Deodatus Curtis of Braintree, Rhode Island
The power of a storm determined the fate of Deodatus Curtis and his descendents. Had it been stronger than it actually was, the ship on which he traveled would have probably gone to the bottom and the line would have ended there. A weaker one would have not carried away three of the ships masts and prevented it from reaching its intended destination of Barbados where some other line of descendents would have come about. As it was, the ship was forced to Martha's Vineyard, Deodatus purchased land in Braintree, Connecticut, married, and had two children. So began the Deodatus Curtis line in America.
This is how this Curtis came to be in America according to family tradition. There are other theories on just where Deodatus was going, but it is certain that he purchased land in Braintree in 1640.
The particular line of the family documented here lived primarily in Ohio from 1791 onwards. Eleazer Curtis, his family, and his brother made the trip from Warren, Connecticut as was described by Walter Curtis.
I am indebted to a book written by Laura Guthrie (Curtis) Preston for the information for generations one through seven. I have a lot more information on the Descendant's of Deodatus Curtis than is presented here. If you think you are related to Deodatus Curtis drop me a line.
Eleazer William Curtis, his siblings, wife, and children are also identified in a series of letters that were passed down through the family by his Eleazer's daughter Lethe, who was my great grandmother. The letters sent in the 1840's and 50's were addressed to Hockingport, Athens County, Ohio. A second group sent in the 1880's were addressed to New England, Wood County, West Virginia.
- Solomon b 8 Jun 1643
- Ruth b 11 Aug 1647
Deodatus Curtis left England in 1639 or 1640. He ended up in Braintree, Massachusetts as is documented in Pope's Pioneers of Massachusetts: "Deodatus Curtis, planter, Braintree, bought land in 1640". He may have been on his way to Barbados when, as a result of a violent storm, his ship was forced to detour to Martha's vineyard. A destination of Barbados is suspected because Deodatus owned land there.
m 11 Apr 1673 Braintree Prudence Gatlive d 10 Nov 1727 Bristol, Massachusetts
- Prudence b 24 Dec 1673 Braintree, Massachusetts
- Rebecca b 3 Jun 1675 Braintree, Massachusetts
- Abigail b 23 Jan 1677/68
- Solomon b 20 Mar 1680/81
- Samuel b 4 Dec 1683 Braintree, Massachusetts
- Nathaniel b 24 Apr 1687 Braintree, Massachusetts
- Mary b 1 Aug 1695 Braintree, Massachusetts d 22 Aug 1695
- Prudence b 6 July 1696 Braintree, Massachusetts
As a testament to the early arrival of Deodatus Curtis at Braintree, his son's birth is the first entry under births in the Braintree Vital Records. When Solomon was eighteen, his family moved to Swansea, Mount Hope Neck, Massachusetts (now Bristol, Rhode Island). On 1 September 1681, he attended the first town meeting.
Swansea was where the first attack was made by chief Metacom (called King Phillip by the English) in King Phillips War six years before. Solomon Curtis's arrival was probably part of a resettlement of the area, the first settlers having been wiped out.
- Solomon b 23 Mar 1703/04
- Abigail b 26 Jul 1705 Bristol, Rhode Island d bef. 1760 m William Sims. child: James
- Deodatus b 5 Mar 1706/07
- Eleazer b 13 Nov 1709
- Mary b 18 Sep 1713 Bristol, Rhode Island m Linsford Morey
- Beriah b 9 Feb 1714/15 Bristol, Rhode Island d 6 Sep 1737 Lebanon, Connecticut
- Nathaniel b 21 Sep 1716 Bristol, Rhode Island d bef. 1760
- Simeon b 1721 Lebanon, Connecticut d 1779 Norwich, Connecticut m 20 Dec 1744 Sarah Hutchinson
- Prudence b 1721 Lebanon, Connecticut d 1812
- Samuel b 19 Jun 1733 Lebanon, Connecticut
In keeping with the pioneer spirit of his father and grandfather, Solomon moved his family to Lebanon (now Columbia), Connecticut in about 1719
m abt. 1729 Elizabeth Pineo
- Solomon b 1730 d 1734
- James b 1734 d 1735
- Solomon b 1735 d ca. 1771
CURTIS, Deodatus b 5 Mar 1706/07 Bristol, Rhode Island d Warren, Connecticut
m 1 Dec 1734 Elizabeth Selden b 9 Feb 1713
- Ebenezer b 9 Jul 1735
- Abigail b 20 Feb 1737/8
- Rebecca b 12 Jan 1739/40
- Abigail 13 Jan 1741/2
- Samuel 9 Feb 1743/4
- Nathanial b 1746-1752
- Solomon b 17 Feb 1755
- Selden b 8 Aug 1757
All Deodatus' children and a wife Hannah are named in his will.
