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 Leon W. Curtiss

Leon W. Curtiss

Death 1934 (aged 72–73)
Burial The Dalles, Wasco County, Oregon, USA
Memorial ID 15311993 · View Source
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Tombstone Reads:

1861 - 1934
NOTE: Leon W Curtiss was born on March 4, 1861 in Rockland, WA.

He was the 2nd white child born in Klickitat County. He was the son of Alonzo H and Elizabeth (Gould) Curtiss, one of the original settlers of Rockland, WA.

Leon married Georgiana Fenton on January 12, 1888 in The Dalles, OR. They had 3 children: Josepha Henrietta, b. 6.24.1890 (my great grandmother), Verne Elizabeth, b. 8-16-1891, and Grover b. 12.12.1888.

He was a prominent member of his community and also a member of the WA State Legislature as a staunch Republican. He owned over 8000 acres in the Rockland area where he farmed.
Source: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Author: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company

LEON W. CURTISS. Of sturdy pioneer stock, Leon W. Curtiss was one of the
first white children born in Klickitat county and enjoys the distinction of
being its oldest living native son. A typical westerner, he is liberally
endowed with the qualities of energy and determination and these traits,
combined with keen powers of discernment, placed him with the leading ranchers
and cattlemen of the Columbia River valley. He is now devoting his attention
to public affairs, acting as postmaster of Grand Dalles, and has served his
state in the capacity of legislator. His birth occurred March 4, 1860, in
Rockland, Klickitat county.

His parents were Alonzo H. and Elizabeth A. (Gould) Curtiss, the former
born 1831 and the latter in 1834. When a boy his father was bound out to a
carpenter and received a thorough course of training. In 1852, when a young
man of twenty-one, he started for the west by the southern route as a
passenger on the overland stage, which took him to El Paso, Texas, next
through Arizona and thence to California, being six weeks on the trip to this
point. At San Francisco he secured passage on a boat bound for Portland,
Oregon. He later proceeded up the Columbia river to The Dalles, obtaining work
at his trade, and in 1854 aided in building Fort Dalles. After this task was
completed he hewed the timbers for a hotel, which he called the What Cheer
House, and was its proprietor until 1857. He then leased the hostelry to
William Aldridge and went by stage to Illinois, where he was married. In 1858
he brought his family to the territory of Oregon, crossing the isthmus of
Panama, and located at The Dalles. For a year thereafter he conducted the What
Cheer House, selling that well known pioneer hotel in 1859, and crossed the
river. He purchased a homestead right to one hundred and sixty acres of land
in what is now Klickitat county, Washington, and began raising cattle. Mr.
Curtiss cleared and improved the tract and afterward increased his acreage.
During the severe winter of 1861-62 his cattle died of starvation and many of
the settlers left the district but he had a wife and two small children to
support and could not afford to make a change of location. The family managed
to live through the winter, which was the hardest ever experienced in that
section of the country, and gradually Mr. Curtiss retrieved his losses,
increasing his herds of cattle and purchasing more land. He continued to
prosper and at the time of his retirement owned a tract of more than seven
thousand acres in Klickitat county in partnership with his son, Leon W. While
engaged in agricultural pursuits Alonzo H. Curtiss was elected county
commissioner of Klickitat county and served on the board for several years. In
1910, having disposed of his interests in Klickitat county, he returned to The
Dalles, purchasing a good home, in which he resided until his demise in 1913,
and three years later his wife was called to her final rest. They had four
children: Mrs. James Snipes, whose husband is a member of one of the pioneer
families of Oregon and a prominent citizen of The Dalles; Leon W.; Orlando,
who lived but two years; and Joseph S., who died in 1890.

Leon W. Curtiss was a pupil in the rural schools of his native county and
spent a year at the University of Oregon but preferred the open range to
student life. For many years he was associated with his father in the cattle
business and in 1910 purchased the house which the latter had erected in 1887
at Grand Dalles, across river from The Dalles. The building is large and
substantial and was used as a hotel in the early days when the townsite was
laid out. A few years ago Leon W Curtiss purchased a ranch of twelve hundred
acres, situated on Ten-Mile creek, five miles southeast of The Dalles. A
portion of this is rich bottom land and well irrigated. It is devoted to the
raising of strawberries, vegetables of various kinds, alfalfa, hay and grain.
Mr. Curtiss leases the farm, which is improved with good buildings and fences,
while the equipment is thoroughly modern.

At Centerville, Washington, Mr. Curtiss was married in 1888 to Miss
Georgiana Fenton, a native of Amity, Oregon, and a daughter of Hugh and
Henrietta Fenton. The father came to Oregon in the '50's, crossing the plains
with ox teams and wagons, and located near Amity, Yamhill county. In 1858 he
went to the Caribou mines in British Columbia, Canada, in search of gold and
on his return to Oregon settled down to farming. Later he sold the ranch and
moved to Klickitat county. After several years he established his home in
Portland, where he spent the remainder of his life, while his wife's demise
also occurred in that city. Mr. and Mrs. Fenton became the parents of nine
children, of whom Hugh, the eldest, and John, the fourth in order of birth,
are deceased. The others are Georgiana, Eva, Isabel, Mary Frances, Laura,
Gertrude and Luther. Mr. and Mrs. Curtiss have three children. The son, Grover
Cleveland, was born on the old homestead and responded to the call of his
country enlisting in the One Hundred and Fifty-eighth Regiment of Arizona
Infantry. He was overseas for eighteen months and is now engaged in farming in
Gilliam county, Oregon. His sister, Mrs. Josepha Fulton, resides at Grand
Dalles, and is the mother of two children, Gard Jr. and Robert Curtiss Fulton.
Verne, the younger daughter, was graduated with honors from the University of
Washington and majored in English history. She received the Bachelor of Arts
degree from that institution and is now engaged in teaching at Camas,
Washington. During the World war she volunteered for service and was sent to
Camp Lewis, Washington, where she was stationed for over a year.

Mr. Curtiss exerts a strong influence in the local ranks of the
republican party and for a period of thirteen years has been postmaster of
Grand Dalles. In 1895 he became a member of the Washington legislature, in
which he represented Klickitat county for two terms, and carefully studied
each question brought before the house working at all times for the best
interests of his district and state. He is well read and an excellent
raconteur. A man of strong convictions and great depth of character, Mr.
Curtiss has never swerved from the path of rectitude and honor, and a genial
kindly nature has drawn to him a wide circle of stanch friends.

Family Members





  • Maintained by: Maria Barrett
  • Originally Created by: Piper
  • Added: 12 Aug 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 15311993
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Leon W. Curtiss (1861–1934), Find A Grave Memorial no. 15311993, citing Odd Fellows Cemetery, The Dalles, Wasco County, Oregon, USA ; Maintained by Maria Barrett (contributor 46938998) .