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Category Archives: Curbow

Genealogy of the Curbow Family

James Turner Miller – A Good Man Killed – Murder Most Foul

As so correctly stated by Aaron Holt of the National Archives and Records Administration, “It only takes three generations to lose a piece of oral family history.  If you want to avoid losing those precious family stories passed down through the generations, the story must be purposely and accurately repeated over and over again through the generations to be preserved.”

As it pertains to oral family histories – the Miller family has done a great job – specifically as it relates to James Turner Miller, the father of Elijah Spencer Miller (whose wife was Harriet Curbow).  When I began researching the life of Elijah and Hattie – I naturally poked around for information on Elijah’s father, and through census records, I believed that to be James Turner Miller, who lived “east of the Brazos – near Waco, Texas.  As I worked with other Miller researchers, I was told on more than one occasion that Mr. Miller was a wealthy landowner, had been in Waco on a supply trip on the day of his death, and that he had been murdered by cattle rustlers on his way home.  I put that in my “to be determined file” and moved on with the research.  Thankfully, I have many fantastic research partners – and Mr. Tom Hedges (a Miller descendant) – was able to locate this news article, presumably published in a Waco newspaper the day after the murder on 19 Aug 1873.

A GOOD MAN KILLED – MURDER MOST FOUL

Intelligence was yesterday morning received of the death by gunshot the evening before, of James T. Miller, a resident of this county, and one of the most orderly and respectable citizens. Who it was that committed this atrocious crime, or by what spirit of diabolism actuated, is yet one of the undeveloped mysteries. Certain it is, however, it was a murder most foul. Jim Miller, for so he was familiarly called, was in town the day he was killed, and it is known that he was not armed. He fell, therefore, by the hand of the assassin. He had bought during the day supplies and a quantity of lumber for use on his place, and was on his way home with them. He lived at the Pitts place, on the Corsicana road, twelve miles from town. A short distance this side of town, night coming on, Mr. Miller, being on horseback, left the wagons on the main road and started home on the “trail,” a more direct route. Shortly afterward the report of a gun was heard in that direction; Mr. Miller not coming home, search was instituted, and on the following morning (yesterday) his body was found. He was shot at the trail crossing of that ill-famed creek, the Tehuacana, a short distance above the Corsicana Road.  A load of buckshot, some eighteen or twenty, taking effect in his side, had done its bloody work and there he lay. “Dead men tell no tales,” and in the absence of witnesses it is possible that the perpetrator of this great crime may go unwhipped of justice and unrecognized, save by the eye of heaven, as the murderer he is. But if it is possible, under such circumstances and in the absence of any clue, to ascertain who it was that did the deed, this should be done and the guilty party be awarded at the hands of the law the fearful penalty due his crime. The deceased will be buried with Masonic honors by Waco Lodge No. 92, to-day.

As it turned out – the family oral history was spot on about the facts of Jim Miller’s murder.

James Turner Miller – known as Jim – was born to Alfred Miller (b. 1793) and Sarah Wray on 12 Feb 1824 in South Carolina.

At the time of the 1850 census we find James T. Miller living next door to his father in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi.  He is a blacksmith – both he and his father are land and slave owners.  Jim is living with his first wife Rebecca, age 21 (Rebecca Ann Anderson) and son Elizah, age 2; (Elijah Spencer Miller, born 1849).  Also next door is Rebecca Anderson, Elijah Anderson and James Anderson.  Can we presume this to be the family of Rebecca, Elijah Miller’s wife?

Miller researcher Shirley McAnelly Hill states that Jim Miller and family were in Texas by 1858 – and they can indeed be found in the 1860 census living in McLennan County, Texas.  He is with his wife Rebecca and son Spencer and daughter Nancy (Nancy Roseann Miller, born 1859).

The oral family story continues stating that Rebecca died in childbirth while Jim was in Galveston, Texas serving in the Civil War sometime around 1862.  As it turns out, this part of the family story checks out as well – Jim did serve in Confederate Army with the 9th Militia Dist., McLennan County, 28th Brigade, Texas Militia – where he held the rank of 3rd Sgt.  It could be that the child Rebecca gave birth to was daughter Mary Alice Miller (born 1862).

Muster Roll Index Card – James Turner Miller

Jim Miller married for a second time to Catherine S. Young on 9 Dec 1864 (presume in McLennan County – although I have not located a marriage record for them there).  The couple had five children:  William Turner Miller in 1865; Susan Ellanora Miller in 1867; Rebecca Miller in 1869; Permelia Paralee Miller in 1871; and Jesse Perkins Miller in 1873).  When the census was taken in 1870, the family is still living in McLennan County, Texas “east of the Brazos.”  At that time Jim owned real estate valued at $8,500 and personal property valued at $2,000.

On a recent genealogy trip to Waco, my husband and I spent hour upon hour, looking through old Wills and probate papers at the McLennan County District Clerk’s office.  While there I pulled the Will and probate file of James Turner Miller – and it was voluminous!  The probate file settles James Turner Miller’s family relationships and confirms that he was a very well to do citizen of McLennan County, Texas.  Since the file was so large, I did not copy it in its entirely; however, I did have a few pertinent pages copied – and will write about that in my next post.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2017 in Miller

 

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The Phillips Family of Maryland

The Phillips Family of Maryland

I don’t want to jump too far down the rabbit hole as it pertains to the family of Ann Phillips (wife of John Corbo of Queen Anne’s County, Maryland).  When and if we firmly establish that she is our ancestor – I’ll dig a little deeper.  Suffice it to say that the Phillips surname is a fairly common one – and with just a perfunctory review of the records, it seems that their web is tangled just as tightly as ours is!

After looking at the websites of several credible Phillips researchers it seems that the Phillips family is traced back to the late 1590s where the family was present in Devonshire, England.  Many of the early settlers of Colonial Maryland came from the West Midlands of England.  The Maryland Phillips family evidently begins with a man named John Phillips who is said to have come to Kent Island prior to its becoming a part of Maryland.  For now, we will concern ourselves only with the immediate family of Ann Phillips.

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What we know about Ann comes primarily from the parish registers of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Church Hill, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland.  St. Luke’s, known as “the church on the hill,” is one of the oldest churches in Maryland – built in 1732 at a cost of 140,000 pounds of tobacco.  The bricks used to construct the church were shipped over from England to replace the wooden church that had been built there in 1728.  According to the Maryland Historical Society, all records are preserved intact, including births, baptisms, marriages, burials, vestry meetings and special occasions.

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From these parish records we know that Ann Phillips was born to Samuel and Ann Phillips on 25 July 1738 and was baptized at St. Luke’s on 14 Sept 1740.  She married John Curbow there on 27 Aug 1755 at the age of 17.  (As previously mentioned – there were no other Curbow family members located in the register.)

While reviewing the register, line-by-line, I found two additional birth entries for Samuel and Ann Phillips:  (1) David Phillips born 27 June 1741 and baptized 25 Sept 1741 (married Sarah Swift at St. Luke’s on 1 May 1759); and (2) James Phillips born 18 July 1752.  Outside of these three birth records, I have been unable to unearth any further clues regarding Samuel and Ann Phillips of Queen Anne’s County.  There are five additional Phillips’ marriage records in the St. Luke’s parish register (ranging from the 1740s to the 1750s); however, their connection to Samuel and Ann are unknown at this time.  It could be that these are their older children (perhaps not baptized at St. Luke’s); Samuel’s children from a previous marriage; Samuel’s nephews; or perhaps they are not related at all.

(Thomas Phillips married Mary Lawrence 17 Aug 1756; James Phillips married Sarah Lambdin 26 Dec 1743; Robard Phillips married Myratilla Serton 30 Oct 1744; Robard Phillips married Ann Lambden 31 Dec 1746; and Robert Phillips married Hannah Cross 1 Mar 1750).

As I began to expand my search for Samuel and Ann Phillips, the records led me to Cecil County, Maryland.  Cecil County lies to the north of Queen Anne’s County and borders Pennsylvania to the north and Delaware to the east.  It was there that I found a marriage record for Samuel Phillips and Elizabeth Brooks – married on 19 Mar 1724.  Many of the public trees on ancestry.com have Samuel’s wife listed as Elizabeth Ann Brooks.  Of course, none of these trees are sourced in any way, and so it is uncertain whether this is the same Ann who is listed in the St. Luke’s parish register – or whether this is a prior marriage for Samuel.

It is entirely possible that Samuel and Ann Phillips began their married life in Cecil County – had children there – and then relocated to Queen Anne’s County – and had their last three children there.  In fact, I did locate a birth record in Cecil County pertaining to Samuel and Ann Phillips – a son named Isaac Phillips born 7 Jan 1738.  The birth is registered in the parish records of St. Mary Anne’s Parish; his death is recorded there on 7 Aug 1739.  This is somewhat in conflict with what we know about Ann Phillips because Isaac’s date of birth conflicts with hers (having been born 25 July 1738).  It could be that one of the dates is incorrect – or it could be that this is not a family connection at all.

