Having experienced quite a bit of success last year piecing together my husband’s Thompson family, I decided it was time to try to flesh out the family of Sarah (Sally) Curry, wife of Ephraim Thompson.
William Curry’s exact year of birth is unknown. Although with children born by the late 1760s (based on marriages in the 1790s), a birth year of 1740 is reasonable, particularly since his father, also William, has an estimated birth year of 1715.
William Curry’s birth place is also uncertain, although it is thought he might have been born in Augusta County, Virginia, where the family lived prior to migrating into Kentucky in the 1790s.
William married Sarah (MNU), probably around 1770. Her maiden name is UNPROVEN!
Some online sources say it is Bigham, but I have no documentation. I’d say the possibility is a MAYBE. Bigham is not a common surname in colonial America.
However, I have found a couple of intriguing clues.
I believe the “source” for Sarah’s maiden name is John Bigham, who witnessed William Curry’s will in 1801. John Bigham also signed as a witness to Mary Curry’s letter of permission to marry, written by her father, William Curry.
Given that William Curry’s family lived in Augusta County, Virginia and he married well before the American Revolution began, I looked through early Augusta County records found online.
I have to admit that William Curry is a COMMON name among the 18th century Scots-Irish. There are William Currys running around all over the place and it’s impossible that they were just one or two men.
Bigham, on the other hand, is quite rare and I found John Bigham in the same record as a William Curry!
Lyman Chalkley’s Chronicles of the Scots-Irish in Virginia has been a godsend. It’s out of copyright and I’ve downloaded and saved all three volumes on my computer. Look at this entry:
Page 88/89 – 17th November, 1761. Alexander McFeeters’ appraisement, by Thos. Teat, Jno. Bigham, Wm. Currey recorded.
First off, John Bigham in Mercer County, Kentucky was the apparent son of John Bigham Sr. and William Curry, also in Mercer County, was the son of William Curry Sr. Given the 1761 date, I’d have to say that the Juniors were in their young 20s so it is probably the Seniors who appraised Alexander McFeeters’ estate.
Next, I found a map image, which is under copyright and used on the website with permission, so I will link to it. If you look for the land of William McNutt, he is the common person between landowners John Bigham and William Curry. Look at the location of John Bigham’s land. His property adjoins that of William McNutt, who lives just to the east of John.
If you look at the southernmost point where the two properties meet, it shares a common point with land of William Curry! They were neighbors. Just to the south of John’s land and to the west of William’s property is the land of Alexander McPheeters, whose estate they appraised.
This puts John Bigham well within the Curry FAN club, so it is certainly possible that William’s wife Sarah was a Bigham, but it isn’t a proven fact.
Unfortunately, John Bigham died intestate and his only proven child was his son , John Jr., who served as administrator. John Jr., his wife Jane, and his mother Sarah sold John Sr.’s land to Thomas Scott on 18 April 1780.
Many online sources place William Curry Jr. in Botetourt County, Virginia. In fact, some claim his father, William Curry Sr., died there in June 1791 (including an entry in the DAR Patriot Index.)
If that is true, the William Sr. must have been living with a married daughter’s family because there are ZERO Currys on the personal property tax lists in that era.
There also are NO William Currys, or any Currys at all for that matter, selling any land in Botetourt County between 1770-1815. I doubt that the family lived there.
On the other hand, there are MANY Currys on the Augusta County, Virginia tax list, along with a number of land entries for Currys recorded there.
Tomorrow’s post will examine the family of James Curry, who died in Mercer County, Kentucky on 11 February 1828. He was a Revolutionary War soldier and his widow, Ann, received a pension in the 1830s. Affidavits claimed that James Curry settled in “the county” (Mercer) by 1780.
However, the earliest surviving tax list for Mercer County, Kentucky – 1789 – shows William Curry as the only Curry living there at the time. [Note: Mercer County was formed from Lincoln County in 1785. It is possible that James Curry was living in what remained of Lincoln County. We’ll take a closer look at James Curry in the next post.]
Next, we have the will of William Curry, which names all his children except his “married daughters”, who are mentioned.
Note that Sarah, who married Ephraim Thompson, wasn’t named in her father’s will. However, he left his “married daughters” small bequests. Mary is his other married daughter.
- John, born c1767
- William, born c1769
- Mary, born c1771; died after 25 August 1801; married William Adams, 9 January 1792, Mercer County, Kentucky. Interestingly, John Bigham and John Curry signed William’s permission form for his daughter to marry.
- James, born c1773; married Molly Mann, 16 March 1798, Mercer County, Kentucky.
- Alexander?, died 1795, Mercer County, Kentucky
- Andrew?, died before 28 March 1798, Mercer County, Kentucky
- Sarah, born c1777; died between 1840-1842, Howard County, Missouri; married Ephraim Thompson, 18 October 1798, Mercer County, Kentucky
- Robert, born c1779; died after 25 August 1801
- Samuel, born c1781; died after 25 August 1801
- Ann, born c1783; married John Cooney, 26 September 1803, Mercer County, Kentucky
- Jean/Jane, born c1785; married Thomas Agains, 4 June 1804, Mercer County, Kentucky, by permission of her mother, Sarah.
William died between 25 August 1801 and the October 1801 court session when his will was ordered to be recorded.
Sarah survived him by several years. She is last found on the 1808 Mercer County tax list, taxed on 360 acres.
The scribe who wrote out William Curry’s will wasn’t the best speller, but all the words can be understood. I have added paragraphing to make for easier reading.
Will of William Curry
Mercer County, KY WB 2:263-264
In the Name of God amean I William Currey of Mercer County and state of Kentucky being sick and wake in Bodie tho prafect in mind and memory thanks be to God for it and caling to mind the mortallity of my bodie and knowing that it is appointed for all men wanst to die, do make and ordain this my last will and Testament,
principly and first of all I do recommend my soul to almighty God that gave it and my bodie to be buried in the earth in desant Christian burial at the discreation of my executors nothing doubting but I shall receive the same again at the general Judgment, and
as tuching my worldly substance wherewith it hath pleased god to bles me in this life I D ordain and dispoas of in the following manner and form
Viz To sarah my beloved wife do give and Bequeth the third of my moovable Estate the mention hous and houshold furnitor hur lifetime
To my sone John I do giv and bequeth the Plantation which
he has now in posession, To my sone William I do giv and bequeth the plantation which he has now in his posession,
To my sone James I D Giv and beqeth one hundred and fifty acors of Land lying on the south sid of Chaplin on the uper end of my possesion,
To my sone Robart I do giv and beqeth one hundred and fifty acors of land ajoining his Broher James on the north,
To my sone Samuel I do giv and beqeth the Mention House with the reaminder of my land ajoining it at the death of my beloved wife.
To each of my married daughters I do give and beqeth two pounds,
To my daughter Ann I giv and beqeth one hors and saddle, Two Cows and and two sheep with one Bed and furnitor,
To my daughter Jean I giv and beqeth one hors and saddle, two Cows and Two sheep with one Bed and furnitor,
The rest of my moveable estate I alow to be equally divided betwixt my sons James, Robart and Samuel, B. John and William is to have two pound paid to each of them,
I appoint my wife and my sone John Executors Agust ye 25th 1801
William (X) Curry (seal)
Mercer Sct October County Court 1801
This last will and Testament of William Currey Decd was exhibited into Court and proved by the oath of John Bigman and Beverly Mann two subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded.
Testr Tho. Allen Cle
Notice that I don’t have much information on most of William’s children. That’s because at least one of his brothers, James, also settled in Mercer County.
Tomorrow’s post will take a much closer look at James Curry and his family.