Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Curtis Family

The Curtis Family:
 
First Generation 
1.  Zacheus Curtis13 was born circa 1619 in Wiltshire, England.1 He died in Nov 1682 at the age of 63 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.1 Undocumented sources [IGI, Online family trees, etc.] give Zacheus' parents as Zacheus and Mary [Pennington?] Curtis of Downton, Wiltshire, England. One posted message on Ancestry.com has two wives for Zacheus, (1) Grace Corwithen and (2) Joanna/Johanna Cooper, the mother of his children. The same post gives his mother as Mary Delithia Pennington.
Curtis arrived in America aboard the
James, which sailed from Southampton about 5 April 1635. The Customs House records gave Zacheus' occupation as labourer and residence as Downton [southeast of Salisbury].
He probably settled first at Salem where he appeared in the 1643 records along with ten others having been fined for pasturing cattle in the north cornfields. Zacheus was fined 20 shillings on 3 January 1644/5 for "rash and unadvised" swearing falsely. On 2 March 1647/8 he was accused of "taking tobacco in the open street", but the case was dismissed.

By 1658 the Curtis clan had moved to Reading. On 4 November of that year, Zacheus sued William Bartholomew for getting him to move from Reading, where he worked John Gould's land, to Gloucester, where he was to work for Bartholomew. Curtis had been recommended to Bartholomew by Edmund Batter. When Zacheus reached Gloucester he learned that his new employer deemed him too weak, sickly and troublesome to run the farm. The court found for Curtis. The family remained in Gloucester at least long enough for the birth of daughter Mary, before removing to Rowley Village [Boxford].

In 1663, Zacheus Gould [father of John Gould] deeded Curtis a parcel of land lying on the south side of Fish Brook. The Goulds also granted him permission to pature cattle on their common land and a right of way to Topsfield. In 1664/5 Zacheus Curtis, planter, sold his Salem property to John Robinson.

Zacheus, his sons Zacheus and Zachariah, along with two others, were fined for smoking in the meeting house at Topsfield in 1672. He was turned down as surety for Ensign John Gould.

On 16 November 1676, Thadeus Brann [or Brand] of Lynn gave his baby daughter, Mary, to the Curtis familly. Brann's wife, Sarah, had died on 13 December 1675 Mary was born on 27 November, less than a month before her mother's death. Brann was killed by Indians at Black Point in June of 1677.

John Ramsdel and Abigail Curtis testified on 29 November 1682 that they were present when Zacheus Curtis lay on his deathbed and made his verbal will. His grandsons were to have 20 shillings each and his granddaughters 10 each. The farm was to go to son Ephraim upon his mother's death. John and Ephraim Curtis and son-in-law John Looke consented to the will.

Inventory of Zacheus' intestate estate had been taken 24 November 1682.

Several sources give Curtis' date of death as 17 or 7 November 1683. His grandson, Zacheus died on 7 November 1683 at age four. With two of the same name having died about a year apart, their death dates were confused.

Zacheus Curtis and Joanna/Johanna Cooper were married circa 1645 in Salem, Massachusetts Bay, British America.1 Joanna/Johanna Cooper35 was born on 11 Sep 1623 in Charlton On Otmoor, Oxford, England.4 She died on 17 Aug 1706 at the age of 82 in Boxford, Essex Co., Massachusetts.4 The vitals presented here for Joanna are, at this time, undocumented. The Rootsweb page cited does not offer sources for her birth and death dates or for the name of her father - Richard. The Great Migration article on Zaccheus Curtis notes that she was deposed 26 June 1677 "aged 53 years." This would place her birth about 1624 and fit with the proposed birth date. No record of her death has been located.
 