For further information on the descendents of this Deodatus Curtis, email Anne Townsend.
m 23 Sep 1735 Warren, Connecticut Mary Dunham b abt. 1715 d 10 Apr 1788 Warren, Connecticut
- Eleazer b 23 Sep 1736
- Ruth b 20 Dec 1738 d 17 Jan 1807 Warren, Connecticut m 9 Mar 1758 Joseph Carter b 13 Sep 1731 Hebron, Connecticut d 26 Aug Hebron, Connecticut, son of Thomas Carter and Sarah Gilbert. Joseph served as a Captain in the American Revoluntion
- Mary b 21 Aug 1741
- Uriah b 29 Oct Warren, Connecticut
- Martin b 4 Aug 1743 Warren, Connecticut m(1) Aner Thomas m(2) Rebecha Man
- Hiram b 16 Aug Warren, Connecticut m Obedience Andrews
- Silas b 29 Jul 1755 Warren, Connecticut m 18 Geb 1779 Rachel Ackely
By now a family tradition, Eleazer moved his family to Kent (now Warren), Connecticut between 1740 and 1750. The first settlement was made at Kent in 1737.
m 7 Feb 1759 Warren, Connecticut Mary Carter b 14 Apr 1739 Hebron, Connecticut d 2 Oct 1805 Warren Connecticut
- Eleazer b 20 Oct 1759 Warren, Connecticut
- Augustine b 8 Nov 1761 Warren, Connecticut
- Lysander b 24 May 1763 Warren, Connecticut
- Milton b 2 May 1765 Warren, Connecticut
- Marsey Mitilda b 19 Oct 1767 Warren, Connecticut
- Malley b 29 Aug 1769 Warren, Connecticut d 15 Oct 1776
- Lucinda b 26 Mar 1771 Warren, Connecticut d 12 Oct 1776
- Laura b 22 Jan 1773 Warren, Connecticut d 15 Oct 1776
- Clarissa b 18 Jan 1775
- George Washington b 28 Apr 1778 Warren, Connecticut
The farm owned by Eleazer Curtis in Warren is still known as 'Above all' because of its location on the level top of a hill (at least it was in 1945).
Eleazer started out his military career as an ensign of Second company or train band in 1770. In 1771 he was made lieutenant. On 1 May 1775 he was authorized by Governor Jonathan Trumbull to raise a company of one hundred men for the defense of the Colony. This probably became the 7th Company for which Eleazer was commissioned captain. After Fort Ticonderoga was taken by Benedict Arnold, Ethan Allen, and their men, Governor Turnbull ordered Colonel Benjamin Hinan's Fourth Regiment to secure the fort and Crown Point against recapture. In 1778, the now Major Curtis was given command of Colonel Enos' Regiment.
After the war, Eleazer was sent to the Connecticut Convention at Hartford as representative for Warren. The Convention convened 1 Jan 1788 and Eleazer voted 'aye' for the ratification of the United States Constitution.
m 29 Dec 1763 John Carter b 18 Jun 1736
- Philo b 30 Dec 1764
- Salmon b 27 Nov 1766
- Abel Curtis b 22 Jun 1769
- Mary b 22 Jul 1771
m 7 Nov 1782 Fairfield County, Connecticut Eunice Starr b 15 Aug 1766 Ridgefield Connecticut d 6 May 1814 Newbury Settlement, Little Hocking, Ohio
- Eleazer Starr b 13 Sep 1783 Warren, Connecticut
- Jason Ralph b 16 Dec 1785 Warren, Connecticut
- Walter b 20 Sep 1787 Warren, Connecticut
- Mary b 28 Jun 1789 Warren, Connecticut
- Benajah b 20 Mar 1791 Warren, Connecticut
- Horace b 7 Aug 1793 Washington County, Ohio
- Clarissa b 3 Mar 1796 Washington County, Ohio
- Lucy b 13 Aug 1798 Washington County, Ohio d 17 Oct 1798
- Lucy b 26 Dec 1800 Washington County, Ohio
At the age of 16, Eleazer enlisted in the Continental Army just 15 days after Lexington and Concord. As a private in Captain Noadiah Hooker's Company he took part at Roxbury and in the siege of Boston until the end of his term of service. Four months after Washington's victories at Trenton and Princeton, Eleazer enlisted again on 21 April 1777 as a private in Captain Albert Chapman's Company for a term of 8 months. This company was part of the Seventh Regiment, Connecticut Line, commanded by Colonel Heman Swift, which fought at Germantown 4 October 1777. Eleazer then spent what must have been an unforgettable winter with Washington at Valley Forge.
