Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 1188-1189
The CURTIS family came originally from England, and its members were prominent in their different callings in that country. Henry CURTIS was born in Hampshire, England, 30 Mar 1813, to the union of Stephen Jr. and Elizabeth (POOR) CURTIS, natives of Hampshire and Lincolnshire, respectively, where both received their final summons, the father dying at the age of 80, and the mother when about 75 years of age. Stephen Jr. was a farmer, and had followed that occupation all his life. To his marriage was born a large family of children, 11 of whom lived to be grown, two died in infancy, and four are now living. The paternal grandfather, Stephen CURTIS Sr., passed his entire life in Hampshire, England, and he and his wife died there when quite aged. Elizabeth POOR, mother of our subject, was one of two children born to Edward POOR and his wife, natives of Oxfordshire, England. Her parents moved to Hampshire, England, and there engaged in the nursery business, Edward POOR being known as head gardener.
The subject of this sketch remained under the parental roof until about 10 years of age, and then for three years worked for his board and clothes with an uncle, James CURTIS. After this he was engaged in teacing for an old Quaker, with whom he remained until 18 years of age, and then took passage on the vessel "Process," landing at Quebec, Canada, six weeks later. He remained in Eastern Canada, worked on a farm for about four years, and after saving $200 started for the fertile soil of IL. He came by stage and steamer to Montreal, and canal to Kingston, thence by the Lakes to Queenstown and by carriage to Chippewa, after which he took the steamer "Thomas Jefferson" at Buffalo to go to Detroit, but changed on to the "Michigan" and came by it to Chicago. He walked from that city out to Boone County [IL], and made his first appearance in that county in June 1836. He at once settled on his present farm, erected a log cabin 16x20, and in this he made his home until 1876, when he moved into his present fine large house.
Mrs. CURTIS was married in Canada in Apr 1835 to Miss Mary ATKINSON, who was born in Lincolnshire, England, on 26 Jul 1804, and was the daughter of Robert and Ann (ROSS) ATKINSON, also natives of Lincolnshire, England. Her parents died in East, or Lower, Canada, when extremely aged people; they were the parents of seven or eight children, all now deceased, the youngest having died in this county [Boone County, IL] in the winter of 1891. When our subject reached Chicago on his way to this county, he left his wife, who had accompanied him thus far, in Chicago, and he started out on foot for Boone County. The country was almost a wilderness then, and he followed surveying lines and blazed trees until he came to this county. Very few neighbors were here then, but game abounded on all sides. After selecting a suitable location and getting everything in readiness, he returned in the fall of 1836 to Chicago for his wife, whom he brought to his pioneer home. Of the four children born to this worthy couple, three are yet living: Elizabeth, born 11 Mar 1838, married George Williams and became the mother of five children; William H. H., born 26 Aug 1840; and Thomas, born 04 Jun 1843. When locating in this county, our subject took up 160 acres of land and has resided on this ever since. Mr. CURTIS is a Republican in this political views, and his first Presidential vote was cast for W. H. Harrison. He named his son after this President.
This son, William Henry Harrison CURTIS, born in Spring Township, Boone County, IL, 26 Aug 1840, was married to Miss Marietta D. HANDY, who was born in Boone County, IL, 07 Nov 1847. This union has been blessed by the birth of five children: Clarence L., born in Milton, PA, 28 Mar 1872; Lois M., born in PA, 25 Nov 1874, attending school; Mabel M., born in this county [Boone County, IL], 31 May 1878; Clyde W., born in PA, 03 apr 1882; and Grace D., born in PA, 27 Jul 1884. Mrs. CURTIS is the daughter of John and Celinda M. (SHATTUCK) HANDY. Her father was a native of OH, and came to Boone County, IL, in 1835. He took up Government land, but sold out late in lie and moved to WI, where he died on 07 Mar 1850, when 40 years of age. His wife died in this county [Boone County, IL}, 01 Apr 1864. [For additional information on Mrs. CURTIS, see the Boone County, IL, biography of C. B. LORD.] Mrs. CURTIS' eldest sister ws the first female child born in Boone County. Mr. CURTIS, like his father, is a Republican, and his first Presidential vote was cast for Lincoln. He has held a number of the local offices of the county, and is now Supervisor. The family attend the Methodist Church. William H. H. CURTIS was in Company B, 95th Il Infantry, as a private, and came out with the rank of Lieutenant. He was in the service three years, up to 17 Sep 1865. His brother George enlisted in Company I, 9th IL Cavalry, was wounded at Nashville, and died from the effects at Louisville, KY.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.