Zacheus Curtis and Joanna/Johanna Cooper had the following children:
 
                              i.   Zacheus Curtis Jr. was born circa 1646 in Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts.6
              2             ii.   John Curtis, born ca 1649, Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts; married Mary Looke, 4 Dec 1672, Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts; died 19 Mar 1717/8–16 Apr 1718, Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.
                            iii.   Zachariah Curtis was born circa 1651 in Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts.7
                            iv.   Ephraim Curtis was born circa 1654 in Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts.8
                             v.   Sarah Curtis was born circa 1657 in Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts.9
                            vi.   Mary Curtis was born on 12 May 1659 in Gloucester, Essex Co., Massachusetts.10
                           vii.   Abigail Curtis was born circa 1661 in Boxford or Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.11
 
 
Second Generation
 
2.  John Curtis12 (Zacheus-1) was born circa 1649 in Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts.12 He died on 19 Mar 1717/8–16 Apr 1718 at the age of 69 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.12 John Curtis was born about 1649 during the time his family resided in Salem.  He testified that he was 24 in 1673.  Curtis took an active part in civil affairs. He was a tythingman in 1680, 1695 and 1704, constable in 1698, trial juryman in 1692/3, 1696/7, 1711 and 1715, grand juryman in 1703, and selectman in 1706. John was corporal of militia in 1690 and became sergeant about 1711. He was admitted to the Topsfield Church on 29 August 1714. Mary had joined the church on 19 July 1685.
Sgt. Curtis made his will on 19 March 1717/8 and it was proved on 16 April 1718. He left his estate to Mary, their surviving children, and granddaughters Hannah Smith and Martha Gould. Martha was instructed to live with her grandmother until turning 18. Son Samuel was named executor.

Mary died on 23 August 1745. Topsfield records show that she was in her 98th year. Her birth was recorded in Lynn in July 1654, making her 91 years old, rather than 98.

John Curtis and Mary Looke were married on 4 Dec 1672 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.12 Mary Looke, daughter of Thomas Looke and Mary or Sarah [Looke], was born in Jul 1654 in Lynn, Essex Co., Massachusetts.13 She died on 23 Aug 1745 at the age of 91 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.12
 
John Curtis and Mary Looke had the following children:
 
                              i.   John Curtis was born on 11 Oct 1673 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.12
                             ii.   Sarah Curtis was born on 17 Mar 1675/6 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.12
              3            iii.   Mary Curtis, born 27 Dec 1677, Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts; married John Singletary, 15 Jul 1735, Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts; married Henry Kenney, 18 Sep 1714, Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts; died 8 Mar 1735/6, Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.
                            iv.   Elizabeth Curtis was born on 15 Dec 1679 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.12
                             v.   Thomas Curtis was born on 2 Dec 1681 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.12
                            vi.   Abigail Curtis12 was born on 21 Oct 1683 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.12 She died on 8 Mar 1729 at the age of 45 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.12 Exactly where Abigail fits in the family is open to question. Towne shows two Abigails born about the same time to different parents.
As daughter of John and Mary, Abigail
has no birthdate given. She is shown as the 2nd wife of Joseph Towne [5 November 1707].
Abigail, daughter of Zacheus and Mary [Blake] is shown with a birthdate of 21 October 1781 [p. 57] and dying before April 1712 [not named in codicil to her father's will]. The Topsfield birth records show Zacheus and Mary as Abigail's parents as well.

Towne states that all of Zacheus and Mary Curtis' children were born in Boxford. There was no daughter named Abigail born to this Curtis family in 1681. The 1681 entry is in the Topsfield records. Zacheus could have been an error. The date fits for both girls. Other sources [Ancestry trees, IGI, etc.] have the date variously for both Abigails. Until additional proof is uncovered to the contrary, the 21 October 1681 birth entry is being assigned to the daughter of John Curtis.
                           vii.   Hannah Curtis was born on 12 Jan 1685/6 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.12 She died on 25 Apr 1712 at the age of 26 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.12
                          viii.   Rebecca Curtis was born on 20 Jan 1687/8 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.12
                            ix.   Phebe Curtis was born on 2 Mar 1689/90 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.12
                             x.   Ephraim Curtis was born circa 28 Aug 1692 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.12
                            xi.   Hepzibah Curtis was born on 28 Nov 1694 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.12
              4           xii.   Samuel Curtis, born 31 May 1698, Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts; married Hannah Dodge, 15 Jun 1720, Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.
 
