Death of Probate Judge Thomas Pinkney Curtis
Governor Thomas H. Watts Papers

Information taken from the following: Governor T.H. Watts, Correspondence, SG24872, Reel 20 and Alabama Governors Correspondence, 1821-1865 (Letterheads), SG24884, Reel 4.
Transcribed by Joann Holdbrooks and Peter J. Gossett

To His Excellency
The Governor of the State of Alabama

The office of Judge of Probate of the County of Winston in the State of Alabama having become vacant by the death of Hon Thomas P. Curtis, we beg to recommend for appointment as his successor in said office of Judge of Probate for said County, William R. Cole a citizen of said County as a suitable person for said office.

Houston, Winston Co. Ala
Janry 27th 1864.

Silas M. Garrison Sr
John W. Montgomery
A.H. Richards
John Hill Senior
Nicholas Eddy
John H. Steel
Samuel Wiley
W.V. Curtis
James Curtis
H.M. Henderson
Thomas Kuykendol
W.R. Long
John Taylor
Elijah Sutherlan
John Garrison
J. Simmons
Samuel Radford
George Shipman
Perry Shipman

Moulton Ala Janry 30 1864


The Clerk of the Circuit Court of Winston County, Alabama, requests me to forward the inclosed papers to you, and ask you to act in the matter to which they relate at the earliest day practicable

Very truly & respectfully
Thos M Peters

To His Excellency
Gov of the State of Alabama
Montgomery Ala

I am acquainted with Mr. Cole, who is the person named in the within recommendation for Probate judge of Winston County in this State. He is a man of the strictest integrity and sobriety, has excellent common sense and education and experience sufficient for a good justice of the Peace, and is of universal popularity in his County. You may get a more pretinsious and more learned person for your appointment, but you will not get a better or more worthy man. The names within are vols of Winston Co.

Thos M Peters
Moulton Ala
Janry 30, 1864

To His Excellency
Gov Watts

Executive Department of Alabama,
Montgomery, February 6th, 1864.

Lieut. Col. Lockhart, Talladega;

Dear Sir; I have received information, that a Capt. Whatley (who, I believe, is under your command) with a portion of his command, sometime about the 20th of January, went to Houston, the county-site of Winston Co. Ala, and arrested the Judge of Probate of that County, T.P. Curtis and carried him off, in the direction of Jasper, Walker Co. and murdered him. His body has been since found, shewing evidence of gun shot wounds. The body was found in an out-of-way place, concealed from view. It is further said that, after having arrested Judge Curtis, they forced his wife to give up the keys of the Jail, in which the salt sent there, by the State to be distributed among indigent families, was stored, that this salt was taken - and sold - and the proceeds, appropriated to the use of the men in Capt. Whatley's command. If these things are true, no punishment is too great for such men. Such conduct will do more injury to our cause, than a Yankee Raid. I write you this, believing that you will have the matter properly investigated, and, if the facts justify it, have the proper punishment inflicted for such conduct.

Very Resp. Yrs.
(signed) Thos H. Watts Gov of Ala.

(See Postscript)

Office Commandment of Conscripts for Ala
Talladega Ala
Feby 9 1864


I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 6th inst. Informing me of the murder of Judge Curtis of Winston County, the maltreatment of his wife and of the destruction or conversion of the salt sent there by State authorities for distribution among the poor, by one Capt Whatley and his command on or about the 20th of January last.

Capt Whatley is not, nor ever has been under my command. I know nothing of him or his men. Perhaps he may have been acting under orders from some Rendezvous commander assigned to duty by Brig Genl Pillow whilst sequestering conscription. This heresy? may well be the case.

With an earnest desire to do all in my power to put an end to such outrages where humanity and civil law I pledge you in every instance in my being to aid in bringing the affected to justice.

I thank you most cordially for the information and for your expression of confidence. In this test? of our country's peril the civil and military authorities must go hand in hand if we unite? establish our independence or merit its blessings.

I will forward a copy of your letter to my immediate supervisor, (who has a list of the Rendezvous and the Cavalry on duty at and account each,) and request him to aid in a vigorous and thorough investigation of the matter, that appropriate punishment may be inflicted. I rely with confidence upon his attention a promptness in the discharge of his duties.

I am with great respect
Your friend and Act. Svt.
H.C. Lockhart
Lt Col Commandent of Conscripts
for Alabama

His Excellency
Thos H. Watts
Governor of Alabama

P.S. Since writing the above I learn from Mr. R.B. Crowe of Marion Perry County Ala that Whatley claims to belong to Genl Roddey's command.