Biography of a Centenarian
Sarah Margaret (Losh) Curry
June 14, 1832 - July 30, 1933
DODDRIDGE WOMAN TO CELEBRATE
HUNDREDTH BIRTHDAY TUESDAY
Descendants of Mrs. Sarah Margaret Curry are planning to assemble Tuesday at the home of her son-in-law, E. French Whiting, on Big Issac's creek, Miletus, Route 1, Doddridge County, to celebrate the century mark of her life.
Mrs. Curry was born in Dayton, Rockingham County, Va. June 14, 1832. She is doubtless the oldest resident of Doddridge County.
Many years ago the aged woman lived in that county, her home then being near Avon, a few miles west of her present abode. She has resided at various places since that time, and a part of the time at Reynoldsville, this county, until she moved last November with the Whiting family to Big Isaac’s creek.
Spread of scientific health knowledge is said to be prolonging the
span of human life, but there are many aged persons of today who never knew any such knowledge and, of course, never applied its principles beyond those of simple rules of living correctly. Doddridge county's only centenarian appears to have conformed her habits to nature's plan of living-earning one's living by sweat of the brow and leading a clean, wholesome life.
MOTHER OF ELEVEN
Even then this aged woman is the more remarkable in that she underwent many hardships and much exposure in the course of her long life and especially in her earlier years. In addition to these, she was the mother of eleven children, and as such the burden of many cares fell upon her shoulders.
And long after her family had been reared, a widowhood of more than twenty-five years began.
Besides the death of her husband and some of her several brothers and sisters, some of her own sons and daughters passed on, adding to her sorrows. Through all her many trials and tribulations, she appears to have been of a philosophical turn and accepted them as essential parts of life. Possessing indomitable courage and fortitudinous resignation, she passed onward with unwavering faith in the belief that what was and is should have been and should be and accepted her lot in life without complaint or discontent.
It is fitting she would live to round out 100 years, as a brief survey of her life leads one to no other conclusion. It is regrettable, however, that she is not blessed with full retention of mind and does not, therefore, possibly fully realize the nobility of her long life so splendidly run and cannot comprehend the significance or the gathering in her honor other that to mark the hundredth year of her life. And, yet, after all, she gives evidence of lucidity of mind at times, which convinces one without much stretch of imagination that she does, in truth, appreciate happenings and surroundings more keenly than casual observer implies.
MEMBER OF LARGE FAMILY
A member of a large family, Mrs. Curry was the eldest, and there are several of her brothers who have lived to be advanced in years. She was a daughter of David and Elizabeth Smallwood Losh. Her paternal grandfather, Daniel Losh, came to America at an early date from Germany, the land of his nativity. He was married to Elizabeth Jackson and they located in Rockingham County, Virginia. A brother of Daniel Losh, named Stephen Losh, later located in Randolph County, Virginia, now West Virginia.
Other children of Daniel and Elizabeth Losh besides Mrs. Curry's
father were Andrew Losh, who lived and died in Rockingham County; William Losh, who married a woman named Kephert and lived and died in Lewis County, this state; Joseph Losh, who remained single and died near Avon, Doddridge
County; and Marian Losh, who married a man named Shaffer and lived and died near Avon.
The sons and daughters of David and Elizabeth Smallwood are mostly unavailable, as the family Bible record was lost at an early date and Mrs. Curry does not remember them;
Sarah Margaret, who married James Harvey Curry, of Rockingham County, Virginia, came with him and their two small children to Taylor County, and now lives on route 1, Miletus, W.Va.
LIVES NEAR GRAFTON
Samuel Losh, of Webster near Grafton, who was married to Elizabeth Hinkle,
Fannie Losh, who married Abraham Sandy and lived and died in Gilmer County.
Catherine, unmarried, died in Gilmer County.
Abraham Losh, who was married to Amanda Tom, and lived in Braxton
David Losh, unmarried, who lived and died in Lewis County.
Robert Losh, who lived and died at Richwood.
Jackson Brown Losh, born January 27, 1851, now past 81, who was married to Leah Lorentz, a daughter of Ransom and Elizabeth Stutler Lorentz, and lives near West Milford on route 1, Lost Creek, where he is a returned farmer.
Alexander Losh, 70, formerly of Braxton County but now living at Midway, south of Good Hope, who was married to Queen Wayne, now deceased.
Harvey Losh, resident of Webster Springs, whose wife is deceased. Members of Mrs. Curry's family refer to the tradition that her grandmother, Mrs. Elizabeth Jackson Losh, wife of Daniel Losh, was related to the Jackson family from which "Stonewall" Jackson famous Confederate general, descended; but they have no family tree tracings to establish the claim, John Jackson, first of the family of "Stonewall" Jackson of whom there is any record, came to America in 1718 at the age of 20 years. Others of the same family settled in New Jersey and later located in western Virginia. Still another line settled in the South and produced Andrew Jackson of Tennessee, who became president.