 
Third Generation
3.  Mary Curtis (John-2, Zacheus-1) was born on 27 Dec 1677 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.12 She died on 8 Mar 1735/6 at the age of 58 in Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.12

Mary Curtis and John Singletary were married on 15 Jul 1735 in Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts. John Singletary1415, son of Nathaniel Singletary and Sarah Belknap/Beltoft, was born on 7 May 1675 in Haverhill, Essex Co., Massachusetts.14 He died after 1747 at the age of 72 in Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.14 John Singletary was, by trade, a cooper. He was born in Haverhill in 1675. On 13 August 1689 John and his father were attacked by an Indian raiding party. John was taken prisoner, but managed to escape later in the day. His father was killed and scalped.*
 John moved to Salisbury, where he married Mary Greele in 1700 and then to Framingham about 1709. He purchased 50 acres on the west side of the mountain from Joseph Buckminster on 23 May 1709. There he built a house that became known as the Littlefield house. On 30 May 1720 he sold out to Samuel Moore and removed to Sutton.
There, John bought a mill lot on the outlet of what became known as Singletary Lake from Ebenezer Doggett and built a gristmill. The mill had two run of stones and a continual water supply. During dry times the Singletary Mill was the only one to do any grinding. John and youngest son Amos operated the mill for many years. Amos was the first white male child born in Sutton.

Mary died 7 March 1735 [Vital Records: Sutton Deaths, p. 462] John married
  widow Mary Kenney four months later. He was still living in 1747.
*
The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts, David Webster Hoyt, Genealogical Publishing Company, 1982, p. 317
 
Mary Curtis and Henry Kenney were married on 18 Sep 1714 in Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts.12 Henry Kenney12 was born on 1 May 1669 in Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts.12 He died on 2 Nov 1731 at the age of 62 in Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.12
 
4.  Samuel Curtis16 (John-2, Zacheus-1) was born on 31 May 1698 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.16 Samuel Curtis was born and raised in Topsfield, Massachusetts. He married there in 1720 to Hannah Dodge and their children were born there. The Curtises moved to Oxford in 1748. Samuel bought a tract of 200 acres and kept an inn from 1749 to 1751. In 1750 Samuel deeded 50 acres to son Samuel. He deeded the remaining 150 acres to son Noah in 1752, keeping half of the house for himself. Noah deeded the land back to Samuel the next year and released all claims on his father's estate. According to the Oxford historian, the family left the town about the time of the Revolutionary War.
The family had a negro "servant-child" named Flora who was baptized at Topsfield in 1741.

Samuel Curtis and Hannah Dodge were married on 15 Jun 1720 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.16 Hannah Dodge, daughter of Edward Dodge and Mary Haskell, was born in Apr 1692 in Beverly, Essex Co., Massachusetts.17 She was baptized on 17 Apr 1692 in Beverly, Essex Co., Massachusetts.17
 
Samuel Curtis and Hannah Dodge had the following children:
 
                              i.   Hannah Curtis was born on 14 Jul 1722 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.18
                             ii.   Rebecca Curtis was born on 9 Mar 1723 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.18 She died on 3 Dec 1726 at the age of 3 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.18
              5            iii.   Mary Curtis, born 8 Jun 1726, Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts; married Amos Singletary, 6 Sep 1742, Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts; died 28 Jun 1799, Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.
                            iv.   Samuel Curtis was born on 26 Feb 1727/8 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.18
                             v.   Noah Curtis was born on 28 May 1731 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.18
                            vi.   Rachel Curtis was born on 18 Mar 1732/3 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.18
                           vii.   Eunice Curtis was born on 15 Jan 1736 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.18
                          viii.   Elijah Curtis was born on 7 Jul 1737 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.18
                            ix.   John Curtis was born on 15 Apr 1741 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.18
                             x.   Rebecca Curtis was born on 7 Mar 1742/3 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.18
 
