Recently I received an inquiry from a fellow Curbow researcher who is just getting started on her family history journey. While this does not pertain to our direct Curbow family line – let’s be patient and take another look. Her Curbow family line starts with Edna Curbow, the daughter of William S. Curbow. William is one of the sons of Wiseman Curbow (brother of our Tilman P. Curbow) and cousin to our Oliver Perry Curbow. I feel that by looking at Wiseman’s family line we could potentially break down some brick walls and uncover some of our own family mysteries.
So here we go – the life and times of William S. Curbow: First – I have no idea what the initial “S“ stands for! I have never seen it identified in any record. He was born in Bowie County, Texas. The birth year varies from 1853-1855 in the relevant census records (1860, 1870, 1880, 1900 and 1910) and is confirmed as 1855 in the U.S. and International Marriage Record database . He is the first-born son of Wiseman “Wise” Curbow and Emeline Parker.
William’s father Wiseman had been previously married in Georgia. It is presumed that his first wife died because Wiseman can be found in Bowie County, Texas in the 1850 census living alone with his five-year old son, David Tilman Curbow (1845-1906). (My husband’s ggg-grandfather was Tilman P. Curbow – and we assume Wiseman named his first-born son after him.) William S. Curbow is my husband’s first cousin (4 times removed). William’s mother, Emeline Parker, likewise, was previously married to an unknown Mr. McCarty, and she had two daughters with him – Harriet Angeline (born 1846) and Rhoda (born 1849). So at the time of William’s birth, there were already three children in the home – William was their first together. William’s other siblings are: Sarah Elizabeth Carolyn Curbow (1852-1914); Rebecca Ann Curbow (1856-1889); James Benton Curbow (1859-1899); and John Henry Curbow (1869-1942)
In 1860 William is with his parents and siblings in Beat 2, Bowie County, Texas – near Boston. Indexed as “Wm Curbow,” 5, born 1855 in Texas. In 1870 William is with his parents and siblings in Precinct 5, Bowie County, Texas. Indexed as “William Curbow,” 15, born 1855 in Texas.
According to the U.S. and International Marriage Records database on ancestry.com, William married Julia R. in 1872 – the location is not listed – but presumed to be Bowie County, Texas. He would have been only about 17 years old. I’m fairly certain this can’t be correct because his wife, Julia Annava Simington, was not born until 1875! Alternatively, it is possible that Julia R., in the database is a different person, and this is William’s first marriage and Julia Annava Simington was his second marriage.
This second scenario seems more likely when we look at the 1880 census. He is indexed as “William S. Curbo,” age 25, born in Texas, works on farm. He is living in Precinct 4 of Bowie County, Texas with his wife Julia who is 16 years old – with them is a son named Willie who is four years old. This is either a child from a previous marriage, or Julia gave birth at the age of 12. I find that very unlikely – even in the 1880s!
In the 1900 census the family has moved to Little River, Little River County, Arkansas, which I believe borders Bowie County, Texas. William is misindexed as “W. S. Cirsbow,” age 46, born July of 1853 in Texas; farmer. He is living with his wife Julia A., who states that she has given birth 5 times and that all five children are living – Edna, Doely, Ella, Annie and John, which further seems to indicate that Willie (from the 1880 census) is not Julia’s son. All the children were born in Texas – unfortunately no birth dates were listed on the census. The enumerator must have been in a hurry to get home that day !
In the 1910 census the family is still in Little River County, Arkansas. William is misindexed as “William S. Kirk,” age 57 born 1853 in Texas. The mystery of the marriage is solved here – he states that this is his second marriage and that he has been married for 32 years putting his marriage year with Julia Annava Simington at 1878. This also would seem to indicate that Willie (from the 1880) census is the child by his first wife, Julia R. He states that he is a farmer. His wife Julia is 47 years old. Shockingly, in this census she states that she has given birth 12 times and that only 5 of the children are alive. In the home is: Dollie, 17, Anna, 12, Jora, 5. This would mean that she gave birth 7 time between 1900 and 1910 – and seven children died.
I have been unable to locate the family in the 1920 census. As far as I have been able to determine – his children were: William D. “Willie Curbow, born 1876; Edna (1882-1917); Dollie born 1893; Ella born ?; Anna born 1894; and Zola Elizabeth Curbow (1900-1977). If there were other children, they are unknown to me.
I also have been unable to locate a death record for William S. Curbow in the Texas Death Index. All of the trees on ancestry.com state that he died in 1923 in Bowie County, Texas. If he did die there in 1923, there should be a death certificate on file; however, I have been unable to locate one for him. It makes me wonder if he died across the border in Arkansas instead? William S. Curbow is laid to rest in the Sand Hill Cemetery in Simms, Bowie County, Texas, which is confirmed by the Find-a-Grave memorial on that website.
If I were actively researching this family line, I would contact the Bowie County Clerk’s Office, Bowie County Library and/or the Bowie County Historical Society (I believe they have a very active one) – specifically, I would try to locate the two marriage certificates for William and his death record. If a death date can be determined, I would be scouring the old newspapers for an obituary.
Sharon – I hope this gives you a good start on your ancestor. If any other researchers of this family line land on this post, I would be very pleased to hear from you.
- Henry Curbow – Puzzle Pieces (curbowfamily.wordpress.com)