There is more than a possibility that some of these Jacksons located
in the Rockingham county section and were the progenitors of Mrs. Elizabeth Jackson Losh, parental grandmother of Mrs. Curry, thus establishing kinship between her and the Confederate warrior.
MARRIED IN 1861
In discussing her ancestry, Mrs. Curry says her maternal Grandfather Jackson was buried at sea on the way from Ireland to America and her grandmother came on alone and settled in Virginia. She is unable to identify them with other families by that name.
Mrs. Curry's marriage to James Harvey Curry was solemnized before the outbreak of the Civil war in 1861. She does not have the date, as family records were lost. He enlisted in the southern army when the war began and served three years and a half. He participated in some of the bloodiest battles of the conflict, including the Bull Run engagements, the Gettysburg battle and a number of others. At one time he was in Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson's army in the Shenandoah Valley and around Martinsburg, this state.
Hit by a piece of a bomb in battle, he was rendered speechless but continued to serve in the army six month, although he could not talk, and finally he was relieved of duty on account of his affliction, being honorably discharged a few months before the end of the war. The shell left an injury above one of his knees which made him a cripple for life,
but he recovered his speech in time. his recollections of the war and the experiences related by him in after years proved of interest and instruction to his children, who take pride in the fact that he was a soldier and he was willing to make the supreme sacrifice for his home and what he believed to be right.
Although his crippled condition gave him more or less concern and proved somewhat of a handicap in life, Curry lived to the ripe old age of 84 years, 6 months and 17 days and died in August, 1907. He was buried in a cemetery at DeKalb, Gilmer County, where he passed on. He was born in 1822 in Rockingham County.
HUSBAND LFAVES ARMY
After his honorable discharge from the army, Curry came across the Allegheny Mountains to Grafton, where members of the Losh family had settled, and after he had become located there he sent word back to his family to join him.
Along with her father and two small children, Anna and Robert Curry, the latter a babe of four weeks, Mrs. Curry began a long wearisome and adventurous Journey across the mountains from the valley of Virginia to Grafton, braving the storms of late fall in 1864 and the hardships of outdoor life in the wild and mountainous country, through which they passed. The older child was not more than two and one-half years of age.
Using packhorses, they brought their few belongings and sometimes rode the animals, she recalls. Much of the time all were afoot except the two children who were securely tied on the horses' backs.
Speaking of the trip Mrs. Curry told the writer three years ago that the party was four weeks on the way in early winter, adding: "We arrived at Grafton Christmas day. On the way across the mountains, the weather was cold and sometimes rain or snow fell, but we did not mind it so very much. We slept at night wherever we happened to be - along the ravine or on top of the mountain peak, but usually near some house. We were mighty glad when the Journey ended and had Joined relatives at Grafton.
LOSE FAMILY BIBLE
Among her more thrilling experiences in travel across the mountains
on the trip to Grafton, Mrs. Curry recalls her fall down a steep embankment as she walked alongside the mountain road. She almost rolled into a creek where the water was deep enough to drown her. She was pulled up the mountainside to the road by means of a long pole. Great risk was also run in crossing some of the streams on the way at flood states, she says. It was on this trip that the family Bible was lost, and later another one was destroyed in a fire which burned the home.
Anna, born in 1861, in Rockingham County, Virginia, and married John Beachler. She died in 1922 at West Milford. He was married again. His second wife died at west Milford a year ago. Anna was the little girl who came across the mountains when the family settled in this state sixty-seven years ago. Her children are William Beachler, Mary who married Harvey Pratt, Thomas Beachler and Warder Beachler.
James Harvey Curry was a handy man, as he was a genius in more than
one way, being an expert shingle maker, shoemaker and carpenter as well
as a good farmer. He made some clever cabinet creations.
After the family had lived a year or two at or near Grafton, it moved
to Kincheloe creek, this county, and remained there a few years.
The Currys then moved to Freemansburg, Lewis county, later to Murphy's creek near Weston, then to near Avon in Doddridge county and finally to Paddy's run near DeKalb, Gilmer county, where Curry died. Since the death of her husband in 1907, Mrs. Curry has lived at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Nora Whiting, wife of E. French Whiting, former coal miner at Reynoldsville, this county, but now farming on Big Isaac’s creek, one mile south of the village of big Isaac Just west of the Harrison, Doddridge county line and two miles south of Miletus.
Eleven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Curry, of whom six are living.
They were born in the following order:
Robert, born September 25, 186&, in Rockingham county, Virginia, and was married to Ruth Bredon. Their children are Ora, Gail who died in training camp, Guy and Gladys Curry. Robert was the infant in arms when
the Curry family came to West Virginia. he died last year.
Icie Curry, who died young.
Rosa, who was born in 1866. She married David Rexroad. They live at Hardman. Their children are Zella, who married Dorsey Stalnaker and lived in Morgantown; Delbert Rexroad, of Morgantown; Ethel, who married O. A. Collins. Archie and Opal. Their third-born died in infancy.