 
Fourth Generation
 
5.  Mary Curtis (Samuel-3, John-2, Zacheus-1) was born on 8 Jun 1726 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.19 She died on 28 Jun 1799 at the age of 73 in Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.19

Mary Curtis and Amos Singletary were married on 6 Sep 1742 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.19 Amos Singletary2023, son of John Singletary and Mary Greele/Greeley, was born on 16 Sep 1721 in Sutton, Massachusetts Bay, British America.19 He died on 30 Oct 1806 at the age of 85 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.19 Amos was the son of John and Mary [Greele] Singletary and the first male child born in Sutton, Massachusetts. [Sutton's North Parish that became Millbury on 11 June 1813.] He never attended school, but was taught the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic at home.
In 1742 Amos married Mary Curtis. According to a grandson, Rev. S.A. Dwinnell, Mary was chiefly responsible for her husband's conversion to Christianity. They joined the church of Rev. David Hall until they were dismissed to form a church in the north parish.

In one instance, Samuel Waters, a manufacturer of hoes in the north parish stopped Singletary to ask him for "religious guidance." Waters asked, "Oh Squire! What shall I do to be saved?" Amos reigned in his horse and replied, "Put more steel in your hoes!"

Singletary was perceptive, a man of sound judgement and integrity. He became well-informed and a community leader. Amos represented Sutton for four years in the provincial congress during the Revolutionary War. Once Massachusetts became a state, he served in both the house of representatives and senate.

At the local level, he served as justice of the peace and as one of the two justices of the quorum [without whom the court could not sit]. One of the duties of the justice of the quorum was to administer the debtor's oath to men put in jail for debt.

Amos Singletary made his living as a farmer and grist miller. His political heart rested with men such as himself, who made their living off the land. It led him to oppose the eastern Massachusetts trade and banking legislators and, as a result, the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. As an anti-Federalist, he stood before Massachusetts convention in 1788 and voiced his fears:

“These lawyers, and men of learning, and moneyed men, that talk so finely, and gloss over matters so smoothly, to make us poor illiterate people swallow down the pill, expect to get into congress themselves; they expect to be managers of the Constitution and get all the power and all the money into their own hands, and then they will swallow up all of us little folks, like the great Leviathan. Mr. President; yes just as the whale swallowed up Jonah. This is what I am afraid of.”

A North Carolina anti-federalist wrote that he feared the exclusion of religious tests in the Constitution would allow Pagans, Deists and Mohammedans to obtain political office. Singletary's reponse was that he hoped to see Christians in power, yet by the Constitution, a papist or an infidel was as eligible as they.*

Amos Singletary lived out his life in Sutton. His will was made 20 May 1801 and proved in November 1806. Mary died in 1799 and Amos in 1806. Both were buried in County Bridge Cemetery, which has since been renamed Millbury Cemetery.*

*Biographical note from submission to Find a Grave. [www.findagrave.com]
Amos Singletary and Mary Curtis had the following children:
 
                              i.   Greely Singletary was born on 15 Aug 1743 in Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.24
                             ii.   John Singletary was born on 17 Mar 1745 in Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.24
                            iii.   Mary Singletary was born on 10 Jun 1747 in Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.24
              6            iv.   Mehetible Singletary, born 13 Mar 1749, Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts; married Peter Jennison, 31 Mar 1769, Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts; died 16 Feb 1812, New Berlin, Chenango Co., New York.
                             v.   Hannah Singletary was born on 15 Mar 1753 in Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.24
                            vi.   Azubah Singletary was born on 9 Dec 1754 in Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.24
                           vii.   Amos Singletary was born on 11 Mar 1757 in Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.24
                          viii.   Richard Singletary was born on 9 Nov 1760 in Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.24
                            ix.   Elizabeth Singletary was born on 31 May 1761 in Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.24
                             x.   Thankfull Singletary was born on 30 Oct 1762 in Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.24
                            xi.   Lydia Singletary was born in Nov 1767 in Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.24 She was baptized on 15 Nov 1767 in Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.24
 
