CURTIS (INDIANA/KENTUCKY/SOUTH CAROLINA/VIRGINIA
CURTIS: Just found this story and althought this is not my direct line I just love this kind of stuff. John and James Curtis were the sons of Fielding Wood Curtis JR of Monroe Kentucky. I am decended from their Uncle William D Curtis who was the son of Fielding Wood Curtis Sr.
"A Curtis Biography". James Eddie is a descendant of John Curtis and Katherine Woods. I can't vouch for its accuracy but I love a good story.
The Curtis Biography
Shortly after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock Massachusetts in 1620 other Pioneers arrived for the great adventure of settling in the new world, where freedom was and has been up to 1965 some 345 years ago, although many of our freedoms have been taken away by a bureaucratic government that promises everyone something for nothing.
Most of the early settlers, were of Scotch Irish decent with some English and Germans making up the total. Among the Scotch Irish were the Curtis and Woods families, who among others pushed farther into the wilderness, and after Daniel Boone had blazed the trail through the Cumberland Gap, while dodging Indian arrows at the risk of his life, he then reported to the settlers an almost unbelievable story of the Beautiful Cumberland Valley where game was so plentiful they did not have to hunt for it.
The Curtis and Woods families and many others were in the rush to get to the Paradise of wonders, to make their homes, some of the early settlers had names as Hagan, Pitcock, Page, Tooley, Peterman, Strode, Millers who were German, Kirkpatrick, Bushong and many others too numerous to mention. State lines had not been drawn and what is now Monroe County Kentucky was claimed as Virginia County, Virginia, but Virginia ceded her claim to Kentucky during the term of President James Monroe, and the County was named Monroe after our President.
Fate or whatever cause these things brought John Curtis and Katherine Woods together, John was a tall man six feet and two inches, two hundred pounder all muscles and (?), Katie was a short brown-eyed lass with beauty and courage, and made a real Pioneers wife for her husband. They became my grandparents, in these days man only fought Indians and wild animals with guns and knives, if anyone fell out or got to much to drink, they fought bare knuckles to settle it or to decide which was the better man.
Grandma told me that many times people would wake up in the night to find their homes set on fire by the Indians who were yelling outside waiting to kill or capture them and trade them back for something the whites had, food guns beads, etc.. Sometimes whole families were wiped out and scalped, freedom did not come easy to the settlers and today we do not appreciate our heritage they left us.
Now back to our fore fathers and mothers, Grandpa had a brother Jim, who was also a strapping big and fearless man, they never picked a fight or ran from one. They settled finally on line creek south of Tompkinsville, Ky. where Grandpa obtained a homestead of large acreage and much of it creek bottoms all virgin land just waiting for the woodsman’s axe . When he and my great uncle Jim wanted excitement they would walk across the hills and creeks to Celina, TN to a small settlement, where after filling up with mountain dew, they would stand back and take on as many as wanted a good fist fight, and they were never licked.
One time Grandpa decided to go by himself and the old gang seeing him alone had decided to get even, and Grandma heard him coming home about midnight, singing and once in awhile he would give the mountain yell or yoddle, like hee-aye, and she knew he had been fighting, so when he came in he told her well Katie, I put seven of e'm in the ditch, but she thought he was just bragging, but next day a neighbor that saw it all told her that seven men jumped him even before he got his drink. He picked up the first one to get in reach and threw him at the others knocking most of them down, then knocked the others down and was ready for the others, after it was over he picked them up and tossed them all in a ditch near the little country store. So in this kind of setting, they had three sons Jessie Monroe, James and Jacob who became my father.
Jessie married Ellie Hagan, Jim married him a Tennessee woman who raised him a son and daughter, Hershel and Mattie he nicknamed cricket who married Andrew Cherry in Tennessee, Uncle Jess had nine children Vennie (or Vernie), Wesley, Sarah, Laborn, Ruthie, Tommy, Elvira, Macy and Calvin. Jacob married Elizabeth Pitcock they had Nancy, Roscoe, and _____, his wife died at the age of 24 leaving him with three small children age 1 to 4, he met Macy Devine at Evansville, Indiana a year later while he was captain of a racing boat where his team beat all the contenders. Dad logged and rafted since the age of 16, on the Cumberland river to Nashville, Tenn. also on the Green and Ohio rivers.
He was an expert oarsman as well as a swimmer and wrestler, he was bossing a logging crew atthe time, after a whirlwind courtship he married the little brunette beauty about five feet two and 95 pounds, nineteen years old who in a few years became my mother, as the third of six sons, _____,_____,_____, _____, _____ and _____. She was an orphan, she descended from a Pioneer family who had pushed farther west into what is now Indiana, near Grayson Springs, where her father while still single and about 18 years old along with two neighbors, were captured by Indians one day when they had laid their guns down to hoe corn in a small clearing in the timber.
