Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ruth Stratton Curtis

Ruth was born on the 23 Feb 1795 in New Salem, Massachusetts. Her family, and her future husband's family both moved to Erie, Pennsylvania. There, she and her husband, Jeremiah Curtis, were married. Her husband was a widower with no children. Their first and second children they named after Jeremiah's first wife Aurelia Meacham.

Jeremiah's family was close, and like many close families on the frontier, they moved together. In 1826, they moved from Erie PA to Pontiac Michigan. Ruth's parents moved along with them.

In Pontiac they heard the message of Joseph Smith and most of the extended family converted to Mormonism. Aurelia Curtis married a returned member of Zion's Camp, Ornan Houghton, and the two of them moved to Missouri. Ruth allowed them to take one of her own daughters, Mary, with them.

Jeremiah and Ruth followed with the rest of their children but were soon driven out of the state. They ended up in Nauvoo, Illinois. In Nauvoo Jeremiah's brother Jacob died and he took in Jacobs children.

The records indicate they were somehow involved with Lyman Wight. Unless they were assigned to work in the pineries in Wisconsin, they would have no reason to follow him. So at some point part of the family may have been in Wisconsin. I do see the names, Mitchell and Stephen Curtis being sent by Lyman Wight from Wisconsin with a message for Joseph Smith. In addition, William, Meacham, and Eliza Curtis appear in other records as well. But Ruth and her husband appear to have stayed in Nauvoo.

Since Lyman Wight left Wisconsin and went directly to Texas without a stop in Nauvoo, Jeremiah and Ruth must have met them along the way.

Ruth's husband, Jeremiah, died along the way. According to one account they were already in Texas. But the pull to bring together the extended family was strong. After hearing about the death of Mary's husband, her son, Meacham, went back to Nauvoo to bring her and children back to Texas. Meacham was unable to convince her to go.

The 1850 census places Ruth living in Bandera, Texas with her children and some of her brother-in-law Jacob's children. Ruth died in 1859. Her son led the surviving family to the San Joaquin valley in California. Oral tradition says they went by way of the Isthmus of Panama. Though another account claims they followed Noah Smithwick, who went overland.

1 comment:

Melvin Johnson said...

Interesting story.

I am not sure that Jeremiah and Ruth were in the WI pineries the winter of 1844-1845, and the suggestion they met the Wightites on the way is sensible.

They have traveled with Samuel Bent who went to meet Wight and colony at Davenport on their way to Texas.

Some of the family did travel with Noah Smithwick to California in 1860 to escape the coming Civil War.