Sources:

        1. Walter Goodwin Davis, The Ancestry of Lt. Amos Towne 1737-1793: of Arundle [Kennebunkport], Maine (Portland, ME: The Southworth Press, 1927), p. 53-55 [Curtis chapter]; digital images, World Vital Records, World Vital Records (http://www.worldvitalrecords.com : accessed 17 August 2011.

        2. Richard Charles Anderson, "Zaccheus Curtis," article, NEHGS, American Ancestors (http://americanancestors.org : accessed 23 July 2011), Zaccheus Curtis bio; citing prior publication in The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Vol. II: C-F (2001).

        3. Bill Curtis, "Curtis, Zaccheus," e-mail message from [e-mail for private use] ([street address for private use]), to Ancestry.com Message Boards > Surname > Curtis, 11 April 2001.

        4. "Gage Genealogy", database, Rootsweb World Connect (http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestrycom : accessed 23 July 2011), Joanna Cooper; undocumented and unnamed family tree submitted 2006 by Doug Gage, [contact information for private use].

        5. Anderson, "Zaccheus Curtis," Joanna's birth year.

        6. Anderson, "Zaccheus Curtis," Zacheus birth.

        7. Anderson, "Zaccheus Curtis," Zachariah birth.

        8. Anderson, "Zaccheus Curtis," Ephraim birth.

        9. Anderson, "Zaccheus Curtis," Sarah birth.

        10. Anderson, "Zaccheus Curtis," Mary birth.

        11. Anderson, "Zaccheus Curtis," Abigail birth.

        12. Davis, The Ancestry of Lt. Amos Towne 1737-1793, p. 59-61 [Curtis chapter].

        13. , Vital Records of Lynn, Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849: Volume I (Salem, Mass.: The Essex Institute, 1905), ; digital images, Google Books,  (: accessed 20 July 2011.

        14. Howard Jennison, Jennison Family History (Ponca City, Oklahoma: H. Jennison, 1994), p. 50.

        15. George Hiram Greeley, Genealogy of the Greely - Greeley Family (Boston, Mass.: Frank Wood Printer, 1903), p. 31; digital images, World Vital Records,  (: accessed 2 July 2011.

        16. Davis, The Ancestry of Lt. Amos Towne 1737-1793, p. 67 [Curtis chapter].

        17. Ma-vital records.org, "Vital Records of Beverly, Massachusetts until the end of the year 1849," database, MA-vitalrecords.org, Vital Records of Beverly, Massachusetts until the end of the year 1849 (http://ma-vitalrecords.org/MA/Essex/Beverly/: accessed 17 August 2011), Hannah Dodge baptism; citing town records.

        18. Davis, The Ancestry of Lt. Amos Towne 1737-1793, p. 67-68 [Curtis chapter].

        19. Simmons Family, Roy W. Simmons online [http://www.storycapsule.com/simmons/familytree/pedigree.php], accessed 29 Oct 2009.

        20. , Jennison Family History, p. 50-51.

        21. Gary B. Nash: professor emeritus of History UCLA, "Ordinary Americans of the Constitution: History Now: The Historians Perspective," The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Issue 13 (September 2007): p. 3-4.

        22. Greeley, Genealogy of the Greely - Greeley Family, p. 62.

        23. Rev. William A. Benedict & Rev. Hiram A. Tracy, compilers, History of the Town of Sutton, Massachusetts from 1704 to 1876, 2nd (Massachusetts: Commonwealth Press, 1966 [reprint]), 668.

        24. Town of Sutton, Vital Records of Sutton, Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849 (Worcester, Mass.: F.P. Rice, 1907), p. 159; digital images, Internet Archive,  (: accessed 10 July 2011.

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