OBITUARY: TOPEKA DAILY CAPITAL Wednesday March 30, 1898
Captain "Jack" Curtis
Captain "Jack" Curtis, the father of Congressman Charles Curtis, died suddenly last Monday afternoon at 3 o'clock at his home six miles out of Newkirk, Oklahoma Territory. Captain Jack left Topeka for Newkirk about two years ago and has since lived there with his brother. His death was very sudden and last night no word had been received by the family. He had written a letter to his daughter, Mrs Elizabeth Colvin, in the early part of the week in which he said that he and his brother were both well. At the time of Captain Curtis' death telegrams were sent to both Congressman Curtis and to the family here. The relatives in Topeka failed to receive the telegram and the first word they received of the death of Captain Curtis was at 2 o'clock yesterday morning, when a reporter for the Capital went to the Curtis home to ascertain whether or not they knew the particulars of his death. His mother did not then tell her granddaughter and she knew nothing of it until she read yesterday morning's Capital. She could scarcely credit the report and while she still had the paper in her hand, a messenger boy arrived with the delayed telegram. Congressman Curtis, upon the receipt of the news of his father's death immediately telegraphed A.A. Hurd to make arrangements for having the remains sent to Topeka. He also sent a telegram Harry Safford, asking him to arrange to receive the body. As Mr. Safford was in Denver, his wife showed the telegram to Archie Williams, who has made arrangements to care for the body upon its arrival here.
Captain Curtis was born in Vermillion county, Indiana; and lived there until 1855. when he came to Topeka. He was a participant in the border war which so aroused Eastern Kansas in the early days. He was an ardent Free State man. He has been married five times, and one of his wives, is still living, Mrs Rachel (Funk) Hatch, is still living. His first wife was Miss Isabelle Jane Quick and their son John, is now a brakeman on the Rock Island railroad. Captain Curtis was divorced from his first wife and later married Helen Pappan. From this union two children were born, Congressman Charles Curtis and Mrs Elizabeth Colvin. After his wife's death, Captain Curtis married Miss Rachel Funk, and after being divorced from her, married Miss Lucy (Lou) Jay, who was the mother of Miss Permelia (Dollie) Curtis. Captain Curtis was the eldest of fourteen children, eleven of whom are still living. Of these, Mrs Cynthia Smith, Mrs Eunice Wise and Mrs Elizabeth Brown are residents of Topeka, Kansas. Charles Curtis lives in Lawrence, Kansas and William Curtis, in California. The mother of the family is still living at the old Curtis house in North Topeka and is 91 years old. The arrangements of the funeral have not yet been made but the body will probably be interred in the Curtis Cemetery north of North Topeka. Congressman Curtis and Miss Dollie Curtis left Washington yesterday at noon and expected in Topeka on Thursday. The remains will probably arrive in the city this evening. They will be taken to the home of Congressman Curtis to await his home coming. Capt. O.A. Curtis served with Co. F 15th Kans. Cav. during the Civil War.
MEDIA: J3217 - Orem Arms Curtis Civil War Uniform h/o Helen C. Pappan Grandfather of Leona Virginai Curtis Knight - Find A Grave Memorial# 17853810
BIOGRAPHY: Orren (Oren, Oran) Arms Curtis was the oldest son of William and Permelia Hubbard Curtis. He was born in Eugene, Vermillion County, Indiana, June 2, 1829. At the age of twenty years, he married Isabelle Quick. They only lived together a few years and were divorced. They had two children, Harvey and John Curtis.
After he was divorced from his first wife, he joined a circus for a season, then arrived in Topeka, Kansas, about the year 1856, and was for a time employed by the Pappans to assist in running or operating a ferry boat across the Kansas River. About 1859 he married Helene (Helen or Ellen) Pappan, the oldest daughter of Louis and Julia Gonvil Pappan. There were two children born of this marriage: Charles, born January 25, 1860, and Elizabeth, born September 2, 1861.
Charles Curtis in his autobiography later wrote: To explain my Indian heritage I will tell this.
