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Curtis (Family) Correspondence
mssHM 50671-50759  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Correspondence of the Curtis family written in the East and Midwest from 1820 to 1868, from Shasta County, California, and environs from 1871 to 1875, 1890, and 1891, and from Arizona Territory and California from 1881 to 1892.
Background
In 1831, Henry James Curtis (1798-1852) of Cincinnati, Ohio married Clarissa Fisher (1809-1849). The couple had four children: Sarah Henrietta ("Etta") (1835-1908), James Henry (1838-1906), Delia Augusta ("Gussie") (1841-1915), and Benjamin Wisner (1847-1892); a fifth child, Clarissa, died of cholera in 1849. After their father's death in 1852, the children were separated and cared for by aunts and uncles. Sarah Henrietta attended a private school in Boston, worked as a governess for a family in Memphis, Tennessee, and in 1872 graduated from the Boston Normal School for Training Kindergarten Teachers. Delia Augusta went to Hamilton Academy in Ohio, the State Normal School at Salem, Massachusetts, and in 1873, like her sister, graduated from the Boston Normal School for Training Kindergarten Teachers. In 1877, the sisters moved to San Diego, California, where they opened a private kindergarten. James Henry lived with his relatives in Covington and in Memphis, Tennessee where he worked at a general store. At the beginning of the Civil War he had to move to Ohio, despite his Southern sympathies. In 1863 he returned to Memphis. In 1875 he moved to Fall River Mills, Shasta County, California and worked at a general store and post office. In spring of 1861, Benjamin Wisner Curtis ran away from the home of his uncle in Illinois, and, having concealed his name, enlisted in the Union Navy. He served onboard of U.S.S. Indianola and was captured with the rest of the ironclad's crew in February 1863. He was paroled in summer of 1863, having spent several months in Libby prison, and shortly afterwards was discharged from the Navy. He then worked as a store clerk and a postal agent in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Nebraska. In 1875 he went to northern California and took up a homestead at Fall River Mills, in Shasta County. In 1881, he gave it up and went to Arizona on a mining project. Shortly thereafter he moved to San Diego, but in 1884 was back in Arizona, trying his luck in ranching. In 1891, he left his ranch, and returned to San Diego.
Extent
2.4 Linear Feet (2 boxes)
Restrictions
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
Availability
Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact Reader Services at the Huntington Library for more information.