Kirtley Family

Kirtley Family Part 1 – Henry’s line

While researching the Kirtley family for this month’s highlighted family history, I came across a wealth of information for a few branches of this family, including Henry Kirtley (who married Esther Clingman), Moses Kirtley (who married Elizabeth) and Mildred/Mary Kirtley (married Phillip Butler).  Because there was substantial information on each of these branches, each will be highlighted this month.  We will begin with Henry Kirtley’s line. Henry Kirtley was born in 1832 and was one of eighteen children born into slavery in Boone County, Kentucky. In 1850, Henry came to Canada and settled in Colchester Township.  It was there that he married Esther Ann Clingman who was the daughter of Gabriel Clingman and Mary Ann Atkins. According to Milo Johnson’s book New Canaan, Freedom Land, “most Freedom Seekers were establishing plots of land on Gore Road and operating small garden farms. Henry and Esther worked on their parcel of land, Lot 16 on Gore Road and to supplement their income worked as laborers, employed on other local, large farms.” In the 1891 Census, Henry is listed as a widower, meaning that Esther passed away within the ten years since the last census in 1881. In that (1881) Census it lists Henry (last name spelt Curtley) with his wife Hester (Esther) and some of their children: George, Hiram, Lewis, William, Lucy, Ida, Charles and Judson.

Henry and Esther had twelve children: Lucinda (1860), George Andrew (1861), James (1863), Hiram (1866), Lewis (1867), William (1869), Ida (1873), Charles (1875), Judson (1877), Lucy Ann (1878), Henry (1881) and Harry (1883). Lucinda Kirtley married David Brown, a farmer and son of Theodore and Nancy A. Brown, on September 27, 1878. Lucinda’s brother George Andrew Kirtley married Emiline/Millie Ann Brooks (daughter of John and Fanny Brooks) on December 3, 1885 in Colchester. The couple had two children: James LeRoy (June 1889) and John Harley (September 1890). George was a farmer in Colchester, until moving to Detroit in 1892 when he became a teamster for the Geneva Baking Company of Detroit.  Sadly, George passed away after a team of horses he was driving panicked and he fell off the horse, breaking his leg.  He died of septic shock due to the severity of the break.

George’s brother James Kirtley married Emily Melissa Robinson, daughter of Paddy and Eliza Robinson, on April 28, 1879 in Colchester. The 1881 Census lists James and Melissa Curtley (Kirtley) with their 9-month-old son, Walter.  The next census for 1891 lists James and his children Walter and Matilda, but James is listed as a widower.  James’ son Walter became a farmer and later married Nina Miller, the daughter of Elmer Miller and Emily Taylor.  They married on February 10, 1904 in Saxville (Colchester).  Also available was a birth record for James Harland Curtley who is listed as the son of James Madderson Curtley (Kirtley) and Emily M. Robinson and was born on June 3, 1886 in Colchester.  After James’ first wife Melissa’s passing at the age of 29, James married Janny Petifoot, the daughter of Charles and Sarah Pettifoot, on September 18, 1887.

James’ brother Lewis married Isabelle Grant and they resided in Detroit. Also found was another marriage record for Lewis, but this time to Emily Leach who was the daughter of Anderson Leach and Mary Ann Day.  According to their marriage record, Lewis was a sailor and they married on February 4, 1891 in Windsor. Lewis’ brother William sadly passed away at age 27 in March of 1895. William is listed as a labourer.

The next Kirtley child, Ida, married Edward Love on February 28, 1906 in Windsor.  Edward, a barber, was born in Georgia and was the son of Oliver and Mary Love.  Ida’s death record from May 27, 1933 in Walkerville, lists her as a housewife.  Ida’s brother Charles Kirtley lived with his grandparents Gabriel and Mary Ann Clingman and assisted in the operation of Gabriel’s garden farm. This information is found in the 1891 Census which lists Charles as living with Gabriel, whose occupation is listed as “Market Gardener.” At the time Charles was 15, while Gabriel was 73 and Mary Ann was 72, meaning that Charles would have likely helped them a great deal.

Next is Judson Kirtley, who worked as a Porter and married B. Plummer who was the daughter of George Plummer and S. Chambers. Judson and B. were married on January 1, 1907 in Windsor.  B. Plummer was born in Ohio and Roman Catholic.

