Category Archives: Brick Walls

William David Curbow and the Beautiful Arizona

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. 

World War I Draft Registration Card

Marriage Certificate

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. 

Arizona Evans Curbow - from the collection of Rich Mercer

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!

Arthur Powers Martin and Arizona Evans from the collection of Rich Mercer

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, 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.

Wichita Falls State Hospital - Postcard image from Rootsweb

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.


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Posted by on March 26, 2011 in Brick Walls, Curbow


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William F. Curbow – Son of Tilman Curbow

William F. Curbow was the fifth child born to Tilman P. Curbow and Elizabeth Box.  It is likely that he was named after Elizabeth’s father, William Bolton Box.  His middle name is unknown; however, Franklin seems to be a family name – and a possibility for William’s middle name.  His older brother, Oliver, named one of his sons Charles “Franklin” and his younger sister Isabell named one of her sons William “Franklin.”  Perhaps these siblings were honoring their brother who died young? 

William Curbow’s year of birth is only an estimate based on the census records – he was born sometime around 1853 in Mississippi – most likely in Itawamba County.  He was with his family in the 1860 census when they were present in Ouachita County, Arkansas (where he was 7 years old).  During the Civil War, in 1864, he was present with his mother and siblings in Bowie County, Texas (where he was 11 years old).  After the war, when the family had settled in McLennan County, he is again present in the 1870 census (where he is 17 years old).  He was present in McLennan County, Texas in 1874 and 1875 because he can be found there in the tax rolls.  He was indexed as W. F. Curbough both times.  He was taxed for the value of one horse. 

I cannot locate William F. Curbow in any record after the 1875 McLennan County Tax Roll where he was about 22 years old.  Unless another record surfaces, I am working under the assumption that William may have died early in life.  I do not know where William Curbow is laid to rest.

Any McLennan County researchers out there that want to take a second look for me?  Any help appreciated!   

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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in Brick Walls, Curbow


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James Atwood

Our “brick wall Atwood ancestor is James Atwood.  He was born sometime around 1769 – the location of his birth is unknown as are his parents. 

In the 1790 census, James is 21 years old; there are two household members; and one of these persons is indexed as a slave.  James is present in Rowan County, North Carolina.  The county was formed in 1753 from the northern part of Anson County.

Rowan County, South Carolina

 Sometime around 1791, James Atwood married “Mary/Polly.”  Her last name is unknown to me.  The marriage date is an ESTIMATE based on the birth year of the first child; The couple probably married in North Carolina.

In the 1800 census the couple can be found living in Laurens District of South Carolina.  Indexed as “James Atwood.”  Present in the home is 1 white male 16-25; 1 white female 10-15; and 1 slave.  Laurens County was formed in 1785 – one of nine modern counties of the Colonial Ninety-Six District. 

Laurens County, South Carolina

In the 1810 census the couple is still living in Laurens County, South Carolina.  Indexed as “James Atwood,” he is with 2 males under the age of 10; 1 male 26-44; 1 female under 10; 1 female 26-44; and 7 slaves.

James Atwood died at the age of 47 in Laurens County, South Carolina some time in January of 1816.  His Will was signed 17 Jan 1816; the Will was proven and recorded 30 Jan 1816. 

Excerpts of James Atwood’s Last Will & Testament – Courtesy of Brian Atwood:


County: Laurens                   State: South Carolina
Will Book:  Box 2, Pkg. 1     Page: 257
Court/repository: South Carolina Dept. of Archives & History, Columbia, S.C.

Place of Residence: Laurens District, South Carolina
Executor(s): Mary (Polly) Atwood, William Atwood, William Ball
Date Signed: 17 January 1816     Date Proved: 30 January 1816
Date Recorded: 30 January 1816
Witnesses: Jno. Clemens, W. Ballard, Tobias Cook