In the years when the North American Indians ruled supreme over that part of our country known as the Louisiana Purchase, there lived west of the Mississippi River two strong and powerful tribes of Indians: The Osages and the Kanza (Kansas or Kaw). These tribes had their enemies among the smaller tribes of the plains, but they were dominant over their respective domains until after the Louisiana Purchase by the United States, and until the government began to make treaties with them for the relinquishment of their lands, which they held by the right of occupancy. History does not tell us where they came from, but they were in possession and each claimed by the right of occupancy a vast domain, which by means of many a hard-fought battle with the other wild tribes of the plains, they were able to retain. When the United States became the owner of the lands covered by the Louisiana Purchase, it took the same subject to the rights of the Indians. The Osages occupied lands covering a large part of Kansas. The Kansas Indians occupied lands north and west, into what is now a part of Colorado and north into the state of Nebraska, and claimed a small strip in western Missouri, covering a part of the state in and around what is now known as Independence and Kansas City. At one time, these two tribes were supposed to make up one tribe, as their language and habits are quite similar and they were always friendly, and the members intermarried, so that many families are of the blood of both tribes, but later they separated, and were separate tribes thereafter. In the early days, Pawhuska was Head Chief of the Osage Tribe of Indians. He was known as “White Hair,” and was a strong man and a great leader of his people. After his death, after 1825, the tribe was placed on a reservation in the old Indian Territory, and named the principal town in Osage County, Oklahoma, Pawhuska, which covers the lands formerly within the Osage Reservation. White Plume was born about 1763, and died at the age of seventy or more. He became chief of the Kansas Nation, and was highly regarded. He was one of the ablest and most progressive Indians of his day. He became a warm friend to Lewis and Clark, and was of great help to them in their work among the Indians of that section of the country. He was the first Indian Chief for whom the government built a stone house in the Territory of Kansas. He never lived in it, however, because he preferred his wigwam. Before he became Head Chief of the Kansas Indians, he married a daughter of Pawhuska. Then their oldest daughter married Louis Gonvil, a Frenchman who was an Indian trader who had lived among the Indians for many years. There were two daughters born of this marriage, Josette and Pelagie Gonvil. After the death of his first wife, Louis Gonvil married the second daughter of White Plume, and as a result of this marriage two more daughters were born, Julia and Victorie. These four daughters are mentioned in the Treaty between the United States and the Kansas Indians, made at the City of St. Louis in 1825. Each was given an allotment of one mile of land on the north bank of the Kansas River. Kaw Mile Four, upon which North Topeka, Kansas, is now located was ceded to Julia Gonvil. Julia (sometimes found as Julie Gonville) married Louis Pappan, who had been sent to trade with the Indians by the American Fur Company. His people originally came from the north of France to Canada, and from there they moved to St. Louis and members of the old Pappan family still live in St. Louis. After the marriage of Julia Gonvil to Louis Pappan, they built a log house on the north side of her allotment and lived there until they moved to the Kansas Reservation near Council Grove, Kansas. There were seven children born as a result of this marriage The eldest daughter, Helene Pappan, when old enough , was sent to St. Louis to be educated. In 1859, Helen Pappan (also known as Ellen or Helen), was married to Orren Curtis. As stated before, there were two children born of this marriage, Charles and Elizabeth Curtis. This delineates the Indian ancestry and heritage of Charles Curtis.
A biographer of Charles Curtis wrote the following: “I remember quite well a visit Captain Jack Curtis and wife and baby son Charles made to the old home place through the winter of 1860. Some of the older residents of that township may remember that every morning this little Indian mother would take her babe down to the Wabash and dip him into the water, in the approved Kaw Indian custom, much to the awe of the younger generation thereabouts. No matter how cold, if the ice could be broken, this little Charlie Curtis got his refreshing morning plunge.” To continue with the record of Orren Arms (Captain Jack) Curtis, Charles Curtis stated in his autobiography: At the time of my birth, January 25, 1860, my parents were living in a log house, which was located near the landing of the Pappan Ferry on the north bank of the Kansas River. My sister, Elizabeth, was born September 2, 1861. When the great Civil War came, my father, like thousands of others, volunteered in the Union Army, and soon after his enlistment he was sent to the front. He was soon commissioned Captain of Company F of the 15th Kansas Cavalry. Mother, sister and I were left behind. Mother died in 1863 of what was then known as the “Black Fever.” We two children were taken to the home of our grandparents, William and Permelia Curtis, who then lived on a farm near the old town of Mt. Florence. (This was described in an earlier section.) Copies of the army records of Orren A. Curtis showed he enlisted October 2, 1863 and was mustered out on April 27, 1865, having been appointed a Captain on October 4, 1863. Another enlistment showed enrolled October 16, 1868, discharged April 18, 1869 (6 months enlistment). He served as Quartermaster Sergeant, Company H, 19th Kansas Cavalry.
In a History of Kansas: Shawnee County, page 559, we read some of his life activities:
O.A. Curtis, born Vermillion County, Indiana, June 1, 1829 and lived at Eugene until age 23 years. He married in Indiana 1848; had two children, Harvey and John. In 1851 moved to Platte County, Illinois; here 3 years, returned to Indiana; farming, hotel keeping and running flat boats. From Indiana he came directly to Kansas City, Kansas, arriving April 1, 1856. The same month walked to the Quaker Mission, but night arrived before he reached his destination and due to his Free-State sentiments could not procure shelter for the night. In the morning, he reached the Mission where he stayed for rest, then proceeded, still on foot, towards Lawrence, where he stopped at night in the home of a friendly Indian. He went to Ft. Leavenworth with the intention of enlisting in the regular army, but being disgusted with the way the soldiers were treated, he returned to Leavenworth City. The following day he hired out to a man at Kickapoo to break prairie.
