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Dr. Richard W. Duke and wife Effie (Allen) Duke

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Dr. Richard W. Duke and wife Effie (Allen) Duke

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 2:03PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Duke, Allen
I wonder if anyone might be able to provide information about the murder-suicide of Dr. Richard W. Duke and his wife, Effie in 1928. I believe this happened in Floyd Co.—have seen him listed at Martin, also Bosco. On June 15, 1928, he shot his wife Effie (Allen) Duke, then took his own life. R. W. Duke was a noted physician originally from Beaver Creek, Knott Co. I am researching topical ballads of Kentucky and have two different songs composed about “The Murder of Dr. Richard Duke and Wife”—but I have not been able to find any reference at all to this incident in the online newspapers I have access to. (Duke’s death certificate has been transcribed and is online at, also a photo of Effie’s headstone can be found at the Find A Grave website.) Is anyone aware of any local papers or books that might shed more light? From the ballads (which may not be entirely factual) Duke and his wife were separated. When she returned to the home one day, he shot her, then himself. One of the songs says that she had cut her hair, and he became angry. But also, indications are that he still loved her: “God knows I love you, Effie / but you have worried my life away.” Any insights or lore about what lay behind this incident would be welcome, as would any photos of either Richard or Effie Duke. Thanks! —Steve Green /

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