Richard William Curtis, son of William Curtis and Susannah Newcome, according to genealogy records was born on January 5, 1840 in Holbeach, Lincolnshire, England. The baptism of Richard William, son of William & Susannah Curtis, is shown in the International Genealogical Index at Holbeach on January 5, 1840 as well. He was said to have later worked in a marine office in England. The Archives Research Services in Richmond, Virginia, however, provided documentation from ORN 1, the Alabama Claims and the CSN Register, that he was born in and appointed from Arkansas in the United States. There is also speculation he may have joined the CSS Georgia when she was commissioned, off the coast of France. In any case, Richard joined into the Confederate States Navy where served as an officer and Paymaster aboard the CSS Georgia in 1863, the CSS Stonewall and later served as paymaster on the CSS Rappahannock. Richard received a pay rate of $2000 while on sea duty.
The CSS Georgia, the first ship on which Richard Curtis served on as Paymaster was a Confederate Ironclad cruiser bought at Dumbarton, Scotland, for the Confederate government and commissioned off Ushant in April, 1863, by Corn. William L. Maury, with the following list of officers: Lieuts. R. T. Chapman, Evans, Smith, and J. H. Ingraham; Passed Midshipman Walker; Midshipman Morgan; Paymaster Curtis, Surgeon Wheeden, and Chief Engineer Pearson. She cruised in the Atlantic, ran over to the coast of Brazil, and then to the Cape of Good Hope. On the 28th of October she anchored at Cherbourg, having taken 9 prizes. Thre Captain Maury turned over the command to Lieutenant Evans, but she made no other cruises.
The CSS Georgia was later moved to an anchorage 3 miles below Bordeaux, France and on May 2, 1864 was taken to Liverpool, England where she was sold on June 1st to a merchant of Liverpool, over the protest of the United States Minister to Great Britain. The steamer was again put to sea, however, on August 11th and 4 days later was captured by the Union frigate USS Niagara off Portugal. She was then sailed into Boston, Massachusetts where she was condemned and sold as a lawful prize of the United States Navy. She was documented as the U.S. merchant vessel SS Georgia in New Bedford, Massachusetts on August 5, 1865, reregistered in Canada in 1870 and wrecked off the coast of Maine in January 1875.
The Stonewall was the ironclad ram Sphynx. She was built in France, sold to Denmark, and transferred by that country to Capt. Thomas Jefferson Page, C. S. N. Page took her to the appointed rendezvous off Quiberon, where she was met by the steamer City of Richmond with stores. She was commissioned January 24, 1865, with the following list of officers: Capt. T. J. Page; Lieuts. Robert R. Carter, George S. Shryock, George A. Borchert, E. G. Read, and Samuel Barron, Jr.; Surg. B. W. Green; Asst. Surg. J. W. Herty; Paymaster R.W. Curtis; Engineers W. P. Brooks, W. H. Jack. son, and J. C. Klosh; Master W. W. Wilkinson; Boatswain J. M. Dukehart; Gunner J. B. King; Master's Mate W. H. Savage, and Paymaster's Clerk William Boynton. The Stonewall went to Corunna, and thence to Ferrol, Spain, for repairs. She was blockaded by the United States vessels Niagara and Sacramento. On the 24th of March Page steamed out of Ferrol, and defied the two vessels to battle, which they ingloriously declined. Page then crossed the ocean to Nassau and Havana. At the latter port Page learned that the war had ended, so he delivered his ship to Spanish authorities.
