Family Stories

Major James Rolland Curry in the War of 1812

Going through my photos taken at Battle Grove Cemetery in Cynthiana, Harrison County, I found two small stones, those of Major James Rolland Curry and his wife, Martha Bracken.  My research has been lengthy, but so very interesting, on this gentleman and his family.

The following papers from the War of 1812, and pension applications for such, tell us much about Major Curry.

I was born in Flournoy’s Station on little North Elkhorn in Fayette County on the 8th day of December 1789.  My father was killed in Harmon’s defeat, in 1794.  My stepfather removed to the vicinity of Cynthiana, in which place and its vicinity I have lived ever since, except when absent on business.  In 1807 I was sent by Col. James Morrison, then U.S. contractor to issue rations to the troops at Fort Pickering, now Memphis, till the troops being ordered to the outpost on the Arkansas River.  I returned home after the declaration of War in 1812.  I volunteered in said company which was supposed would be ordered afterwards was commanded by Captain James Coleman in Col. R. M. Johnson’s regiment of mounted volunteers.  But before the company was organized, I received a letter from Col. Morrison who was Quarter Master General of the North West Army, requesting me to detach myself from the company and go with him.  Shortly after we arrived at frontier territory I was sent to purchase, forage and support for Col. Campbell’s detachment sent against the Mississinewa town and to purchase, forage and provision for them on their return, before which I received the appointment of Assistant Deputy Quarter Master General and Col. Orr, the Deputy Quarter Master General, being a little advanced in years and in action, I was directed by Col. Morrison to superintend the Quarter Master duties and the left line of the army, and from that time until after the battle of the Thames I was busily engaged in superintending the duties of the Quarter Master on the left and part of the center lines of the army.  After the battle of the Thames the war seemed to break in the North West, and Col. Morrison, having resigned, became contractor to supply the U.S. soldiers in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, requested me to resign and go and superintend the contract in Indiana and Illinois, which I did and Col. Morrison took my paperwork, which was voluminous, with him to Washington and made a settlement with Peter Hagner, 3rd Auditor.  In 1822 during my absence, my house with all my papers were consumed by fire and I have only my memory to rely on.

James Curry

A few notes on the above text:

Flournoy’s Station was located south east of Georgetown, built by Matthew and Francis Flournoy.  When James Curry and his family lived there it was Fayette County.

Fort Pickering is now Memphis, Tennessee, and was a strategic position on the Mississippi River.

The Battle of the Mississinewa was an expedition ordered by William Henry Harrison against the Miami Indian villages in response to the attacks on Fort Wayne and Fort Harrison in the Indiana Territory.

War of 1812 Claim of Widow.

The most interesting parts of this document – the identification of her husband, James R. Curry, who was acting Deputy Quarter Master General under Colonel Morrison who was Quarter Master General of the North Western Army under General William Henry Harrison in the War of 1812.  Martha Bracken Curry states that she did not know her husband when he went in the army.  She was married to James R. Curry in Cynthiana on the third day of October 1816, by Rev. Leroy Cole, who was a minister of the Gospel, and that her name before marriage was Martha Bracken, and that she has not married since the death of James R. Curry, and that neither herself nor the deceased husband had been previously married.  Her husband, James R. Curry, died at Cynthiana, in the state of Kentucky, on the 31st day of August, 1880, and that Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky, was the place of residence of herself and her husband since the date of his discharge from the Army.

This document gives us the birthdate, December 8, 1789, and place, Flournoy’s Station on little North Elkhorn Creek, Fayette County, Kentucky (now Scott County), as James Curry mentioned in his pension application.

Know all men by these presents that we, James R. Curry and Alexander downing, are held and firmly bound unto the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the just and full sum of fifty pounds current money and for payment well and truly to be made and done to the said commonwealth.  We bind ourselves and every of our heirs, executors and administrators, jointly and severally, firmly by these presents, sealed with our seals and dated this 3rd day of October 1816.

The condition of the above obligation is such that whereas a marriage is shortly intended to be solemnized between the above bound James R. Curry and Martha Bracken.  Now should there be no lawful cause to obstruct said marriage then the above obligation to be void, else to remain in full force and virtue.

J. R. Curry, Alexander Downing

Att. A. Moore

In the 1830 Harrison County census there are 2 young males and 5 young females living in the James Curry household – hard to tell if these are all children of this couple or other young relatives.  In the 1850 census James is 60, a lawyer; Martha is 50, born in Pennsylvania.  Three children live with their parents – Eliza, 27; James, 25, a lawyer; and Anna, 20.  In 1860 James was listed as the county judge and continued as such until his death.  In the 1880 census, just before James died, he is listed as born in Kentucky, but both parents were born in Delaware.  Martha and her parents were born in Pennsylvania.

Evidently James Curry was a southern sympathizer during the Civil War.  On September 26, 1861, in Collin’s History of Kentucky, states ‘Maj. J. R. Curry, judge of Harrison county court, Perry Wherritt, clerk, and Wm. B. Glaves, sheriff of same, and A. J. Morey, editor of Cynthiana News, arrested, 30th, and taken to U. S. Barracks at Newport.  All “charged’ with aiding the rebellion, or “affording aid and comfort to the enemies of the government.”’

Major James R. Curry, December 8, 1789 – August 31, 1880.  Battle Grove Cemetery, Harrison County, Kentucky.

James Curry wrote his will May 28, 1864, leaving everything to wife Martha – ‘under a full conviction that she will dispose of it in a proper manner and appoint her sole Executrix.’  The will was probated September 27, 1880.

Martha, wife of J. R. Curry, July 10, 1799 – March 12, 1891.

In the 1900 census for Harrison County Anna Todd, James and Martha’s youngest daughter, is head of household at the age of 66, widowed, had one child, one living.  Mattie (Martha) her daughter is 40, is single.  Living with them is Anna’s sister, Eliza McIntosh, 77, also a widow.  I could find no more information about the son James.

1 reply »

  1. Dear Plyllis, I’m researching an ancestor of mine by the name of Mallisa Brooks. In her daughter’s(”Jennie” Jane Bryan) memoir, she says she never new her mother, but that she as a grandaughter of a Major Curry of the war of 1812. This gentleman James Roland Curry is the only one I have found to link Her to. I wondered if you knew anything of his children.
    Thank you, Toni Berry

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