Additionally, the parish records of St. Mary Ann Parish (Protestant Episcopal Church) in Cecil County indicate that Samuel Phillips and wife Elizabeth Brooks had children as follows:  Elizabeth on 5 Apr 1725; Samuel on 19 Mar 1727; Catherine on 28 Apr 1734; Nathan on 21 Feb 1732; and Mary on 29 May 1737 – all prior to the birth of our Ann Phillips in 1738.  At this point in time, I am inclined to think that Elizabeth Brooks and Ann Unknown – are two separate women.

In a book entitled, Inhabitants of Cecil County 1649-1774 written by Henry C. Peden, I noted several land records (including 200 acres of St. John’s Manor) belonging to a Nathan Phillips in 1723.  I next located a Will that was probated 4 May 1748 in Elk River, Cecil County, Maryland by the family of Nathan Phillips.  Samuel Phillips is named in this Will as being the oldest son of Nathan Phillips – which would indicate that Nathan Phillips is Ann’s grandfather.  I located two marriage records for Nathan Phillips (and it is assumed that Nathan was married three times) with his first wife (and Samuel’s mother) being unidentified.  His second marriage took place in 1706 in Cecil County to Elizabeth Cousins; and his third marriage took place 18 Apr 1733 in Cecil County to Jane Simcoe.  In addition to Samuel, it is believed that Nathan Phillips had the following children:  a daughter named Elizabeth born 1720 who married James Boulden; a daughter named Sarah born 1725/1726 who married Johanes Arreams/Arrants; a son named Nathaniel; and a son named Thomas.  According to Nathan’s Will, he left his plantation in Elk River, Maryland to his third wife Jane.  His son Samuel is named in the Will as is John Foster (?) and a grandchild, John Phillips.  After Jane’s death the estate was to be divided between James Boulden and Johaness Arreams (his sons-in-law).  One of the witnesses was Manado Phillips, believed to be Nathan’s brother.

This family tree could be taken back one more generation to Samuel Phillips, the father of Nathan, grandfather of Samuel and great-grandfather of Ann – but I promised I would not jump down the rabbit hole!!  At this point, the genealogy becomes very shaky and most of the dates listed online simply don’t add up.  I am intrigued however to read that some of the descendants of Samuel and Nathan Phillips ended up in Anson County, North Carolina where we next catch up to John Corbo and Ann Phillips.

Stay tuned to our next installment – John Corbo of Anson County, North Carolina.

John Corbeau: Philadelphia – to Oley near Reading, PA – to Queen Anne’s County, Maryland

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2016 in Curbow

 

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John Curbow – Queen Anne’s County, Maryland – Part 3

As a quick recap, a Jean Corbeau arrived in Philadelphia from Friedrichstal, Germany with his family in October of 1737. Now known as John Corbo, he quickly purchased land and settled in the Oley Valley of Pennsylvania.  There is no record that would indicate the age of this Jean Corbeau/John Corbo; however, we know that in order to participate in the land transaction he had to have been at least 21 years of age.  Assuming he was only 21 – his birth year would have been about 1717.  It is possible that since he came with “a family,” that he was older than 21 at the time of the land transaction.

We now fast forward eight years and shift our focus southward to Queen Anne’s County, Maryland. Germans (both from Germany and the Pennsylvania Dutch “Deutsch”) began to settle along the Chesapeake Bay as early as 1723 in the area that would become the City of Baltimore.

It is across the Bay in Queen Anne’s County that we find a marriage record for a John Curbow (indexed incorrectly in various indexes as Carbos or Carboo) (Note – this is the first time we see the surname spelled Curbow). He married Ann Phillips on 27 Aug 1755 at St. Luke’s Protestant Episcopal Parish Church (located in Church Hill, Maryland). Ann Phillips was also christened in this same church on 14 Sept 1740 (she was born 25 July 1738).  If this is the same Ann Phillips – then she would have been about 17 years old at the time of her marriage.  Her parents were Samuel and Ann Phillips.

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Entry from the Parish Register of St. Luke’s Parish

Thankfully, the parish records of St. Luke’s are online as a special collection with the Maryland State Archives. I have reviewed all 58 pages of births, marriages and deaths from 1722 to 1850 – it only cost me some time, my vision and a cramp in my neck to discover several other related Phillips’ family members – but no other Corbo or Curbow families.  This indicates to me that this was not John’s home church – that he was probably not born in the area – and that he probably didn’t live in the area.  Additionally, there were no christening records located for any children born to John and Ann (Phillips) Curbow – which further indicates to me that they left the area shortly after their marriage.

There are many unanswered questions about this John Curbow – we don’t know when he came to Maryland and when he left. He isn’t in any obvious records in Maryland – still much to learn – and I will update this post if and when records are discovered.

QUESTION: Is this Maryland John Curbow the same person as the Pennsylvania John Corbeau/Corbo? Or is this his son? Or are they related at all?

Stay tuned for the next installment: The Phillips Family of Queen Anne County, Maryland.

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2016 in Curbow

 

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John Corbo of Pennsylvania – Land Records – Part 2

A mere six-months after John Corbeau’s arrival in America, a John Corbo received a land warrant in Oley, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania (on April 25, 1738).  According to the survey connected to this land warrant – the property was located in Alsace Township (situated in the Oley Valley) which was positioned in Philadelphia County (now Berks County), Pennsylvania.  The Oley Valley was settled in the early 1700s by Germans; French Huguenots; and Swiss a/k/a the Pennsylvania Dutch (“Deutsch”).  In fact, it appears that many of the passengers from the Billender Townshend ended up in the Oley Valley as well.  The village of Oley has a strong historical past and heritage.  In March of 1993, the entire Township was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  According to town history, Alsace Township was said to have been named for the region that the original settlers came from – Alsace, Germany (Alsatian; Elsass; Elsaß – which is now located in eastern France on the border of Germany and Switzerland on the west bank of the Upper Rhine River (present day Alsace, Champagne Ardenne-Lorraine, France).  This is very near Friedrichstal – the German village where Jean Corbeau immigrated from.  (In order to avoid confusion, it is necessary to understand that many of the eastern regions of France – particularly Alsace-Lorraine – were passed back and forth many times between the feuding French and Germans.)

Getting back to the land transaction involving John Corbo, we know that during this time period a man had to have reached the age of majority – which was 21-years of age. Accordingly, this John Corbo was born at least by 1717 but could have of course been much older.

In researching Colonial Pennsylvania land transactions, I had to familiarize myself with and understand the complicated process that the settlers went through in order to obtain land.  In Pennsylvania the initial distribution of land to settlers was a complex process – which thankfully yielded a wealth of information and historical records for us.  By way of short background, in 1681, William Penn received a charter from King Charles II which declared him the outright owner of the land that is now known as the State of Pennsylvania.  As such, William Penn was given the authority to dispose of the land as he saw fit.  The state land office was established in 1682 by William Penn and original deeds and patents were recorded by this office. The administrators and the Commonwealth provided individuals title to land in Pennsylvania through this five-step process:

Application:  Under William Penn all requests to purchase acreage at a desired location were made verbally (probably at the land office).  Later, under Penn’s heirs, applications were in writing.  In the case of John Corbo, his warrant was issued on 25 April 1738, and accordingly, he has no written application on file because, as mentioned, during this earlier period all applications were being made verbally.

Warrant:  This is a written order, based on the application, to survey the requested tract of land.  John Corbo’s Warrant states that he requested 100 acres of land “situated about two miles from Francis Lanciscees on Oley Hills in Oley Township.”  In his Warrant, John Corbo agreed to pay the sum of fifteen pounds and ten shillings for the land and “yearly Quit-rent” of one half penny Sterling for every acre thereof.warrant1

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Survey:  Once the application was made and the warrant issued, a surveyor physically measured and marked the land and prepared a survey.

Return of Survey:  After the survey was filed with the land office, the settler was required to make payment on the land.  The image below is the Survey attached to John Corbo’s warrant file.  This image will make more sense once the Patent is discussed below.  The land that belonged to John Corbo is in the upper right hand corner labeled with Phillip Reeser’s name.

survey1Patent:  A Patent was a written first title to the property conveying ownership to the individual submitting the application.  Subsequent transactions involving the property were generally conducted on the county level. If and when I locate the pertinent deed, I will update this post should it yield further information on John Corbo.  The Patent associated with John Corbo’s land transaction was “returned” 22 Dec 1790, some 52 years after the date of the application, and was shown to convey land to a Henry Reeser.  My initial question was whether John Corbo owed the land for 52 years.  The chain of title below clears this question up.  Once I begin poring over the land Patent, I began to get a clearer picture of how things actually transpired.  As it turns out, John Corbo only held the land for nine years – selling it on 1 Apr 1747.

…..there is granted by the said commonwealth unto the said Henry Reeser a certain tract of land called “Plainfield,” situated in Alsace Township, Berks County…….

……in pursuance of a warrant granted to John Corbo dated 25th April 1738 who by deed dated 1 Apr 1747 conveyed the same to Lawrence Hart who by deed dated 9th of July 1748 conveyed the same to Tider Brener & Benjamin Lightfoot Sheriff of said county having taken the same in execution to satisfy the debts of the said Brenor by deed dated 6th Feb 1788 conveyed the same to the said Philip Reeser in fee who conveyed the same to the said Henry Reeser….

