Shelby County, Indiana
James J. Curtis
Prominent among the many men of Shelby Co., of decided business ability and strict integrity, stands James J. Curtis, the subject of this sketch. Coming to Indiana when quite young, he has become completely identified with the interests of the county in which has name and fortune have been acquired, and he is ever ready to do all in his power for the advancement of whatever interests of Shelby Co. need his assistance. Mr. Curtis was born in Lexington, Ky., June 25, 1820, and was the son of Jacob and Rebecca (Hall) Curtis, his father being a native of New York and his mother of Virginia. They came to Cincinnati at an early day, remained there a few years and then moved to Kentucky, where his father settled on a farm and spent the remainder of his life. His death occurred Sept. 2, 1865. Mrs. Curtis died June 25, 1835. They were both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Politically, he was a Democrat. James left home when about 16 years of age, working and attending school alternately for about two years, when he came to Indiana and located at St. Omer, Decatur Co., engaging in the wagon and carriage manufacturing, which he continued for five years, being burned out once during the time, which did not, however, stop his business. During his stay in St. Omer, Mr. Curtis was married to Miss Margaret McCain, daughter of William and Mary McCain, the wedding taking place in October, 1841. By her Mr. Curtis had ten children, as follows, Marion, William W., Mary Jane, Edna A., George W., John E., James B., Anna A., an infant and Harry Hall (deceased). In 1844, he settled in Liberty Township and engaged in the general merchandise business at Middletown. Ten years later, he came to Waldron and entered into the same business, and has ever since carried it on there, running, besides, a farm, which at present consists of over 300 acres. In 1873, on the 14th of May, his wife died, much regretted by her husband and family, for she had proved herself a faithful wife and loving mother.
On the 2d of August, 1875, Mr. Curtis was married again, to Matilda Z. Belding, at Ravenna, Ohio; she is the daughter of Justin and Margaret Belding, and a lady of fine character. During his residence in Shelby Co., the subject of this sketch has twice been elected County Cmmissioner, which office he has filled capably, and in 1871, he served his county as Representative in the General ASsembly; he has always conducted his business and official cares with good judgment and clear-headedness. He is now a member of the Methodist Church, but was formerly a Presbyterian. At present time of writing, Mr. Curtis is the owner of a fine farm, a handsome residence, and can look back over his career in Indiana with satisfaction. Commencing as an unknown youth, he has made a fortuen and name of which any man may well be proud.
Atlas of Shelby County, Indiana, J. H. Beers, 1880, page 56
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming
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