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The Curtis Family

he Curtis family is believed to have immigrated from England to Colonial Virginia in the early 1700s.  They had two sons born in Virginia; Thomas and James.

Thomas was born in Colonial Virginia circa 1725.  He and had five sons; Moses, James W., Fielding Wood Sr., John and Hillary.

Moses was born around 1760 in Virginia.  After the fall of Charleston, Moses served in Colonel Brandon’s Regiment[1] [2] a part of the South Carolina Militia during the American Revolution.  In 1780 he married Patsey Staggs in South Carolina with whom he had five children with; Hillary, Ephraim, Harlan, Fielding Russell and Joel.  Moses died in 1830 in Jackson County, Tennessee.

Hillary Curtis, Sr. was born in 1795 in Union County, South Carolina.  He wed Susannah Gulley in 1815 with whom he had nine children with; Moses Moore, Bilbry, William B., George T., Hillary Jr., Jane, Martha Jane, James Thomas and Rebecca “Hannah”.  The family lived in Tennessee where most of the births occurred then later relocated to Arkansas. [3] Hillary Sr. died in Arkansas in 1864.

Moses & Elizabeth Curtis

Moses Moore Curtis was born in Purdy, Tennessee in January of 1818.  His first wife was Louisa Nixon who died within 2 years of their marriage.  A year later he married Elizabeth Blackshear on October 8, 1842 in Lincoln, Tennessee. [7] During the years 1844 until 1869 they had a total of fourteen children, one being Robert.  Moses has several occupations, he had worked as a wagoner,[4] an overseer,[3] had a job at a planing mill[5] and had also been a farmer.  During the American Civil War he enlisted with the Confederate States of America and was a private in Captain Roberts Company – Mississippi Artillery[8] [9] while two of his brothers joined the Union Army.  By 1900 Moses was living with his one son, Jefferson “Jeff” Davis[6].  Moses was laid to rest in Tishomingo, Mississippi.

Jefferson "Jeff" Davis

Robert Curtis was born August of 1847 in Tishomingo, Mississippi.  He had worked both as a farmer [10] and as a night watchman.[6] His first marriage was May 14, 1868 to Martha F. Russell, they had one child together, Emma Elizabeth.  Robert later married Josephine McClure on Christmas Eve 1878 in Giles, Tennessee.  Robert and Josie had 5 children of their own; Berty I., Anna B., Edgar H., Minnie M., and Effie Lee.  Robert passed away July 10, 1923 in Little Rock, Arkansas.[12]

Emma Curtis Shanks

Emma (Curtis) Shanks

Emma Elizabeth Curtis was born in Tishomingo, Mississippi on September 29, 1875.  Her first marriage to a man with the last name of Schoggin and resulted in his death 3 years later. [6] Emma returned to living with her father and stepmother and worked as a seamstress with her two older half sisters; Berty and Anna.  She then married David Crockett Shanks with whom she bore three children with; Robert D., Edgar H. (which happens to be the name of her half brother), and Genie Louvenia.  The family had lived in Tennessee, Alabama and Arkansas.  David C. Shanks petitioned for a divorce and it was finalized before Genie’s 13th. birthday in Pulaski County, Arkansas.  By 1930 Emma went on to become a live-in servant for the Lauck family of Hill, Arkansas. [11] In her later years she relocated to South Gate, California and lived with her eldest son and his wife. [13] until her passing on May 16, 1957.


  1. Ross, Bobby Gilmer “Roster of the South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution”, Volume I, A-J
  2. Daughters of the American Revolution magazine, Volumes 43-45
  3. 1860 U.S. Census of Population
  4. 1850 U.S. Census of Population
  5. 1870 U.S. Census of Population
  6. 1900 U.S. Census of Population
  7. Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002
  8. Confederate Capt. Roberts’ Co., Art’y Miss, Company Muster Roll dated 29 Sept. 1861
  9. U.S. Southern Claims Commission Master Index, 1871-1880
  10. 1880 U.S. Census of Population
  11. 1930 U.S. Census of Population
  12. Division of Vital Records, Arkansas, Dept. of Health.  Akansas Death Index 1914-1950. Arkansas: Arkansas Genealogical Society.
  13. California Voter Registrations, 1900-1968
Last Updated:  February 2011

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