Oddly enough, given the abundance of historical records maintained by the State of Pennsylvania, John Corbo appears in no other Pennsylvania record. I have reviewed many, many internet resources and have scoured the Pennsylvania collections of several libraries to no avail. Pennsylvania has marriage and probate records dating as early as 1682; church records as early as the 1730s; and naturalization records as early as about 1740.  (Note – tax records for the property mentioned above in Oley Township are not available until 1758 – over eleven years after John sold his property.)  John Corbo appears in none of the available records.  As always, the constant misspelling of the surname makes researching the Curbow family extremely difficult.  While searching for records, I found a John Cambree present in Philadelphia County in 1744; a Eberhard Karboe (with Christina C. Zink) present in Philadelphia county in 1753;  a Solomon Kirby, a Nathaniel Kirby – both known Curbow first names; a John Coble; and a John Carbough of York County, Pennsylvania.  None seem to be our John Corbo or seem to be connected to him.  What happened to John Corbo of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania?  Why is there no record for him after the sale of his land in 1747?  Did he die young?  More likely to me – he followed the German migration pattern and left the area.  Stay tuned for – John Corbo of Maryland.

QUESTION: We have established that the John Corbeau of Freichstals, Germany and the Jean Corbeau that arrived in Philadelphia in 1737 is one and the same person.  Now – is the German/French immigrant John Corbeau and the Pennsylvania land owner John Corbo one and the same person?

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2016 in Curbow

 

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Jean Corbeau of Pennsylvania – Part 1

We begin our journey down the family tree with a man who I believe could be our Curbow immigrating ancestor.  He is, in my opinion, a much stronger candidate than the Jean Carrieŕe mentioned in the 1949 newspaper article I detailed in yesterday’s blog post.  Of course, nothing is definitive and much more research needs to be performed and much more proof must be uncovered before we can tie him into our family line.

According to historical passenger and immigration lists, we know that a Jean Corbo (sometimes indexed in German as Johan Carbo) arrived October 5, 1737 at the Port of Philadelphia on the ship Billender Townshend from Amsterdam after a layover in Cowes, England. (Unfortunately, no women or children were listed on this particular ship’s manifest – only the men are listed). The captain did note however that there were 231 people on board and that they were Palentines.   The captain’s notes on the ship’s manifest read as follows:  Palatines imported in the Ship Billinder Townshend, Thomas Thompson, Master, from Amsterdam, but last from Cowes, as by Clearance thense. Qualified the 5th day of October 1737.” And further:  At the Courthouse of Philadelphia, October 5, 1737. Present: The Honorable James Logan, Esq., President; Ralph Assheton, Thomas Griffitts; Samuel Hasell. The Palatines whose names are underwritten, imported in the Billender Townshend, Thomas Thompson, Master, from Amsterdam, but last from Cowes, did this day take and subscribe the Oaths to the Government.” [Signers of the Oath of Allegiance to England] It appears that Jean Corbo did not sign the Oath of Abjuration. [Abjure – to solemnly renounce (a belief, cause or claim).]

From a publication entitled, History of the Clewell Family (published 1907) we get a glimpse into what Jean Corbeau’s voyage to the new world must have been like.  The Clewell’s ancestor, Louisa Franz Clewell was on board the Billender Townshend along with her two sons Franz and George.  It is stated that:  The Billender Towhshead anchored in the Delaware at Philadelphia on Saturday, October 5, 1737, from Amsterdam, Holland (page 21).  The account continues: According to tradition the voyage was a stormy one. Storm after storm overtook them and during one of these storms Johannes G’Fellern (Louisa’s husband) was drowned (page 24).

From the Captain’s list we know that on that same day all male passengers over the age of 16, including Jean Corbo, were taken to the Courthouse in Philadelphia to take the Oath of Allegiance to the British Crown. (From this record we know that Jean had to have been at least 16 years old to take the oath – so born at least by 1721; however, he was probably older because he was the only male Corbo/Carbo on the ship. In other words, he was not traveling with a father, uncle or older brother.)

Captain’s Ship Manifest – Billender Townshend – 10/5/1737

John Corbo’s Name as it appears on the Ship’s Manifest

There are numerous books which chronicle the early arrivals to the Port of Philadelphia, including, Pennsylvania German Pioneers: A Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808, Volume I and Memorials of the Huguenots in America: With Special Reference to Their Emigration to Pennsylvania, both include a listing for Jean Corbo who arrived 1737 and settled in Pennsylvania. While the name Corbo or Carbo is not a proven or accepted name by the American Huguenot Society, it does appear that both the Germans and the Huguenots are claiming Jean Corbo/Johann Carbo in the two referenced books.

A brief historical review of the German Palatines indicates that they were early 18th century emigrants from the Middle Rhine region of the Holy Roman Empire (which is present day southwest Germany).  Toward the end of the 17th century and into the 18th century, this region was repeatedly invaded by the French military which resulted in widespread devastation and famine to this once wealthy region.  As early as 1709, the English began making promises of free land in the American Colonies, and this in turn triggered a mass exodus of these impoverished and desperate people.  In response, the English began a program of resettling these Germans in England, Ireland (County Limerick and County Wexford) and the Colonies (first to New York and later Pennsylvania).  (Again, it is important to note that during this time period all German emigrants were referred to as “Palatines.”)

It is entirely possible that Jean Corbo was what became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch).  The Pennsylvania Dutch were a cultural group formed by early German-speaking immigrants to Pennsylvania.  The true origin of the Pennsylvania Dutch is often confused – because the people known as the Pennsylvania Dutch are not from Holland but rather are of a mixture of German, Swiss, and French Huguenot origin.  The first wave of these settlers began in the late 17th century and concluded in the late 18th century.  Again, the majority of these immigrants originated in what is today southwestern Germany.  The first major settlement of Pennsylvania Dutch was located in northwest Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.  Many of these Pennsylvania Dutch immigrants then migrated down the Great Wagon Road into North Carolina.  This was particularly true after North Carolina established a “headright system” in the late 1700s where the state gave away one hundred acres to male heads of household who were willing to settle in western parts of the state.   Germans being a frugal people leapt at the opportunity of the free land being offered.  The Germans of western North Carolina generally migrated from Pennsylvania to the Yadkin River Valley.  This very closely follows the believed migration pattern of our Curbow ancestors.

Looking back at the passenger named Jean Corbo who arrived in 1737 on the Billinder Townshend – there are indeed some very interesting and compelling parallels between him and the history of the German Palatines, the Pennsylvania Dutch and their migration patterns.  In looking at the other passengers who arrived on the Billinder Townshend with Jean, it appears that many of them ended up in Philadelphia County (present day Berks County), Pennsylvania and that many of them originated from Friedrichstal, Germany.

In the Spring, 1973 issue of Pennsylvania Folklife, in an article entitled, Pennsylvania Emigrants from Friedrichstal, we learn that Friedrichstal, Germany was founded in 1699 specifically for Huguenot refugees.  In honor of Friedrichstal’s 250th birthday celebration, author Oskar Hornung wrote a town history (Friedrichstal:  Geschichte einer Hugenottengemeinde zur 250 Jahrfeier).  This book contains information on most of the founding families of Friedrichstal, and among them we find a Jean Corbeau.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate the book here in America – most copies are located in Germany.  Thankfully, it is among the collection of the LDS library, and I have ordered the film for review.  Luckily, I can read German, and I am very hopeful that we may glean more information about Jean Corbeau and his family.  I’ll update this post after I have reviewed the film  In the meantime, the referenced article  states that Jean Corbeau was a farmer with a family and that he arrived with them on the Ship Townsend at Philadelphia on October 5, 1737.

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Based on this article we can conclude that Jean Corbeau of Friedrichstal, Germany was a French Huguenot and that he and Jean Corbo of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania are one and the same person.

Can we conclude that Jean Corbeau is our immigrating ancestor?  No – but stay tuned for Part 2 – Jean Corbeau – Pennsylvania Land Records.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2016 in Curbow

 

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Curbow Family in America – Overview – Part 1

Many years ago, when I initially began to delve into the history of my husband’s Curbow family, I was told by immediate family members that three Curbow brothers came to America from Ireland – while still other researchers stated that the Curbow’s were French Huguenots who fled France to escape religious persecution. In addition to this oral history, I ran across a 1949 newspaper article published in the Southwestern Times (a Houston, Texas publication) entitled, Local Couple to Join Six Varieties of Kerbow at Cooper.  The article goes on to detail a Kerbow family reunion which was to include all spellings of the surname – Kerbo; Kerbow; Kirbo; Curbo; Curbow and Kuehrbeaux.  The article claimed that the family (no matter the spelling) is descended from a Joseph Kerbo of Edgefield County, South Carolina, and in particular, is descended from one of the 45 French Huguenot families which settled just south of the Santee River at old James Town, South Carolina in 1680.  To date, I have found no real sources to substantiate any of these family stories.

southwesterntimeshouston-vol5-no46-ed1-thursday-august-4-1949

Published Southwestern Times Houston on Thursday, August 4, 1949, Vol. 5, No. 46, Ed. 1

 

To be sure, we do have a Joseph Curbow in our line. He was a North Carolina revolutionary war soldier, who did live for a period of time in the Edgefield District of South Carolina but later settled in Gwinnett County, Georgia.  Joseph is believed to be one of our Curbow ancestors – we just don’t have the information yet on how he ties into our family line.  I believe that the French Huguenot ancestor being described in the Southwestern Times news article is Jean Carrieŕe who did in fact settle in Old James Town, South Carolina on the Santee River.  Old James Town was located about forty miles north of Charleston and was settled by French Huguenots who established the first Huguenot Church there (The French Santee St. James).  In Jean Carrieŕe’s naturalization record, he was described as a cooper and a planter.  He was born to Jean and Elizabeth Carrieŕe in Normandy, France.  According to relevant parish records, he did marry and he did have a son named John.  A Jean Carrieŕe (possibly the father of this immigrant) was denizened in England in 1700.  A land warrant was issued in South Carolina on 3 Jan 1701 for the survey of 200 acres for a “John Careau.”  I believe that we can disprove – or at least cast heavy doubt on the theory – that this Jean Carrieŕe is our Curbow ancestor.  The timeline is much earlier than what we know about our Curbow ancestors and this information does not fit our Curbow family migration pattern (Pennsylvania to Maryland to North Carolina to South Carolina to Georgia and then into Texas).