He was present at the battle Monmouth on 28 June 1778. If he was with Joseph Martin who was also of the Connecticut Line, then he was responsible for holding back a British attack while the Americans made an orderly retreat. This gave the American artillery time to place some well-aimed fire on the British who "reluctantly crawled back from the height which they had occupied and hid themselves from our sight" as Joseph Martin put it. In Page Smith's A New Age Now Begins Smith characterizes the action: "This small episode may well have marked a turning point in the battle. As we have noted of other engagements, the key to most battles usually lies in some incident, typically involving a handful of soldiers who, quite outside the view of their commanding general, attack or defend in what subsequently turns out to have been the crucial action of the whole engagement." (P. 1096).
Four years after Cornwallis's surrender at Yorktown, Eleazer married Eunice Starr. They lived in Warren for nine years and had five children before deciding to make for Ohio.
The Adventure of the Northwest
Before and after the Revolutionary War, a number of land companies were formed to sell land in the west to settlers. One of these was Vandalia Company which attempted to create the state of Transylvania in the Tennessee-Kentucky area. Another was the Ohio Land Company which was formed in Boston, Massachusetts on 4 March 1786. The first directors were General Rufus Putnam, Colonel John Brooks, Major Winthrop Sargent, Captain Thomas Cushing, and Reverend Manasseh Cutler. On 27 October of the following year, the company received a grant of 1,781,760 acres for the sum of $1,000,000 from the Congress of the Confederation.
A few months later two groups of men, one from Connecticut and the other from Massachusetts, started for Ohio. They most likely traveled down the Ohio River from its headwaters as it was to become a common route. On 7 April 1788, they arrived at the mouth of the Muskingum aboard a flatboat and three log canoes. At that place they founded the first city in Ohio: Marietta. In the next few years, they were followed by many other settlers. By the end of 1790, the settlement had grown to eighty houses and a stockade called Campus Martius. In addition, other smaller settlements sprang up in the area. Their peaceful existence up to this time was about to be upset.
During the spring and summer of that year reports of Indian attacks spread through the settlements. They were at first assumed to be of the type that came to be expected when new country was settled: kidnapped women and children, burned-out cabins, and the interception of settlers coming down the Ohio River. In order to discover the seriousness of the situation, the newly appointed governor of the territory, Arthur St. Clair. - Major Eleazer Curtis may have served under him at Fort Ticonderoga - gave orders for Major John Hamtramck to ascertain the Indian's intentions. Through a French trader whom the Major used for this purpose, it was learned that at least three of the tribes in the area appeared to be preparing for war. Governor St. Clair immediately began assembling a force to launch a preemptive strike against the Indian strongholds along the Wabash River. During the rest of the year, troops and supplies were assembled and, under the command of Colonel James Trotter and later Colonel John Hardin, they made a number of attacks upon the Indians, none of which were successful to any degree. Rather, they had the opposite effect of infuriating the tribes that were attacked and bringing other tribes into the fight who had been on the sidelines. On 2 January 1791, the Indians attacked the exposed settlement of Big Bottom, forty miles upriver from Marietta. All the settlers - men, women, and children - were killed and houses and barns were burnt to the ground. The news of the Big Bottom Massacre flew from settlement to settlement, up and down the river. Those that were too small to be able to defend themselves packed up what they could and, along with their livestock, headed for Marietta where the stockade was manned by twenty regulars.
