Tag Archives: Atwood

Atwood Family in the 1940 Census

I found my husband’s mother, grandparents, grand-uncle and great-grandfather all living together in Oplin, Callahan County, Texas.

William Riley Atwood owns his own farm worth $300.  He is 60 years old, has a 7th grade education and is a farmer.  In the home with him is his youngest son Vernon, age 23 who is a farm hand.  Also in the home is another son Orval (my husband’s grandfather).  Orval is a laborer engaged in the manufacturing industry. With him is his wife Vira who is 21.  Their children:  Howard, age 2 and “Binnis”, age 0/12.  This is my husband’s mother and her name is actually Bonnie.  One other son Thomas Ronnie is not enumerated.

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Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Atwood


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The Ultimate American Patriot

Leonard Miles was my husband’s fifth great-grandfather (from the Atwood line). Leonard served his country in the American Revolution – the ultimate American patriot! According to his pension papers:  I was born in Cumberland County, North Carolina some time in the year 1760 according to the best of my information and of a record of my age now in my possession – Leonard was 72 years old at the time of his application which was called for hearing in Lincoln County Tennessee County Court on 28 Jan 1833.

It appears that at some point during his childhood, Leonard’s father apparently moved the family to the Fairfield District of South Carolina. Interestingly, many of the Curbow clan can also be found in the Fairfield District during this time period.

Leonard Miles’ application for a pension based on his war service is a wealth of information pertaining to his life and military service. He was about 17 years old at the time of his enlistment. In his own words: I lived in Fairfield District, South Carolina at the time I entered the service – some time in the latter part of the year 1777, about four or five weeks (I think) before Christmas. I volunteered in the South Carolina Militia, in a Regiment commanded by Colonel Robert Gooden in the place of my father (Thomas Miles) who had been drafted in said Regiment. Leonard goes on to state that he served off and on from the fall of 1777 through about 1781. He states that he was a private in the cavalry – fighting the British troops – mainly in North and South Carolina and Georgia. While serving, he contracted the small pox in March of 1781. After his recovery, which took four to six weeks, he joined forces under General Sumpter on the Catawba River. There he was involved in the Battle of Eutaw Springs.  The pension application of Leonard Miles can be downloaded from (now known as

Following the close of the war Leonard returned home to the Fairfield District of South Carolina where he married Mary Reden (1760-1849) on 31 March 1785. He can be found there with her in the 1790 census. The census records of this time period don’t yield very much information, but it appears that he was “engaged in agriculture.” Leonard further states in his application that:  I continued to live in South Carolina 15 or 16 years after the close of the war. I then moved to Sumner County in the State then to this County where I have lived and have lived for about 22 years.

I found a Leonard Miles in the 1820 census living in Jackson County, Tennessee and then in the 1830 census we find him in Lincoln County, Tennessee. It appears that this is where he eventually settled and lived out his life. Leonard made a Will* in Lincoln County, Tennessee about seven days before he died on 8 April 1835. I do not know the final resting place of American patriot Leonard Miles.

*The text of Leonard Miles’ Will is as follows:

Lincoln County Tennessee Wills 1827-1850; Page 119-Leonard Miles:

The last will and testament of Leonard Miles. In the name of God amen. I, Leonard Miles, of the State of Tennessee and County of Lincoln, being weak in body but of sound mind, do make and ordain this my last will and testament, revoking all and every other – First, That all my just debts and contracts be justly and truly paid. Secondly, I give and bequeath the whole of my estate, both personal and real to my beloved wife, Mary Miles, during her natural life. Thirdly, after her death, I do give and bequeath to my children as follows: To Polly Caruthers, one dollar, to Elizabeth Atwood*, one dollar, one feather bed and trunk, to Sally Martin, one dollar, to Nancy Gee, one dollar, to William Miles one dollar, to Leonard Miles, one dollar, to Patsy Linsay and heirs, one hundred and fifty acres of land and one feather bed to the daughter of Polly Lindsay. Forthly, I do appoint William Atwood** my executor to settle all my earthly business. Sealed and acknowledged this first day of April, AD 1835.

