Major James Rolland and Martha Bracken Curry


Battle Grove Cemetery, Harrison County, Kentucky

Major James Rolland Curry was born in Kentucky, December 8, 1789.  I have found nothing definitive about his parents, but have seen information that he was the son of James Curry, born in Delaware, grandson of Archibald and Sarah Curry, who with their son James came to Kentucky about 1786.  But I have no verification for this.

Scan_Pic1565I do know that James R. Curry was a Major in the War of 1812, under General William Henry Harrison, later president, whose most important victory during the war was the Battle of the Thames.  The above form is from the War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, showing the enlistment and discharge dates for James Curry – October 29, 1812 – January 11, 1814.

After the war James married Martha Bracken on October 3, 1816, in Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky, where they continued to live.  Perhaps the native born Pennsylvanian was swept off her feet by the war hero!

One of James’ sisters married Alexander Downing, and after her death about 1825, when Downing decided to go to Mississippi, James took his five children – his nephews and niece – and raised them as his own, giving them all the educational and other advantages as his children.

James became a lawyer and eventually was county judge for Harrison County for many years.  In the 1850 census of the county he is listed aged 60, lawyer, Martha, 50; Eliza, 27; James, lawyer, 25; Martha, 22; and Ann 20.

In 1860 James, 70, is county judge; Martha, 61; Ann Todd, 30, (who supposedly married a brother of Mary Todd Lincoln), daughter; and Martha Todd, 7, granddaughter.  In 1870, at the age of 80, James is still county judge, Martha is 71, and daughter Ann Todd, 46, is living with them.

IMG_3084Major James R. Curry, December 8, 1789 – August 31, 1880

In 1880 census, three months before his death, James is 91, a lawyer disabled by old age, living with wife Martha, 81, daughter Ann Todd, 51, and granddaughter Mattie (Martha) Todd, 18, who is postmistress!  I picture this rather frail older gentleman, who has seen so much history within his lifetime – and lived that history with zest and vigor!

IMG_3085Martha, wife of James Curry, July 10, 1799 – March 12, 1891

Martha lasted eleven years and a few months before following her husband to the grave.  They are buried in Battle Grove Cemetery in Harrison County.  Married at 17, Martha and James had been married 64 years at his death!  She lived to the age of 92!  Quite an accomplishment in those days!


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  1. I am supposedly related to Major John Rolland Curry, soldier of the War of 1812. I am looking for information on my great, great grandmother Jane “Jennie” Elizabeth Bryan. In an interview with her she states, she says she never knew her mother, but that she was a grand daughter or great grand daughter of Major Curry, that fought in the war of 1812. On her death certificate is states what looks like Mallisa Brooks for her mother’s name. I am not finding a connections with this family. It doesn’t look like her father was married to her mother.

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