Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Wanted information on Elijah M. McCurdy

This is Elijah M. McCurdy. He is one of the most difficult dead ends we have . If you are a McCurdy researcher, and you have tested DNA we have over 14 descendants and counting who have tested. We really want to link Elijah to his family.


image colorized from tintype by Margaret Harkness

Elijah M. McCurdy was born in 1793. According to his enlistment in the Army in 1813 he was born in Abbeville, SC.  On his pension he states it was in Chester, SC. We have been unable to find a family in South Carolina in which he fits. I have a theory that his father had died by 1800 and his mother had remarried. 

Elijah enlisted in the Army November 22, 1813 at Chester, South Carolina. He was discharged from Fort Marks, Florida on December 5, 1818. He was 5 foot 10 with dark hair and blue eyes. His occupation was listed as a farmer.

Elijah married Martha "Mattie" Bowen the daughter of American Revolutionary War vet Joel Bowen in March 1819. He is found on the Spanish Census of Pensacola in 1820 and is listed in the American State Papers as a resident there in 1821. Along with Elijah there is a William H. McCurdy, who was born in 1786. We think that William is his brother. 

Elijah and Martha Bowen had two children, Joseph C. McCurdy and Mary Anna McCurdy (on her marriage record only she's listed as Mary). The family lived near the state line between Santa Rosa County, Florida and Conecuh County, Alabama (which would become Escambia many years later.).

We think that Nancy who married Joshua Bowen, Mattie's brother may be a sibling of Elijah and William H. McCurdy because in 1870 she is living with Thomas Sunday and his wife Anna McCurdy. 

In 1830 we do not find Elijah as a head of household. It does appear that he could be in the household of Joshua Bowen. William H. McCurdy is listed as living in Conecuh county with a female child 5-10 who is most likely Abasheba McCurdy who married Reuben Ard. For years everyone thought she was Elijah's daughter and that Anna was William's. Death records for Abasheba name her father as William though, and DNA seems to support that Anna was Elijah's daughter.

By September 18, 1831, Martha had died and Elijah married Barsheba or Barbara Sunday whose name is listed as Sundike on her marriage. She was the daughter of John Sunday and Barsheba Collins. Though Elijah had received a bounty land warrant, he doesn't ever appear to be prosperous. His father in law on the other hand owned several slaves. About 1830 he began a relationship with one of them, a slave woman named Ginny whom he later freed along with her children.

John Sunday was murdered by his slave Adam in 1839 under questionable circumstances (a Sunday descendant suggests that he was put up to it by Elijah or W. "Pink" Owens.) Both Elijah and Pink Owens were the administrators for his estate, which I have still not seen. From the census of 1840 it appears that Elijah has some of the younger Sunday children in his home, he is found in Conecuh County, Alabama, living next door to  Cleopatra Brewer Jones and her husband Willis Jones.

I had always thought he had lived nearer to Coon Hill, but now I am not so sure. I think he actually resided very near the state line either north of Jay or northwest of Jay, since aside from his son Joseph all the family resides near Century, Florida. The 1850 census shows Elijah in Santa Rosa County, Florida with his wife Barbara, sons George W., John, Elijah, Francis and Thomas, and daughters Charlotte, Barbara, Cornelia, Julie Ann and Elizabeth.

In 1860 John McCurdy died, as he is found in the mortality schedule for the 1860 census, and son Elijah died sometime before the 1860 census. In 1860 Elijah is again living in Santa Rosa County, Florida. He is found with the following family wife Barbara, and children Marion F (Francis), Thomas J., Cornelia, Julia Ann, Elizabeth, William and Reuben. For some reason, though we have DNA to prove it, his daughter Mary Evaline is not found in his home. Elijah's sons Joseph, Francis, George, and Thomas all enlisted in the civil war. Son William claimed, and received a pension for service in the local home guard. Sadly his sons Joseph and Thomas perished in the war and son George was wounded severely. 

The 1867 state census of Santa Rosa County, Florida gives us the following information one male over 21, 2 males under 21 (William M. and Reuben), and two females under 18. Note there is no female over 18 indicating Barbara had died. Elijah isn't found in the 1870 census, but we know that portions of Santa Rosa county aren't enumerated that year (and some also in 1880). The next record we find for him is his pension for service in the war of 1812. It is from this record we get his death  date of Feb 22, 1876. His son Francis was his executor. If he has an estate, I haven't been able to locate it. 