*Elizabeth Atwood is Elizabeth Ann Miles Atwood, my husband’s gggg-grandmother; and **William Atwood is William James Atwood, my husband’s gggg-grandfather.

On December 22, 1840 in Lincoln County, Tennessee, the widow of Leonard Miles, Mary Miles, age 80 filed for a Widow’s pension based on her husband’s service. With her application she presented the Miles family bible which records the names of the couple’s children as follows:

Courtney Miles – born January 14, 1786
Mary Miles – born January 14, 1788
John Miles – born January 1, 1789
William Miles – born April 25, 1792
Elizabeth Miles – born April 3, 1794
Sarah Miles – born March 25, 1796
Nance Miles – born April 5, 1798
Leonard Miles – born December 26, 1809 (?)
Samuel Con Miles – born October 14, 18___
Pater Miles – born May 21, 1811


Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Atwood, Miles


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Ride ’em Cowboy

Recently my husband and I read Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry for the very first time.  Westerns aren’t usually our thing – so we were skeptical.  However, as it turned out – we both LOVED the book.  After reading Lonesome Dove (and all the companion books) we hightailed it over to the video store and found the CD which contained the entire mini-series (remember that?!) and spent one lazy afternoon watching the series.  I was reminded that often when we read books and watch movies of that time period – the people are so mischaracterized that we lose sight of the fact that these were real people, real places and real experiences – they were our family. 

In re-reading through some of our Atwood family materials, I came across a letter that was written by Thomas Atwood to his son Russell Columbus Atwood on 12 May, 1882.  Thomas was apparently on a cattle drive somewhere near Roswell, New Mexico.  In 1882 Roswell was part of Lincoln County, New Mexico.  (It is now part of Chavez County.)  Lincoln County is what western legends are made of – Billy the Kid roamed the hills and the Lincoln County War took place there (four years prior to the writing of Thomas’ letter).  My husband and I traveled to Lincoln County while in New Mexico a few years back.  We were without a doubt transported back to a time and place that can only now be found in books and movies. 

I will below share some excerpts (as they were written) of the letter with you, and I think you will agree, they are a fascinating glimpse into the “cowboy” days of old:

Dear son, I take the present opertunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that we are well and hope that these few lines may reach you in dew time and find you all well. I have no knews of much interest to write to you.

We traveled up to Colorado City* aming to cross the plaines by the ritaway long the rail-road but got stuck bad account of the sand on that rout that we turned our cos to yello horse canyon,** then to Fort Sumner on the pecos and now we are 80 miles down the river but off from the river west of it some 10 miles, in the best country that I have saw, there is 4 streams here that runs in to the pecos. the land is tolerable good and lyse wise for erigating. timber is scare but enough for to burn. We are in sight of the White Mountains*** but we are 80 miels from Fort Stanton, the Capatain Mountains**** is in sight where the white oak minds is in here near, for account of the mines there, there is a great many sheep going from here to Texas. We met about 2000, hit tis supposed that there will bee one hundred thousen drove from hear this season. they are worth from $1.75 to $2. per head.

* Colorado City is the county seat of Mitchell County, Texas. Located in west Texas – it’s 2000 population was only 9,698. I can only imagine how desolate it was in 1882! The county was named for Asa and Eli Mitchell, two early settlers and soldiers of the Texas Revolution.

** If Thomas means “Yellow House Canyon,” then this is near Lubbock, Texas – which is on the great plains of Texas as he mentions in his letter. The Battle of Yellow House Canyon was a battle between a tribe of Comanches and Apaches and a group of bison hunters that occurred in March of 1877, near present-day Lubbock. It was the final battle of the Buffalo Hunters War, and was the last major fight between whites and native Americans on the High Plains of Texas.

*** These are the Sierra Blanca mountains – located in Lincoln and Otero Counties of south central New Mexico.

****The small town of Capitan, on the southwestern side of the mountain range, is the location of Smoky Bear Historical Park, which memorializes the famous bear that was rescued from the Capitan Gap Fire in the Capitan Mountains.

