James Howison & Letitia Sellers Curtis
"Simms" & "Tish"
Married September 29, 1884 in Warren County, Ohio
(Collection of Elizabeth Curtis Robinson)
James H. Curtis (above) was one of the fifteen children of James Curtis and his third wife Lucy Pinn Curtis. James Curtis was born in Prince William County, Virginia, near Sudley Springs, about 35 miles west from Washington D. C. Five of the children of James and Lucy Pinn Curtis would settle in southwest Ohio:
- Josephine Curtis Taylor of Dayton, Ohio
- Charles Curtis of Wilmington, Ohio m. Eunice Sellers, daughter of Jacob and Laura Williams Sellers.
- James H. Curtis of Waynesville, Ohio (Crosswick ~ a small town one mile north of Waynesville) m. Letitia Sellers, daughter of Jacob and Laura Williams Sellers.
- Hampton Curtis of Xenia, Ohio
- Warner Curtis of Harveysburg, Ohio
Other daughters of James and Lucy Pinn Curtis were:
The Curtis Boys:
Back Row from Left to Right: Charles (Wilmington, Ohio) and John (Washington D. C.)
Front Row from Left to Right: James II (Waynesville, Ohio), Hampton (Xenia, Ohio), and Warner (Harveysburg, Ohio)
- Martha Curtis Jackson (Syracuse, New York)
- Fannie Curtis Beckwith (Clifton Station, Virginia)
- Rosa Curtis Harris (Bull run, Virginia)
- Edmonia Curtis Harris (Herdon, Virginia)
The father of these children listed above, James Curtis, was one of the mulatto children of a slave owner named Charles Curtis. He and his brothers and sisters were manumitted by their father on October 6, 1828. These manumitted children then were forced by Virginia law to leave Virginia a one year and a day. Some moved away permanently, while some returned to Virginia to live. One of these was James Curtis.
James Curtis' first wife was a slave named Nancy. They had several children but the mother and children were sold south to Mississippi.
James Curtis' second wife was another slave named Margaret. She and her children were also sold south.
James Curtis' third wife was Lucy Pinn, a free woman. They married in 1853. Lucy died in 1879.
James Curtis' fourth wife was Martha Parker of Clifton Station, Virginia. She died in 1901.
When the Civil War broke out James Curtis was living on the road from Manassas, leading to the Bull Run battlefield. This experience was mentioned in his obituary printed in a local newspaper, probably the Miami Gazette of Waynesville, Ohio:
"DEATHS ~ J. H. Curtis (James H. Curtis), of Route 1, received the sad news of the death of his aged father James Curtis, who was born at Bull Run, Va., in the year of 1820. He witnessed the great battle of Bull Run. He was living on the road leading from Manassas to the historic Bull Run Battlefield, when the Civil War broke out. He was sitting at the breakfast table when the first shot was fired. He with others went out upon Mount Pone Hill, and throughout the day they watched that bloody conflict where the best blood of a divided Union rushed into battle. He said the conflict was a hard and bloody one. For a while in the afternoon victory seemed on the side of the Union forces, but at the critical moment they looked westward and saw a great army rushing to the field. Then the Union became panic stricken and broke from the field. The next day he looked over the field which was a ghastly sight yet, strewn with the dead and dying. The Second Battle of Bull Run found him at the same place, watching almost a similar disaster. He lived on this farm for 34 consecutive years and in his later years he went to live with his daughter Rosa Harris of Bull Run, Va. where he departed this life, January 5, 1914, at the age of 94 years."
Both James and Lucy Pinn Curtis are buried in the Pinn Family Cemetery in Manassas, Virginia.
The children of James Howison & Letitia Sellers Curtis, "Sim" & "Tish", pictured above were:
- Hampton W. Curtis, November 1885 - January 7, 1887
- Martha Elizabeth Curtis, b. April 27, 1887. She graduated from Wilberforce College in 1809 or 1910.
- James Otis Curtis, b. December 7, 1888
- Nettie Leah Curtis, b. April 23, 1891
- John Lemley Curtis, b. March 5, 1893
- Martha Geneva Curtis, b. August 15, 1895
- Lester Paul Curtis, b. February 12, 1900
- Esther Pauline Curtis, b. November 23, 1904
James H. and Letitia Sellers Curtis are buried in the The Zion Baptist African-American Church cemetery in Harveysburg, Ohio. There little boy, Hampton W. Curtis is buried beside them.