He later worked in St. Joseph, Missouri, and afterwards worked with business firms, traveling in Missouri and Iowa. He then went to work running ferry boats for Louis Pappan; hauled logs for Covee until April 1857. Took a claim in Rochester -- sold out to Hiller -- started a grocery on Soldier’s Creek -- ran that for two months, sold it and ran ferry again for Pappan, February 1858. Started a saloon and did a good business until the pontoon bridge was washed away (the link between North Topeka and Topeka). He sold the saloon, and then re-established a ferry in company with Louis Pappan. In February 1859, he married Ellen Pappan, who died in April 1863. Their children were Charles and Elizabeth. He retained his charter for the ferry boat until 1865. In August 1863, he raised a company of militia, of which he was in command a short time. He also raised Company “F” of the 15th Kansas Cavalry, and mustered in at Leavenworth as Captain in October 1863. His activities with the militia were varied, and took him over many areas in Kansas and Missouri. It would seem that he led a very colorful life. Taking a leave of absence, he married, on Christmas Day, 1864, at Olathe, Kansas, Miss Lou or Lucy Jay. They had a daughter, Dolly, born March 24, 1866, at Topeka. She married Edward Everett Gann on December 12, 1915, and they later lived in Washington, D.C. with her half-brother, Charles Curtis, where she served as hostess to him while he served as Vice President.
According to the history, he had also been married to a Mrs. Hatch, from whom he was divorced, and also to Rachel Funk, and they were divorced also. (Same person?)
He returned to Topeka, ran the ferry for one year, then in 1866 he started a dry goods store and grocery, which he ran for one year. He commenced shipping cattle to St Louis, Missouri, in which business he remained one year. In November, 1868, he re-enlisted with the 19th Kansas Cavalry as Quartermaster Sergeant, and mustered out in Aril 1969. He spent the year of 1871 in Jackson County, Missouri, and then recommenced shipping cattle for 8 years, doing most of his business at St. Louis, Missouri. He went to Nebraska to work on the Missouri Pacific Railroad. The history does not cover his activities during the later years of his life, but we find that Orren A. Curtis died suddenly in March 1898, six miles out of Newkirk, Oklahoma, where he had been living with a younger brother. From information received, he died of heart failure. He had been in the field cutting underbrush and came into the house at noon, where he was talking to his brother. He was laughing heartily, when he suddenly stopped and walking to the lounge, laid down and he was dead in a moment. The body of Captain Curtis was returned to Topeka, and the funeral was held at the residence of his son, Congressman Charles Curtis, with services conducted by Rev. W. B. Hutchinson of the Baptist Church and Rev. T. E. Chandler of the Kansas Street Methodist Church. Music was furnished by a choir. The services were attended by a great many family members and their friends. Interment was in the Curtis Burying Ground at the north end of Harrison Street. (North Topeka News)
Congressman Charles Curtis and his sister, Miss Dollie Curtis, arrived from Washington to attend the funeral of their father. Mr. Curtis was very deeply affected by the death of his father to whom he has always been greatly devoted. His appearance indicates that this has been a great and unexpected blow. (Topeka State Journal)
Captain Curtis was the oldest of fourteen children of William and Permelia Hubbard Curtis, eleven of whom are still living, as well as his mother, who still lives at the old Curtis house in North Topeka, and is 91 years old. Captain Curtis was a born rover. He made frequent trips through the country and when last heard of he was making arrangements for a wagon trip during the coming summer through Arkansas. (Topeka State Journal)
Taken from the history of William & Permelia Hubbard Curtis Family, compiled and prepared by Roberta Hubbard Palmer for the Charles Wesley Hubbard Organization, July 1992, from many sources researched over the years, and from two trips to Topeka, Kansas, in 1972 and 1974. Additional resources include:
Autobiography of Charles Curtis
The Emporia Kansas Research Studies of Charles Curtis of Kansas
Kansas State Historical Society
Harold O’Donnell, “The First 100 Years of Eugene, Indiana.”
Professional researcher Irene Williams, who sent and provided all kinds of Curtis records, from Topeka, Kansas, census records, certificates, obituaries, newspaper articles, etc.
Harold J. Smith, from all kinds of family records, his letters, his taking care of the Curtis Burying Ground,
Helen King, who made a special study of the Curtis Burying Ground, and who took me there for the pictures I took.
Jim French, newspaper columnist from Olate, Kansas.
Various correspondence from some of the descendants of Charles Curtis.