This is the first in a series of blog posts dedicated to my female ancestors and their maiden names.

Mary Ann Curless Vickers was my 4th great-grandmother. She lived to be more than 100 years old. Born in Smithfield, Rhode Island on 16 August 1797, she also resided in nearby Thompson, CT and Oxford, MA. Her parents were Nancy (Annie) Pollock and Christopher Curless. Christopher is sometimes mistakenly called Samuel in later records.

Mary had ten children – James, Sarah Ann, Chandler, Mary Ann, Rufus, Christopher, Monroe, Betsey, Almon and Cordelia. She raised her granddaughter, Esther Jane, and often Esther is listed as one of Mary’s children. Another common error when listing the children of Mary is the inclusion of Erastus Vickers. Erastus is the son of one of the many Samuel Vickers living during that era.

Mary Curless Vickers
15 August 1797- 15 January 1898

Mary was a Nipmuc Indian through her mother, Annie Pollock the daughter of Molly Pegan. She was also Narragansett through her father, Christopher Curless. Many of Mary’s ancestors are part of the Nipmuc Nation through the Hassanamisco Band of Nipmuc Indians. Two of the sachems (Chiefs) of the Hassanamisco Nipmucs descend from Mary.

Featured in Newspapers

Mary was the subject of two articles in local newspapers. In 1895, a local editor of the Oxford, Massachusetts Mid-Weekly featured an interview with Mary called “Almost 100 – Interesting Life of Mrs. Mary Vickers”. In the article Mary tells of her early life in Thompson, CT. Mary’s mother, Annie Pollock Curless, died when Mary was five years old in about 1802. After Annie’s death, Mary was placed with the Brown family in Thompson where she worked and helped take care of younger children. She told the reporter that her father, Christopher, worked very hard, had remarried and that she rarely saw him. But when Mary was about 11 years old, a neighbor notified her father of the harsh conditions Mary lived in. After learning this, Christopher wasted no time in terminating Mary’s employment with the Brown family. Mary went home to her father and his new family. 

The second news report featuring Mary was her obituary in 1898. The longer than usual obituary relates many aspects of Mary’s personal life including her 1814 marriage to Samuel (sic) Vickers (again, Mary married Christopher Vickers).

Other items

Three of her sons fought in the Civil War but only one returned. Both Rufus and Christopher Vickers died in prisoner-of-war camps.

In 1898, she was a devout Methodist but had married in 1814 in a Baptist church at age 17.

Mary had one sibling – her brother Chandler. Chandler went to Salem and was never heard from again. Whether Chandler left as a child or as an adult is not known.

Mary’s father, Christopher Curliss lived to be 101 years old.

At the time of her death, Mary had 150 grandchildren, 175 great-grandchildren, and 50 great-great grandchildren (so stated in her obituary.)

That’s all for now.




6 thoughts on “Surname Saturday – CURLESS/CURLISS/CORLISS

  1. Hi! Do you have more information about Mary Curliss Vickers Grandchildren? I saw your post about Albert, Christopher’s son, but I don’t see any other grandchildren of hers named. I am working on the Vickers side of the family tree and am stuck on the connection between Orin Vickers (married Emma Vickers in 1857) and Mary Curliss. Thank you!

    1. Olin D Vickers is Mary’s grandson via her son Chandler. He married his 1st cousin, Emma Elizabeth Vickers. Olin was born in East Thompson on 13 Sep 1860 if you’d like to check those records.
      Mary Curliss’ ancestry and descendants have been thoroughly studied by many folks especially during the federal recognition process.

      1. Thank you so much for the correction, I was also considering she was from a different woman.

      2. Thank you so much for the information! I am fortunate to have been able to access a lot of the records online to trace my family tree(my mom is Julie Tysen(maiden Vickers) but there is some information missing and, as you know, conflicting information. I really appreciate all of the effort and time you have put into this site/our tribe. Thank you 🙏🏼

  2. You mention here her son was Chandler, was his name really Charles? Father of Laura Vickers? I know Mary’s husband was called Samuel sometimes so with what I read in your post about Laura Vickers, her father is one of Mary’s children. Please correct me if I am wrong.

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