A Death at Gettysburg

02 Apr

I’ve recently received another research inquiry about one of our connected Curbow lines – this time Kerbo/Kerbow, and specifically Dock Kerbo. Again, I’d like to explore this further, because at the end of the day, I do believe that all Curbows (no matter the spelling) are connected by one common ancestor, John Corbo/Corbeau.

According to family researcher David Kerbow, of Austin, Texas, after the Civil War, two brothers, John A. Kerbo and Francis Marion Kerbo left Jackson County, Georgia with their brother Dock Singleton Kerbo’s widow (Francis Virginia Park) and his family. They headed west and when they reached the banks of the swollen Mississippi River they decided to add the “w” to the end of their names so that they could identify their kin later as coming from that part of the family. (I can‘t, of course, confirm this, but it is an interesting explanation; however, it should be noted that there were plenty of Kerbows/Kirbows in Georgia before this period of time.) To this day, anyone with the last name of “Kerbow” can be traced back to one of these brothers. They eventually settled in Delta County, Texas (northeast of Dallas). This line of Kerbos/Kerbows left Georgia during reconstruction in 1867 and moved to east Texas and settled in and around Enloe/Cooper/Commerce Counties, Texas. (Source – family oral history – – I believe this website was recently taken off the internet.)

Based on my look at Dock’s life this is what I found:  Doctor “Dock” Singleton Kerbo was born in Jackson County, Georgia in about 1831. The date of his birth is approximate and based on various records, which include the 1850 census; Family Data Collection; U.S. and International Marriage database; and the U.S. Civil War Soldiers database. Dock was the youngest son of Solomon David Kerbow (Kirbow) and Celia “Selah” Witt. If I have the relationships figured out correctly – and this is not proven yet – then Solomon David Kerbow is an uncle of our Tilman Curbow (my husband’s ggg-grandfather), making Dock his younger cousin.

In the 1850 census, which was enumerated on 25 November, Dock is indexed as “Doctor S. Kerbow,” age 19, born 1831 in Georgia. He states that he is a laborer. He is living with his older brothers, Jesse M., age 30, a farmer worth $500; and John, 21, laborer. Also in the home is his mother, a widow, Selah, age 68. Additionally, we have a woman named Anna Hatcher, age 45, in the home, whose identity is unknown to me.

Dock married Frances Virginia Park probably sometime in 1852 or 1853 in probably Jackson County, Georgia. The year of their marriage is an ESTIMATE on my part based on the year of birth of their first son. I have no information on who her parents were. Virginia was born 3 Oct 1836 in Georgia and died 29 Oct 1903 in Red River County, Texas.

Frances Virginia Parks w/son John Russell Kerbo - from the collection of David Kerbow

In the 1860 census, which was enumerated on the 18th and 19th of July, we find the little family together in Jackson County, Georgia. “Doctor S. Kerbo” is 28 years old, born about 1832 in Georgia. The nearest post office is in Mulberry. Doctor is a farmer who owns property worth $700 and personal property worth $874. In the home is his wife, Frances, age 30 and children: John, age 6, Rodemma, age 4 and Josephine, age 2. His older brother John “Kirbo” is living two families down with his family.

At the age of 30, on 17 July, 1861, Doctor Singleton Kerbo, enlisted into the Confederate States Army at Jackson County, Georgia. He was a Private of Co. B, 16 Regiment, Georgia Infantry. His muster rolls and service files have a variety of spelling for his last name but the majority of them seem to be filed under “O.S. Kerbow.”

Based on his service records, we can see that he had a rough time of it, and appears to have spent much of his time in the hospital. His first card is dated Nov. 1861 where he is indexed as “D.S. Kerbo.” It states that he is on furlough for 25 days. His second card is dated Jun 1862 where he is indexed as “D.S. Kirbo.” It states that he left sick at Suffolk on the 18th of April. On 23 Oct 1862 Doctor is again put on furlough for 30 days (Richmond, Virginia). His third card is dated Nov 1862 where he is in the hospital in Richmond, Virginia. (There are two medical reports from September of 1862 which indicate that he was admitted to the General Hospital at Camp Winder in Richmond Virginia on 2 Sept 1862.) Lastly – and tragically – Dock Singleton Kerbo died at the age of 32 years on 2 July 1863 – alone and far from home on a field in Pennsylvania – at the Battle of Gettysburg.

When Francis Kerbo made an inquiry about her husband’s back pay, this is an excerpt of the Captain’s report which she received in return, and which is on file with the National Archives:

“D. S. Kerbow, a private of Capt Venable’s Co. (B) 16th Georgia Reg’t age at ___ years, 5 ft. 10 inches high, fair complexion, blue eyes, auburn hair, by profession a farmer, low in the County of Jackson and State of Georgia and enlisted at Butch (??) Hill (or Mill), Georgia on the 17th day of July 1861 by Sgt. Barrow to serve for the War, was killed in action on the 2nd day of July 1863 at Gettysburg, PA, USA.”

The report continues on to detail what pay is owed to Dock’s family. The report is signed by Captain Venable, Dock’s superior officer.

Kerbo family members maintain that Dock’s body was transported home to Jackson County, Georgia and that he is laid to rest there. I have not been able to confirm this story.