The letter continues:

hear stock is hiar here then tha are there in Texas, horses is worth from $75 to $100-25, cattle is worth about $15 per head. beef is worth from 7 to 8 cens per pound, bacon 18 cents per pound. Corn is worth from 3 to 5 cents per pound. Dink* saw dick mais in this little town yesterday, wee looked for him up here at camp tonight. he is working for Chisam** about 5 miles below here. wee have traveled in company with 3 men from Colorado City crost the ____ and are with them yet but tahr are going down into thee Warlon Mountain Country looking for stock to ranch and wee shall seprate hear, the principle man in the crowd waws a man by the name of Holaway. Wee saw plenty of buffalows, wee had plenty to eat. Holaway kil 2 of them, bob, that was with us shot 4 times at them but killed nothin.

*”Dink” is Thomas Atwood’s son Joseph Ashford Atwood.

**This is probably Jesse Chisholm – a man who built several trading posts in what is now western Oklahoma and for whom the famous Chisholm Cattle Trail was named.

And so – Thomas closes his letter – “son, I’ll have to close for the want of spase. remain your father as ever. Thomas Atwood to R. C. Atwood

And this is the last that we ever hear of Thomas Atwood. We know from his tombstone that he died that same year at the age of 58 – some family say that he died in May – the very month that the letter was written. Did he have an accident and die on the trail? Did he return to Round Rock and fall ill? These questions may never be answered.

According to a written history left by one of his grandsons, Thomas died on the Carrington Ranch – minutes from our home (present day Bohls Place in Pflugerville, Texas). Thomas is laid to rest in the Round Rock Cemetery. Somehow, it feels as if my husband and his ggg-grandfather Atwood are inexplicably connected. This historical cemetery and the legendary Chisholm Trail are within minutes of my husband’s business and our home. In fact, his business is situated on a street named Chisholm Trial – just up the road from the “round rock” where the cowboys drove their cattle through Brushy Creek. You can still see the wagon ruts in the creek bed and sometimes when you close your eyes and let your mind wander you can still see the dust and the dirt and you can hear the cattle calling, the jingle of the spurs and the songs of the cowboys.



Posted by on July 25, 2011 in Atwood, Times and Places


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Discovering a Long-Lost Atwood Family

My husband’s mother, Bonnie Lois Atwood Setliff Curbow, died from a brain tumor at the young age of only 25 years old.  Her sudden, unexpected and tragic death changed the lives of her family forever.  Her four children were very small at the time of her death – the oldest not yet six years old.  The family pulled together each doing their part to raise the children the best that they could.  Life – as it has a tendency to do – however sad – went on.  For many years Bonnie was not discussed in the household – the memories – being too painful. 

The identity of Bonnie’s mother, Vira Lorene Grantham, father and brothers were always known to the Curbow family; however, the families had drifted apart over the many ensuing years.  Consequently, little was known about the parents and family of Bonnie.  In fact, it was some years later that I first learned that Bonnie and her brothers had been adopted by her mother’s second husband and that her biological father’s name was actually Atwood. 

Based on a few census records that were glanced at over the years – it was thought that Bonnie’s father’s name might be Winson Atwood.  And that’s all we knew!  Once contact was made with Winson’s sister, Aunt W., Mary was informed that Winson contracted Parkinson’s disease in his early years and was left paralyzed on half of his body.  He lived with his parents until going to a nursing home.  You can imagine her shock when she was told that “someone was looking for a long, lost grandfather,” and thought it might be Winson! 