There are several rumors that have been floating around for decades. One is that he was the guardian of the 13 year old Barbara and sneaked off to marry her and left his first wife in Alabama. At this point, I think this is entirely untrue. He was much older than Barbara, but there was no reason her father wouldn't have custody of her, she was older than stated, and it really does appear that Mattie had died. Another is that he lost his eye in the Indian Wars. Except he's not listed on any roster in the Indian wars. I am not sure if he was wounded during the war of 1812, but I think losing an eye even then would have gotten you discharged. 

One researcher had a list of names for siblings, and stated they all lived nearby. Well, not only have we never found them in any records by those names (like Bruce) but only one sibling seems apparent. William H Mccurdy is in Sumter County, Alabama in 1840 and then he dies. It is about that time that his daughter marries Reuben Ard.

15 comments:

  1. Great job jenn.. I enjoyed reading it...

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  2. Wonderful bio of our elusive ancestor, Jennifer. If anyone can crack this Nut, I think it is you! You have already through DNA linked us to the McCurdys that came over to America from Ireland and Scotland. That was a major discovery on this case and one day if the information can be found, we may know more of just who that ancestor is. Great job on the blog and thank you for all that you do for our family.

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  3. I wonder if he may be related to the McCurdy family from Santa Rosa County?

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    1. this is the ancestor of all the McCurdy's in Santa Rosa

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    2. My mom has some interesting stuff.....and it is stated that the old Helms property in mt. Carmel was once mccurdy land.....

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  4. The 13 year old, I believe was Charlotte. CP Owens (pink) married her and her birthdate is altered to make her look older. WSB Owens was the justice of the peace on the document, if I recall. Which is why they believe Pink and "Buck" Owens (who were executives on the will with Elijah murdered Sunday. Charlotte was pregnant. It seems well thought out. And WSB liquidated the Sunday plantation I was told.
    Excellent things on McCurdy. I believe that they were in the war together. Joseph Owens and WSB Owens, with Elijah McCurdy.

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    1. I would love to talk to you Julie. Email me at nawlinslady9@gmail.com

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  5. Would you tell me where the Sunday Plantation was located? I am trying to locate information on my Paternal Great Great Grandmother Barsheba/ Barbara Sunday (Sundike) My father told me that his grandmother was this woman but he had heard her called Sara and that she was full blooded Cherokee Indian. My father Luther Sunday/ Sundie ( was forced to change the spelling of Sunday to Sundie during WWII ) was born in Escambia County, Alabama. I know that he had a female cousin who went by Pete (Sunday or Sundie)who lived in Pensacola, Fl. Thank you Alicia Annette Sundie Pack

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    1. Alicia, I'm a John Sunday Decendent too. Email me at nawlinslady9@gmail.com

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  6. I too am fascinated and stymied by the Old Elijah questions. I descend from his son Reuben with Barbare Sunday. He definitely had a brother William Henry but he's not listed as son of Elijah Sr and Anne Handy Harris. Her 1831 will seems to corroborate this. I believe old Elijah and William had different parents. So frustrating. Which DNA test do I take that would tie in with these ancestors? Thanks. Sandra McCurdy Wallace

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    1. Elijah and Ann Handy Harris are not the parents of our Elijah. They are the parents of the Elijah in Dekalb who is 6 years younger than ours. It is too well documented. And no, our Elijah didn't live in two places. We do have DNA connecting our line to this one and the ones in Pennsylvania, however, no one can find the exact connection

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  7. It appears that this photo is being claimed by more than one family as their ancestor. There is a large McCurdy family in Northeast Alabama, and an Elijah McCurdy was the oldest of that group. A copy of what appears to be the original picture is on his find a gave listing. I don't know anything else about it, other than it appears there is some confusion. https://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=7117551

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    1. Although I know for a fact that he tintype came from my family, I also know there are many, including my own family researchers, who insist my Elijah was both places (he wasn't), and it is not surprising at all. I do know that we are related to that man, but there is a 6 year difference in their ages and he is likely a first to second cousin

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    2. This photo was give To my husband (Ted() by his grandmother before she died. His grandmother was Viola Sunday from escambia county florida. We thought this photo was from the Malone side of the family but it must be from the Sunday side after reading all about it. Elijah had to be kin to her for her to have the photo so I would say he was from Florida.

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