Bequests, Devises, etc. In the name of God, Amen.  I James Atwood of South Carolina Laurens District, being weak in body but sound mind and memory, blessed to be God for it, calling to mind the uncertainty of life, do make this my last will and testament in manner and form following, revoking wills and deeds formerly made by me or any other conveyance whatsoever.  In the first place I recommend my soul to God that gave it hoping He will receive it again at the last day through the merits of Jesus Christ my lord and saveour (sic).  I desire body to be buried in a decent manner as my Beloved wife and executors shall think proper.  Item I give unto my beloved wife Polly Atwood one third of my real and personal estate giving her choice of the house and plantation whereupon I now live.  Item 3 give unto my beloved wife Polly Atwood one Negro girl, Hannah, and her child Mariah as a fee simple forever.  Item I give unto my son William Atwood and William Ball, my son-in-law the balance of my estate, both real and personal to be equally divided between them.  Reserving as much out of my hole (sic) estate to give my son William Atwood a good English education.  Item It is will and desire that my executors hereafter mentioned do sell as much of my property as they think most proper, to pay off all my just debts.  Item I do ordain my beloved wife Polly Atwood Executrix and William Atwood and my son-in-law William Ball, executors.
to execute this my last will and testament In witness hereof I have set my seal this seventeenth day of January in the year one thousand eight hundred sixteen.

I would love to hear from other Atwood researchers the descend from James Atwood and his wife Mary/Polly. 

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Posted by on February 7, 2011 in Atwood, Brick Walls


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Joel Ham

Joel Ham is my husband’s 3rd great grandfather.  He was born on Christmas Day 1815 in Georgia.  (We know that Joel was born in Georgia because he states this in his own hand on the 1867 Texas Voters’ Registration Information Card which was required to reinstate voting rights following the Civil War.)  Joel is our brickwall Ham ancestor – we do not at this time know who his parents or siblings were.  If and when we discover his parentage, it is thought that there is a good chance that he can be linked to the South Carolina or Virginia Ham families – who are very well documented. 

On 23 Dec 1840 Joel married Mary Ellen Montgomery (1821-1874) in Carroll County, Tennessee.  Mary Ellen was the daughter of John G. Montogomery and Joannah DeMoss. 

Joel Ham - Marriage Record

By 1841 Joel and Mary Ellen can be found living in Yalabusha County, Mississippi where they are living north of the Yalabusha River.  Also in the county is a Mortimer Ham and family.  I suspect that there is a family connection but I have not been able to verify it. 

 By 1858 Joel and family have migrated to Texas – they are living in Mount Vernon, Titus County, Texas during the 1860 and 1870 census periods. 

Joel Ham died on 28 April 1874 in Grandview, Johnson County, Texas.  His wife Mary Ellen Montgomery Ham died just ten days later on 7 May 1874 in Grandview, Johnson County, Texas.  They are laid to rest together in the Grandview Cemetery.  It seems that perhaps they suffered an illness or an injury together given that they died fairly young and only ten days apart. 

Joel and Mary Ellen had four children:  John Montgomery in 1841; Joannah in 1843; Lenora Adelina in 1846; and Robert Montgomery in 1852. 

A special thanks to Marian Ham Miller for reviewing and confirming all of our Ham genealogy work.  She has been researching this line of the Ham family for decades.  Many of the names and dates for Joel Ham and wife Mary Ellen Montgomery and children are contained in the Montgomery-Ham Bible which she owns and which Marian generously shared with us. 






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Posted by on January 22, 2011 in Brick Walls, Ham


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William Henry Lytle – Husband of Lucinda Curbow

Lucinda Curbow’s husband, William Henry Lytle, was born in Georgia in September of 1840.  I do not know who the parents of William Henry Lytle were or exactly where in Georgia he was born.  When he enlisted into the Confederate Army, he did so out of Macon County.  

Macon County, Georgia

In the 1850 census there is present in Macon County the family of William and Mary Lytle – they have a son named William and a daughter named Sarah.  (William Henry Lytle and his wife would later name their daughter Belle Sarah.)  This could very well be his family, but at this time I have nothing to tie them together. 

William Lytle enlisted into the Confederate States Army at the age of 20 out of Macon County, Georgia on June 15, 1861.  His rank was private at enlistment and he was a sergeant at discharge.  He was a member of Company C, 12th Georgia Infantry Regiment, Dole’s Brigade, Rhodes Division, J. T. Jackson’s Army Corps.  William was wounded in the arm during the Battle of Lynchburg (Virginia) and spent time in the CSA General Hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Muster Roll Card - William Henry Lytle

He was later captured and taken prisoner in 1864 at Winchester, Virginia and transported (via Harper’s Ferry) to the dreaded Yankee prison camp at Point Lookout, Maryland. 

