Our Roots Run Deep

12 Feb

The latest episode of Who Do You Think You Are featuring Tim McGraw’s discovery of his family’s “rags-to-riches” story with ties to George Washington got me to pondering about our collective families and the role they played in shaping our nation.  Several of the family lines that we are working on have deep roots – in fact they were present here even before America became a nation. 

Brothers, Joseph Curbow (1755-1850) and William Curbow (1757-?), were both Revolutionary War soldiers who served on the North Carolina Line.  According to William’s pension papers, the family home in North Carolina was burned to the ground by the British.  William also spent the brutal winter of 1777-78 in Valley Forge with General George Washington.  The family story that has been passed down is that both Joseph and William were present at the British surrender in Yorktown in 1781.  Fact or fiction?  I don’t know – but it is fascinating to contemplate, don’t you think?

Edward Grantham (1643-1704) is my son’s 9th great grandfather.  He was known as Old Edward.  He lived in Surry County, Virginia.  The family home was known as Grantham Reeds and was located directly across the James River from Jamestown, which was founded on May 14, 1607, and is the first permanent English settlement in what is now America! 

My husband’s gg-grandmother was Ellen Elizabeth West.  The West family has a long and interesting history in America and in England.  John West (1590-1659) was the colonial Governor of Virginia from 1635-1637.  He was the fourth son of Thomas West, 2nd Baron De La Warr.  Did you know that this is where our state “Delaware” got its name?  John West’s plantation is the site of present day West Point, Virginia.  One of the sons of Governor West was Lieutenant-Colonel John West.  He was married to Unity Croshaw, a granddaughter of Raleigh Croshaw, one of the founders of Jamestown, Virginia.  Time and legend have not been kind to Unity – it has been reported that she was a shrew, and that she divorced her husband for adultery when he left her to live with Cockacoeske – Queen of the Pamunkey  – and purportedly a cousin to Pocahontas.  Again – fact or fiction?  I don’t know.

Meanwhile, out west, Bartolomé de Montoya, a Spanish Conquistador arrived in New Mexico on 24 Dec. 1600.  The family came as part of the second Onaté  expedition, whose colony consisted of 65 settlers.  The Montoya family brought with them 25 servants, cattle and equipment needed to start a new life in Nuevo España.  From the family of Bartolomé de Montoya the Montoya surname was firmly established in New Mexico – and virtually all Montoya families from New Mexico descend from him.  

And yes, in case you are wondering – we have our fair share of lunatics – thieves – and drunkards in our family tree too.  Trials, tribulation, tragedy and drama were often the norm – divorces, family feuds, unplanned pregnancies, “bar-room difficulties” and the like have been uncovered.  Our Ham family can be tied to the outlaw Jesse James; and our Curbow family can be linked with the gunslinger John Wesley Hardin.  It’s all good though……they’re family!


Posted by on February 12, 2011 in Curbow, Grantham, Montoya, Odds and Ends


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6 responses to “Our Roots Run Deep

  1. Mary Curbow

    February 12, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    I am really enjoying every piece!!!!

  2. Charles D. Edwards

    February 14, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Judy; I was just deleting a lot of old email that was stacking
    up on me, and ran across your email to me. I don’t remember if I emailed you or Mary Curbow. I am also very
    interested in family research. I have three ancesters from
    my mothers side, that were Revolution soldiers. The roots
    of my mothers side go back to the Earls of Devonshire, in
    England. I have not had much oportunity to document all
    of the information that I have. I was born David Charles
    Curbow Jr. to David Charles Curbow and Maxine Lavern
    Courtney, on November 18, 1936 in Altus, Jackson County,
    Oklahoma. At the age of 3 months, my parents were
    devorced and my mother took me back to her fathers home
    in Frederick Okla. She later remarried to Joseph Larkin
    Edwards whom became my step father. I did not discover
    that I was adopted untill I was 10 years old. So I was
    raised an Edwards. My step father was a very good man
    and father. He treated me as his own. I would like to know
    as much as I can about my Father as I know very little.
    I have a half brother by my mother and step dad. He lives
    in Corpus Christie, Texas. I also have a half brother that
    lives in Seatle, Washington by my father and his second
    wife, David Hoyle Curbow. I have talked to David some in
    the past but have not kept in contact with him. I have a
    few pictures of family members that David has sent me.
    I understand my father had one brother and two sisters.
    I would like to keep in contact with you and maybe learn
    more about the Curbow family.

    Thank You for your email and the info.

    Charles D. Edwards

  3. Kaylee

    November 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    I am from the line of Old Edward as well! Hope you have a great day!

    • Judy Curbow

      November 24, 2012 at 9:52 am

      Hi Kaylee! Thanks for stopping by the website and taking the time to comment. Do you trace back to the Texas Granthams?


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