An American Journey
The Genealogy of the Curbow-Montoya Family
Curbow Collage
You are currently anonymous Log In
The Atwood surname is a very old one, of Anglo-Saxon origin, meaning someone who lived by a wood. The first recorded spelling of the family name can be found in 1424, and is shown to be that of Thomas Attewode whose name was recorded as a witness in the Assize Court Rolls of Somerset, during the reign of King Henry.

Many of the Atwood families in America today have ancestral ties with Sanderstead, Surrey, England and All Saints Church which has stood there since the 13th century. The Parish Church Cemetery is the final resting place of many of the Atwood family. The earliest monument found in the Church today (dated 1525) is that of John Attwoode and his wife. The manor house, known as Sanderstead Court, was home to the Atwood family. It is estimated that this large country house was constructed in the early 16th century. The Atwoods and their descendants occupied the house for about three hundred years. It was used as a hotel in 1928, and before World War II, it was used by the Royal Air Force. It received fire damage in 1944, and was later demolished in 1958.

Our Atwood line has not been traced back to England at this time - rather our research focuses on the family lines that migrated from the Carolinas to Missouri to Texas and specifically on the following individuals and their collateral families:

James Atwood - James Atwood is our brickwall ancestor. It is thought that he was born sometime during the 1760s. He lived most of his life in Laurens County, South Carolina. He was a planter and a slave owner - married to Mary (or Polly). The couple had three known children: William James, Catherine and Thomas Jefferson. James Atwood made a Will in Laurens County in 1816 and died shortly thereafter.

William James Atwood - William James Atwood was born in 1792 in North Carolina, where he can be found through at least 1810. He married Elizabeth Miles in 1814 in Lincoln County, Tennessee. Elizabeth was the daughter of Leonard Miles, a Revolutionary War soldier. William James Atwood and family are in Tennessee through at least 1835 and by 1837 they have moved on to Missouri where they were were first settlers on Stein's Creek in Webster County. James later served as school inspector in Laclede County. William James Atwood died 1861 in Osage, Laclede County, Missouri

Thomas Atwood - Thomas Atwood was born November of 1823 in Lincoln County, Tennessee. He married Matilda Hough in Laclede County about 1848. By August of 1860 the family is present in Erath County, Texas - later moving on to Williamson County and then Callahan County. Thomas was a farmer and a rancher who took part in many cattle drives to west Texas, New Mexico and into old Mexico. You can learn more about Thomas' cattle drives here. He was a member of the Second Frontier District (created for citizen protection from Indian attacks), and it was more than likely during this time that he befriended the American frontiersman Kit Carson. Thomas' wife, Matilda, died young and Thomas was left to raise his three sons: William Payton; Russell Columbus; and Joseph Ashford. Thomas died in the Spring of 1882 and is laid to rest in the historic Round Rock Cemetery.

William Payton Atwood - William Payton Atwood was born July of 1849 in Laclede County, Missouri. He made the trip to Texas with his parents as a child. He married Ellen Elizabeth West in August of 1873 in Williamson County, Texas. Ellen was the daughter of Willis West, who fought in the Texas Revolution. By the end of 1893 the William Payton Atwood family had moved and settled in Callahan County, Texas. There they were among the founding families of Cross Plains. William's claim to fame was that he and his oldest son were in town to buy boots on the day that the infamous outlaw Sam Bass was shot and killed by Texas Rangers in downtown Round Rock. You can read the story here. William Payton Atwood died in October of 1917 and is laid to rest in Cross Plains Memorial Park.

William Riley Atwood - William Riley Atwood was born November of 1879 in Williamson County, Texas. He arrived with his family in Cross Plains, Callahan County and lived there, with a few exceptions, most of his life. He married Hattie Frances Havins in Callahan County in July of 1905. Sadly, Hattie died young, leaving William with five young children to raise. Later in his life he lived with his youngest son Neil Vernon Atwood in Oplin, Taylor County, Texas. William Riley died in February of 1952 and is laid to rest in Cross Plains Memorial Park.

Thomas Orvil Atwood - Thomas Atwood was known as Badge to his friends and family and was known for his fiddle playing and wonderful singing voice. He was born September of 1910 in Cross Plains, Callahan County, Texas. He married Vira Lorene Grantham in Callahan County, Texas in September of 1935. The couple later divorced. Thomas worked the oil fields of west Texas. He died very young - suffering a stroke at only 42 years old - in December of 1952. He is laid to rest in the Oplin Cemetery in Callahan County, Texas.

Bonnie Lois Atwood - Bonnie was born in Oplin, Callahan County, Texas in April of 1940, the only daughter born to Thomas Orvil Atwood and Vira Lorene Grantham. The family moved from Callahan County to Nueces County, where Bonnie spent a portion of her childhood and teen years. Bonnie's parents divorced when she was twelve years old; and her father died that same year. Her mother remarried, and Bonnie and her brothers were adopted by their mother's second husband, Leonard Lee Setliff. (You can click here to read to the story of how Mary Curbow discovered that Bonnie was an Atwood rather than a Setliff!) It was in Robstown, Texas where Bonnie met and married Don Curbow. In short order, the couple was blessed with four children: Jim, Leslie, Donna and Lance. Bonnie was taken much too soon - at the age of only 25 years old - having suffered a brain tumor. Her death changed the course of life for all four of her children, and ultimately, her death - and the quest for knowledge about her - also set this genealogy project in motion. These pages are lovingly devoted to her and her children (and grandchildren) - who miss her still - every day.

My special thanks to our Atwood family research partners for their interest, enthusiasm and dedication: Beverly Neil Atwood; Brian Atwood; Peggy Atwood; Reba Maurine Atwood; Wanda June Atwood and Mary Curbow.

This website was launched in June of 2011. Most of the media that pertains to the Atwood family (stories, documents and photographs) has been incorporated. I have a small branch of the family that I am still working on. Should you wish to contribute any information or media to this genealogy database you can feel free to contact me or alternatively you can upload a photo and/or a document directly to this website. (The links to do this will be on each person's personal profile page.) Additionally, I have written a great deal on the Atwood family on my blog which you can access at If you are researching any of these Atwood family lines (or any related families), I would love to hear from you