Mary Hattaway Curry

 

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Mary E. Curry (ne Hattaway)

Mary Curry's life, like all lives, came with no guarantees. She was born Mary Hattaway in September 1818 or 1819 to Baton and Martha Hattaway of Washington County Georgia. Her grave marker in Warthen, Georgia gives her birth date as 17 Sep 1818, while the 1900 census gives her birth month as September 1819. 

The evidence of her parentage is found in various records. She married in the 1840's in Washington County, when there were two Hattaway families in the county. One was Baton and Martha Hattaway, who had daughters born between 1810 and 1820. The other was the family of David J. Hattaway, Baton and Martha's oldest son, who was only two or three years older than Mary. Another clue is found in the 1900 census, where she is living with Henry May and listed as an aunt. Henry's mother-in-law, Ann Giles, was the daughter of Baton and Martha Hattaway, so if Mary Curry is her sister she would be the aunt of Henry May's wife.

On  14 April 1844 Mary Hattaway married John A. Curry, the son of John Curry and Lucy ____, in Washington County, Georgia. Their marriage license was issued 3 days earlier. 

Mary and John Curry lived in Riddleville, Georgia. They appear in the 1860 Washington County, Georgia census. That year, they were both listed as 37 years old and born in Georgia. They were quite well-off. John A. Curry was a merchant with real estate worth $1000 and personal property worth $2200. Enumerated with John and Mary were two children, 15-year-old John H. Curry, b. 9 April 1845, and 12-year-old Lucy Francis Curry, b. 16 May 1849. These birth dates are based on their grave markers in the Riddleville Cemetery.

The War Between the States drastically changed Mary's life. Neither her husband nor her son would survive the war. The latter, John H. Curry, was the first casualty. He began military service in the C.S.A. on 23 November 1861 as a Private in Company B, Jackson Guards. Other members of this company included Privates Benjamin O. Hataway, Nathan Hataway, and William and Kinchen Bridges (the brothers of Sallie Bridges Hattaway, wife of John Turner Hattaway), and 3rd Sgt. Edmund D. May. John H. Curry died on 24 December 1861 at Strausburg, Shenandoah County, Virginia, at age 16. He probably did not die in battle. The army was over-wintering in the Shenandoah Valley and was inadequately prepared for the harsh winter. John's obituary in the Central Georgian reads, "Died. On the 24th of December last, in the 17th year of his age, at Strasburge, Va. John H. Curry, son of John A. and Mary Curry, of Riddleville. The subject was in the service of his country, a member of the Washington Rifles." He is buried in the Riddleville Cemetery, Riddleville, Georgia.

Mary's husband, John A. Curry, joined the C.S.A. on 1 March 1863 as a Private in Company E, Evans Brigade. Other members of his company included John's brother Eli F. Curry, who would survive the war only to die in 1876 at the age of 45, Nathan Hathaway (possibly Hattaway), and Reuben Hathaway. John A. Curry was captured in July 1864 at Leesburg, Loudoun County, Virginia after he fell behind his company, too ill to continue. He died as a prisoner of war in August 1864.. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery near the Confederate Memorial (Sect. 16, Grave 55). It is unclear if Mary Hattaway Curry ever knew where her husband was buried. In January 1866, William L. Brown filed for letters of administration on his estate. Returns exist for the years 1866 through 1870, during which time the estate decreased in value from $1092.21 to $490.80. In 1874, the Sandersville newspaper reported that Mary Curry and her daughter Lucy had prevailed in a legal case against  William L. Bowen (sic). Some of his property was ordered to be sold to settle his obligation to them. The details of this case remain to be investigated.

Mary Curry does not appear in the 1870 census. Her daughter Lucy was enumerated with her uncle Eli F. Curry in Washington County, Georgia. She was 22 years old and working in the home. Lucy was a Baptist and belonged to the Riddleville Baptist Church (now Ammie S. Page Memorial Baptist Church). She died on 5 March 1879 at Riddleville at age 29 due to consumption, never having married. She was buried at Riddleville Cemetery. Her obituary in the Sandersville Herald and Georgian states, "She was a consistent, orderly member of the Baptist church at (Riddleville), and was much beloved for her many estimable qualities."

