Samuel Curtiss


Born: 1789
Died: 1867





AUDIO BIOGRAPHY



Biography

Samuel and Mary Hatch Curtiss began their life together in 1813 in Royalton, Vermont. Samuel was born 1789, the year George Washington became our first President and Mary was born 4 years later. Sam volunteered during the War of 1812. By 1830 they had a family of 5 sons and like many others they wanted to provide a better future for them. So, with $1000 they came to Illinois in 1836 and purchased land in the Downers Grove area. The land here was a wild frontier and some Native Americans were still in the area. Having land in the center of the village Samuel established a tavern, stable, and early post office. Along with Israel Blodgett he improved the trail through town that is now Maple Avenue including planting many Maple trees along the roadway. As others, here he opposed slavery and helped with the activities of the Underground Railroad. Some of the land he owned became the Main Street Cemetery in 1856 and another piece was sold to the Baptist Church. When former slave Isrel Blackburn came to town after the Civil War Samuel gave him land to farm. By 1864 Samuel sold a portion of his land for the first subdivision here.

Mary saw two of their sons go off to California to join the great gold rush but returned no richer. After returning from California son Charles became quite well known in the village serving as village trustee, president of the Farmers and Merchants bank and even serving in the Illinois General Assembly for a few years.

Samuel was a very generous man and tried to use his money for the betterment of the community. He died a few years after the Civil War at the age of 78. Mary died in 1883.


Home      Map