A Tale of (at least) 5 Sams

The first two Sam Curtises we learned about were the two listed in the 1870 Federal Census for Brazos, TX. For the longest time we believed these were the only two.

Since then, 3 others have been discovered and there may be more. Cool, yes and driving me crazy!

The featured image here is of a record mentioning whom we believe to be the 3rd Sam Curtis in our search. He is mentioned in the will of Nancy Jones, the mother-in-law of the first enslaver of Stephen Curtis and some of our other ancestors. She is bequeathing her negro slave, Sam to her daughter.

This, of course, raises many questions such as if this is the same Sam listed in the 1870 census mentioned above. As of now we do not know. As of now we consider him to be Sam #1, because he may be the oldest having been found in this 1829 will.

So here is a list of the Sam Curtises we have found as of March 28, 2024 and how we think they may be connected to Stephen. The common thread, at the very least, is there name and them either being born in Alabama and/or living in Texas in the 19th century or just after.

Note: this post will continue to be updated as we find more Sams or info about them. Last updated: March 28, 2024

Sam Curtis #1
Mentioned in Nancy Jones’ will in 1829. Because he was “given” to her daughter, Ann Lee Curtis, we know at some point he was part of the planation that enslaved Stephen. Ann Lee Curtis was married to William Curtis and the mother of Darius Curtis, both of whom enslaved our ancestors at some point.

Though his age is not given, but her will says “man slave” which suggests he was over 18 or perhaps 21 at the time. This would make him close in age to Stephen who was born in 1806 and very unlikely to be the 46 year old Sam we found in the 1870 census.

This Sam Curtis could be related to Stephen, perhaps even a brother but may have been forced to take the Curtis name once he became part of that plantation.

Sam Curtis #2
We call him 46 year old Sam as we first find him in the 1870 census as 46 years old. He is too young to be the same as Sam #1. This Sam in one of the 4 households where Stephen and others were in Brazos. He married Elvira, who also was in one of the households and together they had at least 5 children: Phillis, Kittie, Aurie, Mary Ann, Hattie, Martha. We find them in the 1880 census living in Navasota

Sam Curtis #3
We call him 8 year old Sam as he was 8 years old in that 1870 census with Stephen. It is unclear whose child he is although he may be the child of Sam #2 and Elvira.

Sam Curtis #4 (Adaline)
According to a record in the Brazos County Book of Marriages, Stephen, who was minister at the time, married these two in 1877. A hint of them appears in the 1880 census, however the idiot, and perhaps deliberate census take only put initials and not their names. Really!!!

Sam Curtis #5 (Mary)
Found in the 1900 census with a wife Mary and two children, Susan and William. This Sam was born in 1864, similar to our Sam number 3 but we do not think they are the same.

Note: this post will continue to be updated as we find more Sams or info about them.