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JOHN CURTIS, BAPTIST MINISTER

Information provided by his great, great, great grandson, Richard Ford

John Curtis was baptised in Chesham, Buckinghamshire on 17th February 1793 -  the son of a soldier in the Bucks Militia. At the time, Chesham was famous for it's "baptists and boots". In fact, the Bucks Posse Comitatus of 1798 lists 77 cordwainers in Chesham so it was one of the main industries in the town. 

John Curtis, Baptist Preacher

Click the picture for a larger image

It seems that John Curtis joined the regular army during the Napoleonic Wars because he fought at The Battle of Waterloo. He returned to Chesham and a few months later married Frances 'Fanny' Sedgwick. They had five children who were baptised at the High Street Independent Chapel in Chesham (Mary, James, Ann, Catherine and Tabitha).

 
John's mother Tabitha was buried in Stoke Hammond in June 1825 and his father James was buried there on 17th March 1827. Around this time, John and his family moved from Chesham up to Stoke Hammond where he set up a Shoemaker business in a cottage on West Side - eventually employing two men. They had two more children in Stoke Hammond (John and Eliza).  
 
 
John Curtis
1793
 
 
Frances Sedgwick
1793
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mary
1816
 
James
1818
Ann
1821
Catherine
1823
Tabitha
1824 
 
John
1828
  
Eliza
1831 
 
 
 
 
The population of Stoke Hammond reached it's peak in the mid-19th Century and with the development of the railways, Bletchley Station, three miles away, became a busy junction as new branch lines were built connecting the main LNWR line to Bedford, Banbury and Oxford. The development of the railways improved communication and distribution networks. The village shoemaker could no longer compete with the high speed closing and stitching machines in the shoe factories in nearby Northampton. John Curtis' grandsons would have to find alternative employment in the farmer's fields or on the railways.      
 
In 1949, Arthur Curtis (born 1880) wrote on the back of a photo of his great grandfather, John Curtis, that he was "in later life a Preacher of the Baptist faith at Bow Brickhill". (Click here for a larger version of the photograph and an image of the notes on the back of the photograph.) Bow Brickhill is only about four miles away from Stoke Hammond but John Curtis' occupation is recorded in the 1841, 1851 and 1861 census of Stoke Hammond as "Cordwainer", "Shoemaker" and "Master Shoemaker" respectively. 
 
Acording to the 1831 census John Curtis was living at 31 Duck End, Great Brickhill, aged 78, A Minister of the Baptist Church.  He died in 1876. 

Richard Ford, John Curtis's
great, great, great grandson and Jane Jones (great great granddaughter of Mary Curtis, daughter of John Curtis) are both researching the family.

To contact the Curtis family researchers email 

 

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