Tag Archives: Curry

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.


William Curry Sr., Father of William Who Died 1801, Mercer County KY

Before I share the myriad pile of miscellaneous Curry records to be found in early Mercer County, Kentucky, let’s take a look at William Curry Sr.

William Curry Jr., who died in Mercer County in 1801 and kindly left us a will naming his surviving children and “married daughters” is estimated to have been born c1740.

William Curry Sr. is said to be the father of William of Mercer County. According to the DAR Patriot Index, William Sr. was born c1715, place unknown and he married a McAfee. McAfee family papers have identified his wife’s given name as Mary.

I have a problem with the death date of William Curry Sr. He is said to have died in 1781 OR June 1791 in Botetourt County, Virginia. The DAR Patriot Index gives his death date as June 1791. However – and this is a big however – I can’t find ANY evidence to support that claim.

I commented earlier that there are no land deeds for ANY Currys in the Botetourt County index between the years 1770-1815. Furthermore, a page by page reading of the probate records finds absolutely no mention of any Curry at all in the 1791 records.

What I did find is an inventory of the estate of William Curry, deceased filed in February 1781.

Botetourt County, VA Will Book A:134
Source: FamilySearch

I’m not going to even bother transcribing the list because the appraisers aren’t even named by the court clerk!

Unfortunately, likely due to the war, the next year of probate records begins in 1787 so there is no follow up record of an estate sale or settlement of this William Curry’s estate.

I have found NO EVIDENCE whatsoever to support the idea that this William is the father of William who died in Mercer County 30 years later.

In fact, I tend to doubt that this William is “my” William’s father. Why? Yes, Botetourt County was formed from Augusta County in 1769, but there are a zillion Currys running around Virginia in the 1700s and a number of them moved on into Kentucky and Tennessee.  While some were surely related, there may be others who simply share the fairly common Curry surname.

Next, my William Curry’s father is most likely found in Augusta County records. I wrote about the appraisal of Alexander McFeeters’ estate in 1761 done by William Curry and John Bigham, who are excellent candidates to be the fathers of William Curry and John Bigham who both migrated to Mercer County and are found together in court records.

There are numerous mentions of one or more William Currys in the Augusta County records, right up to a William Curry dying there in the early 1800s. With only abstracted information at hand, I have no way to cleanly sort out all the Virginia Currys any more than I can unsort all of the Kentucky families, as you will see tomorrow.

William who died in Botetourt County died by February 1781. Yet, his supposed son William, along with William’s supposed siblings moved en masse to Kentucky. William is documented in Mercer County (which was still part of Lincoln County) by 1780.

How likely is it that the children all moved to Kentucky but left their elderly father back in Virginia? I don’t think it was very likely.

William Curry Sr. married [Mary] McAfee, c1738. Their birth years are estimated as c1715 and 1716 with places of birth being in County Armagh, Northern Ireland.


1, William, born c1740; died before October 1801, Mercer County, Kentucky; married Sarah (Bigham?), c1765, Virginia.
2. Susan, born c1742; married George McAfee, c1763, Virginia. George (first cousin to Susan) died in 1803, Mercer County, Kentucky
3. James, born c1746; died 11 February 1828, Mercer County, Kentucky; married Ann Curry, 25 February 1778, Rockingham County, Virginia. Ann’s parentage is unknown, but she gave her maiden name as Curry when she applied for a widow’s pension. She died exactly ten years after her husband on 11 February 1838, Mercer County, Kentucky. Marriage and death dates are also found in Ann’s widow’s pension application as James served during the Revolution under General George Rogers Clark in Illinois.
5. Alexander?, died 1795, Mercer County, Kentucky
6. Andrew?, died before 28 March 1798, Mercer County, Kentucky
7. Rebecca, born c1752; married William McAfee, c1772, Virginia. William died in August 1780, Floyd’s Station, Kentucky.
8. John, born c1757; reportedly died 1822/23, Knox County, Indiana; married Margaret Adams, 1777, Botetourt County, Virginia. Bondsmen were William Curry and William Adams.

If Alexander and Andrew were not sons of William and Mary, then they were likely sons of William (died 1801) and Sarah Curry.

This is just a possibility – Ann Curry, wife of James Curry above, might be the daughter of another James Curry. On 19 August 1794, James Curry of Bourbon County, Kentucky granted power of attorney to his son, James Curry, Jr. of Rockingham County, Virginia.

I have found no documentation for the children of William Curry Sr. and Mary McAfee, other than family histories, but I have no reason to doubt the information at this time because they most definitely traveled herd-style from Virginia into Kentucky and the children are the right ages to be siblings.

Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at James Curry, who died in Mercer County, Kentucky in 1828 and miscellaneous Curry records found there.



William and Sarah (MNU) Curry of VA and Mercer County, KY, 1801

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.


  1. John, born c1767
  2. William, born c1769
  3. 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.
  4. James, born c1773; married  Molly Mann, 16 March 1798, Mercer County, Kentucky.
  5. Alexander?, died 1795, Mercer County, Kentucky
  6. Andrew?, died before 28 March 1798, Mercer County, Kentucky
  7. Sarah, born c1777; died between 1840-1842, Howard County, Missouri; married Ephraim Thompson, 18 October 1798, Mercer County, Kentucky
  8. Robert, born c1779; died after 25 August 1801
  9. Samuel, born c1781; died after 25 August 1801
  10. Ann, born c1783; married John Cooney, 26 September 1803, Mercer County, Kentucky
  11. 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)

John Bigham
Beverly Mann

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.