VIRGIL G. CURTIS. A man of broad culture, talented, energetic
and progressive, Virgil G. Curtis, superintendent of the city schools of
Corry, is widely and favorably known in educational circles, both in the
East and the Middle West, where he has served in the same capacity with
equal zeal, intelligence and efficiency. A son of Seymour Curtis, he was
born March 31, 1842, in Columbus, Warren county. He comes of good old New
England stock, his grandfather, Captian David Curtis, and his
great-grandfather, James Curtis, having both been natives of Woodbury,
Litchfield county, Connecticut.
Born in October, 1762, James Curtis was not yet seventeen years old, when,
in July, 1779, he eagerly responded to the alarm call, and went to the
defense of New Haven when that city was burned, being afterwards present
at the burning of the cities of Fairfield and Norwich. He subsequently
enlisted five times for service in the Revolutionary war, enlisting first
in the fall of 1779, as a private, under Captain Griswold, and serving two
months; second, in February, 1780, when he served under Colonel Mead for
five weeks as a private; third, in August, 1780, when he served for a
month as guard at Stamford; enlisting fourth, in July, 1781, as a private,
and serving one year and three months under Captain Turner and Colonel
Harvey Jackson: and fifth in October, 1782, when he enlisted as a private
under Colonel Brooks, with whom he served fourteen months. In September,
1832, he applied for a pension, which was granted him without demur.
Removing, about 1796, from Connecticut to Chenango county, New York, he
settled as a pioneer on land that he purchased, lying four miles east of
the village of Sherburne, and was there employed in tilling the soil until
his death, in 1835. He married Amy Seymour, who was born June 9, 1761, and
died November 8, 1826. She reared two children, David and Sibyl.
David Curtis, whose birth occurred August 17, 1786, was but ten years old
when his parents removed to Chenango county, where he was brought up and
educated. Entering the employ of J. H. Huydekopper, agent for the Holland
Company, he came, in 1822, to Pennsylvania to survey land in Warren
county, and for his services was given a body of land in Columbus
township, a part of which is now included in the borough of Columbus. He
subsequently donated a tract on the east side of the creek for a park, and
another for a cemetery. In the fall he returned to Chenango county, making
the trip as he came, on horseback, and early in 1823 removed with his
family to Warren county, settling on land that he had selected the
previous year, and on which a log cabin had been erected. Prosperously
engaged in general farming, he resided there until his death, July 27,
1832. His wife, whose maiden name was Delilah Sears, was born September 5,
1791, and died February 1, 1872.
Seymour Curtis was born in Sherburne, Chenango county, New York, in 1818,
but was reared and educated in Warren county, Pennsylvania. Choosing the
free and independent occupation of a farmer, he bought land near Columbus
when ready to settle in life, and from that time until his death, in 1856,
carried on farming with good results. He married Lucretia Pardee, who was
born at Rome, New York, March 26, 1820. a daughter of Merritt and Rebecca
(Woodin) Pardee, both of whom were born in Connecticut, the former in
Guilford, and the latter in New Haven. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs.
Pardee lived for a time in Rome, from there coming to Corry, where they
spent their last years. Two children were born of the union of Mr. and
Mrs. Seymour Curtis, a son, Virgil G., of this brief sketch, and a
daughter, Elvene. After her graduation from the State Normal School at
Oswego, New York, Elvene Curtis attended Cornell University, and was
subsequently, for a number of years, principal of the Teachers’ Training
School at Toledo, Ohio.
Having prepared for college at the Clinton Liberal Institute, in Clinton,
New York, Virgil G. Curtis entered Tufts College, from which he was
graduated in 1866 with the degree of A. B. Beginning his career as a
teacher, he met with eminent success, and in 1870 became superintendent of
the public schools of Corry, a position that he held for ten years. Going
then to Minnesota, he was similarly employed for the next seven years,
being three years in Stillwater, and four years in Winona. Returning East
at the end of that time Mr. Curtis served most acceptably as
superintendent of the schools of New Haven, Connecticut, for five years,
when he resigned to accept a similar position in St. Paul, Minnesota. Two
years later, on account of the ill health of his wife, he gave up his
position in that city, and returned to Corry in order that she might be
with her friends and relatives, and since 1905 has filled his present
position as superintendent of the city schools of this place.
Mr. Curtis married, in 1866, Mary C. Webber, who was born, in 1845,in
Columbus, Warren county, daughter of Hiram and Esther (Walton) Webber,
natives of New York state, and pioneers of Columbus, Pennsylvania. Mrs.
Curtis died in Corry, in 1905, leaving one daughter, Carlene, wife of John
F. Blunt, Jr., of Evanston, Ill. Mr. and Mrs. Blunt have four children,
namely: Curtis, John E., Carleton A. and Carlene Lucretia. Mr. Curtis is
prominent in Masonic circles, being a Knight Templar and a member of the
Mystic Shrine, and in his religious views is broad and liberal, and a
worthy member of the Unitarian church.
A twentieth century history
of Erie County, Pennsylvania
: a narrative account
of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests,
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