As told by George B. Williams, Kerbo family historian, Dock’s widow and two brothers, Francis Marion and John A. and families loaded a covered wagon in 1867 and went west to Texas. I suppose that Reconstruction was hard on Confederate veterans. I have often wondered what life was like and why they moved to Texas. They lived northwest of Atlanta about 25 miles and the farm could have been devastated by General Sherman. Through personal contact with Ralph Freeman of Hoschton, Georgia (85 years old and a great historian) he indicated that this area was spared.”

Doctor Single Kerbo and his wife Frances Virginia Park had five children that I am aware of: John Russell (1853-1945); Florentine Roumence (1856-1944); Josephine Laura Etta (1858); Joseph Solomon (1863-1939); and Dock Singleton, Jr. (1863-1958) (obviously named in honor of his father who died one month before his birth).

If there are any direct descendants of Doctor Singleton Kerbo that wish to take the ball and run with this, there are so many other things to be discovered about Dock.  There are many muster roll cards, hospital reports and service reports pertaining to his Civil War service. These can be obtained on I expect that there may have been a newspaper notice somewhere in Jackson County, Georgia. He owned land – so there are probably deed records in Jackson County, Georgia to be found. He may have even left a Will, which can be found in the probate records of Jackson County, Georgia. If any of you Kerbo/Kerbow researchers are up to the challenge – please share your information here!

To end this life story – whether you believe that the cause was right or wrong – Dock Kerbo – I thank you and your family for your sacrifice.



Posted by on April 2, 2011 in Kerbo/Kerbow


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12 responses to “A Death at Gettysburg

  1. Sherra Kerbow Ogden

    May 29, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to write this. I’ve grown up with these stories and know David Kerbow well. I am not sure about the W story as the records show the use of Kerbow in 1755 in MA. But each record has multiple spellings either way. Thank you again! –

    • Judy Curbow

      May 30, 2011 at 6:25 am

      Hi Sherra – thanks for visting our site…it is good to hear from you. You are right – these Curbows/Kerbows sure are a hard family to track becuase of the many name variations! Sometimes I think they didn’t want to be found!

  2. Patricia Smith Egert

    August 28, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    My great, great grandfather is Marion Frances Kerbow. His daughter VivaAnn Kerbow was my great grandmother. She lived outside of Enloe, Texas in Delta County, Texas. I am trying to find
    the grave of Marion Frances first wife Marion Hosch. I believe that they stopped in Clarksville (Red River County), Texas before coming to Delta County and she died in Red River County.

    Any help you can give me I would appreciate it.

    Thank you,
    Pat Smith Egert

    • Judy Curbow

      August 29, 2011 at 6:27 am

      Hi Pat – thanks for stopping by and commenting. I haven’t really focused on this family line. They are related to our Curbow family; however, rather distantly. I only know that they came from Georgia and settled in the Delta/Red River County area as you mentioned. I will keep your name and let you know if I ever start digging into that branch of the family tree.
      Best regards, Judy

    • virginia white washington state

      September 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm

      marion franeskerbow brother was henry l. kirbow his kids lives in east texas sabine,jasper,kirbyvilletx. they parted ways in la.


      December 28, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      Patricia – could this be what you are looking for?

    • Anne Evetts

      October 12, 2019 at 11:33 am

      Patricia, I am Anne Evetts, living in Clarksville, Tex and Dock Singleton Kerbo and wife, Marion Frances are my G-G-Grandparents. I think I happened on the grave of Marion Frances Kerbow in a little cemetery named, “Bethel Cemetery” a few miles north of Detroit, Texas. There are quite a lot of Kerbow buried there, if I remember correctly. I discovered this cemetery a few years ago. I have a good tintype of both Doc and Frances, which ended up in the safekeeping of my grandmother, Allie Grant Bowers, their granddaughter. There is a note with the tintype that her photo was in his pocket at his death in Gettysburg and was eventually returned to his widow. Both photos are a real treasure. Email me and I will send you photos of both.

      • Judy Curbow

        October 15, 2019 at 3:06 pm

        Hi Ann, Thanks so much for stopping by the blog and taking the time to leave me a message. I’ve done quite a bit of research on all branches of the Curbow/Kerbow family (no matter the spelling). Would love to see the photos you mentioned. Best regards, Judy

  3. Jerry Buzan

    July 6, 2015 at 8:16 am

    I would like to know if my g-g-g-grand uncle, Doctor Singleton Kerbow, killed in the Wheatfield at Gettysburg, is buried. Was his body returned to Georgia in 1871? Does anyone know?

    • Judy Curbow

      July 12, 2015 at 5:31 pm

      Jerry, thanks for stopping by the blog and for taking the time to comment. I don’t really know where he is buried. My assumption would be that he is buried where he fell. If he was brought home to Georgia – I have seen no mention of that in any of the records. Perhaps the answer to that might lie in his Civil War service papers or perhaps his wide filed for a pension. Since this is not my direct line – I haven’t done an exhaustive search of all of Doc Kerbow’s records. Good luck on your family history search! Judy

  4. Reese Kerbow

    May 8, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks for the info. I’m attending a wildland Fire course, L580: Leadership is Action, here in Gettysburg this week and this information will definitely add to my experience.

    • Judy Curbow

      July 23, 2018 at 1:20 pm

      Awesome Reese – I have never been to Pennsylvania – but it’s on my list of places to go!


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