Prisoner of War Muster Card - William Henry Lytle

Point Lookout was a prison camp for Confederate prisoners of war built on the tip of the peninsula where the Potomac River joins Chesapeake Bay.   Point Lookout, Maryland was deemed to be the largest and worst Yankee POW camp.  It was constructed of fourteen foot high wooden walls.  These walls surrounded an area of about 40 acres.  A walkway surrounded the top of the walls where Negro guards walked day and night.  It is reported that the guards were brutal in their treatment of the prisoners.  No barracks were ever built.  The Confederate soldiers were given tents to sleep in until overcrowding became so bad there were not even enough tents to go around.  Prison capacity was 10,000, but at any given time there would be between 12,000 to 20,000 soldiers incarcerated there.  The extreme overcrowding, Maryland’s freezing temperatures, shortages of firewood for heat, and living in tents took its toll and many lives were lost due to exposure.  As the water supply became polluted and food rations ran low, prisoners died from disease and starvation.  Food was in short supply; the men were reported to hunt rats as a food source.  A prisoner, Rev. J. B. Traywick said, “Our suffering from hunger was indescribable.”  (

Point Lookout, Maryland - Yankee Prison Camp - Image from

William Henry Lytle survived this prison camp and was “exchanged” at the end of the war in 1865 – when he presumably headed for Texas.  As previously mentioned, William met and married Lucinda in Waco – they married 20 Aug. 1878.   Based on census and tax records, William and Lucinda spent their lives in Waco, Texas. 

 On 21 Nov. 1892, William Lytle joined the Pat Cleburne Camp of Ex-Confederate Army Veterans:  WACO MORNING NEWS; Sunday, April 21, 1895: The Pat Cleburne Camp was organized in 1888. Roster and roll of members as of March 31, 1895, full name, rank and organization:  Lytle, W. H. Ord Sgt. Co. C 12 Georgia Infantry, Army of Northern Virginia.

Cleburne Camp Application - William Henry Lytle

William died at his home on 25 Oct 1905.  He was 65 years old.  He is laid to rest in Greenwood Cemetery, also known as – East Waco Cemetery in the Lytle family plot.  Lucinda, his wife, and his children, Belle Sarah and William, Jr. are buried there with him.

William Henry Lytle - Death Notice

I would be interested in hearing from any Lytle researchers who have information on William Henry Lytle and his parents. 

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Posted by on January 15, 2011 in Brick Walls, Civil War, Lytle


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Hiram Jethro “Jet” Seago

The Seago family has a long and interesting history, both in Europe and here in the United States.  Unfortunately,  we don’t have much information on our Seago ancestors.  Oral tradition has the Seago family coming from Alsace, Lorraine, France/Germany.  The Seago family has an annual reunion and recently they met in Seagoville, Texas.  Seagoville was founded by Tillman Kimsey Seago.  The oldest known Seago is John Seago born 1715 who married Margaret Birmingham at St. Luke’s Parish in Church Hill, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland, in 1740.  Interestingly enough, St. Luke’s Parish is the same church where Jean Corbo (Curbow) married Ann Phillips in 1755.   
Seago Family Crest

Hiram Jethro “Jet” Seago is my husband’s 3rd great grandfather through his daughter Sallie Mae Seago  → Ida Bell Howard who married Charles Franklin Curbow (great grandfather to my husband).  More names and relationships to untangle !  Hiram was the son of Joseph Seago and Amanda White.  It is believed that they died young leaving him an orphan.  It appears that his grandparents (James and Sally Seago) raised him.  

On 9 March 1853 Hiram married Nancy Jane Strunk (probably in Whitley County, Kentucky).  The couple had six children:  Mary Elizabeth in 1854; Sarah (Sallie) Mae in 1857; Nancy Jane in 1859; Ambrose Crawford in 1861; John William in 1865; and James Martin in 1868.

Hiram Jet Seago – Muster Card

Hiram served the Union during the Civil War.  According to his muster roll cards, he was a member of Company E, 32nd Kentucky Infantry.  On 7 January, 1863 Hiram Jethro Seago enlisted into the Union Army in Whitley County, Kentucky.  His rank at enlistment was private.  He was mustered out of the Army on 12 Aug 1863.  The note on his muster card reads as follows: “Deserted 11 Jun 1863 at Somerset, Kentucky.” His file contains a letter from the Adjutant General’s Office at the War Department dated 18 Nov. 1887 which discharges Hiram of the charge of desertion. It contains no details as to why he was accused and subsequently discharged of this crime.


It is not known when his first wife, Nancy Jane Strunk died.