Fast forward to about 2007.  My mother-in-law, Mary, is the one who started us out on this crazy genealogy journey.  Because of her tenacious “stick to it” attitude we now know the identity of Bonnie’s father AND we have gained a precious new set of west Texas relatives – cousins, and first cousins, and second cousins – and more!  I will let Mary tell you, in her own words, how she unraveled the mystery of who Bonnie’s father was:

“I am indebted to B.A., the young man I happened across on the internet late one night, who helped me get this all started; his Aunt W.A.K., and her sister-in-law, T.A., who immediately responded with information, stories, phone calls, photos, and old letters; and Beverly A.B., your mother’s cousin, who has fond memories of your mother and has kept her in her heart all these years.  Without her and her daughter D., we would not have all the valuable information we now have; and to Winson Bailey Atwood.  He was our one and only piece of the puzzle in the beginning.  Although he is long gone, I am told he would have loved this story!!  Many thanks to these wonderful people who have shared so much and in doing so, have given you a heart warming history of a part of your family you never got to know.”  Written by Mary Curbow, 2007.

When I re-read the little blurb written by Mary – I got a lump in my throat.  This was, and continues to be, truly a labor of love.  This research not only brought the Atwood family to light – it spurred on my own interest in genealogy and encouraged me to start researching my family roots.  So THANK YOU Mary for all your hard work and dedication. 

In conclusion, Bonnie’s father – was Thomas Orvil Atwood.  He was one of the boys of William Riley Atwood and Hattie Frances Havins – born in Cross Plains, Callahan County, Texas on 29 Sept. 1910.  He married Vira Lorene Grantham 11 Sept 1935.  Thomas and Vira raised their family in Callahan County, until the early 1940s when the moved to south Texas.  He was an oil field worker all his life.  The couple divorced in 1952.  Once month after the finalization of the divorce, Thomas suffered a stroke and died – tragically young – at only 42 years old.  Thomas is laid to rest in the Oplin Cemetery in Callahan County,Texas. 

Please feel free to click on any link above.  You will be redirected to our genalogy database where you can read more detail on each individual mentioned here. 


Posted by on July 13, 2011 in Atwood


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John Ashford Atwood – Son of William Payton Atwood and Ellen Elizabeth West

John Ashford Atwood was the oldest son of William Payton Atwood and Ellen Elizabeth West, born 19 Aug 1874 in Round Rock, Williamson County, Texas. He spent a good part of his childhood in and around Round Rock – in fact John and his father were in town to buy new boots on the day that the outlaw Sam Bass was killed in a shootout with local lawmen and Texas Rangers (July of 1878).

John Ashford Atwood - from the collection of Brian Atwood

Sometime around 1882 the family relocated to Cross Plains, Callahan County, Texas. There John met and married Laura Jane Williams on 2 Jan 1894 at the age of 19.  Marriage announcement:  “John A. Atwood, son of Mr. and Mrs. A. P. Atwood and Laura Jane Williams, daughter of Mrs. and Mrs. Y. R. Williams (familiarly known as Uncle Rab), were married in the home of her sister, Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Mitchell by Rev. A. T. Ford, pastor of the old Board Flat Baptist Church on January 2, 1894. Relatives and friends who witnessed the marriage ceremony were her sister, Mrs. Georgia Mitchell and 3 eldest children; Rosa Atwood, sister; Rufus, Dan and Gene Atwood and Miss Mattie Pennell, cousins. Friends were Charley Barr, Frank Bryson, Lonnie Gardner, Della Gardner, Alice and Myrtle Acker, all of the Board Flat community.”

John and Laura made their first home in the Board Flat community – 2 1/2 miles east of Cross Plains, Texas. To them were born two daughters:

Myrtie Alice Atwood (1895-1976 – who married Joseph Warren Reid)

Myrtie Alice Atwood


Ruby Olive Atwood

Ruby Olive Atwood (1896-1981)

The family spent time living in Oplin, Abilene and Cross Plains, before finally settling in Lubbock County, Texas in 1926.

