Place of Birth
Date of Birth
Place of Death
Date of Death
The Eastern Gazette 9-14-1922, p.8
CHARLES W. CURTIS Dexter's Oldest Citizen and Prominent in Banking Circles Dies in Waterville Charles William Curtis, formerly of Dexter, died Wednesday morning, Sept.6, at the apartment of Mr. and Mrs. C. L. Jones, in The Melcher, at Waterville, aged 93 Years. Mr. Curtis had been a sufferer from heart trouble and Bright's disease and during the past two weeks had failed very rapidly. The end came, however, during sleep and apparently without pain. Mr. Curtis had the distinction of being, before he moved to Waterville, the oldest man in the town of Dexter, and as such was the holder of a Boston Post cane. He was born in Dexter, April 6th, 1829, the son of Caleb B. and Lavina H. Curtis. At the age of 14, his parents sold the farm north of the pond, and moved into the village where he had the advantages of High school education, supplemented by terms in Bath High school, Waterville Liberal institute and Monson academy. At the age of 17 he began teaching in the schools of Dexter, teaching seven terms, including the High school. He excelled in mathematics and was a contributor to the mathematical department of the Maine Farmer's almanac for many years. As a mathematician he was the first to solve a certain problem by a quadratic equation, supposed at this time by Harvard mathematicians to require an equation of the sixth degree. At the age of 21 he was employed in the store of Augustus French and was appointed as assistant postmaster. In the summer of 1851 be made a trip to California, crossing the isthmus of Panama when it took four days for the crossing. On his return the following year he entered into partnership with his father in the woodworking business and a new mill was built and sash, door, blind and planing machinery added. Afterwards the Eldridge brothers, Benjamin and Samuel, purchased an interest and later the whole business and Mr. Curtis engaged in the hardware business. Mr. Curtis was one of the promoters and a trustee of the Dexter Savings bank for many years and was instrumental in the organizing of the First National bank of Dexter, being its first cashier and continuing as such for 14 years, when, upon resigning, he was elected as president, resigning after nine years to accept the position of National bank examiner. Eleven years of service as bank examiner completed his active life, at the age of 80 years. Mr. Curtis' first marriage took place in Union in 1853 and was to Sarah T. Higgins, daughter of Rev. Josiah Higgins who was the Methodist pastor in Dexter at one time. It was on the day that Franklin Pierce became President of the United States. Four children were born to them, two dying in childhood. He was married second to Annie Viele in 1888 who had been serving as a missionary to Japan. He is survived by one daughter, Mrs. M. Adele Jones of Portland, who was with him at the time of his death, and a son, William P. Curtis, of Massachusetts, also a sister, Mrs. Manley H. Baker of Rathdrum, Idaho, and five grandchildren, C. L. Jones and Miss Helen A. Curtis, of Waterville, Attorney Carl C. Jones of Portland, and Harold P. and Chas. W. Curtis, Jr., both of San Diego, Calif. He was a member of the Odd Felows and Rebekahs and attended the Grand Lodge of Odd Fellows in Bangor in 1920. He was a member of the Universalist church of Dexter. In politics he was a Republican, his first vote having been cast for General Winfield Scott. Mr. Curtis has served his home town in various official capacities, being at various times selectman, superintendent of schools, trustee of the Dexter school fund from 1867 to his death. Was chairman of committee to investigate and report upon the matter of a water system for the town, which was adopted and the system installed in 1904. The remains were brought to Dexter Friday afternoon, and the funeral was held in the Universalist church at 1.30 P. M. Saturday, the officiating clergyman being Rev. Stanley G. Spear of Roxbury, Mass., a former pastor of the Universalist church of Dexter, assisted by Rev. Barron P. McIntire. The Odd Fellows conducted their burial service at the grave.