SON LIVES AT TIOGA
William Curry, born in 1868, who was married to Emma Weese. They
live at Tioga. Their children are Genevieve who married a Blankenship, Maurice, Ross, James and Victor. They also have a deceased child.
Della, born in 1872, married Franklin Norris, now dead, and lives
at Hardman. Their children are Marie and Gladys. The latter is deceased.
Mary Ella, born September 23, 1870, at Freemansburg, married John Wesley Stutler, of Jane Lew, December 5, 1895. They live on Fowler Avenue, Eastview, and have no children. He is a retired carpenter.
Ephraim Curry, born in 1874, died on Murphy's creek near Weston at the age of 18 years.
Soshia married Joseph Montgomery and died more than twenty years ago in Clarksburg. He later was remarried and lives here. They were the
parents of a daughter, Ona A., who married Alfred Simmons.
Jedediah Curry died young.
Nora, born December 22, 1858, married October 6, 1907, French Whiting, a son of Stewart and Mary Davis Whiting. He was born March 2, 1885, in Gilmer County, and is farming on Big Isaac’s creek, on route 1, Miletus, Doddridge County. The Whiting children are Mildred Virginia born February 22, 1909, and died September 8, 1910; Floy Kathleen, born February 15, 1911, married Elmer Rigsby, June 14, 1928, the latter being born February 7, 1907; James Almond, born August 4, 1916; Raymond, born October 3, 1918, and Flo Marguerite, born May 20, 1921. The Rigsbys have two children, Mary Edith, born July 3, 1929; and Elmer Leroy, born December 27, 1930. These are the only two great-grandchildren of the aged woman. There are twenty-one living grandchildren and several dead.
HAS NEVER VOTED
Mrs. Curry received little education. There were so many members of the family that she the eldest child had to stay at home and take care of the others. She did not attend school long enough to read and write, and she never learned afterwards.
In early life she Joined the Baptist church, that being the church
of her father and mother, she says. She does not attend church now because of her mental and physical condition, particularly because of deafness.
It is needless to say her political sympathies were with the South in war and she has always adhered to the Democratic creed but never has voted. She declares that she does not meddle with politics and has always declined invitations of transportation to the polls. She does not think politics should be a part of the life of women as they have plenty to do to look after their household and rear the children. Her daughters and granddaughters do not emulate her political example as some of them vote, whenever they have an opportunity, and not Republican as she is vehemently democratic.
HAKES 'OWN BED
Notwithstanding her feebleness as the result of old age, Mrs. Curry makes her own bed, and does very light chores about the house. Until two years ago, when she had a serious spell of illness, she helped quite a good deal in the housework, and her mind was then much stronger. She does not see very well as she has outgrown glasses and no longer uses them. As she never learned to read, she is not called upon to use her eyes as much as those who do read. Her hearing is fairly good.
For one of such an extreme age, her general health is all any one could expect. Scarcely a day passes she does not eat some meat. Her menu, however, consists largely of fruits, potatoes, bread, Jellies and other sweets. She retains most of her lower teeth and some of the upper and can chew her food satisfactorily.
Discussing her sleeping hours, Mrs. Whiting remarked the "Mother goes to bed Just whenever we make her. She would sit up all night, if we would let her. She usually retires about 9 o'clock at night and is up at the break of day. She seldom lies down during the day but sleeps sitting in a chair."
WALKS IN YARD
The aged woman sometimes walks in the yard around the Whiting home and occupies her time preparing firewood as she thinks. She does not always use a cane, and gets around quite well under the circumstances.
Well preserved in body, Mrs. Curry actually does not look to be 100 years old. While her hair is snowy white, she retains a full suite and knots it in the old style. She has black eyes and her hair once harmonized with them. It is remarkable that her heavy eyebrows retain their ebony and are in striking contrast to her head of hair.
Nearly three years ago, Mrs. Curry said, when asked if she desired
to live to be 100 years old, "Just as the Almighty thinks about that. If
He wishes me to stay until then, I shall be glad to do so.
Now that her reliance on the wish of the Lord, as she termed it then, has been fulfilled, the aged woman is ready to comply with whatever her Creator demands of her, even death that she may live again not the toilsome, uncertain life of mortals but that of immortals for eternity. She has lived far beyond the allotted time of man, and there is little left upon the earth that might prove of benefit of pleasure to her, and she thinks it well that she may glide easily and quietly into that other world, where there is no sorrow, no pain, although to break the ties which have bound her so closely all these years to her children, grandchildren and friends is to cause pangs of sadness for the time being.
Truly, this fine old woman who demonstrated what it is in life to be pure and noble can well say, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."
Sarah Margaret Curry died July 30, 1933 at the age of 101 years 1 month and 16 days and
is buried in the Walnut Grove Cemetery located in Gilmer County, West Virginia.