This article was written about John Ashford Atwood on the occasion of his 80th birthday on August 20, 1954 in The Lubbock Morning Avalanche:

20 YEARS AND FOUR GENERATIONS – J. A. Atwood, 2509 33rd St., seated second from left, celebrated his 80th birthday Thursday with a family reunion and birthday dinner in the home of his daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Reid, 2505 33rd St. Seated with him, left to right, are his brothers and a sister, Gene Atwood of Abilene; Mrs. W. E. Jones, 3306 Ave. N; and Claude Atwood of Clyde. The four generations at the celebration included Atwood; his daughter; Mrs. Reid, standing left, holding his great-grandson, Warren Odom, 2; and his granddaughter, Mrs. Vernon L. Odom, 2603 44th St., standing right, holding his only other great-grandchild, David Odom, 2 months old. (Staff Photo)

ATWOOD MARKS BIRTHDAY WITH CELEBRATION HERE – J. A. Atwood, 2509 33rd St., observed his 80th birthday Thursday with reminiscences that included stories of his father’s friend, Kit Carsen, and his own presence at Sam Bass’ death in Round Rock.  Atwood says he saw the posse go in after Bass, but didn’t see the actual killing because he ran. There was some speculation that he was celebrating his 80th birthday because he did run.  Atwood was born in Round Rock, Williamson County, Texas, the son of Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Atwood. He came to Lubbock at 26 from Cross Plains. Now a retired farmer and a deacon of the First Baptist Church, he celebrated Thursday with a family reunion and birthday dinner in the home of his daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Reid, 2505 33rd St. Among the guests were his only grandchild, Mrs. Vernon L. Odom and her two children, Warren, 2 and David, 2 years old, of 2603 44th St. Also present were his sister Mrs. W. E. Jones, 3306 Av. N, and two brothers, Gene of ____ and Claude of Clyde. Two sisters were absent. Two other sisters, Mrs. Chess Barr of Cross Plains and Mrs. Lee Straley of Oplin were unable to attend. Mrs. ____ could not come because she was busy with another celebration – her 50th wedding anniversary. There was not a _____ among Atwood’s eight brothers and sisters until he was 77 years old. Others attending the dinner were Atwood’s wife, Mrs. Gene Atwood; Mrs. Claude Atwood; W. E. Jones; Winson Atwood, a nephew; Vernon L. Odom; and Miss Ruby Atwood, a daughter, 3511 33rd St. Atwood’s family has been outstanding in the Lubbock public schools.  Miss Ruby Atwood, a teacher at O.L. Slaton Junior High, is beginning her 30th year here this fall as a social studies teacher. Mrs. Odom, the granddaughter, is a ____ home economics teacher at J. T. Hutchinson Junior High School. Reid, the son-in-law, has taught here 33 years and is safety coordinator fo the Lubbock public schools and is a past president of the Lubbock Classroom Teacher’s Association.

Celebrating his 80th birthday.... BACK ROW: Winson B. Atwood; Claude Atwood; Eugene (Gene) Atwood; Vernon Odem with son Warren Edward Odem on his shoulders; John Atwood SECOND ROW: Walker Jones; Elizabeth (Atwood) Jones; Eunice (Arnold) Atwood; Laura (Williams) Atwood; Emma (Arnold) Atwood FRONT ROW: Norma Grace (Reid) Odem and her mother, Myrtie (Atwood) Reid

John’s wife, Laura, died 2 December 1954 in Lubbock. John died 8 November 1961, also in Lubbock. They are laid to rest together in City of Lubbock Cemetery.

John Atwood’s Funeral Rites Planned Today (November 1961):  Funeral services for John A. Atwood, 87, 2509 33rd Street, who died 2:10 p.m. Wednesday in St. Mary’s Hospital, will be at 3 p.m. today in First Baptist Chruch. Dr. J. Ralph Grant, pastor and the Rev. J. T. golding, assistant pastor, will officiate. Burial will be in the city of Lubbock Cemetery under direction of Sanders Funeral Home. Atwood, a retired farmer, had been ill since October 5. Born in William County, Atwood lived in Cross Plains before moving to Lubbock in 1926. He had been a deacon in the Baptist Church more than 57 years and had been a member of the First Baptist Church here since moving to Lubbock. The family requested that friends send contributions to the Lottie Moon Christmas Foreign Mission Offering, in care of First Baptist Church. Survivors are two daughters, Mrs. J. W. Reid, 2505 33rd Street, and Miss Ruby Atwood, 2509 33rd Street, a foster son, Sidney Ratcliffe, Gustine, California, two sisters, Mrs. W. E. Jones, 3306 Avneue N, and Mrs. Chess Barr, Cross Plains, a brother, C. E. Atwood, Abilene, a granddaughter, Mrs. Vernon Odom, 2127 55th Street, and three great grandchildren. Nephews will be pallbearers.

