An American Journey
The Genealogy of the Curbow-Montoya Family
Curbow Collage
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The Curbow surname is of French origin. As used in America, it may be an anglicized form of the French surname Courbou(x) or Courboules. In that instance, Curbow is derived from the village named Courbou(x), in the Lat and Haute-Saone region of eastern France. Alternatively, it could be an anglicized form of Courbeu(x) or Corbault. In that case, the name derives from the French word corbeau - which translates raven.

If my ongoing research - along with the various oral family histories that I have collected over the last several years - are proven to be correct, our Curbow family begins its American journey when Jean Corbo/Johann Carbo arrives from Rotterdam (by way of Cowes - an English seaport town) at the Port of Philadelphia on October 5, 1737 on board the passenger ship Billender Townshend. Most of the passengers on this ship were from the Palatine region of Germany. It is believed that the Corbo/Carbo family were French Huguenots. The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France who faced severe persecution from the Catholic Church. Many Huguenots fled France into the Palatine region of Germany which borders France. These French immigrants then sometimes lived in Germany for several generations before making their way up the Rhine River to the Port of Rotterdam for their journey to America.

I do not think it is a far stretch to say that most every Curbow family - no matter which spelling - in America today can be traced back to one of the sons of Jean Corbo/Johann Carbo. The Curbo(w) family subsequently followed the Huguenot migration path migrating first to Maryland then gradually dispersing throughout the south - first North Carolina and then South Carolina. By the 1840s a large number of the family were in Georgia and Tennessee. By the 1860s the family was spread out to Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri. During the Civil War period, Tilman, Wiseman, James and Nathaniel had all moved their families to Texas. This is my attempt to tell their story.

Our Curbow research encompasses all spellings (Curbow/Curbo; Kerbow/Kerbo; Kirbow/Kirbo) but focuses mainly on the following individuals:

Henry Curbow - Henry Curbow was born in 1770 in probably Wadesboro, Anson County, North Carolina - he is a probable son of John Corbo and Ann Phillips. Henry spent a good bit of time in the Edgefield District of South Carolina before surfacing in Jackson County, Georgia by 1809. In 1832 he is a winner of a parcel of land in the Cherokee Land Lottery in Campbell County, Georgia. Late in his life Henry makes the trip to Texas, where he dies in May of 1850 in Cass County, Texas. Henry is the probable father of Tilman P. Curbow, Wiseman Curbow, Ezekiel Curbow and Henry B. Curbow, Jr. (I keep saying probable because I am lacking the information to tie all these individuals together.)

Tilman P. Curbow - Tilman P. Curbow was born around 1821 in Georgia. He married Elizabeth Box, the daughter of William Bolton Box. Sometime during the early 1850s Tilman moved his family to Itawamba County, Mississippi and then on to Ouachita County, Arkansas shortly before the Civil War. Tilman Curbow served the Confederacy both from Arkansas and Texas. After the close of the Civil War, Tilman and family finally settled in McLennan County, Texas, east of the Brazos River near Waco. There he farmed and ranched and raised his family. He lost his wife and two sons between 1870 and 1885. His exact death date is not known, but presumed to have occurred around the turn of the century. Tilman's burial location is unknown. While we do not know everything there is to know about the life of Tilman P. Curbow - we do know without a doubt that he possessed a strong pioneering spirit (being the one that brought our branch of the Curbow family to Texas) - that he experienced hardships - and that he was a true southern patriot. His humble life is remembered in these pages with fondness and appreciation.

Oliver Perry Curbow - Oliver Perry Curbow was born in Georgia in October of 1845. He came to Texas with his father Tilman. In 1871 Oliver married Harriet Emeline McGuire, the daughter of David Jackson McGuire. Oliver and Harriet spent most of their lives living between Clay, Denton and Grayson Counties, which are located in north Texas. Oliver died in March of 1921 and is laid to rest in Denison, Grayson County, Texas. As I began researching the life of Oliver Perry Curbow it became quickly apparent to me that he lived a very transient lifestyle - never putting down roots - moving often, probably out of necessity, to wherever he could make a living - more than likely never accumulating much of anything. I think he must have led a very difficult life suffering the loss of two of his children in childhood - and then watching the remaining children struggle in their own personal lives. Through all of this, I would call Oliver Perry Curbow a survivor - having lived through some of the most turbulent events in American history - the Civil War and the Reconstruction - era of the south.

Charles Franklin Curbow - Charles Franklin Curbow was born in Texas (probably Waco area) in April of 1875. He married Ida Bell Howard in December of 1904. Ida was the daughter of William Green Howard and Sally Mae Seago. Charles and Ida raised their family in Denton County, Texas; and Charles farmed his property there. Unfortunately, the couple divorced after 22 years of marrige. After the divorce, Charles worked and lived (along with several of his adult children) at Sanatorium, Tom Green County, Texas. Later Charles lived his last days with one of his sons in Pecos, Reeves County, Texas. Charles died in August of 1955 and is laid to rest in San Angelo, Tom Green County, Texas.

