Charles Curtis

Charles Curtis

Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas, USA
Death 8 Feb 1936 (aged 76)
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Burial Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas, USA
Plot Section 80
Memorial ID 2895 · View Source
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31st United States Vice President. Born the son of Orren Curtis and Ellen Pappan, the grand daughter of White Plume, a Kansa-Kaw chief. As a child, Curtis lived for three years on a Kaw reservation and learned to speak French and Kansa before he learned English. After his mother died in 1863 his upbringing was left to his grandparents, dividing time between both Topeka and the Kaw reservation. In 1869 Curtis rode as a jockey in his first race and continued to ride until 1876. He attended Topeka High School and then studied law with a Topeka attorney. He was admitted to the bar in 1881. In 1884 Curtis was elected to the post of Shawnee County attorney and enforced the state's prohibition laws and closed down all of the saloons in the county. In a surprise 1892 victory, Curtis defeated the Populist and Democratic fusion candidate for a seat in the House of Representatives. Curtis served on the Committee on Indian Affairs, where he drafted the "Curtis Act" in 1898. The Kansas state legislature elected Curtis senator in January 1907 to fill a vacancy left by a member resigned in disgrace. Curtis was defeated for re-nomination in 1911 but returned to the Senate in 1915. In 1923, Curtis became chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and the majority leader in 1925. After an unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination, he became Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. After the Republican victory, however, Hoover and Curtis remained alienated after campaigning against each other for the nomination and Curtis had little to do in the Hoover administration. He spent his vice-presidency presiding over the Senate, and on a few occasions cast tie-breaking votes. Bad press dogged Curtis during his tenure as vice-president, and he was caught up in ridiculous social feuds and castigated for calling in marines to deal with social protesters. As the country slid into the Great Depression, the incumbent administration was blamed and they suffered a landslide defeat in November 1932 ending Curtis' political career. He remained in Washington, where he practiced law. He died after suffering a heart attack in February 1936 at his sister's home. His body was returned to Kansas where he was buried at Topeka Cemetery. He was the first citizen of American Indian ancestry to reach high political office.

Bio by: Iola

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Charles Curtis Vice-President of the United States , Son of the Kanza Nation; Shawnee County Attorney, Congressman, Senator, Senate Majority Leader



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 6 May 1998
  • Find a Grave Memorial 2895
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Charles Curtis (25 Jan 1860–8 Feb 1936), Find a Grave Memorial no. 2895, citing Topeka Cemetery, Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .