Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower



Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Nov 30

Putting the Pieces Together: The Life of Loyd H. Curl

Posted on November 30, 2018 at 11:13 AM by Melissa Dalton

Articles in old newspapers can spark interest in a person or story. We have a folder of such items we find during other research, and keep for review at a future date. These are great as you just never know what you may learn about someone or something. This week, we explore one such item - the death notice of Loyd H. Curl (Fig 1).

Fig 1. Notice of Death of Loyd H. Curl in Xenia Daily Gazette, dated September 4, 1911 (JPG)
Fig 1. Notice of Death of Loyd H. Curl in Xenia Daily Gazette, dated September 4, 1911 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Loyd H. Curl was born in Kentucky around 1852/1853 to enslaved parents, Needham and Laura Curl. One article claims that the Curl family were the former slaves of Henry Clay. Not much is known about the family until they moved to Xenia, which was sometime before 1880. Needham became a well-known resident of Xenia, and Loyd retained a job as a porter at the local wholesale grocery warehouse, the Eavey Co.

Not long after arriving in Xenia, Loyd met a local school teacher, Cornelia Lamb. The two married on September 18, 1879 (Fig 2). The 1880 Census shows Loyd, Cornelia, and his stepson, William, living with Needham and Laura on West Main Street in Xenia (as was Loyd’s brother, Charles) (Fig 3). Shortly after marrying, Loyd and Cornelia moved to Chicago, making the city their home. Loyd is listed as working as a porter, and Cornelia did clerical work. The Xenia Daily Gazette has several entries after they moved indicating the Mr. and Mrs. Curl came back to Xenia to visit with family and friends (Fig 4). Also in 1896, there is a notice in the paper that Charles and Loyd bought almost 50 acres in Greene County, which may demonstrate that Loyd wanted to keep roots in Greene County (Fig 5).

Fig 2. Marriage Record of Loyd Curl and Cornelia Lamb (JPG)
Fig 2. Marriage Record of Loyd H. Curl and Cornelia Lamb (Greene County Archives)

Fig 3. 1880 U.S. Census with Curl family outlined in red (JPG)
Fig 3. 1880 U.S. Census with Curl family outlined in red (Ancestry.com)

Fig 4. Notice in Xenia Daily Gazette of Curl family in town visiting, dated June 18, 1900 (JPG)  Fig 5. Notice of Transfer of Real Estate in Xenia Daily Gazette, dated August 28, 1896 (JPG)
Figs 4 & 5. Notices in Xenia Daily Gazette: Curl family visiting family in Xenia / Transfer of Real Estate (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Something we found very cool was that Loyd was a registered voter in Chicago. The 15th Amendment was ratified in 1870, guaranteeing the right to vote to citizens regardless of color, race, or previous conditions of servitude (women wouldn’t gain the right to vote until 1920 with the 19th Amendment). Loyd did not pass up the opportunity to exercise his right, and was listed on several voter registration documents for Chicago during his lifetime (Fig 6).

Fig 6. 1890 Chicago Voter Registration with Loyd Curl outlined in red (JPG)
Fig 6. 1890 Voter registration with Loyd Curl outlined in red (Ancestry.com)

Loyd and Cornelia never had children of their own. William, Loyd’s stepson, just seems to disappear from the records. We really aren’t sure what happened to William after the 1880 census as he is not listed as living with them in Chicago, and we’ve been unable to locate him in the records. However, there is a change to the census data between 1900 and 1910 that is telling. On the 1900 census, Cornelia is listed as having one child that is surviving; however, by the 1910 census, Cornelia reported she has no surviving children (Figs 7 & 8). If this information is correct, William passed away sometime between 1900 and 1910, but unfortunately, we could not find any further information about his passing or cause of death.

Fig 7. 1900 U.S. Census with Curl family outlined in red (JPG)
Fig 8. 1910 U.S. Census with Curl family outlined in red (JPG)
Figs 7 & 8. 1900 & 1910 U.S. Census with Curl family outlined in red (FamilySearch.org)

On September 2, 1911, at about the age of 60, Loyd H. Curl passed away. As Xenia was the home of the Curl family, his body was brought back to Greene County for burial. Mrs. Curl returned to her home in Chicago, where she stayed until her death on November 2, 1929. Cornelia Curl is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio.

We wish there was more we could tell you about the Curl family, but anything else would just be conjecture. There is only so much the records can tell us, but it is also interesting to see just how much one can learn by viewing the records. Piece by piece, you can put together the puzzle; however, some puzzles will never be complete.

Sources:
Ancestry.com
FamilySearch.org
Greene County Archives
NewspaperARCHIVE.com

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