The CSS Stonewall, the second ship on which Richard Curtis served was the1390-ton ironclad ram Sphynx, built in Bordeaux, France, Eebargoed by the French government in February 1864 prior to her launching, she was subsequently sold to Denmark; The Danish government though would not accept delivery and her builder secretly resold and transferred States Navy. Page took her to the appointed rendezvous off Quiberon where she was met by the steamer City of Richmond with stores. She was commissioned on January 24, 1865, with the following list of officers: Capt. T. J. Page; Lieuts. Robert R. Carter, George S. Shryock, George A. Borchert, E. G. Read, and Samuel Barron, Jr.; Surg. B. W. Green; Asst. Surg. J. W. Herty; Paymaster R.W. Curtis; Engineers W. P. Brooks, W. H. Jack. son, and J. C. Klosh; Master W. W. Wilkinson; Boatswain J. M. Dukehart; Gunner J. B. King; Master's Mate W. H. Savage, and Paymaster's Clerk William Boynton.
Commissioned at sea as CSS Stonewall in January 1865, she attempted to obtain supplies in French waters, then sailed for Madeira, Azores, en route to America, where she was ordered to attack Federal naval forces and commercial shipping. Forced into Ferrol, Spain, by a storm, she was confronted by USS Niagara and USS Sacramento in March 1865. However, these wooden warships avoided action when the well-armed and armored Stonewall put to sea on 24 March. After calling at Lisbon, Portugal, the Confederate ironclad crossed the Atlantic, reaching Havana, Cuba, in May. As the Civil War had then ended, she was turned over to Spanish Authorities.
In July 1865, the Spanish delivered Stonewall to the United States Government. She was laid up at the Washington Navy Yard, D.C., for the next two years, and then sold to Japan. In Japanese service, she was initially named Kôtetsu and, after 1871, renamed the Azuma.
After the War Between the States ended, Richard migrated back to England and then on to Australia, where he worked on a farm near Brisbane; eventually ending up living in the settlement of Lutwyche in the State of Queensland. He also once worked as a bonded warehouse keeper in Brisbane and was once called before a Queensland Government Committee. Richard was living in Lutwyche when he met and married Caroline Amelia Bolden, born in 1850 in Camberwell, Surrey, England, the daughter of Charles Ordish Bolden and Catherine Harriett Ward; on October 26, 1872 at Stanley, Kedron Brook, a community bordering Lutwyche, Queensland. Caroline Amelia Bolden was born in 1850 in Camberwell, Surry, England, the daughter of Charles Ordish Bolden and Catherine Harriett Ward; both born in England, and had also previously migrated to Australia.
Richard and Caroline had four children. Richard Curtis born September 15, 1873, Curtis born September 19, 1875, William born in 1877 and Ruby born in 1879; all in Queensland, Australia.
The Australian Electoral Rolls of 1903 – 1954 records Richard William Curtis and Caroline Amelia ‘Bell' Curtis living with their daughter Ruby on Berlin Road in Hendra, which today is Enderley Road in Clayfield, Queensland. That was within walking distance of the Ascot Racecourse, which existed when Curtis died in 1905. All other records record his wife's name as Caroline Amelia ‘Bolden',
Richard William Curtis died as a result of asphyxia when he drowned in the Brisbane River at Hamilton on November 10, 1905; and was subsequently buried on November 11, 1905 in the large and elaborate Toowong Cemetery in Brisbane, Queensland without a headstone; in Portion 5, Section 61, Grave No. 22. He was 69 years, 9 months and 7 days old, was working as an accountant and had been married for 32 years. Five years later his widowed wife, Caroline Amelia Bolden Curtis, also died, on January 14, 1910 in Queensland, Australia.
In 2010 a bronze memorial plaque was acquired by Mr. Terry Foenander of Victoria, Australia, from the American Veterans Administration, for placement on the unmarked grave of Richard William Curtis. Additionally, Mr. James M. Gray, Commander of the William Kenyon Australian Confederates Camp 2160 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. and its members acquired a solid bronze Southern Cross, also for placement on Richard William Curtis's gravesite; to distinguish him as a Confederate officer of the Confederate States Navy.
Burial: Toowong Cemetery Brisbane Brisbane City Queensland, Australia Plot: 5, Section 61, Grave No. 22
Created by: James Gray Record added: Oct 06, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 59681536