The Curbow surname does appear to be of French origin. As used in America, it may be an Anglicized form of the French surname Courbou(x) or Courboules. In that instance, Curbow is derived from the village named Courbou(x), in the Lat and Haute-Saone region of eastern France. Alternatively, it could be an Anglicized form of Courbeu(x) or Corbault. In that case, the name derives from the French word corbeau – which translates raven.

In genealogy, your family history research must begin with the known facts about your ancestors and work itself to the unknown.  After almost ten years of researching, I have hit a major brick wall with my husband’s 3x great grandfather, Tilman P. Curbow, and so I have decided to do something that any professional genealogist would warn you against.  I have skipped forward by several generations of known Curbows – and have started working my way down the family tree.  By doing this I hope to get a clearer picture of the Curbow family as a whole and possibly glean some answers as to who Tilman Curbow’s parents were.

Have any of you ever researched “down the family tree”?  What are your strategies in breaking down brick walls?

Stay tuned for Part 2 – Jean Corbeau – the immigrating ancestor –

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2016 in Curbow

 

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~ Husbands Coming out of the Woodworks ~

One of the lessons that I’m learning in my family research is that you never really know everything there is to know about an ancestor – and you cannot make assumptions! And just when you think you know it all – a new record collection pops up on line to shed new light on the life of someone that you’re researching.

Sallye Emeline Curbow – photo perhaps taken at Sanatorium

And so it was recently with my husband’s great aunt, Sallye Emeline Curbow.   Sallye is the daughter of Charles Franklin Curbow and Ida Bell Howard. She was born in Denton County, Texas in September of 1913. Once her parents divorced, she can be found with her father Charles working at the Texas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Tom Green County, Texas.   I was unable to locate a Sallye Curbow in the 1940 census – but suspected that she would be near her father Charles – who was still in Sanatorium during that time period. Going through the census for Tom Green County, line-by-line, I did find a Salle E. Ivie employed at Sanatorium. She is 26 born 1914 in Texas; she is married to John H. Ivie; living in Dorm 2 of State Tuberculosis Sanatorium. I had long suspected this was Sallye Emeline Curbow; however, I had no proof of it.

Enter the new collection on ancestry.com:   U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 which provides information filed with the Social Security Administration through the application process and sometimes provides valuable details for researchers.   In Sallye’s application, I hit the jackpot because when she applied for a Social Security card in August of 1943 – she did so as Sallye Emilline Ivie. Bingo! By June of 1953 her name had been changed to Sallye Emilline Lawson.

Once the marriage to John Henry Ivie had been established, I began scouring the newly updated Texas, County Marriages Records database on FamilySearch.org and lo and behold, I found not one marriage record – but two marriages for Sallye Curbow prior to her marriage to Frank Floyd Lawson (the only known husband to date).

  • Sallye Curbow was 17 years old when she married 23 year old Sam Barton Collier on 11 Sept 1930 in Tom Green County, Texas. Since she was a minor, her father C. F. Curbow gave permission for the marriage to take place.   This couple did divorce – and Sam B. Collier married his second wife, Mary Velma Lewis, on 2 Sept 1936 in Tom Green County, Texas – so the divorce took place prior to that date – and probably in Tom Green County, Texas. Mr. Collier was also present at Sanatorium and working as a painter during the 1930 census period, and this is presumably where he met Sallye. Mr. Collier was born to William Christopher Collier (1859-1932) and Virginia Lee (b. 1871) on 16 Jul 1907. He died 23 Aug 1968 in Dallas County, Texas. Sallye and Sam had no children.

Marriage Certificate: Sallye Emeline Curbow x Samuel Barton Collier

 

  • Sallye Curbow was about 26 years old when she married 18 year old John Henry Ivie on 18 Jan 1940 in Tom Green County, Texas. Likewise, this couple also divorced. When Sallye applied for a Social Security card in Aug of 1943, she did so as Sallye Emeline Ivie. John Henry Ivie marries his second wife, Dortha B. White on 2 Apr 1945 – so the divorce would have taken place prior to this date – probably in Tom Green County, Texas. Mr. Ivie was also present at Sanatorium during the 1940 census period, working as a waiter, and again, this is presumably where he met Sallye. Mr. Ivie was born to Knox Bell Ivie (1894-1978) and Mary Cammie Conner (b. 1897) on 14 Oct 1919 in Angelina County, Texas. He died 18 March 1985 in Tom Green County, Texas. Sallye and John had no children.

Marriage Certificate: Sallye Emeline Curbow x John Henry Ivie

 

The photo comes from researcher Ronald James Rodgers. He states that John Henry Ivie was his uncle. His family told him that the photo is John with a “girlfriend” named Lola (last name not known). I strongly believe the woman in the photograph is Sallye Emeline Curbow. What do you think?!

SallyeCurbowandFrankLawson

This picture (though not great quality) was originally thought to be Sallye with her husband Frank Lawson. Now I feel like it’s probably young Mr. Ivie. What do you think?

  • Sometime prior to June of 1953, Sallye married her third (and final) husband, Frank Floyd Lawson. The date of marriage is only an ESTIMATE – based on Sallye’s U.S. Social Security application where in Jun of 1953 her name is listed as Sallye Emilline Lawson. When Mary Curbow interviewed Bob and Evelyn Horton Stone (close friends of Sallye’s) some years ago, they stated that Sallye and Frank married right after World War II. On Frank Lawson’s U.S. Army enlistment papers – dated 6 Mar 1942 – he lists himself as “married,” this however, could be referring to his first wife, Josephine.  The location of the marriage is not known – no record has been located.  If the marriage took place in Tom Green County, Texas then it is not appearing in the database with the other two marriages.  The more likely scenario is that they met and married in Pecos, Reeves County, Texas – where Sallye is living at the time of her father’s death in August of 1955.   Mr. Lawson is the only husband that is not located in Sanatorium, Texas – which also leads me to believe she did not meet him there. Mr. Lawson was born to Frank Isaac Lawson (1888-1973) and Annie Josephine Drake (1895-1982) on 24 Mar 1915 in Bell County, Texas. He died 22 Nov 1980 in Temple, Bell County, Texas. Sallye and Frank had no children.
SallyCurbowandFrankLawsonandDonCurbow

Sallye Emeline Curbow with third husband Frank Floyd Lawson and nephew

Kudos to ancestry.com and familysearch.org for all the work they do for the genealogy community!

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2015 in Curbow

 

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Will the Real Frank Miller Please Stand Up?

When researching an ancestor with a common surname such as Jones, or Smith or Miller it often quickly becomes a tangled and confusing mess. If you combine that common surname with a common first name such as Joe or Bob or Frank – it can be enough to make you want to pull your hair out! And so it has been with our Frank Miller, son of Elijah Spencer Miller and Harriet Curbow. Basically, when performing family history research you will run across clues about your ancestry – you will dig a little deeper – and if all goes well you find some answers to your family mysteries.

Frank Miller was one of those mysteries. In the beginning, the only thing that we knew for certain about Frank Miller was information provided by the 1880 census where we find him living in McLennan County, Texas with his father Elijah Spencer Miller (age 31 born in Mississippi) and mother Harriet Curbow (age 26 born in Mississippi). “Our” Frank was about 6 years old having been born in Texas in 1874. Also in the home is Frank’s grandfather, Tilman P. Curbow, who is 55 years old and who is a widower. Frank has three siblings: Thomas, Jesse and Minnie.

Fast forward to the turn of the century – 1910 to be precise –and we find Elijah Spencer Miller living in Akers, Carter County, Oklahoma. Harriet has died – Elijah has remarried – and Frank is nowhere to be found – or so I thought.