On 15 Jun 1899 he married Mary Jane Abel.  He lived out the rest of his life with her and died 12 Apr 1919 in Brownsville, Edmonson County, Kentucky.  

Hiram Jethro Seago – Death Certificate – Photo courtesy of Sherman Gibbs

He is laid to rest at Good Spring Baptist Church and Cemetery  – which is an historic church and cemetery within Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky.

I would love to hear from other researchers that may have information on Jet Seago. 

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Posted by on January 15, 2011 in Brick Walls, Civil War, Seago


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Harriet Curbow Miller

Harriet Curbow was the third daughter born to Tilman Curbow and Elizabeth Box – born sometime in 1852 in Mississippi, probably Itawamba County.  She was often referred to as “Hattie.”   Hattie may have been named after her aunt, Harriet Jane Box.  Harriet can be found in the 1860 and 1870 census with her parents.  On February 9, 1872 Harriet married Elijah Spencer Miller in McLennan County, Texas.  Harriet was 20 years old and Elijah was about 23 at the time of the marriage. 

Harriet Curbow Miller – Photo is courtesy of Tom Hedges

Harriet and Elijah lived in or near Waco, Texas through at least 1885 because Elijah can be found there in various McLennan County tax roll records.  At some point after 1885, Harriet and Elijah apparently moved their family to Hill County, Texas where their youngest daughter was born in Itasca in June of 1892 (according to her grandson).  It should be noted that Harriet’s grandfather William Bolton Box was living in Covington, Hill County, Texas, which is not far from Itasca.  He died there in 1887. 

Harriet and Elijah had seven children:  Frank in 1873; Thomas in 1874; Jesse in 1876; Minnie in 1879; John in 1889; Willie Mae in 1890; and Lou Ida Belle in 1892. 

Sometime after the birth of their last daughter, the Miller family moved to Indian Territory – Chickasaw Nation – present day Carter County, Oklahoma. 

1895 Indian Territory Map

This area is rich in Native American history.  In that regard – the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes was appointed by President Grover Cleveland in 1893 to negotiate land with the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole tribes. It is commonly called the Dawes Commission, after its chairman, Henry L. Dawes.  Tribe members were entitled to an allotment of land, in return for abolishing their tribal governments and recognizing Federal laws. In order to receive the land, individual tribal members first had to apply and be deemed eligible by the Commission.  The first application process for enrollment began in 1896, but was declared invalid.  In this 1896 application process appear the applications of:

Elijah E. Miller – Cherokee – Application #2131
Hattie J. Miller – Cherokee – Application #4074

So, because of this invalidation, the Dawes Commission started all over again in 1898.  People had to re-apply in order to be considered, even if they had already applied in 1896.   The resulting lists of those who were accepted as eligible became known as the Dawes Rolls.   Their formal name is the “Final Rolls of the Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory”. The Commission accepted applications from 1898 until 1907.  Neither Elijah nor Hattie appear on the Final Rolls.  After speaking with a genealogist at the Oklahoma History Center, she wonders if this could be our Elijah and Harriet.  If they had applied as Cherokees – why would they be living in Chickasaw Nation rather than the Cherokee Nation?   Good point.

Sometime between June of 1892 and December of 1904, Harriet Curbow Miller died.  At this point, I do not know if Harriet died in Texas or in Oklahoma.  Miller descendants claim that Harriet died in Oklahoma and is buried somewhere “around the Carter County, Oklahoma area.”   The news article below from The Daily Ardmoreite which was published on May 7, 1902 has piqued my interest.  The general location seems to fit and the timeframe is correct – but of course, I have no way of knowing if this is our Harriet Curbow:    Nine Lives Swept into Eternity at Foss, Oklahoma; Twenty Houses Washed Away; Inhabitants Left Homeless and Destitute; Searching for Dead; Property Destroyed.  Among the dead were Mrs. Miller and daughter

Harriet’s husband Elijah Miller remarried in December of 1904 and had several more children with his second wife.  It appears that he lived out the rest of his life in Oklahoma. 

I would love to know more about Harriet – and am especially interested in knowing when she died and where she is laid to rest.  If you know anything about her, I would love to hear from you. 

A big thanks to Tom Hedges, Harriet’s great grandson, for giving me such a great start on Harriet’s genealogy. 

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Posted by on January 8, 2011 in Brick Walls, Miller


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