The Curbow surname is 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,” meaning a “raven.”

If my ongoing research – along with the various oral family histories that I have collected over the last several years – are proven to be correct, our Curbow family begins its American journey when Jean Corbo/Johann Carbo arrives from Rotterdam (by way of Cowes – an English seaport town) at the Port of Philadelphia on October 5, 1737 on board the passenger ship Billender Townshend.  Most of the passengers on this ship were from the Palatine region of Germany.  

It is believed that the Corbo/Carbo family were French Huguenots.  The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France who faced severe persecution from the Catholic Church.  Many Huguenots fled France into the Palatine region of Germany which borders France.  These French immigrants then sometimes lived in Germany for several generations before making their way up the Rhine River to the Port of Rotterdam for their journey to America.

I don’t think it’s a far stretch to say that most every Curbow family – no matter which spelling – in America today can be traced back to one of the sons of Jean Corbo/Johann Carbo.   They and their families gradually dispersed throughout the south.  By the 1840s a large number of the family are in Georgia and Tennessee.  By the 1860s the family was spread out to Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri.  During the Civil War period, Tilman, Wiseman, James and Nathaniel had all moved their families to Texas.  This is my attempt to tell their story.

Our Curbow research focuses on:

I have also done a good bit of research on the following individuals and their families (whom I believe to be brothers or cousins of Tilman P. Curbow:


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