Roy Oliver Curbow - Roy Oliver Curbow was Charles Franklin Curbow's oldest son - born in Aubrey, Denton County, Texas in November of 1905. Roy married Allie Ernestine Ham in April of 1926. Together they raised three sons. Roy was a mechanic and a welder. He was a foreman on jobs across Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico; however, Brownwood, Texas was always home base. Roy loved people - dominoes - and cooking. The family looked forward to Roy's Sunday morning waffles and fried chicken after church. The reoccurring theme when people share their memories of Roy Oliver Curbow is that "he was the hardest working man I ever knew." Roy died of stomach cancer in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas in June of 1968. He is laid to rest with his wife in Eastland Memorial Park in Early, Brown County, Texas.

Although not directly related - in the never-ending quest for information about our Curbow family - I have done a fair amount of research on the following individuals and their families:

Ezekiel W. Curbow - Ezekiel W. Curbow, I believe, is a brother to our Tilman P. Curbow. He was born around 1801 in the Edgefield District of South Carolina. In 1824 he married Elizabeth Parker in Hall County, Georgia. I have been unable to locate any children; however, it does appear that the couple adopted a daughter named Martha Spane Connelly. Ezekiel died in Rome, Floyd County, Georgia in November of 1880.

Wiseman Curbow - Wiseman Curbow, I believe, is also a brother to our Tilman P. Curbow. He was born around 1817 in Georgia (family stories state Jackson County). By 1850 Wiseman is a widower with a five year old son, Tilman David Curbow - perhaps named after his uncle Tilman? The east Texas Curbow clan maintains that Wise was an overseer in Georgia, and that during the gold rush he started out on foot for California, but stopped and settled in Bowie County, Texas instead. I have no way to substantiate this family story, as I have been unsuccessful in locating Wiseman in any census prior to 1850. Once in Texas, Wise married Emeline Parker (around 1851), a widow with two daughters, and they had five more children together. Most all Curbows located in the eastern part of Texas are descended from Wise. He can be found in Bowie County census records from 1850 to 1880. He was a property owner, owning at least 177 acres. Wiseman enlisted into the Confederate Army along with his brother Tilman. (In fact, the families of these two brothers spent the Civil War years together in Bowie County.) Wiseman died about 1887. He is buried in Sand Hill Cemetery near Simms, Bowie County, Texas. It is noted that the name (Henry) is very prevalent among Wiseman's grandchildren and great - grandchildren.

Henry Curbow, Jr. - Henry Curbow, Jr., I believe, is also a brother to our Tilman P. Curbow. He was born sometime around 1817. He married Catherine H. Robinson. He was the Postmaster of Paraclifta, Sevier County, Arkansas in 1851. A year later in 1852 Henry, Jr. filed a Land Claim for 531 acres in Bowie County, Texas. In 1856 he purchased 40 acres in Sevier County, Arkansas (which is very near to Bowie County, Texas).

James Curbow - James Curbow, I believe, is also a much older brother to our Tilman P. Curbow. James Curbow was born about 1790. He married Sarah Reed in December of 1808 in Jackson County, Georgia. He was a soldier in the War of 1812. It is thought that he died fairly young in Lincoln County, Tennessee sometime before 1830.

Nathaniel Curbo - Nathaniel Curbo, was the oldest son of James Curbow, and if I have the relationship figured correctly, then he was a cousin to our Tilman P. Curbow. It is noted that Nathaniel spelled his last name without the (w); and most family members in Texas with this spelling can usually be traced back to Nathaniel. He was born in 1812 in Jackson County, Georgia. Nathan married Lucinda Storey in March of 1836 in Lincoln County, Tennessee. He died in November of 1899 in Whitney, Hill County, Texas.

This Curbow genealogy is dedicated to my wonderful son - through his Curbow family line he can proudly say - I am an 8th generation Texan. As Hodding S. Carter wrote: There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children - one is roots, and the other, wings.

Many thanks to the numerous Curbow researchers that I have met along the way. In particular my deep appreciation to Mary Curbow and Jan Shafer for making the journey fun and fruitful!

This website was launched in June of 2011. I am busy incorporating 5,000+ pieces of media, which includes stories, documents and pictures of our Curbow ancestors. If you don't find what you are looking for, please check back often or feel free to contact me - chances are that I have something pertaining to your ancestor. 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. (You can do this from each person's personal profile page.) Additionally, I have written a good bit on the Curbow family on my blog which you can access at If you are researching any of these Curbow family lines (or any related families), I would love to hear from you