While researching the children of Elijah and Harriet, I met Tom Hedges, a great-grandson of Elijah Miller and wife Harriet (through their daughter Lou Ida Belle Miller) – and we’ve been trading information on the Miller/Curbow family ever since. Tom advised that he believed our Frank ended up out in California. With this lead, Tom and I started tracing a gentleman named Frank Miller who was born in Texas in July of 1873 and whose parents were both born in Mississippi (locations and date matched!). Over the ensuing months (years??!) – I had further contact with the descendants of the “California Frank” Miller. These family members indicated that he was from Nocana, Montague County, Texas, and that his family was from Indian Territory and had come from Mississippi. (Again – basic facts matched!) We learned that he had married Frances Mary Mehn and had two sons, one of whom was still living. We happily exchanged family photos, stories and documents. Tom and I felt certain that we had the right Frank Miller family. But not so fast!

I made contact with “California Frank” Miller’s grandson, who is also named Frank Miller (you see how confusing this could get?!). Mr. Miller told me that his father had no recollection of the surname Curbow. Further, his grandfather’s death certificate (which I have seen) indicates that his mother was Sarah Jane Clinton – not Harriet Curbow. Further, in the 1910 census he is not yet in California – rather living in Montague County, Texas with his mother. So basically – the way it looks – we have three Frank Millers – one in Oklahoma (ours); one in Texas; and one in California!  I was deflated – time to take down all the lovely photographs and records from the website – which belonged to a Frank Miller that was not ours. So now we’re back to square one when it comes to Frank Miller.

Fast forward to February of 2014 when I received an email from Tom Hedges outlining his recent work on the Miller family. The death of a cousin – Alta Faye Miller Porterfield – prompted Tom to take another look at his Miller family genealogy. Tom found Alta’s memorial on Find-a-Grave which confirmed that she was the daughter of “Monk” Miller. Tom knew that “Monk” was a son of “Our Frank” Miller. After I made contact with the creator of the memorials, David Miller, we all felt like we had made a connection. David subsequently ordered “Frank” Miller’s death certificate, and it is confirmed that he is the son of Elijah Spencer Miller.

“Our Frank” Miller is William Franklin Miller who was born in Texas on 17 Sept 1874. He left Texas and went to Oklahoma with his parents and lived his entire life in Carter County, Oklahoma. On 4 Dec 1904 he married Rachel Bondurant in Carter County. This is the same day that Elijah Spencer Miller married his second wife, Rosa. Frank and Rachel had six children that I am aware of: Tulle (1906); Jesse Eugene (1911); Roy Franklin (1914); William Columbus (1916); Cleva Bell (1921); and Annie Belle (1923). These names are also very prevalent in the Curbow family genealogy. It appears that Frank was a farmer all of his life. He died 2 Apr 1948 in Milo, Carter County, Oklahoma, and is laid to rest in the Milo Cemetery.

The search for “the real” Frank Miller has been an invaluable lesson to me not to jump to any hasty conclusions. I am glad that the correction has been made – and a big thank you to Tom Hedges and David Miller for untangling this Miller web!
Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2014 in Miller

 

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And We Have a Winner !

Today we held the drawing for the ancestry.com prize package winner!  Congratulations to Jan Shaffer of Dallas, Texas!  Courtesy of ancestry.com, Jan will receive a 6-month U.S. membership and the 2012 version of Family Tree Maker.  Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter.

In her submission, Jan shared as follows:

One of my favorite pastimes is researching my family tree.  Being a history buff I have enjoyed finding exactly where my forefathers fit within history.  I first began when I had my first child and one had to write letters and spend hours in libraries looking at microfilm for information.  The forward movement was very slow and I made very little progress.  When my father died I connected with one of his (mine too I guess) cousins who was the keeper of the Smith family history.  She shared much of her written records with me.  Of course, we didn’t have a copy machine so there was a lot of hand scribbled notes during long distance phone calls from Dallas to Tucson. She has since died and her research I assume is with her children.  Next I purchased a little software package called Family Tree Maker that helped organize the information on my tree.  At this point I was on my way to something that could be passed down to my descendants.  This was when I got hooked; but, the big breakthrough was when Ancestry.com was launched.  I had data at my fingertips that I never knew existed.

My big brick wall was finding the parents of my maternal grandfather.  My grandfather Bedwell died when my mother was one year old.  As my grandmother had passed away my mother couldn’t even tell me her grandparent’s first names.  I found a hand full of pictures when my mother died but did not know who they were or to which side of the family they belonged. I connected with other researchers through Ancestry.com and by comparing pictures the other researchers owned, found I had a picture incorrectly identified resulting in having a young picture of my great-grandmother and a more mature picture shared by another researcher. Another researcher was able to provide the father, to who we now know is Belle, and she came alive for us.  Belle has been the fuel for my continued research and now I have over 2,000 people listed in my tree.

I have also learned from my fellow researchers how important documentation of your facts is for your research.  The experienced researchers are happy to guide one through the brambles of information and at the same time teach good habits of research.  As a result when someone contacts me for information I pass along the kindness and experience others have shown me.  I consider some of my Ancestry connections personal friends.

The latest Ancestry.com option I have taken advantage of is the DNA testing.  I never knew where my ancestors immigrated from and having grown up as a Smith I could have come from anywhere.  Now I can say I am mostly from Great Britain with a little Eastern and Southern European thrown in and as a result I am planning a trip to Great Britain this fall.

Jan Shaffer
Dallas, Texas

Congratulations to Jan !!

And to all of you:  HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY !!!!!!
 
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Posted by on July 4, 2012 in Bedwell, Odds and Ends

 

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Testimony of an American Patriot – Part 2

On 7 June 1822, under an Act of Congress, the United States made provisions for veterans to receive a pension for their service during the American Revolution.  William Kerby (or Curbo) was among those that filed an application for a pension.  His pension hearing was held in the Precinct Court on 16 Sept 1833 in Jackson County, Tennessee before the Honorable Abraham Caruthers, Circuit Judge for the Third Judicial Court in Jackson County as follows:

On the 16th day of September, 1833 personally appeared before the Honorable Abraham Caruthers, Judge of the Third Judicial Circuit for the State aforesaid, now presiding in the County of Jackson and State of Tennessee, William Kerby, or as it is sometimes written William Curbo, a resident of the county and state aforesaid, aged seventy-four years on the 6th of July last {this suggests a birth year of 1758} who being first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the pension made by the Act of Congress passed June 7, 1932.

That he enlisted into the Army of the United States in the year 1775 {he would have been 17 years old} as he believes, but being wholly illiterate, in this he may be mistaken.  He will however proceed with the narration of such facts or will enable the department without any difficulty to ascertain the justice or injustice of his application.  He enlisted with Captain Thomas Harris, and served in the 4th Regiment of the North Carolina line, as he now understands it.

The regiment to which he belonged was commanded by Col. Thomas Polk, who was from the County of Mecklenburg, North Carolina.  The first Major of the Regiment was George Davidson – long after this period Major Davidson was killed at Beatty’s Ford on the Catouba {Catawba??} River in a skirmish with the British and this declarant is of opinion and his recollection is so that at the time of his death he held the rank of General, in the state troops of North Carolina.  James Fair was lieutenant in Capt. Harris’ Company.  James Costs was Ensign.  When he entered the guard he resided in Anson County, North Carolina near the town of Wadesborrough. 

Captain Harris’ company joined the Regiment at Wilmington, North Carolina.  The next day after reaching Wilmington, they set out on their march for Headley’s Point, near Charleston, South Carolina – where they remained in winter quarters until the following spring.  From Charleston, the troops returned to Wilmington, where they remained, he believes about a month.  From Wilmington, the troops marched to the town of Halifax, North Carolina.  There were then at that place according to his recollection, five Regiments – General Francis Nash had the chief command of what troops were there – they remained there something like a month.  From there they marched to Fredericksburg, Virginia where they only remained a few days and continued their march to the head of Elk in Pennsylvania, where they joined General Washington’s army.  {Yes – the General Washington – future President George Washington!}  From there they went to Philadelphia, by the way of what was called “the floating bridge” on the Schuylkill {River}.   

The Army remained some time in Philadelphia, how long he does not distinctly remember, but according to his recollection, he was in Philadelphia on the day that independence was declared.  {Did you just get the goosebumps?  I did – this is American history in action!}  He was in the Battle of Brandywine [September 11, 1777] where he received a wound in the right arm near the shoulder.  This wound was given by one of the British dragoons with a sword.  {When I first read this I thought that a “dragoon” was a type of weapon; however, I found out that it was actually a type of soldier known as a Dragoon Guard.  This designation was given to refer to a certain type of cavalry regiment in the British Army.}  The wound is now distinctly to be seen, or rather the scar which the found first ??? and will be visible while he lives.  At the same time and as he suppose from the same sword, he received a wound in the right hand, which in like manner has left an indelible mark.  After the Battle of Brandywine, he went with the main Army into winter quarters at Valley Forge, there a great many of the North Carolina troops died, and this declarant, with others, was transferred to the Company commanded by Captain John Somers of Somers.  The name of the Lieutenant was McGibboney.  The name of the Ensign was Blount Whitmil. 

