James Curry & Other Currys in Mercer County, KY Pre-1800

Yesterday, we looked at the family of William and Sarah (MNU) Curry. They had settled on Chaplin’s Fork in Mercer County, Kentucky by 1780, when William received a land grant of 400 acres.

Thanks to William’s 1801 will, several of the other early Curry family members can be identified.

However, William was reportedly the son of William Curry Sr., who died in Virginia and at least one of William’s proposed siblings – James Curry – also settled in Mercer County quite early.

James Curry was born c1746 and married Ann Curry. He served during the American Revolution and died in Mercer County on 11 February 1828. Ann survived him by exactly ten years, passing away on 11 February 1838. Both of these dates are given in Ann’s widow’s pension.

James Curry left a will and named several children – son Robert, living in Indiana, daughter Nancy who married Abraham Brewer and two sons who predeceased him – John and James. However, both John and James predeceased their father, so James and Ann might have had only two surviving children – Robert and Nancy.

However, there are more Curry men who appear on the Mercer County, Kentucky tax lists from 1789 onward than I know what to do with.

Take a look at the Mercer County tax lists, just up to 1809:

1789 – William
1794 – Andrew, John, James, James, William, William, James
1795 – Andrew, John, William, James, John, James, William, James
1796 – Andrew, James, John, John Sr., William, William, James, James, Robert
1797 – Robert, James, Andrew, William, James, John, James, William, William
1798 – Missing
1799 – James, John, James, John, Robert, William, William, William
1800 – James, William, William, Robert, William, John, James, William
1801 – William, William, James, John, Robert
1802 –  Robert, William, William, James, John, James, John, Sarah, William, James, William
1803 – John, John, William, James, James, William, Sarah, James
1804 – John, William, John, Robert, James, William, William, Sarah, James
1805 – James, John, William, Sarah, William, James Sr., Robert, John, James
1806 – John, James, John, James, James, Israel, Robert, Sarah, William, William
1807 – Israel, John Sr., Robert, James Jr, James Sr., John Jr, John, James, Sarah, William, James
1808 – James, Israel, William, James, Robert, Sarah 360, William, James, John
1809 – Samuel, William, William, James, Robert, John, William, James, James, John, Israel

Unfortunately, land records haven’t help sort these people out too much because they seemed to have sold only portions of their land holdings at a time and the acreage doesn’t match the amounts noted in these tax records.

There are also a number of Currys listed in the Mercer County, Kentucky probate records. However, only two men – William who died in 1801 and his supposed brother James, who died in 1828.  Most of the records are simply inventories taken during estate administrations.

Curry, Alexander, 1795 WB 2:3, 1802 – acct, 2:306

Curry, John, Dec 1798, 2:20, appraisers Owen Winn, James Grimes, Thos Clarke

Curry, James, 25 Nov 1799, 2:152, appraisers John Ashby, Thos Jones, David Adams

 Curry, John, 1799, WB 2:140

 Curry, Andy, 1800, WB 2:154, appraisal done 28 March 1798 by John Waggener, William Curry, Beverly Mann, not filed until January 1800.

Curry, William, 1801 WILL, 2:263, 2:287, 2:299

Curry, Andrew, appraisal, 25 Jan 1802, WB 2:287-288, adm William Curry, appraisers Edward Willis, Beverly Mann

Woods, Archibald, appraisal, Jan 1802, WB 2:286, appraisers William Curry & Joseph Thompson, Francis Doty, James Curry (married Mary Thickston, 1 March 1800, Mercer County)

Curry, Alexander, 22 Nov 1802, 2:3, adm William Curry, appraisers Joseph Thompson, Nathaniel Dowden, Beverly Mann

Curry, William, 1805, 3:134

Curry, Martha, 1814, 5:136 WILL, all to granddau Martha, Wit: James Kirkpatrick, exec., James Gelmer, Sally Bigham

Curry, Dicey, 1815, 5:177, dower (widow of William)