They were hustled along prodded with their own guns, for three days and nights without food, they went north near the Wabash river, the Indians often ate dried vension or deer meat. They arrived at the camp near sundown the third day, where they were quickly stripped of all clothing painted with stripes then the squas and youth were lined up in two rows a few feet apart leaving an opening in between, the prisnors were forced to run the (gammet?) with the promise if they got through they could go free. The women and youths were armed with sticks and stones to prevent them from reaching the other end.
But after being beaten severly they were tied to stakes with deerskin thongs, wood was piled high about them for the final fun, but Andrew Devine not wanting to be burned alive insulted the old woman in their own language while they were trying to blow the fire into a blaze, thinking they would get mad and kill them instantly he taunted them and finally spit in ones ear, she then beat him with a stick, it was then growing late, so the braves decided to keep them till the next night to have more fun, so they cut them loose and had them put in a log stockade with a dirt floor, leaving an old deaf man to guard them.
They took off on another raid to get more prisnoers, it was luck they were not bound. Late in the night the old man fell asleep by the little fire he had made to keep the spring chill out, but the whites were not asleep, on finding some bullets in their cloths the Indians had missed, also a small spoon ladle, they quietly melted the lead and poured it in the old mans ear, he gave a little moan and was dead.
Taking the Indian blankets tieing them together they boosted the smallest man to the top of the stockade where he tied the blankets then hauled the others up, they had just dropped to the ground outside when they heard the war whoops of the returning Indians. Then it was every man for himself as they ran through the woods, the Indians were gaining and Andrew Devine lay down by a fallen tree raking the leaves over him, soon an Indian walked down the tree trunk and stopped right over him and he could see the toes of the Indian Moccisan while shouting orders to the others, but soon ran on.
Then the white man ran for his life, all three arrived home safe but not together on the sixth day after they were taken, almost starved. The settlers had sent out rescue partys but could find no sign of them, then soon after Andrew met a fair dark eyed damsel by name of Lucy Hastings who soon became his bride, they had five daughters, Fanny, Lucy, Mollie, Nannie and Macy who became my mother. They had two sons Jim and Andrew. Mother had six boys of her own, _____, _____, _____,_____, _____, and _____ also a stepmother to my half sister Nancy and two half brothers ______ and Roscoe.
The Civil War between the States in the early sixties had prevented us from ever seeing either of our grandfathers, we only knew one of our grandfathers. Grandfather Devine like all other settlers plowed his corn by moon light and kept his horses in caves or the timber by day to keep the Union army from stealing them, but being poor health he took pnewmonia and died.
Then the soldiers came and took all their horses leaving an old horse that had been shot and almost dead, but Aunt Lucy, had a black filly she called Black Nell, she threw her arms about the mares neck and begged them not to take her, her father had given it to her, but they shoved her aside and threatened to shoot her, so they doctored the old horse and fed him until it was able to work a little, then grandmother plowed the corn as the kids were all to small. While in Kentucky the Curtis family and everybody was having their own troubles, a battle was raging in Tompkinsville and the town was burned to the ground after overcoming the brave defenders who were buried in the old soldiers grave yard on a hill south east of town. I have been told a business building now stands over the remains of these brave defenders, people forget so quickly in the wake of the nothern army, roving bands like Qunatrell and Morgans were robbing and killing and terrifying the people in the southern states.
One night in the year 1863 my Grandfather Curtis was sitting by his open fire place with my Dad asleep on his lap when the sound of galloping horses dashed up to his door, laying my Dad who was just two years old across the foot of the bed, he took his coat off and covered him with it then went out to see what was wanted, as he stepped out a hail of bullets cut him down but in falling he grabbed a man and pulled and shot him dead, leaving Grandmother with three small boys 2 to 6 years old, the yanks had took all the food and green coffee was selling at $1.00 a pound, limit a quarters worth, bacon was also one dollar, no sugar to be had, the court house with all it's records had been burned the word was sent out for everyone to bring in their deeds to be recorded, so Grandmother Curtis and many others sent their deeds to their farms and after several months they were notified their deeds had been stolen before recorded, then came the carpetbaggers, strangers with their deeds to their farms made in their own names, thus the rightful owners were dispossed by law and the farms taken over by others so Grandmother was a double loser, first her husband then her home, yet she raised her three fine men, kind, fearless, independent, hard workers and honest whose courage and strength and blood lines have flowed into many different families through out the last three centurys or more and their will always be a Curtis around, a friend worth having a foe undaunted and unafraid and every Curtis should be proud of his or her name. The Curtis tribe have ran mostly to males and have spread rapidly, mostly they are deeply religious and strive to lead clean lives making their word their bond, they are dependable and give their all in war or in peace.
More About JAMES C. CURTIS:
Cause of Death: Tuberculosis