He states that previously to going into winter quarters at Valley Forge, he was in the Battle of Germantown.  The winter of 1776 they occupied Valley Forge as winter quarters.  The following summer, and according to his recollection, on the 17th day of July 1777, he was in the Battle of Monmouth.  They remained, he says in Jersey, the winter of 1777.  The following year, the period of his enlistment which was for three years, expired, and he obtained a discharge, signed by General Washington{I wonder what that would be worth if we had that now??!}  His father’s house was burnt in Anson County, North Carolina, at which time his discharge was burnt.  This was during the war, and while this declarant was in the militia service.  He had gone out as a substitute for his brother Joseph Kerby or Curbo, and the discharge had been left with his father, John Kerby.  The whole period which he served his country was six years and three months; but, he was only three years in the regular or United States Army.  He experienced many privations and hardships while in the militia, and on one occasion, at the capture of Charleston, was taken prisoner.

After, reading and digesting William’s testimony, I was overwhelmed with the wealth of information it contained.  I wondered – was William Kerby just a fanciful story-teller?  Or did he really live out this very fascinating piece of our American history?  The oral family history insists that “William and Joseph were present when Cromwell surrendered to General Washington.”  At first I thought – sure – wishful thinking!  Now, I’m not so quick to disregard this family story.  I found out that he was in fact not a storyteller – all of his claims are historical fact.  (See my notes below regarding the people he mentions in his testimony.)  In the end, William’s testimony was credible and the Judge ruled favorably by stating,,,,,and the said Court does hereby declare their opinion that the above-named applicant was a revolutionary soldier and served as he states.  

Captain Thomas Harris, the Army officer that William claims to have enlisted with, did in fact exist.  He was a resident of Iredell County, North Carolina.  His pension hearing took place on 24 May 1821.  On his oath he declared that he joined the continental army in April 1776 as a captain in the Fourth North Carolina Regiment and served in that army for {page torn} years in which time he rose to the rank of Major.  He then on account of his health and other circumstances resigned his commission but afterwards went out in the Militia and acted as Aid to General Griffith Rutherford and was wounded and taken prisoner at the Battle of Camdon  on 16 Aug 1780.

The following commanding officers – all served in the Revolution – actually existed – and are documented:

Thomas Polk – born abt 1732 in Pennsylvania – was one of the original settlers in the area now known as Charlotte, North Carolina.  During the 1750s, this area was located in Anson County, North Carolina.  In 1775, Thomas was one of the signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.  He was a revolutionary war officer and rose to the rank of Brigadier General.  He died in June of 1794.

George Davidson – born abt 1738 in Ireland – was a Captain who commanded the First Regiment of the North Carolina Line from Sept. 1775 to Feb 1777.  He later rose to the rank of Colonel of the North Carolina Militia.  He died in Iredell County, North Carolina.

John Summers/Somers – He served in the North Carolina Regiment as Lieutenant and later as Captain.  He was taken prisoner at William’s Plantation in July of 1780.  He retired from military service in 1883.

Patrick McGibboney – was a Captain with the Fourth Regiment, North Carolina Continental Line.  He was born in Scotland about 1743 and died in Greensboro, Gilford County, North Carolina in February of 1804.

Thomas Blunt Whitmill – was known as Blunt.  His widow filed an application for his pension.  She stated that he was a Lieutenant in the North Carolina Continental line.  She states that her husband received a land grant for his service; that he participated in the Battle of Brandywine.  She stated that her husband died in September of 1798.

General Francis Nash – was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia in 1742.  Early in his life his parents moved to North Carolina.  At a young age, General Nash became a merchant, attorney and Justice of the Peace.  In 1775, he was elected Lieutenant Col. of the First North Carolina Regiment, Continental Army.  He took part in the expedition to Charleston – and was in short order promoted to Brigadier General.  He received orders to march his troops north to join the Army of General George Washington.  While in the north, General Nash commanded a bridge at the Battle of Germantown, Pennsylvania where on 4 Oct 1777 he was mortally wounded.  Further, when researching life in the City of Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War, I found out that what is now known as Market Street Bridge is located where Market Street crosses the Schuylkill River.  Before the bridge was built, the citizens depended on ferry boats and a couple of crude floating bridges to cross the river.  While the British were in possession of Philadelphia during the war, there existed a pontoon bridge at this location and later a plank floor bridge of floating logs.  I suppose this could be the “floating bridge” of which William speaks in his testimony.

Stay tuned for Part 3 – brick walls – a contest – and a prize !!

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Curbow, Times and Places

 

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Chasing the Curbow Brothers – Part One

Some days I get thoroughly disgusted with trying to track down my brick wall ancestors. Why don’t they make their presence known to me?! I am sure the answers to my unsolved mysteries are right under my nose – I just need to practice patience – not always one of my strong virtues.

My husband’s ggg-grandfather, Tilman P. Curbow was born around 1821 in Georgia. It is believed (but not yet conclusively proven) that he is the son of Henry B. Curbow. Henry was born sometime around 1770 in Anson County, North Carolina (probably near Wadesboro). Many children have been attributed to Henry so it seems likely that he had more than one wife over his lifespan. He spent most of his life in Georgia and then came west to Texas. He died in the spring of 1850 in Cass County, Texas (which was formed from Bowie County, Texas in 1846). Based on Bowie County Tax Rolls along with a claim filed with the Republic of Texas, we know that Henry was in Texas as early as 1846. Now – (and here is where my lack of patience kicks in!!) I know I shouldn’t jump ahead when there are still so many unanswered questions about Tilman and Henry – but I want to know!! Who are the parents of Henry B. Curbow?! According to the vast majority of trees on ancestry.com (which are in large part not documented or sourced) the parents of Henry B. Curbow were John Corbo (various spellings) and Ann Phillips (who married near Baltimore, Maryland).

So I decided to search the early census records – and I found no John Corbo. In fact, the first census (1790) only yielded one Curbow – and that was Henry Carboe who was living in Edgefield County, South Carolina.

In the 1800 census I found two Curbow families – both in South Carolina: (1) Joseph Carbon (Edgefield County) and Henry Kerbow (Barnwell County).  Operating on a gut instinct that there had to be some sort of a family connection, I started researching Joseph. I found out that Joseph was a Revolutionary War soldier who eventually settled in Gwinnet County, Georgia. I also noted that Joseph was born in Maryland. Once I obtained Joseph’s Revolutionary War Pension application, I discovered that Joseph had a brother named William Curbo who stepped in and fulfilled his enlistment when Joseph was injured. I had trouble locating William’s Revolutionary War service records because he is indexed as “William Kerby.” After reading, reviewing and digesting William’s Revolutionary War application for a pension, the pieces started to fall into place.

Based on the applications, these are the things we know for sure about the John Corbo/John Kerby family:

Father:  John Kerby (or Curbo) – lived in Anson County, North Carolina during the Revolutionary War period; his home was burned by the British during the War.  In the database entitled: North Carolina Heads of Families at the First Census of the U.S. Taken in the Year 1790 there appears among other Kerbys, a “John Kerby.”

Sons of John Kerby:

John Kerby (or Curbo) born abt 1768.  He appeared in Court in September of 1833 in Jackson County, Tennessee and testified on his brother William Kerby’s behalf confirming William’s Revolutionary War service.  He stated that he (John) was 65 years old in 1833.  (Could this be John Curbow whose wife was Abigail?)

William Kerby (or Curbo) born abt 1758; Enlisted in the Army at the age of about 17 in the year 1775 – served with Capt. Thomas Harris in the 4th Regiment of the North Carolina line; residing in Anson County, North Carolina near the town of Wadesborrough; He states in his affidavit that he is illiterate; He filed his application in Jackson County, Tennessee, with the judge making a notation: William Kerby, or as it is sometimes written, William Curbo, aged 74 years on the 6th of July;   Brother John Kerby (Curbo) states in his testimony that he was present when his brother William Kerby enlisted and joined the company….that his brother marched off in said company and did not return for three years….that he was aware of William’s ‘surcharge’ and had read it and that it ‘was burned in his father’s house.” 

James Kerby (or Curbo) – said to have also been a Revolutionary War soldier. Brother John Kerby (Curbo) states in his testimony about his brother James Kerby (Curbo), that James Kerby enlisted at the same time, marched at the same time in the same company, returned at the same time, and had always understood from James that they (James and William) had both served out their full term of three years.  He also stated in his testimony that James died many years ago.

Joseph Kerby (or Curbo) – born about 1755 in Maryland; Revolutionary War Soldier; application filed from Gwinett County, Georgia; Served: Capt Thomas Harris, Col. Polk, 4th Regiment; also resided in Anson County, North Carolina; married to Mary Corbin; DAR has “associated” applications for John Curbow and wife Abigail on file.

Stay tuned for Part 2 – I think you will agree, William’s pension affidavit reads like a chapter out of your American History book!

Let me know how you have been successful in breaking down those brick walls with your own ancestor search.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2012 in Curbow

 

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Sins of the Father

Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.

The heartbreaking truth is that most of us don’t have to look very far into our family history to find trauma and tragedy. The majority of us can trace back to within a generation or two and find an ancestor who struggled with an addiction.  It has been said that certain crosses must be borne by certain families – alcoholism/drug addiction, depression and mental illness are but a few examples.

As I work through the genealogy of each particular family line, I always take note when I see that a certain addiction or illness seems prevalent among its members.  I often ask myself: “How did this person get so far off track”?  Does addiction run in families because a child learns to become an addict from his parents?  What role does the home environment play in the development of an addict?  Or alternatively does he become an addict because he inherited the predisposition genes from his parents?  Perhaps the addiction stems from a combination of these factors?  Researchers are conflicted – and so am I.