Curry, William, 1819, 6:205, adm account

Curry, John, 1825, 8:39, adm account

Curry, James, WILL, 9:116, 9:128 appraisal and widow Ann’s dower; settlement 1829, 9:254

Marriage records help a little, but not much:

William Curry & Ann (Nannie) Hill, 1 Feb 1788
Mary Curry & William Adams, 9 Jan 1792, Wm. Curry father
Robert Curry & Elizabeth Jones, 26 Nov 1797, dau Mason Jones
James Curry & Molly Mann, 16 Mar 1798, dau Beverly, Wm. Curry (b), Joseph Thompson and Wm. Curry witness to permission letter
Sally Curry & Ephraim Thompson, 18 Oct 1798
Polly Curry & John McClure, 2 Sept 1799
Ann Curry & John Cooney, 26 Jan 1802, James Curry, witness
Nancy Curry & Abraham Brewer, 22 Oct 1810, James Curry father, John & Robert Curry witnesses

Right now, there is no way to tie all these people accurately into family groups.

However, I have a few observations about some of them and how they fit into the family – and my observations don’t jive with information I’ve seen online.

Besides yesterday’s theory that William who died in Botetourt County, Virginia in 1781 might not be the father of William Curry who died in 1801 in Kentucky, two of the other names on the probate list caught my eye.

I don’t think many people track families through tax records, but in Kentucky and Tennessee, they are one of my favorite research resources.

Let’s look at Andy/Andrew Curry, who has probate entries in 1800 and 1802 and Alexander Curry, who had an estate administration in 1795.

I’ve seen websites that surmise that either Andrew or Alexander was the father of William Curry – of course with no sources to support the idea.

It is true that a William Curry administered both of these estates and that, in the case of Alexander, that William Curry took the 1/3 portion of the estate due to him.

First, we have Andrew Curry, who had died by 28 March 1798, when William Curry, Beverly Mann and John Waggener. For whatever reason, this appraisal was not entered into court records until January 1800 and for still another unknown reason, it was re-entered into court minutes on 28 January 1802. The inventory lists for the two court sessions are the same, so we only have one Andrew Curry. There are mentions online of an Andrew Curry being killed by Indians and those statement may pertain to this man.

I don’t believe he was old enough to be the father of William Curry, who died in 1801. In fact, although the Currys can be documented in Kentucky back to 1780, this Andrew owned no real estate and doesn’t appear in the tax records until 1794. I believe that’s because he reached legal age in late 1793 or early 1794. Andrew last appears in the 1797 tax list. The 1798 record is missing and his inventory was taken in March so he likely died in early 1798. No marriage record has been found for Andrew either, which might be another indication he was a young man when he died.

Next, we have Alexander Curry, who NEVER appears in the Mercer County tax lists and he owned no real estate there either. William Curry also administered his estate.

There are two probate entries for Alexander, just as there were for Andrew. William Curry filed an inventory of Alex’s estate in 1795, with the appraisal done by Joseph Thompson, Nathaniel Dowden and Beverly Mann.

There is a curious item in the list of sale items with “ERRASE” written over it.

However, buyers include Ephraim Thompson and Emmor Stallcup, who I think tie Alexander to “my” William Curry’s family.

There is a second curious item in the 1802 entry.

No explanation is given for why the sheriff paid the estate 6 shillings 8 pence. [Alexander doesn’t appear in the Lincoln County, Kentucky tax records.]

There is also a note due from John Evans of Virginia. If his name wasn’t so common and/or a county in Virginia named, he would provide an additional clue as to the migratory path of the Curry family.

Because Alexander owned no land and there is no marriage record for any man named Alexander Curry to be found, I think it is again very possible that Alex was a son of William and Sarah Curry. The mention of Ephraim Thompson in the crossed out sale list might be an indication that Alex was the brother-in-law of Ephraim, who married Sarah Curry, daughter of William and Sarah.

Andrew and Alexander Curry would also fill in the gap between the births of James and John Curry, sons of William and Sarah.

Much more work needs to be done to confirm or disprove who married who and who died when in this extended Curry family.


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