Thursday, October 17, 2013

McCurdy's of Escambia County, Florida

Elijah McCurdy of Escambia county is the progenitor of many descendants in the panhandle area. Born in 1793 in South Carolina (place varies by the document in his army records), his past is elusive. No one to date has been able to trace him further back. There is little doubt that he is a relative of the other McCurdy's in the South Carolina and Georgia area, but exactly how is the question.

Most of us feel that William H. McCurdy whose in Escambia in 1820 is probably his brother, and though I haven't changed the data in my tree, I am no longer sure that Nancy, the wife of Joshua Bowen is a sister of Elijah, though she may be.

We know that Elijah's first wife was Mattie Bowen. Mattie had a child prior to her marriage to Elijah though, Cleopatra Bowen Brewster who married Willis Jones. Add to the fact that Basheba's death certificate names her father as William and not Elijah, it made me reevaluate Anna McCurdy, the wife of Thomas Sunday.

We all know the oral history (and I am not talking about the "brother's from Scotland") that Elijah ran out on Mattie and married Barsheba Sunday who was his ward, and so they used the last name Sundike to help hide it. The history also says that Mattie and Joseph lived across from the river and that Joseph was the only child. I don't think so.

I think Anna McCurdy is a daughter of Elijah and Mattie Bowen. I think Mattie probably died before the marriage of Elijah and Barsheba/Barbara Sunday. Here's why. If you look at the 1840 census, Elijah is in Conecuh. The household appears to have some of the Sunday's in it, as there are more children than he had. Living next door to Elijah is Willis Jones. In 1838 or 39, (I did not check my records) Anna married Thomas Sunday (as Mary McCurdy). In 1850, Thomas Sunday and Anna have Joel Bowen (Mattie's father) in their home, he is 91. (In 1840 Willis Jones has a male corresponding with that age in his home). Next to their home is Willis Jones once again.

Anna and Thomas also name a daughter Cleopatra. So the fact that Nancy Bowen is living in their home in 1860 could be that Nancy is her Aunt by marriage. Or it could be that she's her Aunt. We aren't too sure, and as of yet, there is simply no way to find out.

Switching Anna for Basheba puts Elijah McCurdy's grandchildren in total I believe to 98. 28 of these grandchildren were the progeny of my ancestor, William Marion (desputed Jackson) McCurdy and his two wives, (one of whom also is a grandchild of Elijah), Amanda Beck and Florence Morris.

Although each generation as we reach the current ones does have fewer children, it still leaves a large number of descendants. The McCurdy family intermarried heavily with the Ard, Penton and Malone families, and has links to just about every large family in the Northern Escambia county region.

A group of my distant cousins and I are discussing having a reunion for the McCurdy family of Alabama (Escambia and Baldwin) and Florida (Escambia and Santa Rosa). We have formed a facebook group by the name of McCurdy Family of Alabama/Florida reunion. If you are a McCurdy of this family and are interested in joining us, please do so. We are in the very early stages, so nothing is definitive at this time, but we look forward to meeting our cousins.


  1. Jennifer, please email me at about these Bowens. Thank you.

  2. I commend you for your exhaustive research and envy you for all the fun you have had doing it. I also praise you for your attempts to make this research as "scientific" or at least non-fictional as possible. I have read a large number of your posts, although not all, as I too have deep and extensive roots in Escambia counties and really all around Mobile Bay, including at least one and more likely a half dozen or so ancestors among the Creeks or Choctaws.

    We are probably cousins.

    My mom was born in Pensacola, where her people are listed as "founders" of the city on her mom's side (Spanish) and French / Muskoki of some sort on her dad's side.

    I have a small issue with what you write, and I know this is mean-spirited in a way, but it is annoying to me because i want to be proud of you and your work. There is no need to use the apostrophe as often as you do. For example, yankees is just that if you mean more than one, not yankee's unless you mean the word to show ownership of the next noun. Pyburn's, McCurdy's, and brother's are all errors on this page. This misuse occurs throughout your posts, especially with family names. Don't use the mark to show plural, and you will be correct 99% of the time and eliminate hundreds of errors in your posts. I apologize for pointing this out.

    I wish that life for you is everything you wish it to be and that you and your family have great good fortune and lots of fun.

    Hope to see you at the next family reunion!!

  3. Jennifer, do you happen to know anything else about Cleopatra Brewster Jones?
    She is a Great Great Grandmother of mine and I am trying to find out about her parents for my family tree.

    Thank you!

    1. Dewaun, just found this comment. I know that someone in my panhandle pioneers group brought up Cleopatra Brewster and Mattie Bowen. I know that Willis Jones lives next door to Joseph McCurdy also. According to the research, Cleopatra was given some land or something like that by her father.