We have many examples of both scenarios in our family lines. Here are two:

Georgia Zimmerle by all accounts came from a loving and stable family home. Neither her parents nor her siblings were known to have issues with drugs and/or alcohol. She was the youngest and only daughter of William Riley Zimmerle and Sarah Agnes Patterson – born in the small west Texas town of Lawn, Taylor County, Texas. She was doted upon by her parents and older brothers. She met, fell in love with and married a baseball player by the name of Bill Shores. Bill went on to become a Major League player, playing for the Giants and the White Sox. Georgia traveled with him and lived in places far from her home in small-town Texas. Georgia and Bill had two beautiful daughters – two more little girls died in infancy. I don’t know if Georgia’s drug addiction and alcoholism played a role in the subsequent dissolution of her marriage. Georgia remarried a man by the name of Oliver Jennings Gibson. Not much is known about Georgia’s life in the ensuing years.

Georgia Zimmerle

The addiction that Georgia suffered from (some say prescription drugs – her death certificate indicates barbiturates and alcoholism) eventually took her life. Her family agonized with her through it all and tried their best to help her overcome the demon of addiction. Tragically, Georgia lost her battle on a summer day in August of 1951 at the age of 46. Her body was discovered many days after she had died at home in Dallas from a barbiturate overdose. Georgia was brought home and laid to rest in the small cemetery of Dewey in Lawn, Texas – back among her family who loved her. In this family line, Georgia’s addiction seems to have been an isolated incident.

Georgia Zimmerle - News Article

However, in some family lines the addiction seems to follow a generational (and predictable) pattern.

Tilman P. Curbow, in the spring of 1876, at the age of about 55 years, was charged with aggravated assault when he “cut” the bartender in a “barroom difficulty.” The article leaves many details to our imagination. Am I insinuating that Tilman Curbow was an alcoholic? No, but the story is intriguing nonetheless, particularly when you look at the lives of some of his children and grandchildren and then beyond.

Tilman’s son, Henry Harrison Curbow, died tragically young at the age of only 26 years old in Waco on 10 Jan 1885 of causes not known to me. He was apparently boarding and being nursed by a non-family member to whom he was paying room, board and nursing care. In his estate papers I found a notation that Henry owed the caretaker $3.00 for “three quarts of whiskey at $1.00 per quart.” Again, I am not jumping to a conclusion that Henry was an alcoholic, but it is an interesting pattern.

Tilman’s grandson (and son of Martha Isabell Curbow), William Franklin Bedwell was said to be an abusive alcoholic who died young at the age of 46. At the time of his death William was incarcerated in the Tarrant County jail on a drunk charge. While imprisoned there he was murdered by a fellow inmate. William’s brother, James Monroe Bedwell was said to also be a “drinker,” though not at the level of William and not abusive or violent. James’ daughter Floy Bedwell, when writing her life story, often laments about the addiction that ran through her family and how it adversely affected the lives of many of her siblings.

If you follow this family line, you will find many of its members who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction to this very day.

Again, the question must be asked – is this genetic or is this a learned behavior? As Jan Shafer (daughter of Floy Bedwell) so aptly stated: If we can learn anything from our genealogy as it pertains to addiction issues, it should tell us to be vigilant with our children. If the issue is openly discussed and recognized – early intervention could be the difference between life and death.

If you or a family member are stuggling to overcome an addiction – get help – now.  Alcoholism isn’t a spectator sport. Eventually the whole family gets to play – Joyce Rebeta-Burditt.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Curbow, Zimmerle

 

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Always a Smile

I’ve heard it said that a sacrifice without a price is meaningless. Today, I wish to speak to you of a mother’s love and sacrifice for her children. To be sure, our family tree is full of wonderful mothers; however, this one continues to stand out. Olive May Waldie Bedwell – wife of brothers William Franklin Bedwell and James Monroe Bedwell – protected and nourished and bestowed each of her many children (and some that weren’t biologically hers) with love and continued devotion. She sacrificed many things in her life time – and always did so with a smile on her face and joy in her heart.

Olive was one of eight children born to Thomas Harrison Waldie and Josephine A. Wylie on 28 April 1882. She spent her childhood in McLennan County, Texas where she presumably met William Franklin Bedwell. William was the son of Martha Isabell Curbow and the grandson of Tilman P. Curbow. According to granddaughter, Jan Shafer, Olive was in love with William’s younger brother James Monroe Bedwell; however, her parents pressured her into marrying William because they thought that he could provide a better life for her. The couple married in McLennan County on 21 Jan 1901. William and Olive had four children: Evelyn in 1901; Preston Wiley in 1903; William Langston in 1906; and Merrill Fern, 1912. Due to William’s apparent alcoholism this couple eventually divorced – formally sometime around May of 1916. Later, in 1927, William was incarcerated in the Tarrant County jail on a drunk charge where he was murdered by another inmate.

In the meantime, the love of her life, James Monroe Bedwell had married and subsequently lost his wife (Clara) in child-birth – leaving him with two small babies, Homer and Paul Bedwell, to care for. Whether or not Olive and Jim ever “formally” married is not know; however, they began living together in a common law marriage sometime between 1913 and 1915. Olive took Jim’s two babies and raised them as her own. Jim and Olive subsequently had six more children together: Llese Deloris in 1915; Maurine Lillian in 1917; James Madison in 1915; Floy Laverne in 1920; Joy Lavonne in 1920 (twins); and Nana Ruth in 1921. Sadly, James Monroe Bedwell never saw the birth of his youngest child, Nana Ruth.  He died of an unexpected heart attack – he was only 38 years old.

The death of Jim Bedwell must have come as a heavy blow to Olive and the family. Granddaughter Jan states: Olive’s life was a very hard one. Jim worked for the railroad. The family lived within a block of the tracks and after Jim’s death they continued to live there until sometime in the late 50s. Olive worked as a laundry woman washing and ironing for others from her house. The older children helped a little with supporting themselves. As my grandmother aged she earned money by babysitting children (something she had experience with), so you see her house was always full of people. Every year she won the prize at church for having the most children. (She had 14 pregnancies total but some did not go to term). I was told there was an agency that wanted to remove the children from the home because they did not think she could support them. A newspaper picked up the story and there was a huge public support for her to keep them. The children stayed with their mother. I saw this crumbling article once. It had all the kids in the picture standing on the steps of (maybe a church or mission). I have looked for this newspaper article but have no idea what paper or date. My mother told me they never believed in Santa because he couldn’t visit them. She remembered sitting on the floor as a small child with Jimmie and Maurine wrapping a brick with newspaper and taking turns unwrapping it with surprise like it was a package – this story broke my heart and every year I gave my mother a big beautifully wrapped package with a toy inside for the child that Santa forgot.

Just this last weekend, we were able to locate the newspaper article that Jan mentions above.  It was published on 4 July 1926 in The Advocate:

Fort Worth, Tex., July 3. – Twelve children are growing up in the Fort Worth home of Mrs. Olive Bedwell. There is only Mrs. Bedwell to support and care for them. She supports them by taking in washing. They are healthy children, and happy. “Sweet children,” adds Mrs. Bedwell, “and such a comfort to me.” The story of them is an epic of what two hands can do. Nana Ruth is the youngest. She was two some time ago. Nine of the others are Nana Ruth’s brothers and sisters. Two are orphans whom Mrs. Bedwell took to raise.

Always a Smile – Mrs. Bedwell’s husband died several years ago. Since then she has earned $10 to $15 a week by washing and ironing. And though her hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., no visitor to her home finds other than a smile on her face. When her husband died, there was $6 due from his employer. Mrs. Bedwell offered it to a doctor who aided when Nana Ruth came. The doctor refused it, and Mrs. Bedwell spent the $6 for a Bible for the children to read. Every Sunday she takes her flock to Sunday school, along with a dozen other children of the neighborhood. “They like quantity at my church,” Mrs. Bedwell laughs, “and I’m a mighty popular member.” Two of Mrs. Bedwell’s children are old enough to earn a little money for themselves now. Another, a girl, now in high school, has been given a business college scholarship and is ready to study shorthand and typing. “My goodness, what have I to complain of?” this mother asks. “Lots of people ask me how I can be so cheerful. I just don’t have time to get blue.”

Were Seven Others – Somebody gave Mrs. Bedwell an electric washing machine. Once in a while people give her dresses for the children. The Union Gospel Mission of Fort Worth gives $10 of the $25 per month Mrs. Bedwell is paying on the little house in which she and the children live. “We get along beautifully,” Mrs. Bedwell sums up. “We never have been hungry. If people bring us things, I am thankful and accept them as gifts from God, who always will provide.” In addition to her ten living children, Mrs. Bedwell was the mother of seven who died. “I wish they all were with me,” she says, as she tells the striking story of what two hands, simple faith, unfaltering courage, and unwavering love can do.

Olive – you built a wonderful legacy, and here’s to a job well done!

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Bedwell

 

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Little Boys No Longer Lost

A new and fresh genealogy find always gets my heart to pumping. I so love how the genealogy community works together to solve each other’s mysteries. My hat is off to those of you that started out “pre-internet” – I don’t know how you did it!