After the massacre, General Rufus Putman of Marietta wrote to President Washington requesting immediate support in defense from further Indian attacks. Washington appointed St. Clair commander of a force tasked with pacifying the Indians through defeat in battle. Preparations for the campaign took all of the summer and it was not until September that St. Clair set out. After having built several forts, he met the Indians on 4 November at a branch of the Wabash. His force was defeated and sent fleeing back to Fort Jefferson. The outlook could not have seemed much worse for the settlers. The Indians could have easily destroyed the rest of the settlers in the territory had they the organization and the will to do so. Fortunately for the settlers, this didn't happen. Not knowing this, they lived in a constant state of fear It was to this situation that Eleazer Curtis and his family arrived at Marietta a few weeks later.
On 8 September 1791, Eleazer Curtis, his wife, and five children along with Stephen Guthrie and his family and three unmarried men started from Warren Township, Litchfield County, Connecticut for Ohio. They would have almost certainly known before their departure of the massacre at Big Bottom and the attacks on immigrants traveling down the Ohio River, yet they made the trip none the less. Perhaps they thought that, with St. Clair in the field, the situation would be under control by the time of their arrival. They were able to make the trip with only the loss of one life due to an accident. And they saw no Indians. For four years after their arrival they had to live in garrisons. After the first two years Eleazer Curtis, Stephen Guthrie, their families and Truman Guthrie reoccupied the Newberry Garrison where they could work their farms which were in the Newberry Bottom.
On 20 August 1794, General Wayne and his force defeated the Indians of the area in the Battle of Fallen Timbers. On 10 August of the next year the Treaty of Green Ville was signed with the Indians. The following spring, Eleazer moved down to his property and built a cabin into which the family moved. He was able to enjoy this now peaceful existence for five years before he died 7 September 1801 of a bilious fever. Eleazer and Eunice are buried in the Newberry Cemetery.
m Lovina Fox
Lysander accompanied his brother Eleazer to Ohio but returned to Connecticut after having "taught school in a cooper's shop at Picketed Point". He also servered in the American Revolution as he was a pensioner in 1840. There was a "Licun Der Curtis," in Captain David Olmstead's Company which served in the Revolution from Litchfield County, Connecticut.
m 24 Jun 1812 Washington County, Ohio Esther Knowles b 8 May 1785 Cape May County, New Jersey d 4 Oct 1857 Hockingport, Ohio
- Eleazer William b 29 Aug 1813
- Sidney Walter b 24 Aug 1815
- James Frederick b 28 Jul 1817
- Chares Devol b 25 June 1820
- Leander Estelle b 8 Jun 1822
- Ruhama Juliette 27 Jul 1824
When Eleazer was eleven or twelve, he took his turn standing guard for Indians on a big stump while the men worked. On 21 Aug 1837 he purchased 80 acres at the Marietta Land Office. The land was located on the Big Hocking River, near Hockingport.
The convenience of the Ohio River allowed the pioneers to travel far down stream in search of a market for their goods. In 1810 Eleazer took a boat load of produce to New Orleans, some 1000 miles distant, in search of a good price for their goods. They arrived on 20 April to find prices depressed. After sending some money home to be paid to different persons he had but twenty dollars left: "to get from this Soddom". He had an opportunity to ship on a vessel to Pensacola, Florida. On his return, he would start for home where: "I shall stay very content".
Eleazar and Esther are buried in the Hockingport Cemetery, Athens County, Ohio
CURTIS, Jason Ralph b 16 Dec 1785 Warren, Connecticut
Walter dictated his memories of the trip from Warren, Connecticut to Ohio to his nephew Charles Devol Curtis
CURTIS, Mary b 28 Jun 1789 Warren, Connecticut
CURTIS, Benajah b 20 Mar 1791 Warren, Connecticut
CURTIS, Horace b 7 Aug 1793 Washington County, Ohio
CURITS, Clarissa b 3 Mar 1796 Washington County, Ohio
CURTIS, Lucy b 26 Dec 1800 Washington County, Ohio
m 15 Mar 1848 Athens County, Ohio Hanah Steelman Ruth b 7 Feb 1826 Cape May County, New Jersey d 4 Dec 1886 New England, Wood County, West Virginia
- Alice Starr b 24 Nov 1849
- James William b 14 Mar 1851
- John Sidney b 7 Feb 1853
- Jason Duvol b 12 Jan 1856
- Lethe Rebecca b 12 Nov 1858
- George Thomas b 8 Nov 1860
- Eleazer Leverett b19 Feb 1866 Hockingport, Ohio d 12 Aug 1887 New England, Wood County, West Virginia. Known as Lev to his family. He is Buried in the Hockingport Cemetery.
