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Pvt Joseph Riley Curtis
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Birth: 1826
Hancock County
Georgia, USA
Death: May 31, 1862
Seven Pines
Henrico County
Virginia, USA

Joseph Riley Curtis was killed at the Battle of Seven Pines/Fair Oaks on May 31, 1862. He fought for Company F, 5th Alabama Regiment (The Cahaba Rifles) under Capt. Christopher C. Pegues. Joe, as he was known, had only just signed up on March 10, 1862 while the company was reorganizing. He was a private.
Joe was born to Joseph W. Curtis (1794-1865), an English immigrant, and probably Mary (Kenon) Carew (c1777-aft1850), widow of Richard H. Carew, in 1826 in Hancock Co., GA. Various censuses give his birth in AL or GA. He and his father appear in Shelby Co. in 1830 with a younger woman who was not Mary. They had moved to Montgomery by 1831 when Joe's sister Adelaide was born. They moved to Wetumpka some time in the 1840's. The census of 1850 found Joe serving as an overseer to the family of Mrs. Margarett Mardis in Shelby Co. By 1854, Joe was elected Marshal of Selma, AL, near the town of Cahaba. He would serve in this capacity until 1858. In 1856, he married Louisa Mardis, daughter of the same Margarett Mardis he had once been employed by. However, Louisa died the next year. Fortunately, though, he met a beautiful Irish immigrant orphan named Anna Eleanor Cunningham (1838-1912) while on business in Montgomery and they were married there in February, 1858. That year, though, he lost out as Marshall in Selma, but he was elected constable. Their first child, Katherine Giovanni Curtis, was, also, born later that year.
In 1860, Joe became embroiled in a shadowy incident known only to us as the "Goldsby Affair." It culminated in a confrontation between Joe and Mr. Goldsby, where Joe drew his gun on the other man. Goldsby raised his hands, causing Joe to shoot. The bullet passed through one of Goldsby's hands and hit one Dr. Richardson, who was trying to calm the situation down, in the head. Dr. Richardson died and Joe and his family quickly left town, settling in nearby Cahaba.
A second child was born that year (Alabama Curtis, may have died young). The next year he was sent out to Marion to capture a suspected abolitionist. He had a third child (Anna Louise Curtis, 1861-1942, my ancestor), that year and another child (Joe Curtis, may have died young) the next. He then signed up to fight and died at Seven Pines. We have a transcript of a newspaper listing casualties that includes his name. His burial location is not known. Unfortunately, the ? Curtis (SGT WGP) buried in the Richmond National Cemetery near Richmond, VA, is unlikely to be him, especially since Joe Curtis was a private.
His wife lived until 1912, outliving two more husbands. She had five more children and settled in Brierfield. She is buried there and her tombstone gives her birthplace as County Wicklow, Ireland, and mentions her first husband by name, stating that he died in the Battle of Seven Pines. I have a picture of her, click here.
Visiting my grandmother's house growing up, his picture and that of his father always greeted us in the entry hall. We were told, even at a young age, that he had fought and died in the Battle of Seven Pines. It appears that she got this from her great-grandmother's tombstone, because she and her sister used to ride the train down to Brierfield to spend the day with relatives. 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Joseph W. Curtis (1794 - 1865)
 
 Spouse:
  Anna Eleanor Cunningham Mahan (1838 - 1912)
 
 Children:
  Anna Louise Curtis Powell (1861 - 1942)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Unknown
 
Maintained by: Charles W. Anderson
Originally Created by: JFJN
Record added: Dec 10, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 62777035
Pvt Joseph Riley Curtis
Added by: JFJN
 
 
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- Evette Dingle-Smith
 Added: Oct. 29, 2013

- Keeper of the Stars
 Added: Oct. 19, 2012
The Confederate flag still flies today in your honor // you'll never be forgotten Pvt Curtis nor will your great sacrafice
- KASSIOPEIA
 Added: Apr. 15, 2012
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