Today I received a comment on the blog from Norma Thronburg. And guess what? The little sons of Jennie Curbow and Robert Alexander Story have been found! Not that they were ever lost – we just didn’t know where they were laid to rest! We always assumed that the boys were laid to rest in Axtell Cemetery along with their parents and brother Frank Story (the only son to survive to adulthood). However, they are not listed on the burial index nor did my husband and I find markers for them when we visited Axtell last summer.

Well, thanks to Norma and Find-a-Grave volunteer Mark Dutton, we now know that the boys are laid to rest in Yowell Cemetery. I haven’t been successful in finding any history on this cemetery but it appears to be a small abandoned family cemetery located on ranch land near Axtell in McLennan County, Texas. Many of the stones seem to be toppled and some are broken. Thankfully, the Story boys each have a stone that is still readable.

How our Story family connects to the Yowell family is unknown to me. It looks like most of these burials took place prior to 1877 when Robert purchased his farm in Axtell. So perhaps they were neighbors? Or perhaps Robert worked for the Yowell family? In the 1880 census Robert and Jennie are in McLennan County with their sons (on Page 55). At the top of page 55 directly above the Story family two Yowell family members are enumerated: Frank Yowell, age 20, born Missouri, indexed as “son”; and John Yowell, age 19, born Missouri, indexed as “son.” However, when you check the previous page (page 54) there is no Yowell “head of house” listed. This is apparently an enumerator error – so the relationship between the families remains unclear.

The following is a listing of the Story headstones that were located in Yowell Cemetery:

Levy Story (click on the link to see a picture of the headstone)
Born: 27 Nov. 1869
Died: 20 July 1871
Levy lived only about 30 months. Robert and Jennie married on 23 Feb of 1869. He was born practically 9 months to the day!  Levy was 8 months old when the 1870 census was enumerated. He was with his parents Robert and Jennie Story – his Curbow grandparents lived a few doors down – all living “east of the Brazos River” in McLennan County. Also in the home was Harriet Hamilton (and her relationship to the family is also unknown.)

E. Story (click on the link to see a picture of the headstone)
Born: 17 Feb 1870
Died: 17 Mar 1870
Lived about 1 month – it is unknown whether E. was a male or a female – and we did not previously have this child listed in our database.  E. does not appear in any census record – the 1870 census was enumerated in July of that year, after the time of death.

T. Story (click on the link to see a picture of the headstone)
Born: 20 Nov. 1872
Died: 29 Dec 1873
Lived about 13 months – it is unknown whether E. was a male or a female – and we did not previously have this child listed in our database.

John F. Story (click on the link to see a picture of the headstone)
Born: 20 Nov. 1873
Died: 7 Nov. 1882
John lived almost 9 years and can be found with his parents in the 1880 census. We know the circumstances of John’s death through this newspaper article published in the Waco Daily Examiner, on Tuesday, November 7, 1882:

Mr. R. A. Story, who lives seven miles east of the city, on Williams Creek, lost a son, Sunday, about nine years old from a very peculiar attack of sickness. The child was recuperating from chills and had got strong enough to pick cotton. Friday morning, while going to work, he was attacked with a spasm, and from that time until death never moved or spoke, dying at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. Two physicians were called in. Dr. Pitts, of Mt. Calm, described the malady to congestion of the brain and spine. Dr. Howard of Waco, said it was black jaundice. The stricken parents only know that their child is dead and buried.

Henry A. Story (click on the link to see a picture of the headstone)
Born: 20 Jan 1875
Died: 27 Jan 1883
Henry lived 8 years. We can find him with his family in the 1880 census where he is misindexed as “Kenny A.” It is believed by me that his mother’s grandfather was Henry Curbow of Cass/Bowie County, Texas. Perhaps he is named after him?

In addition to these children, we know from the 1880 census that Robert Alexander and Jennie Curbow Story also had a son named Joseph who was born sometime in 1879. He can be found with the family in the 1880 census. Jennie stated in the 1900 census that all of her children but one had died – and it is presumed that Joseph died prior to 1900.  Joseph’s burial location is unknown to me at this time.

The only son of Robert Alexander Story and Jennie Curbow to reach his adulthood was Frank Edward Story (1892-1954) who is laid to rest in Axtell Cemetery in McLennan County with his parents.

While performing this genealogy study, I have come across many family stories of drama and trauma – but this story strikes me as one of the most tragic.  I simply cannot comprehend what it must have been like for Robert and Jennie to bury one child after the next. The death of one child would change your life forever – but this couple lost 6 of their 7 children – incredible heartache and an incredible testimony to their perseverance.

Thank you again to Norma and Mark for their time and effort and dedication to the genealogy community.  We appreciate you!

Yowell Cemetery; Axtell, McLennan County, Texas; From the collection of Mark Dutton

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2012 in Curbow, Story

 

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Bravo Blast

Gene Oliver Curbow was born 5 Nov 1933 in Roswell, Chaves County, New Mexico, the middle son of Roy Oliver Curbow and Allie Ernestine Ham. He married Thelma Bernice Raincrow, a member of the Cherokee Nation, in 1952. This couple had one son and divorced shortly after his birth. A few years later Gene married Cleta Fern Payne in July of 1952. This couple had three daughters. While I never had the opportunity to meet Gene Curbow personally, what interests me about him is his military service to our country and how he played his role in American history. You see, Gene Curbow was the weatherman on Bikini Island on the day of the Bravo Blast.

Gene enlisted into the United States Air Force in August of 1951. According to his younger brother, Gene was stationed on an island as a weatherman and was discharged from the Air Force with some type of disability. Many years ago Don saw Gene being interviewed by Linder Ellerbe on television regarding a radioactive contamination incident.

At military enlistment - with father Roy; mother Allie; and older brother Roy

After some research it was confirmed that Gene Curbow was one of twenty-eight servicemen present on Bikini Island the morning of March 1, 1954 when the Bravo Blast occurred. Detonated on a reef on Bikini Atoll, the Bravo test was the first United States explosion of a deliverable hydrogen bomb. The scientists (having grossly underestimated the size of the explosion) produced a yield of 15-megatons, making it more than 1,000 times the size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The blast tore a crater more than ½ mile wide and several hundred feet deep and threw millions of tons of radioactive debris into the air. The fireball was almost three miles in diameter.  The Bravo Blast resulted in the worst single incident of fallout exposure in all the U.S. atmospheric testing programs. Twenty-three Japanese fishermen, 28 U.S. servicemen (Gene among them) and more than 200 Marshallese were caught in the fallout.

Quote from Gene Curbow, HQ Weather Reporting element (U.S. Air Force) on Rongerik Atoll, 1954: Prior to…and for weeks leading up to the blast the prevailing upper level troughs indicated that wind was blowing to the vicinity of our island.

In an article entitled, Deadly Snow written by Robert Milliken in 1986 he states that: One of the weathermen, Gene Curbow, is suffering from leukemia and is suing the U.S. government. He attributes his cancer, like that suffered by many Marshallese since Bravo, directly to radiation exposure

Actual Photograph of Bravo Blast Mushroom Cloud

It appears that there were numerous lawsuits filed in the aftermath of the Bravo Blast; however, one of the most significant included: Curbow, et al v. United States.  The lawsuit sought damages of $10 million dollars on behalf of five of the American servicemen who were subjected to the Bravo Blast fallout on Rongerik Atoll. I do not know if any of these cases ever went to trial or were settled. From the Petition:

The wind had been blowing straight at us for days before the test. It was blowing straight at us during the test and straight at us after it. The wind never shifted. Gene Curbow, senior weather technician on the neighboring atoll of Rongerik, who took radio-sound weather measurements up to an altitude of 30,000 meters before and after Bravo. Curbow and U.S. veterans stationed there have suffered since from a variety of illnesses, including cancer, tumors, heart and thyroid conditions, and urinary and bladder disorders that they say were related to Bravo. Three of them said they had difficulty fathering children or had had sickly offspring.

From a newspaper article dated 13 Feb 1983, when asked why the servicemen waited so long to file suit, Gene Curbow, replied: It was a mixture of patriotism and ignorance. The article goes on to state that: The government admits that the men were exposed to large doses of radiation but denies that their injuries are related. They say the U.S. and its contractors knew that east winds would carry the bomb’s fallout to the Marshall Islands but gave the go-ahead for the test and later attempted a coverup. You can read the article in its entirety here.

Weatherman

There is a series of videos posted on YouTube entiled “Half Life” which pertain to the Bravo Blast coverup.  See the video here – scroll to about minute 4.40 and you will see Gene Curbow giving a statement. 

After Gene’s retirement from military service, he spent time in Texas and Kentucky and then settled in Roanoke, Virginia with his wife and children.  He died there 12 Feb 1994 at the age of 60.  He is laid to rest in Evergreen Burial Park.

To Gene Curbow – and all others involved in the Bravo Blast – it doesn’t appear as if America treated you honorably in this instance.  But we, all these many years later, nonetheless acknowledge your sacrifice and service and thank you for your service to America.

 

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2011 in Curbow, Times and Places

 

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