Daniel Curtis & Sarah Spencer, my 4x great-grandparents, were the ancestors of my maternal grandfather, Lloyd O. Krueger.
Daniel Curtis was born 25 Dec 1814 in Butler, Ohio to John A. Curtis and Catherine Hoover (a distant relative of president Herbert Hoover). Daniel was a descendant of Samuel Curtis who came to Rowen County, North Carolina from Northamptonshire, England. The lineage is as follows:
Samuel Curtis (1710 – 1797) oo Mary Lovitt (1713 – 1808)
James Curtis (1752 – 1795) oo Nancy Mast (1757 – 1851)
John A Curtis (1781 – 1864) oo Catherine Hoover (1787 – 1856)
The Curtises and the Hoovers were Quaker families, or as they called themselves “The Friends”. Many of the records for the family are records from Quaker meetings where happenings in the religious community were documented.
Sarah Spencer was born 23 May 1823 in Ohio, likely in Miami County. At the time of this writing, I am not totally sure who her parents were, although I am following several leads.
I do know that Sarah had an older sister, Rebecca Spencer, who was born in Ohio on 15 Mar 1819. Rebecca married Harvey Hoover on 20 Oct 1836 in Miami County, Ohio. They ended up having six boys and one girl, and living in Pipe Creek, Indiana.
Hoover/Spencer Gravestone, from FindAGrave.com
Daniel Curtis and Sarah Spencer were married almost exactly four years later on 15 Oct 1840 in Miami County, Ohio by Burrell Pickinings, Justice of the Peace. Sarah’s brother-in-law, Harvey Hoover, was their sworn witness.
Curtis / Spencer Marriage, 1840
The couple’s first son was named Harvey Hoover Curtis after Sarah’s brother-in-law. Harvey Hoover Curtis was my 3x great-grandfather.
Harvey Hoover Curtis & Mary Jane Hutchins, c1905
[As an aside, this photo, taken in Great Falls, Montana (likely for their 40th anniversary in 1905), is interesting to me because my grandmother is wearing a brooch with a photo of a couple on it. Is it an older photo of them? A marriage photo for one of their children? A cousin of mine and descendant of the family believes that the brooch photo might be their wedding photo from 1865. To me, it looks like a photo of her sister-in-law Anna Curtis Hedrick (see portrait below).]
Close-up of Mary Hutchins’ brooch.
After their marriage, Sarah Spencer and Daniel Curtis stayed in Miami County, Ohio for several years. Their daughter Anna Jane Curtis (1841-1924) was born in Troy, Ohio on 20 Sept 1841, their son Harvey Hoover Curtis (1844-1917) was born in Little York, Ohio on 20 Jan 1844, and the birth record of son John Spencer Curtis (1847-1904) says he was born in Dayton, Ohio on 25 Aug 1847.
Anna J Curtis Hedrick, from Ancestry.com & Judy Christensen.
Shortly after that, the Curtises moved to Miami County, Indiana where they are in the 1850 census for Pipe Creek Township. Daniel and Sarah’s youngest son, Samuel Crawford Curtis (1851-1927), was born in the town of Bunker Hill, Pipe Creek Township, Indiana in 1851.
Samuel C. Curtis, from Ancestry.com and the Lacy Family Tree.
As stated above, the family appears in the 1850 census for Pipe Creek Township, Indiana. Daniel is listed as a farmer from Ohio. Their children Anna, Harvey, and John are also listed.
1850 Census, Pipe Creek, IN
They are also in Pipe Creek for the 1860 Census. Daniel is again described as a “farmer”, and Harvey, John, and Samuel are still at home. Daughter Anna had married William Oscar Hedrick (1838 – 1909) on 26 Jul 1859 and they had moved to Jonesboro, Indiana by 1860.
1860 Census, Pipe Creek, IN
There is some evidence to suggest that Daniel Curtis served as a Private in Company E of the 100th Regiment of the US Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. This has not been confirmed.
Son Harvey Hoover Curtis enlisted in the Union Army on 5 May 1864 as a private with Company C of the 151st Indiana Infantry. He was discharged from service on 29 Sept 1864. He reinlisted on 31 Jan 1865 and was honorably discharged for a second time on 19 Sept 1865. His service garnered him a pension of $12/month starting in 1907.
In 1870 the family can be found in the census for Rutland, Michigan. Sons Samuel and John are living with their parents, but John is married and his wife Lenora Ayers (“Eleanora” in the census), and son Charles are also listed in the same household. Daniel is still listed as a “farmer” and Sarah is listed as keeping house.
1870 Census, Rutland, MI
In 1870 daughter Anna Hedrick was in Hastings, Michigan with her husband and family, and son Harvey was in Rutland, Michigan with his family where he was listed as a stone mason in the census.
By 1880 Daniel and Sarah had moved back to Bunker Hill, Indiana where Daniel is listed as a “laborer” and Sarah as keeping house. You can see their son Samuel in the census directly below them:
1880 Census, Bunker Hill, Indiana
At that time daughter Anna was living in Grinnell, Iowa (the eventual home town of my great-grandmother Edith Curtis) with her family. Harvey was in Bunker Hill, Indiana near his parents, and John Curtis was in Fairfield, Iowa with his family where he was listed as a laborer for the railroad. By 1885, however, John would move to Grinnell as his sister had.
On 17 Jun 1882, John S. Curtis’s infant son Casheous M. Curtis (who was born on Valentine’s day that year) was one of 50 people killed by a tornado which swept through Grinnell. He was buried in Hazelwood Cemetery in Grinnell.
Grinnell Tornado Damage, 1882 (US Weather Service)
Sometime around 1885 Daniel Curtis died. I haven’t found any death record for him, or a burial site. In the 1885 census for Grinnell, Iowa, Sarah is living with her daughter Anna and is listed as “widowed”.
1885 Census, Grinnell, Iowa
A record exists from “Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans, 1879-1903” ordering a headstone for a Daniel Curtis who died 3 Sept 1885. It’s not clear at all that this is my grandfather since the town listed is Martin’s Ferry, Belmont, Ohio. As far as I know Daniel never lived there, so it seems odd that this would be where he’d choose to be buried. I’m very skeptical that this has anything to do with my family. Martin’s Ferry is in a totally different part of Ohio than anywhere Daniel is recorded to have lived.
Headstone order, 1885.
In any case, Sarah seems to have lived with her daughter Anna in Boone, Iowa, until her own death. She died there, in her daughter’s home, on 13 Jun 1893 at 3:40pm from “phthisis pulmonalis“, a form of tuberculosis, from which she had suffered for four years.
Sarah Spencer Death Cert, 1893
There was a short notice published about the funeral in the local paper:
Boone County Republican June 21st 1893 pg 5
Her death record says that Sarah was buried in the Linwood Cemetery in Boone, Iowa, on 14 Jun 1893, but according to the cemetery office there is no marker for her grave there, and the Boone County Library was unable to locate her in the cemetery records.
So there are many mysteries that remain to be solved. Who were Sarah’s parents, and when was she born? Was Daniel a Civil War veteran? When did he die? Where are Daniel and Sarah buried?
The search goes on.