William David Curbow was the oldest known son of Oliver and Harriet McGuire Curbow - and my husband’s grand-uncle. There is some discrepancy in the records pertaining to his year of birth. His death certificate, compiled from state hospital records, indicates that he was born in 1870 in Denison, Grayson County, Texas. This is believed to be incorrect. His World War I draft registration card indicates that he was born in 1883. This too is believed to be incorrect. The card states that he was 45 in 1918 when he filled out the card. This puts his birth year at 1873 – which I believe is closer to the truth. For our purposes here, I will use the birth date of 25 Jun 1873. In addition to this, on the Draft Registration Card – he is a resident of Pilot Point, Denton County, Texas, and he lists his middle name as “Davis” rather than “David.” William describes himself as being tall and slender with blue eyes and light brown hair.
On May 20, 1900, William married Arizona Evans in Denton County, Texas. Arizona was the daughter of Edward Thomas Evans (1831-1897) and Caroline Haseltine Quillen (1845-1928). She was part of a large extended family of 15 children. Her father was first married to Mary Elizabeth Quillen. After Mary’s untimely death, he married her sister, Caroline (Arizona’s mother). The newly weds, Arizona and William, were living with Oliver and Harriet Curbow in the 1900 census record. Unfortunately, Arizona died very young – less than three months after the census was taken.
Arizona Evans (misindexed in her marriage record as “Ivens”) was born in Texas in May of 1883 and died on September 20, 1900 in Aubry, Denton County, Texas – very tragically at the young age of seventeen. The oral family history as told by Richard Mercer – Evans’ family historian – tells me that Arizona died in a fire. He further advises that Arizona was fun-loving witty, vivacious and quite beautiful. I agree with him.
The photograph of Arizona (right) was taken around 1896, when she is about 13 years old, in Dublin, Texas.
Richard further states that Arizona “was buried next to her father on Gene Tatum’s place at a bend in the road they called “Little Tree.” A mention of Arizona’s death appears in the September 27, 1900 issue of the Denton County News: “Mrs. Will Curbo died at her mother’s home here last Saturday morning and was buried at Key Cemetery on Sunday morning.” Find-a-Grave volunteer, Fred Cross, notes that Key Cemetery is on private property and is now in disrepair, cattle roam freely on the property, and have destroyed most, if not all of the tombstones. He was unable to locate a headstone for Arizona.
As a complete aside – Arizona Evans had a sister named Cordelia Savannah Evans who married Annias Martin. This couple had a daughter named Bertie Mae Martin – who married John P. Howard – who was the brother of Ida Bell Howard – who married Charles Franklin Curbow – my husband’s great grandparents. Oh the tangled web we weave ! !
And it gets better! Annias Martin (above) had a son named Arthur Powers Martin who was Arizona’s first love! She was in competition for him with Lucy Hatcher, her niece (daughter of James Alvin Hatcher and Martha Ellen Evans – who is actually Arizona’s half-sister) Are you confused yet?! I am!
Rich Mercer writes: Lucy Bell (Hatcher) and her young Aunt Arizona both had intentions toward Arthur Martin – and sometimes jealously cropped up between them. This picture was taken the day after the circus came to town. Arthur and the girls were at the circus and he climbed a tent pole then fell right into the girls. The jailer took him away for public intoxication and let him out the next day. When Arthur saw the picture later in life, he told his daughter, Tiny Delois, that he had a pint of good whiskey in that suit pocket when the picture was made. Arthur later married Lucy Bell Hatcher and became a circuit preacher establishing several churches in the Oklahoma area. His days of riding horses in to church meeting and falling from circus poles faded away to a life devoted to helping others and raising a fine family.
So how did Arizona Evans end up with Mr. Curbow – 10 years her senior??
After Arizona’s death, William married Laura Alice Housden on 11 May 1902 in Denton County, Texas.
Laura Alice Housden was born in July of 1881 in Missouri. She was the daughter of Andrew John Housden (1843-1895) and Ellen W. Wilhite (1849-1908). It appears that the Housden family was well-established in the Denton County area, although I can’t find much on Laura specifically. She had been married once previously (James Robert Graves Stewart) and had a daughter with him named Ollie L. Stewart who was born July of 1899. It appears that this first marriage ended in divorce.
William and Laura had one daughter together that I am aware of – Mattie J. Curbow who was born in 1906. Unfortunately, based on some postings that I found on ancestry.com, William and Laura had divorced by 1915. I have no information on what happened to William, Laura, Ollie or Mattie after this time period. Laura apparently remarried because she is buried in Bellevue Cemetery as L. A.”Pope,” and is listed as “Pope” in her brother’s obituary. I have no information on what happened to the two girls, Ollie and Mattie.
William David Curbow’s life is a mystery to me. I have been unable to locate him in the 1920 or 1930 census. I do not know if he married for a third time, if he had any other children or how he spent the ensuing years. His Texas death certificate states that William died at the age of 76 in the Wichita Falls State Hospital of myocardial insufficiency and pneumonia (along with a fractured hip) on December 21, 1946 – and that he was a resident there for one year and 11 months prior to his death. His previous residence is listed as Bellevue, Clay County, Texas. The death certificate is indexed under “William David Kerbow.”
The Wichita Falls State Hospital was for the insane but not necessarily for the criminally insane. While I am very curious to know why William was in “an insane asylum,” it should be noted that in years past, people were committed for a myriad of reasons, including drug addiction, alcoholism, deafness, epilepsy or even senility. A recent request to the Texas Attorney General’s Office for a release of William David Curbow’s records has been denied for privacy reasons.
The death certificate indicates that William David Curbow was buried in Henrietta, Clay County, Texas. The Hawkins Mortuary Index contradicts this information and states that he is buried in Bellevue. It has been confirmed through the caretaker that William David Curbow is indeed buried in Bellevue Cemetery in Bellevue, Clay County, Texas – and not in Henrietta. His gravesite is known, but has no marker.
I would be interested in hearing from anyone that knows anything more about William David Curbow or who is researching the Evans and/or Housden families, and would particularly love to know what happened to Ollie Stewart and/or Mattie Curbow. And most of all – my heartfelt thanks to Rich Mercer – for sharing his family story and for solving the mystery of the beautiful Arizona Evans.