Letters to Eleazer William Curtis from his wife and children. Eleazar and Hanah are buried in the Hockingport Cemetery.
Sidney went to California for the gold rush for we find him writing letters to his sister in 1853 and 1854 from Sacramento, California where gold was first discovered. At some later date, he moved to San Francisco where he ran a business.
James is buried in the Hockingport Cemetery.
m 24 Dec 1879 Walnut Hills, Cincinnati, Ohio Dora Fisher Crossette b 6 Dec 1838 d 24 Mar 1903 Cambridge, Massachusetts
Charles wrote a number of letters to his brother Eleazer. He also took an interest in the family past and recorded his uncle Charles Curtis's recollections of the journey to Ohio.
m 25 Mar 1855 Wood County, West Virginia Caroline Rebecca Pennybaker b 7 Jun 1836 Belleville, Virginia (now West Virginia) d 18 Aug 1935 Glenville West Virginia
- Josephine Augusta b 12 Feb 1856
- Benjamin Starr b 11 Aug 1858
- Cassius Clay b 19 Aug 1860
- Chester Pomeroy b 1 Oct 1862 d 16 Oct 1946 Cabell, West Virginia m Ida May Curtis
- Julia Ann b 26 Apr 1864
- Sidney Walter b 30 Aug 1866
- Edward Stanley b 27 Jul 1868
Leander owned several river front lots in Hockingport. He also had about 250 acres just outside of town. Leander and Caroline are buried in the Hockingport Cemetery.
In 1867 Ruhama went to San Francisco, California via the Isthmus of Panama and lived with her brother Sidney. She was still there at the time of the great earthquake of 1906. Her house was one of the first to burn. She then went to live with her cousin, Stephen Knowles in Cloverdale, where she died a year later.
m Leander Sheets b 28 Mar 1838 New Matamoras, Ohio d 8 Sep 1908 Copan, Oklahoma
- Vaughn Lee b 2 Oct 1869
- Earl Henry b 24 Aug 1871
- Jason Curtis b 19 Nov 1876
- Letha (Lethe) Kate b 16 Jun 1878
- Fred Curtis b 6 Mar 1885
James is buried in the Hockingport Cemetery. He died of White Swelling (tuberculous arthritis).
m 4 Nov 1879 Alice Lucy Stone b 22 Aug 1855 Hockingport, Ohio d 25 Feb 1937 Akron, Ohio, daughter of Enoch and Elinda (Frost) Stone
- Frank William b 20 Jan 1882 Chester, Ohio
- Alice Bernice b 14 Feb 1889
- Mable Stone b 28 May 1891 Hockingport, Ohio
John Sidney was a physician
m 5 Sep 1883 Bellville, West Virginia Carrie Lucile Keever b 12 Sep 1860 Bellville, West Virginia d 2 Aug 1922 Revloc, Pennsylvania
- Kim Devol b 18 Nov 1884 Belleville, West Virginia d Jun 1934 Phoenix, Arizona m 26 April 1909 Guthrie, Oklahoma Mayme M. Helton b 5 Nov 1885 Livingston, Kentucky, daughter of Nelson W. and Ella Louise (Franklin) Helton
Jason was an Ohio River steamboat pilot; at first on passenger steamboats and last on towboats; he was recognized as one of the most competent navigators on the rivers between Pittsburgh and New Orleans. He was Captain General of Harbor No. 25, Pittsburgh, Pa., an association of river pilots, until shortly before his death.
George was some sort of traveling salesman. Contrary to what Laura Preston states in 'The Curtis Family' George wrote home and visited.
Related Links and References
If you would like to subscribe to the Curtis surname list, send an email to CURTIS-Lfirstname.lastname@example.org with 'subscribe' in the body and nothing else (i.e., no text, no signature file). You will receive a reply with instructions on how to use the list. You can also go to www.rootsweb.com for more information. They have over 2,000 mailing lists.
Ohio GenWeb Project - Athens County
Ohio GenWeb Project - Hocking County
Page Smith, A New Age Now Begins, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1976
Laura Guthrie (Curtis) Preston, The Curtis Family, printed privately, 1945
I found a copy of this book at the Sutro Library, San Francisco, California (CS 71 C98 1945)
If you have additional information or questions, please contact me via email.
All original material Copyright ©1997 by William Curtis Rowe