Lucy Ann Kirtley’s birth record lists her as Lucy Ann Mary Jane Kirtley and her date of birth was August 29, 1870. On April 22, 1901, she married Albert Chambers, a labourer and the son of John Chambers and Christina Morissa.  The couple lived in Windsor. There was no information available for Harry Kirtley, but Henry Kirtley became a sailor and worked on steamships out of Detroit.

What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps.  See you next week for part 2.

Kirtley Family Part 2 – Mildred/Mary’s Line

As mentioned, we’re going to discuss three branches of the Kirtley family in Essex County and so far we have discussed Henry’s line. Next is the line of Mildred, sometimes listed as Mary, Kirtley.  Mildred was born circa 1842 and married Philip Butler.  According to Philip’s obituary, Mildred was a school teacher and Philip’s career is also noteworthy.  In his September 1910 obituary, it says “Mr. Butler was born in Malden township, being one of a family of seven children of whom two sisters and one brother survive – Mrs. Grace Foster, of Monroe, Mich, and Mrs. Emaline Ward, of Dakota, and James Butler, of Adrian, Mich. He was married in 1861 to Mildred Kirtley, a school teacher, and she with two daughters are left to mourn – Mrs. Charles Mitchell and Mrs. Thomas Pearl, both of this township. Two sons, Walter and Gordon predeceased their father. Mr. Butler’s name will go down to posterity as one which stood for honesty and probity. He was a hard worker, and in his prime was one of the strongest men in the township. For many years he was a county constable and his services towards the preservation of peace and good order were invaluable. The funeral took place Sunday to Rose Hill cemetery, Amherstburg. Services were conducted by Rev. Mr. Bowden, pastor in charge of this community, and by Star Lodge, No 17, F. & A.M., of which deceased was a member, and Lincoln Lodge, No. 8, F. & A.M., of Amherstburg. A very large number of friends and relatives turned out to pay their last respects.”

Mildred and Philip had at least four children: Walter, Gordon Calvin, Olive and Clara A.  There was not any information for Walter, but Gordon was a farm labourer, born circa 1867.  Gordon’s sister Olive was born March 25, 1868 and married more than once.  Olive married Thomas P. Pearl, a stone mason and the son of Bazzle Pearl and Catherine Hilton, on July 11, 1897 in Detroit.  According to Olive’s death record, years later, she married someone with the last name Hulett, but the first name is difficult to read and may say “Ury.”

Mildred and Philip’s last child, Clara, married Charles J. Mitchell, the son of Levi and Annie, on January 6, 1891 in Amherstburg. According to her death record, Clara was born on July 16, 1869 in New Canaan and she passed in May 1949 in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the age of 79.  She is also listed as a widow. Clara Butler Mitchell’s children included Ella, Mira Ann, Mabel Orphella, Fulton Fremont, Clara Janette, Mary Gertrude and Charles Clayton.

Ella Mitchell, the first child of Clara and Charles, married Roman Hall, a 29-year-old farmer and the son of Jessee Hall and Mary Allan, on June 28, 1916.  At the time, Ella was 23 and her occupation is listed as “farmer’s daughter.” Ella’s sister Mira Ann, was born on October 2, 1894 in Colchester North and she married John D. Day, the son of Samuel Day and Sarah Hunt, on February 19, 1919 in New Canaan.

Mira Ann’s sister Mabel Orphella was born on January 27, 1897 in Colchester, while her brother Fulton Fremont Mitchell was born on August 15, 1899.  Fulton Fremont married Gladys Berdue on November 1, 1924 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The names of Gladys’ parents are not listed in their marriage record, but it does say that she was 20 years old, a cook and born in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It also mentions that Fremont’s occupation was “Trucking.” Following the passing of his first wife, Fremont married Dona Gunn Gutierrez, the daughter of James Gunn and Emma Ledbetter, on June 2, 1939 in Lucas, Ohio. According to their marriage record, both spouses of Fremont and Dona passed away because they are listed as widower/widow. This record even states Dona’s first husband’s name: Elias Gutierrez. Dona was also born in Indiana and worked as a domestic.

Next is Clara Janette Mitchell who was born on September 24, 1904 in Colchester North, while Mary Gertrude was born on December 6, 1907 in Colchester North and Charles Clayton Mitchell was born on July 11, 1910, also in Colchester North. On June 12, 1931 in Lucas, Ohio, Charles Clayton married Virginia Reese, the daughter of George and Helen Reese. Their marriage record states that Clayton was a gardener and that neither he nor Virginia were previously married.

What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps.  See you next week for part 3.


Lorene BridgenKirtley Family