Currie history



Abram Whitaker Currie 1838-1889

(and descendants)


Abe was born in Madison County, Mississippi, on March 18, 1838 to William Cromartie Currie and Adeline Whitaker.

In 1847, William Currie bought land in northeast Louisiana, near the Mississippi, and the family moved onto it soon afterward. William and Adeline had two surviving children--Abe, and little Huldah Amanda Divine Currie, born in Louisiana on June 6, 1848.

In 1849, when Abe was 11 and Huldah barely a year old, their mother died. The next year, William Currie married a neighboring widow, Hester Ann "Nancy" Selser Richards. She had three children by her first marriage to George Richards: George S., Sue, and Mary.

Abe's father and new stepmother had more children together: Howard Cromarty, Kate S., Sybelia Antoinette, Leila Ada, and Annie Eliza. The house was full of children, and as in other wealthy plantation families, the Currie children had their own teacher, a Yankee schoolmarm from New Hampshire named Miss Frances Springer.

Abe married Delia Selser on April 5, 1860, and entered the practice of law. Delia was Nancy Currie's younger sister--Abe's step-aunt.

When war broke out, Abram enlisted in the 3rd Louisiana Infantry, Company H. Over the next four years he was promoted to Captain. He was captured on July 4, 1863, at the fall of Vicksburg. Abe could probably see his family's home across the river from Vicksburg's high bluffs, and must have been heartbroken to think of what had happened there: his family had fled westward, away from the fighting; the plantation was overgrown and possibly flooded, the house looted and burned.

After the war, we are not yet sure where Abe was during the next few years--probably in Texas. We know that he sailed to Brazil with his aunt Jennie Whitaker, wife of Adeline's brother Orville, in July of 1878. Many thousands of Southerners went to Brazil and other countries after the war to start a new life. (If you don't know about this fascinating part of American history, see the bottom of this page for bibliography.)

Abe and Delia were divorced on February 16, 1871. The papers are in Portuguese.

In December, 1878, Abe married his second wife, Helen Paulina Damm, in Santa Barbara d'Oeste, Brazil. Helen was the daughter of a very prominent citizen of Santa Barbara, blacksmith John Damm and his wife Augusta Bohne Damm.

John and Augusta were both born in Germany, had settled in Texas and emigrated to Brazil in 1868.

When they were first married Abe and Helen lived with her parents. Later they got their own home. Abe opened a shop where he sold dry goods, groceries, and iron tools.

Abe and Helen had three sons: Bruce, Bertie, and Von Rehder, born in 1880, 1882, and 1884. Abe died in 1889, at age 51, of "torpidity of the liver" or cardiac arrest, possibly liver and/or heart failure. He is buried at Campo, the Confederate cemetery and meeting ground near Santa Barbara.

Helen and her boys stayed in Brazil until her father John Damm died in 1900; he too is buried at Campo. Helen sold her property in Brazil and returned to Texas via New York. Her mother Augusta Damm, now also a widow, came back to Texas with her. She died in 1906, according to the family Bible, but we have not found her final resting place.

Helen settled in Cleburne, Johnson County. Bertie (who went by Albert) attended Texas A & M and studied mechanical engineering. Eventually he and Von Rehder both worked for the new Texas Company, which soon became Texaco. Von Rehder worked as secretary to the Vice President, and Albert was a draftsman and began by mapping Indian lands. Von Rehder entered a contest to create a logo for the new company; he designed it and had Bert draw it. Their design, the Texaco Star logo, is recognized around the world.

Neither Bruce nor Von Rehder Currie left any known heirs. Helen Paulina Damm Currie was the only known child of John Damm and Augusta Bohne Damm.

For more on John and Augusta DAMM, go here.

Bibliography for study of the 3rd Louisiana Infantry and the Confederados:

Anderson, John Q. , ed.,Brokenburn: the Journal of Kate Stone, 1861-1868. Louisiana State University Press,1972. This is not about the Confederados but has many references to the Currie family, who were neighbors of the Stones. Kate Stone was a bright, witty young woman and this is fantastic reading about what life was like for these Southerners from the outbreak of the Civil War through to the bitter end. Highly recommended!

Dawsey, Cyrus B. & James M. Dawsey, ed.,The Confederados: Old South Immigrants in Brazil. The University of Alabama Press, 1995.

Harter, Eugene C.,The Lost Colony of the Confederacy. University Press of Mississippi, 1985.

Jones, Judith MacKnight, Soldado Descansa! uma epopéia norte americana sob os céus do Brasil, 1967.
Yes, it's in Portuguese; if you're good at Spanish, you can decipher a lot of it. Otherwise use an online or human translator to do the relevant parts. Perhaps someday someone will translate this thorough history of the Confederados into English, as the author hopes. You can order it online when you visit the Confederado website here. This is the website of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Camp #1653 "Os Confederados" and the Fraternidade Descendência Americana, the organization of descendants of the Confederados. It's in English.

Tunnard, W.H., A Southern Record: The History of the Third Regiment Louisiana Infantry, University of Arkansas Press, 1997.