Final Resting Place - Lubbock City Cemetery

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Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Atwood


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Laney Belle Atwood Straley

Laney Belle Atwood was my husband’s first grand-aunt. She was born on 2 December 1885 in Stephens County, Texas, one of the daughters of William Payton Atwood and Ellen Elizabeth West.  By 1900 she was in Callahan County, Texas with her family.  Nine years later on 2 Jan 1909 at the age of 23 she married Joseph Leland Staley (1885-1966) in Abilene, Taylor County, Texas.  Laney and Lee had two children: Frieda Corrine (1910-1975) and James Leland (1916-1976).  Wanda Atwood Hollis has fond memories of her Aunt Laney:  It used to seem like a day’s trip, and WAS , for us to go to Aunt Laney’s for the day! She had a rock fish pond with fish in it. Of course, the house was old and sparsely furnished…but she and cousin Frieda did the most beautiful handwork – crochet…they made big bedspreads and beautiful quilts.

Laney, Lee and Freida Straley

Laney Atwood Straley lived with her husband in Callahan County until her death on 7 Jun 1959 in Oplin, Callahan County, Texas.  Laney’s obituary as published in the Abilene Reporter-News on 8 Jun 1959 reads as follows:  

Mrs. Straley Dies; Oplin Rites Slated:  Mrs. Laney Belle Straley, resident of the Oplin community for about 5 years, died at 9 p.m. Sunday at her home residence at Oplin after a long illness. She was 73.; Funeral will be held at 2 p.m., Tuesday at the Baptist Church at Oplin. Burial will be in Oplin Cemetery with Wyllie Funeral Home in charge. Born Dec. 2, 1885 in Stephens County, she married Lee Straley, Jan. 1, 1909 at Abilene. She was a member of the Baptist Church. Surviving are her husband; one son, Leland Straley of Austin; one daughter Freda Straley of Oplin; three brothers, John Atwood of Lubbock; Claude Atwood and Gene Atwood, both of Abilene; two sisters, Mrs. Ches Barr of Cross Plains and Mrs. W. E. Jones. 

Oplin Cemetery, Callahan County, Texas

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Posted by on March 12, 2011 in Atwood


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Russell Columbus Atwood

Russell Columbus Atwood – known as “Lum” to family and friends – was the middle son of Thomas Jefferson Atwood and Matilda Hough.  Russell was born in Laclede County, Missouri on 12 Apr 1853.   

Laclede County, Missouri

Russell Columbus Atwood married Amanda “Mandy” Waters on Christmas Day 1873 in Hays County.  The family spent some time in Callahan County before settling in Eastland County, where they spent the rest of their lives. 

Eastland County, Texas

Russell was always indexed as being a farmer.  I am uncertain how many children this couple had.  In the 1900 census Amanda states that she has given birth 10 times and that 8 of her children are living; and in the 1910 census she states that she has given birth 9 times and that 7 children are living. 

These are the children that I have been able to document:

 Matilda Rosalee Atwood (born 1875)

Columbus Eugene “Gene” Atwood (1877-1933)

William Lafayette “Fate” Atwood (1879-1946)

Arthur R. Atwood (1880-1908)

Jennie A. Atwood (1885-1968)

Naomi Ellen Atwood (1887-1945)

Ida Atwood (1889-1890)

Daniel Elmer Atwood (1891-1962)

Clarence Ford Atwood (1897-1955)

Russell Columbus Atwood died in Pioneer, Eastland County, Texas on 23 June 1919 at the age of 66 years.  He is laid to rest in the Pioneer Cemetery.

Pioneer Cemetery

 Please contact me if you have any information on this branch of the Atwood tree. 

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Posted by on February 22, 2011 in Atwood


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