Sarah Spencer Curtis – (1823 – 1893)

Sarah Spencer, my 4x great-grandmother, was the ancestor of my great-grandmother Edith Edna Curtis, who married Oscar Krueger.  The identity of Sarah’s parents was not known, so I’m putting what I know about her here so that I can organize the information in one place.

According to multiple sources, Sarah was born in Ohio, likely in Miami County.  Her death record gives the date of her birth as 23 May 1823.

The first record I have of Sarah is her marriage to Daniel Curtis on 15 Oct 1840 in the records for Miami County, Ohio.  The document doesn’t have much in the way of data.  It just says:

“No. 153, Daniel Curtis & Sarah Spencer.  Harvey Hoover sworn as to consent of Lady’s Mother – Gent – to age. Were married by me October 15th 1840, Burrell Pickinings, J.P. [Justice of the Peace]”

Curtis / Spencer Marriage, 1840

Curtis / Spencer Marriage, 1840

So we know Sarah’s mother was alive in 1840 [and can infer that her father probably was not], and that Harvey Hoover was their sworn witness.  This is important because we can find a marriage record from the same county on 20 Oct 1836 for Harvey Hoover and Rebecca Spencer.  We can reasonably assume that Sarah and Rebecca were sisters.  In fact, Sarah and Daniel Curtis’s first son was named Harvey Hoover Curtis.  He was my 3x great-grandfather.  Rebecca Spencer was born in Ohio on 15 Mar 1819 and died in Pipe Creek, Indiana on 6 Nov 1868.  Her death record might yield some clues to her parents.

Sarah and Daniel Curtis had four known children.  Their daughter Anna Jane Curtis (1841-1924) was born in Troy, Ohio in 1841, their son Harvey Hoover Curtis (1844-1917) was born in Little York, Ohio in 1844, son John Spencer Curtis was born in Miami County in 1846, and Samuel Crawford Curtis (1851-1927), was born in the town of Bunker Hill, Indiana in 1851.

The middle name “Crawford” for Samuel might be a clue to the identity of his mother’s parents since there is no Crawford family on the Curtis side.  Sarah’s half-brother Newton Jones had a son named Orren Crawford Jones.  Sarah’s daughter Anna Jane Curtis had a son named Francis Crawford Hedrick.  I’m guessing the name Crawford comes from Anna’s side of the family, and may be the maiden name of her mother.

One theory about Sarah’s parentage came from a user on who sent this message:

“I know [Sarah Spencer’s] mother was Anna Jones and step dad is Sam Jones, but don’t know her mom’s maiden name.  I am finding her mother as Anna Jones married to Samuel Jones. I think she was Anna Sutton then married a James Spencer then Samuel Jones, then died at her daughter Eliza Cain’s house in Indiana.”

The evidence for this narrative:

  • Anna Sutton married James Spencer 29 Nov 1810 in Preble County, OH.
Spencer/Sutton Marriage, Preble County, Ohio, 1810.

Spencer/Sutton Marriage, Preble County, Ohio, 1810.

  • There is a death record for James Spencer in 1825 in Ohio.  Unfortunately there are no details in the record beyond that.
  • Anna Spencer married Samuel Jones 6 Sept 1825 in Miami County, OH.

There is certainly evidence to support this version of events. The part about Anna Sutton marrying James Spencer has a kink, as she was said to have been born in 1795-6, so that would have made her 14 or 15 at the time of her marriage, but she could have been married young and/or also been making herself a bit younger when answering the census.  Marriage at 15 was not unheard of at that time.  If we accept this version, Anna marries James Spencer who dies about 1825. This jibes well with the father implicitly dead in the 1840 marriage record for Sarah Spencer. Then Anna remarries to Samuel Jones, who dies between 1850 and 1860.  She then goes to live with her daughter until her death.  The progression from Miami County, OH to Pipe Creek, IN is a good fit to be the right family and she’s living next to Rebecca Spencer, so I’m fairly confident Anna Jones is Rebecca Spencer’s mother.  It’s just a matter of proving that the Anna Spencer who married Samuel Jones in 1825 is also Anna Sutton who married James Spencer in 1810.  This theory is further supported by Sarah Spencer’s son being named James Spencer Curtis.

Other bits possibly related to this theory: Thomas Spencer married Mary Jeffries in Miami County, OH on 6 Aug 1835.  He is also the right age and place to be a possible sibling to Sarah Spencer.  John was born about 1811, which jibes well with the 1810 marriage of John Spencer and Anna Sutton.  The family moved to Franklin, Indiana sometime around 1840, following a similar trajectory to Daniel and Sarah.  In the 1870 census there is a Mollie Ludy living with Anna who was born in 1838 in Ohio.

Contradicting this theory is the fact that two of Anna’s children with Samuel Jones list “Anna Harmer” as their mother’s maiden name (Joseph R Jones’ marriage to Emma Fox in 1905 and the biography of Eliza Jones’s husband David Cain, written in 1898, which says: “[David Cain] married, in Pipe Creek township, Miami county, Miss Eliza Jones, a native of this county, born in 1831, daughter of Samuel and Annie (Harmer) Jones.”).

Another theory comes from a marriage record from 12 Nov 1818 in Miami County, Ohio where a James Spencer married a Sarah Jones, or a Sarah Young (depending on which transcription you trust).  Again, since Sarah Spencer’s son was named James Spencer Curtis, this could be a relative.

I’m following up on all these leads to see if I can determine which is correct.


About cthomas1967

Seeking to bring my ancestors out of the shadows of history and into the light. I have always been interested in history, and at a few different times I tried to do a family tree, but wasn't able to do it with the technology that was available then. On a business trip I visited the World War I Museum in Kansas City, MO and it was a very impressive establishment. While I was there I remember thinking, "Didn't my great-grandfather father fight in World War I? And wasn't his brother killed alongside him in some famous battle? I wonder if I can find out where he died." That's what started it all. View all posts by cthomas1967

One response to “Sarah Spencer Curtis – (1823 – 1893)

  • Bill Jones

    I think that the old marriage records were hand written and difficult to read. I think someone thought Spencer looked like Harmer. I like your thoughts on all this. I still wonder what happened to Prudence Mooney Jones.. can’t find her in any Ohio graves near Troy. Thank you.

    Bill Jones

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