|Birth: ||Mar. 11, 1839|
County Cork, Ireland
|Death: ||Sep. 27, 1910|
Lewis and Clark County
Death Claims C.D. Curtis
Well Known and Popular Resident of Helena Answers Call
Had Suffered Long
For Over a Year Gallant Man Had Waited Cheerfully the Coming of the Grim Reaper—Life Has Been Closely Linked With Montana and the West-Funeral Tomorrow
Yesterday morning at 11 o'clock the angel of death called to General Charles D. Curtis and the soul of this pioneer and patriot and whole-souled gentleman passed into the great beyond. The demise of General Curtis was not unexpected, for months he had been lingering on the borderland of the realm beyond, daily expecting the call which he knew could not be long delayed. For more than a year General Curtis had been suffering from serious heart trouble. Hope was at first entertained that his illness was only temporary and that it would be overcome by the natural vigor of the man, but as the days passed and he became worse instead of better, it began to be realized by his friends that he could never get well. A life of strenuous activity and the weakness that comes with advancing years had sapped his strength and gradually he sank, suffering terribly but always cheerful until death came and took away his pains.
Was Friend of Montana
General Curtis was one of the early trail-blazers in Montana, coming to Alder Gulch from Colorado in 1864. He was always active and enthusiastic in whatever he undertook, whether it was business, politics or war. In all of these, he had an unusual experience and under all circumstances, of whatever character, he was always cheerful, full of resources, dominant and forceful. Besides his many other activities he was with the law and order society that suppressed the road agents of this state in the early sixties. Taking an active and prominent part with the organization known as the vigilantes, he helped in no small way to destroy Plummer and his band of murderers and thieves. He was a friend of Col. W.F. Sanders, John X. Beidler, Neil Howie, John Featherstone, Capt. Williams and others who made Montana safe for honest men. Once the courts were established and a system of law and order was established, Col. Curtis turned his attention to peaceful pursuits, but time and again he was called upon to lead in the suppression of Indian raiders and performed his task in a gallant and salutary manner.
Force for Good Government
As a force for good government and all that accompanies such a condition, General Curtis was pre-eminent, and he was also equally effective in assisting in bringing about a change from uncouth and savage methods to those which prevailed among the most enlightened races of men. He lived to see Montana, which he dearly loved, emerge from an almost savage condition to one of the brightest stars in the sisterhood of states, and the fact that he had assisted in establishing this great commonwealth was a source of pride and satisfaction to him while life lasted.
Kindly, gentle, generous, valiant and true, General Curtis typified in a great measure what was best in the pioneers. He occupied many positions of public trust and there was none that he ever held but was elevated and benefited by the fact that he had been connected.
As a volunteer to fight the savages, he proved his worth, as a fireman, he was always alert and efficient, as postmaster of Helena, he made a distinct success, as sheriff of Lewis and Clark county, he proved a proved a capable and highly successful officer. Everything he under took to do in a public or semi-public capacity he accomplished with a thoroughness that left nothing further to be desired or asked.
A Native of Ireland
Charles David Curtis was born in Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland, 73 years ago. His father, William Curtis, became involved in the troubles of Ireland in 1848 and left for the United States
and in 1850 was followed by his first wife and children, among whom was Charles D. Curtis. They settled in St. Louis, where his mother died in 1853.
General Curtis was educated at the St. Louis university and in 1857, at the age of 18, he accepted a position as special agent for the Overland mail service to California and served on the plains, where he first gained a reputation as a scout and an Indian fighter. The following year he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States army and was detailed for duty on the frontier and accompanied Gen. Johnstons' army to Camp Floyd, Utah, where he remained until 1860. Owing to sickness, he was obliged to resign his commission and went to Salt Lake and from there to Denver where he studied medicine for two years then went as a scout and was employed as dispatch carrier to military posts in Wyoming and New Mexico. At this time he was offered a commission in the Second cavalry, but declined to engage in business. He followed the commission business in Denver for a short time and in 1864 left for Montana, arriving in Alder gulch in May of that year. In Virginia City he was engaged in business with John C. Curtin and Watt King. He helped organize the fire department in Virginia City, was in command of the companies and was also elected the first city clerk of Virginia City.
Performed Heroic Deed
He was actively engaged in business in Helena until 1886, when he received the appointment of postmaster at Helena from President Cleveland. Following his ful term as postmaster he was elected sheriff of Lewis and Clark county. A short time before his election as sheriff, he met with a severe accident which came near costing him his life. He was knocked down an area-way at the foot of Broadway by a runaway horse while he was endeavoring to save a woman and child. As a token of gratitude for his heroic act school children of Helena voted him a gold badge set with precious stones.
In 1866 General Curtis raised three companies of volunteers to help suppress the Indian uprising on the eastern border. He went to the front and remained for only a short time when the war was ended by the subjection of the Indians. He also joined a military expedition to the Yellowstone in 1867, raising two companies of volunteers. He was appointed chief of ordinance on the staff of the governor, which position he held for a number of years. He also held the aide-de-camp to nearly all the governors in the earlier history of the state.
He was instrumental in organizing the first fire department in Helena and was for twenty years at different times its chief. He was also a member of the city council and its president in 1882. In fact there was hardly a position that entailed responsibility and labor in the city that he did not fill.
Organized Elks' Lodge
General Curtis was active in fraternal work and was the first charter member as well as the first exalted ruler of Helena Lodge, No. 193, B.P.O.E. He was also a charter member of the local branch of the Knights of Columbus and was voted life member in both of these orders. He was for a number of years state organizer for the Elks. In addition to these two societies, General Curtis has been prominent in such organizations as the Society of Pioneers, the National Association of Fire Fighters, the national guard, the Good Templars, the Father Matthew Total Abstinence society, the Irish league, the Irish-American society, the Firemen's Veteran corps, the Catholic Knights of America, the American Order of Hibernians and the Knights of Pythias.
General Curtis was married in 1873 to Miss Mary Louise Hanratty, of St. Louis, who died in Helena in 1900. His surviving children are William H. and Charles L. Curtis of Butte; Frank Curtis, of Missoula; Paul D. Curtis now with a survey party in northern Montana, and Mrs. Frank Cone of Helena.
The funeral services will be held tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock from the Cathedral of the Sacred Hearts, where the Rev. Father Victor Day will conduct requiem high mass. The active pallbearers will be selected from the Elks and Knights of Columbus, three from each order, while the honorary pallbearers will be the past exalted rulers of Helena lodge and the members of the state society of pioneers.
From the Helena Herald, September 28, 1910
His burial records are at Resurrection Cemetery, but there is no grave there. It is suspected that his remains are in Robinson Park, the site of the "old" catholic cemetery.
His death certificate at the county states, buried in "Catholic Cemetery. Buried September 28, 1910."
He is probably buried next to his wife, Mary Louise (Hanratty) Curtis.
Mary Louise Hanratty Curtis (1845 - 1900)
William H Curtis (1874 - 1941)*
Lewis and Clark County
Created by: Sean Logan
Record added: Apr 19, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 68597034