Charles Curtis in 1928 during his political campaign to become United States Vice President, under soon to be elected, President Herbert Hoover. (Courtesy www.kansasmemory.org)

Charles Curtis was born Jan. 25, 1860, in Topeka, Kansas, to Oren Arms and Ellen (Pappan) Curtis. His mother had American Indian ancestry — Kansa, Osage and Potawatomi. Curtis’ mother died when he was 3, and his early life was spent with his maternal grandmother and other relatives on the Kaw Indian Reservation near Council Grove. Life was unsettled on the reservation. Due to conflicts among the Kaws, Cheyennes and Arapahos, young Curtis was sent to Topeka in 1868 to live with his paternal grandmother.

As a youth Curtis worked at various occupations, including as a jockey. He worked as a clerk for Topeka attorney A. H. Case and later as partner. He was elected county prosecutor in 1884 and became widely known for his strict enforcement of the prohibition law. Curtis married Annie Elizabeth Baird on Nov. 27, 1884. They had three children.

Curtis rose to national prominence with his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1892, an office he would hold for the next eight terms. He served on the prestigious House Ways and Means Committee and Committee on Indian Affairs and Public Lands. Curtis authored a bill that made changes to Indian Territory and sponsored other legislation that impacted the tribes.

In January 1907, Curtis was elected to fill the unexpired term of U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Burton from Kansas. He was subsequently elected to a full term, from 1907 to 1913. He ran an unsuccessful campaign in 1912, but regained the U.S. Senate seat in 1914. The Republican caucus elected him party whip in 1915. In this position Curtis worked to organize and coordinate the party. He served on many committees, including Coast Defenses, Cuban Relations, the Five Civilized Tribes, Pensions, Fisheries, Committee on Rules (chairman), Finance and Appropriations, and Indian Affairs. Much of the legislation he sponsored related to agriculture and American Indians. He was elected majority leader in 1925.

At the 1928 Republican convention, with a popular stand on farm relief, Curtis was nominated as Herbert Hoover's vice presidential running mate. The team was elected to one term, 1929 to 1933. He retired from public office and continued an active interest in political affairs.

Curtis died Feb. 8, 1936, in Washington, D.C., at the home of his sister. He is buried in Topeka Cemetery.

 

Source: www.kshs.org/kansapedia

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Contact Info

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About  Historic Topeka Cemetery

Historic Topeka Cemetery is operated by its lot owners, each of whom is a member of the Topeka Cemetery Association. Day-to-day operations are overseen by the association’s nine member board of directors and conducted by the superintendent.

As you walk the grounds or visit the website, know that your loved ones rest with ours. As they have been since its founding in 1859, Historic Topeka Cemetery’s caretakers are committed to respectful maintenance and preserving memories for generations to come.

Thank you for your support and patronage of Historic Topeka Cemetery, the oldest chartered cemetery in Kansas.

 

Historic Topeka Cemetery

1601 SE 10th Avenue . Topeka, Kansas 66607

(785) 233-4132

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