In 1880, a 54-year old Mary Curry is living in the household of Rhodes and Adeline Pope in Riddleville. Rhodes Pope is listed as a physician. Her relationship to the Popes is unknown, but sometime before July 1886 Mary E. Curry was declared an imbecile and provided with a guardian, E. A. Sullivan. The inventory of her estate in mid-July, 1886 listed almost 20 acres of land in and near Riddleville, furniture, a wagon, a gold watch and cash. An 1883 judgment for $25 against  James T. Hataway, another nephew, is also listed. Her estate was valued at $922.50 at the time of the inventory and appraisement, including $582.50 in cash held by her nephew J. L. Hataway. 

Between July 1886 and July 1887, $235 in cash was released by J. L. Hattaway which, with a rental income of $15, gave her $250 credits on her 1887 return. Only $68.02 of this remained at the end of the year, the rest going to various doctors, lawyers and family members. I have not had the opportunity to examine the vouchers for the specific details.

Between July 1887 and July 1888, she received income of $34 (including $20 for the sale of her house!)  but her balance at the end of the fiscal year was only $19.52. Her largest expenditure that year was $30 paid to her brother-in-law N. B. Giles for board. Another expense was $12.50 for the doctor. The administrator of her estate received $10 for his pains that year.

Rental income doubled her estate between July 1888 and October 1888 and her expenses dropped. She did pay $5 to her lawyer and $2.47 in taxes. With other expenses the balance of her account on 15 Oct 1888 was $23.45, and this is the last return I found for her. 

The abstract of the 1890 U. S. Census for Washington County lists a 70-year old female head of household named Mary Curry living alone in the Giles district (96th GMD). Very little information survives from the 1890 census, but the abstract shows that Mary's brother Alfred B. Hattaway was listed on the same page of the census as Mary Curry.

In 1900 she was enumerated with her niece Sallie May in Henry May's household. Sallie was the daughter of Ann (Hattaway) Giles and N. B. Giles. There is a notation of "BD" in the right-hand columns. Its meaning is unclear.

Mary E. Curry is buried at Pine Hill Methodist Church in Warthen, Georgia, the same church yard where many other Hattaway family and friends are buried. Her birth date is given as 17 Sep 1818 on the grave marker. She died on 4 May 1904 at Georgia at the age of 85. 

 

References:
1. Evans, Tad. Washington County Georgia Newspaper Clippings. Vol. I (1852-1866) and Vol. II (1867-1880). 1506 Stillwood Drive, Savannah, GA 31419: Self-published, 1994. (Also available on microfiche from the LDS Family History Library.)
2. Jordan, Mary Alice, Ed. Cotton to Kaolin, A History of Washington County Georgia 1784-1989. P.O. Box 367 Milledgeville, Georgia 31061: Boyd Publishing Company, 1989.
3. Newsom, Elizabeth Pritchard. Washington County Georgia Tombstone Inscriptions. P.O. Box 914 Sandersville, GA 31082: Washington County Historical Society, 1967.
4. Washington County, Georgia. 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890 and 1900 U.S. Census, Population Schedules. National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, DC.
5. Washington County, Georgia, Court of Ordinary. Marriage Book A 1828-1852. Micropublication #343547. LDS Family History Library, Salt Lake City, UT.
6. Washington County, Georgia, Court of Ordinary. Inventories and Appraisements Book B 1863-1901. Micropublication #343523. LDS Family History Library, Salt Lake City, UT.
7. Washington County, Georgia, Court of Ordinary. Returns Book G 1866-1878. Micropublication #343526. LDS Family History Library, Salt Lake City, UT.

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Last updated: Tuesday, July 22, 2003 12:49 PM
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