughter.  

Like many Lafayette County families, the Dukes recorded their significant events in a large family bible.  This one is from the Butler Brothers printers and was a present to Octavia’s mother, Julia Kendel, from her husband Alfred H. Kendel in 1899.

As World War II came to Lafayette County, MS, the three Duke sons each inlisted in the Army Air Corp:  Homer Duke Jr. as a radioman on a B-17, William Alfred (Billy) Duke as a B-24 pilot, and Alfred Kendel (Ken) Duke as a fighter pilot.  Ken was lost in the South Pacific.  Billy survived after his plane was shot down in Europe only to be murdered once captured in a story told HERE. Homer returned to Oxford after the war.  

corner of 9th and Jackson Ave.

Since their house was on a busy intersection, close to the courthouse square, the Dukes decided to add a gas service station on the large north end of their lot.  In today’s Oxford, this is the home of Rebel Bookstore.

Later, the Dukes added to their business by adding a bait and gun shop with a small cafe inside.   Oxford residents can remember times when small animals, such as possums, squirrels and even a fawn would greet customers inside the cafe. 

West Jackson Avenue looking east at the corner of 9th Street showing the Citi Service station and bait shop. 

Returning son, Homer Duke, Jr. is pictured with Octavia and Homer Sr. behind the counter. 

Elizabeth Anne (Betty) Duke (later Jackson) with the family’s new Studebaker

Elizabeth Anne (Betty) Duke (later Jackson)

Betty with Celia and Jim

Octavia Elizabeth Kendel was born in July, 1898 in Oxford to Alfred Hunter Kendel and his wife Julia. She married Homer Claude Duke and they had four children; Homer Claude Duke, Jr., William Alfred Duke, Andrew Kendall Duke and Elizabeth Anne Duke (later Jackson).

Descendants of Octavia and Homer Duke Sr. still live in Lafayette County, MS