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Below is a family biography included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Hon. Charles Curtis, who is serving his seventh term as Representative of the First Congressional District of Kansas in the United States Congress, stands unique among all the members that Kansas has ever sent to that body, in that he is a native of the State. He was born in North Topeka, January 25, 1860, and is a son of Capt. O. A. and Helen (Papan) Curtis. His father was born in Indiana, moved to Kansas in 1856, and with a regiment of this State saw hard service during the Civil War, being captain of Company F, 15th Kansas Vol. Cav.

Maternally, Mr. Curtis is of French and Indian blood. His maternal grandfather, Louis Papan, was a native Canadian Frenchman and was one of the representatives of the great Hudson Bay Fur Company. Louis Papan’s wife, Julie Gonvil, who was named in the treaty between the United States and the Kansas or Kaw tribe of Indians in 1825, was a daughter of one of the heads of the tribe.

Charles Curtis received a good education in the schools of Topeka. He is a self-made man and can well take pride in his achievements. While working his way up, he read law and was admitted to the bar, passing a rigid examination in 1881. Almost immediately he entered politics, for which he has a natural aptitude, being elected county attorney of Shawnee County in 1884 and reelected in 1886. He made criminal and corporation law a specialty while in the practice, being engaged as counsel in the celebrated Spendlove and some 25 other murder cases. In 1892 he ran for Congress on the Republican ticket and was elected by a majority of 2,800 over the Fusion candidate in a district that had given the Fusion candidate of the campaign before a majority of 5,000. He was reelected in 1894, 1896, 1898, 1900, 1902 and in 1904. In 1897, the Populist Legislature changed the First and Fourth districts of the State so as to throw Shawnee County, his home, into the First District with Judge Broderick and thus made sure of defeating one or the other for renomination. Mr. Curtis is a member of the ways and means committee, the most prominent and important committee of the House, his appointment being made on the strength of his record without outside endorsements. He is the second member of the committee on Indian affairs in the House, and is its acknowledged leader on all matters requiring technical knowledge of the subject. He was selected as one of the Republicans on the House committee of 11 members, whose duty it was to prepare a bill for the settlement of the financial policy of the country. The bill reported by this committee was afterwards enacted into law. Mr. Curtis had the honor of introducing the bill that provided for the carrying out of the administration policy of President Roosevelt and Secretary of War Taft, in regard to the admission of the products of the Philippines into this country. He is an ardent friend of the old soldier and proud to belong to the Sons of Veterans, of which organization he is a valued member. Although dignified in manner, with much of the reserve of his Indian parentage, he is easy of approach and always frank and obliging. He speaks easily and well, his earnestness commanding the attention of his associates in the House, where the majority merely talk “to the record.” As a campaign speaker he is primed with good stories. Among his colleagues he is often referred to as “John A. Logan II,” his resemblence to the “Black Eagle” of Illinois being most striking although he is of slighter figure. He is a personal friend of President Roosevelt and is a welcome visitor at the White House.

Mr. Curtis was united in marriage November 27, 1884, with Anna E. Baird, and the following children were born of their union: Permelia J., Harry K. and Leona V. His family are active members of the Baptist Church, in the support of which he is most liberal. A portrait of Mr. Curtis accompanies this sketch.

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This family biography is one of 206 biographies included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  For the complete description, click here: Shawnee County, Kansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Shawnee County, Kansas family biographies here: Shawnee County, Kansas

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