Sunday, November 04, 2007

Is Friend Curtis the father of Benjamin?

With the question surfacing recently about the possible parents of Benjamin's being Friend Curtis and Elizabeth Blossom, I thought that I would share the research information I have on the possible connection. Based upon the details in Friend's Last Will and Testament, I do not believe Friend was Benjamin's father. However, there is a good chance that Friend is an uncle, or maybe an older sibling. The notes that I have in my Legacy database include:

FHL US film 1573645, item 8, (929.273 C946ca) "A Genealogy of the Curtis-Curtiss Family of Stratford Connecticut: a supplement to the 1903 edition," page 52. This history and his cemetery record combined, gives us a calculated birth year. The history also cites a record of marriage "Pawlet, Vt Vital Records has Friend Curtis m. Sept 13, 1812 Betsey Blossom. Friend m. 2nd M____ for "Sarah dau. of Friend and M. Curtiss d. Aug 10, 1865 ae. 19-4-10." Friend's date of death is also stated in the history. The small section in the book that contains information about Friend is as follows:

"Pawlet, Vt. V.R. has Friend Curtiss m. Sept. 13, 1812 Betsey Blossom. This Friend Curtiss removed at once to Genoa, Cayuga Co. and bought land next to Dorus Curtiss's land. This Dorus being son of Moses and w. Sarah and b. 1794. In 1814 Friend and w. Elizabeth sold out to Josiah Todd. Both Friend and Dorus bought land in Barrington, Yates Co., but by 1828 sold out and they both appear in Orleans Co. soon after. Dorus and w. Sarah removed to Niagara District of Upper Canada from Ridgeway Orleans Co. Friend and w. Elizabeth were of Gaines, Orleans Co. where an Eldad Curtiss with wife Satie sold land in 1834 to Eldad S. Butler of Sheldon, Franklin Co. Vt., and in 1840 Eldad and w. Satie and Jeremiah Brown and w. Abigail sold land to Julius C. Foot. Dorus bought his Ridgeway land from Selah B. Beardsley. Friend Curtiss is buried in Mottville, Mich. Cemetery near Niles, Mich. Friend Curtiss d. Oct 11, 1850 ae. 58-3-0, w. Elizabeth d. Nov. 8, 1843 ae. 49-8-0. Their son Ira d. Nov. 8, 1843 ae. 19-0-22. As he and mother died same day, perhaps a copying error. Friend m. 2nd M______ for "Sarah, dau. of Friend and M. Curtiss d. Aug. 10, 1865 ae 19-4-10. The burial place of Dorus Curtiss is not known, but early records of Wayne Co., Michigan show a Dorus Curtiss." (p 52)

Additional information about Friend Curtis and his family was obtained from the 1850 Federal Census record for St. Joseph county, Michigan and deed records in Elkart county, Indiana which is southwest of the southern border of St. Joseph county, Michigan. The records obtained include the following:

30 March 1836 - Friend and Elizabeth Curtis sold two 40 acre pieces of land to James B. Walker for $200. Both parties were of Elkhart. (Vol 2 p 375 of the land and property records of Elkhart county, Indiana on microfilm 1728062 at the Family History Library. General deed index film is 1711316)

8 February 1841 - Elizabeth Curtis bought 80 acres of land for $300 from John S. and Clarissa Jones, both parties of Elkhart. (Vol 8 p 3 of Elkhart county, Indiana deeds, microfilm 1728065)

10 December 1845 - Friend Curtis of Elkart, sold 120 acres for $600 to Melissa Keyes of St. Joseph, Michigan. (vol 11, p 422 of Elkhart county, Indiana deeds, microfilm 1728066)

8 February 1849 - Friend and Melissa Curtis of Elkhart sold two 160 acre pieces of land to William N. Elliott of St. Joseph, Michigan for $2,100. (vol 12, p 379 of Elkhart county, Indiana deeds, microfilm 1728066)

1850 US Federal Census: FHL film 443578, Mottville, St. Joseph Co., Michigan. This census record is also available on USGenWeb for St. Joseph County Michigan at (cited 4 Nov 2007). Also see for a scanned image of the census page. The Curtis family was enumerated as follows:

Fred Curtis, head of household, male, age 57, born Vermont
Melisa Curtis, wife, female, age 46, born Connecticut
Reges, Albert, male, age 14, born Ohio
Henry M., male, age 12, born Michigan
Sarah Curtis, female, age 4, born Ia.

Burial information was obtained from the "Cemetery File" at Three Rivers Library in Three Rivers, Michigan by correspondence. The information for this Curtis family stated: "Friend Curtis - age 58, buried 1858 in the Mottville Cemetery, Mottville Township, St. Joseph County.

The Last Will and Testament for Friend Curtis was obtained from St. Joseph County Courthouse Records by correspondence. The date as stated in the Will is not ledgable. The photocopy of the will was made from a microfilm of the original and is very difficult to read. When the microfilm copy was made of the old Wills and Probate records at St. Joseph County Probate Courthouse, the original files and paper were destroyed. The microfilm copy is the only available copy. The details that can be read from the paper copy of the microfilm are:

"...of Mottville Township in the County of ... make and publish this my Last will ... making voide all former will by ... that my body be divinlly interred in the ... Mottville insaid County of St. Joseph with ... ... ... into the ... of my wife ... hereby direct ... bequeath to my ... wife all my ... being al the real estate belonging to me at this time to ... to her ... and benefit while she shall remain my Widow and at ... I direct ... bequeath to my daughter A... all ... real estate to be and remain to her use and benefit and I also direct that ... keys by Step son shall have out of my estate to the amount of one hundred dollars provided that he shall remain with my wife Melissa Curtis until he arrives at the age of twenty one years and in so ... shall assist his mother in supporting the family and I further direct that my daughter Elizabeth ... and my sons Seth Curtis, William B. Curtis and Francis Curtis each two dollars to be paid to them as soon as the ... can be made from the ... of the farm so as not to ... the family I also direct that my ... shall removed or cause to be removed the ... of my ... .... family now laying ... the ... Yark in York Township in the County of Elkurst State of Indiana and ... ... and State of Michigan by the ... of my ..."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this Benjamin Curtis is related but FYI

In Tompkins County New York, Guardianship Court Records about 1831 is listed a Josiah Curtis and wife Hannah. One of several minor children is listed as "Benjamin Curtis" Josiah was recently deceased.
The original source may by seen on the (Available at the FHL in Salt Lake) Look Under Tompkins County Guardianship

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