Harriet Curbow was the third daughter born to Tilman Curbow and Elizabeth Box – born sometime in 1852 in Mississippi, probably Itawamba County. She was often referred to as “Hattie.” Hattie may have been named after her aunt, Harriet Jane Box. Harriet can be found in the 1860 and 1870 census with her parents. On February 9, 1872 Harriet married Elijah Spencer Miller in McLennan County, Texas. Harriet was 20 years old and Elijah was about 23 at the time of the marriage.
Harriet and Elijah lived in or near Waco, Texas through at least 1885 because Elijah can be found there in various McLennan County tax roll records. At some point after 1885, Harriet and Elijah apparently moved their family to Hill County, Texas where their youngest daughter was born in Itasca in June of 1892 (according to her grandson). It should be noted that Harriet’s grandfather William Bolton Box was living in Covington, Hill County, Texas, which is not far from Itasca. He died there in 1887.
Sometime after the birth of their last daughter, the Miller family moved to Indian Territory – Chickasaw Nation – present day Carter County, Oklahoma.
This area is rich in Native American history. In that regard – the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes was appointed by President Grover Cleveland in 1893 to negotiate land with the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole tribes. It is commonly called the Dawes Commission, after its chairman, Henry L. Dawes. Tribe members were entitled to an allotment of land, in return for abolishing their tribal governments and recognizing Federal laws. In order to receive the land, individual tribal members first had to apply and be deemed eligible by the Commission. The first application process for enrollment began in 1896, but was declared invalid. In this 1896 application process appear the applications of:
Elijah E. Miller – Cherokee – Application #2131
Hattie J. Miller – Cherokee – Application #4074
So, because of this invalidation, the Dawes Commission started all over again in 1898. People had to re-apply in order to be considered, even if they had already applied in 1896. The resulting lists of those who were accepted as eligible became known as the Dawes Rolls. Their formal name is the “Final Rolls of the Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory”. The Commission accepted applications from 1898 until 1907. Neither Elijah nor Hattie appear on the Final Rolls. After speaking with a genealogist at the Oklahoma History Center, she wonders if this could be our Elijah and Harriet. If they had applied as Cherokees – why would they be living in Chickasaw Nation rather than the Cherokee Nation? Good point.
Sometime between June of 1892 and December of 1904, Harriet Curbow Miller died. At this point, I do not know if Harriet died in Texas or in Oklahoma. Miller descendants claim that Harriet died in Oklahoma and is buried somewhere “around the Carter County, Oklahoma area.” The news article below from The Daily Ardmoreite which was published on May 7, 1902 has piqued my interest. The general location seems to fit and the timeframe is correct – but of course, I have no way of knowing if this is our Harriet Curbow: Nine Lives Swept into Eternity at Foss, Oklahoma; Twenty Houses Washed Away; Inhabitants Left Homeless and Destitute; Searching for Dead; Property Destroyed. Among the dead were Mrs. Miller and daughter.
Harriet’s husband Elijah Miller remarried in December of 1904 and had several more children with his second wife. It appears that he lived out the rest of his life in Oklahoma.
I would love to know more about Harriet – and am especially interested in knowing when she died and where she is laid to rest. If you know anything about her, I would love to hear from you.
A big thanks to Tom Hedges, Harriet’s great grandson, for giving me such a great start on Harriet’s genealogy.