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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Curran

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 1134-1135 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

Among the chiefs and clans of Ireland who held territory in the twelfth century were the Ocuirnin's or Curran's, "who were celebrated bards and historians." The family whose record is here traced belonged to the Irish branch said to have come from Cumberland, where it bore the name of Curwen. Under the protection of the Aldworth family on whom was bestowed the forfeited estate in county Cork, consisting of thirty-two thousand acres formerly belonging to the Irish McAuliffe's, the Currans removed to the south of Ireland, where James Curran was seneschal of the manor court at Newmarket, county Cork, about 1750. James Curran, the father, was a man of good learning. He married Sarah Philpot, a woman of strong characteristics and ready wit.

(II) It was from her that Philpot Curran, lawyer, judge, poet, master of the rolls and member of the privy council, 1789, inherited the characteristics that made him one of the most famous men in Ireland during his time. Judge Curran was born 1750, died 1817. He was destined for the church, but leaving Ireland he went to London, where he read law. In 1775 he was called to the Irish bar; in 1782 became King's counsel, and in 1783 was elected to the Irish house of commons. He became a strong advocate of the rights of Ireland, and was earnestly active. He defended the political offenders, made fiery speeches in parliament, fought five duels, wrote and spoke on every occasion, and in 1806 was appointed "Master of the Rolls," retiring from the bench in 1814 with a pension of twenty-seven hundred pounds annually. One of his daughters, Sarah, was the sweetheart of Robert Emmett who, after the failure of his brief and ill-fated insurrection of July 23, 1803, might have escaped but he spent precious hours of the night lingering about the Curran home to say farewell to her. She later married a Captain Sturgeon, but in a few months died of a broken heart in Sicily. To her Moore's lines, "She is far from the land where her young hero sleeps" are addressed.

(II) John, son of James and Sarah (Philpot) Curran, was born in county Cork, Ireland, and came to the United States about 1780. The family were Roman Catholic in religion, but before leaving Ireland John Curran married a daughter of Scotland, Amelia Burns, and she brought Protestantism into the family, although her husband died in the Catholic faith. Soon after their marriage, the young couple came to the American colonies, then nearing the end of their long struggle for independence. John Curran had sufficient means, and purchased a large estate in Ulster county, New York, on which he resided until his death. His wife Amelia and children survived him, and were all members of the Presbyterian church. Children:

  1. Amelia.
  2. Jacob, married Catherine Smith, of German birth, and had issue, John, Amelia and Catherine.
  3. John, was well educated like his brothers and sisters, and for a time followed the vocation of a teacher, later becoming a farmer; he married and had a son, John B. Curran.
  4. William, married and had issue.
  5. Daniel, of whom no record is found.
  6. Edward, see forward.

(III) Edward, youngest son of John and Amelia (Burns) Curran, was born in Ulster county, New York, October 20, 1784, died in Orange county, September 23, 1841. He was well educated, and became a manufacturer of the reeds used by the weavers of his day. He had his factory at St. Andrew's, Orange county, where he was prosperous and a well-known figure. He was an active Episcopalian, and a leader in the church, as he was in the town. He married in Ulster county, Elizabeth Van Derlyn, born in Ulster county, 1782, died May 17, 1848, daughter of Dr. Peter Van Derlyn, and granddaughter of Peter Van Derlyn, a painter and artist who came to America early in the eighteenth century. He married, a daughter of Rev. Peter Vos, pastor of the Dutch church at Kingston, New York, and left two sons, Dr. Peter and Nicholas. Dr. Peter Van Derlyn's sons, Henry and Gerrit, removed to Oxford, Chenango county, New York. Nicholas was twice married, and was the father of John Van Derlyn, the famous artist born in Kingston, New York, October 15, 1775. He was the protégé of Aaron Burr, who was first attracted to the lad while having his horse shod in the village blacksmith's shop where he was employed. While waiting, young Van Derlyn,took a piece of charcoal and drew a picture.of Burr sitting on his horse that was so good and true a likeness that he asked the boy if 'he would like an art education, and was quickly answered, "Yes." He studied under Gilbert Stuart in Philadelphia, and in 1796 was sent to Paris by his benefactor. In 1801-03 he painted portraits of Burr and his daughter Theodosia, and two views of Niagara Falls. He devoted himself chiefly to portrait painting. In 1842-44 he executed his picture ordered by the United States congress, "The Landing of Columbus," that was subsequently engraved on United States five dollar bank notes. His paintings include "Death of Miss McCrea," painted for Joel Barlow; "Marius amid the Ruins of Carthage," which was awarded the Napoleon gold medal at the Louvre in 1808; "Adriande" in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; portraits of Washington for the National house of representatives, President Monroe for the New York City Hall, Jackson, Calhoun, Randolph, Robert R. Livingston, Roger Strong, and Henry Benson, the last three with that of Burr are now in the possession of the New York Historical Society. He died in Kingston, New York, September 23, 1852.

Children of Edward and Elizabeth Curran:

  1. Giles, born 1819, died at age of fourteen years.
  2. George, born 1820, died unmarried October 6, 1962; a soldier who lost his life in the civil war.
  3. Mary A., born August, 1873, died in Schenectady, unmarried, November 9, 1904; a woman of rare ability and womanly character.
  4. Catherine, born 1825; married David Smith, deceased; she now resides in Glenville, Schenectady county, New York, at age of eighty-five years; children:
    1. Deborah Smith, married Frank D. Curtis, a prominent politician and public man of New York City, whose daughter, Elizabeth Curtis, married George B. Grennell, of New York;
    2. Edward C. Smith, of Glenville;
    3. Jacob Smith, of Glenville.
  5. Electa Elizabeth, born August 4, 1828, at St. Andrews, Orange county, New York; was educated there and at New York City, residing in that city until 1852 when she removed to Schenectady, where she and her sister Mary A. had their residence and home until 1904, when the latter died. They purchased the old Platt Potter mansion, where Miss Curran continues. Mary A. Curran was an active member of the Reformed church, Electa E. Curran is of the Presbyterian. She has cared with wise business judgment for her large estate, is of generous charitable impulse, and though advanced in years is active and well known in the city, where her hospitality is enjoyed by her large circle of friends and acquaintances.

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