Julius Eldor Curtis was born in Warren County, Pennsylvania, on September 26, 1847 being the son of James and Alzina (Hill) Curtis, natives of the same place. The grandfather of our subject, David Curtis, was a captain in the War of 1812. In 1853, the parents came to Mitchell County, Iowa, with teams and settled while the Indians were thick and treacherous. At the time of the Pikes Peak excitement, Mr. Curtis sold his farm, moved his family to the village of Mitchell Center and went with his oldest son for that mecca. The train turned aside to California and he went with it and mined for two years in Placerville, with indifferent success. Then he returned to Iowa and his son remained, going into the stock business and is now one of the wealthiest stockmen of his section, Modesto, California, his largest interests being at Reedley, Fresno County. Our subject received little opportunity to gain an education, but steady application and personal studiousness gave him a good training. In 1869 the parents went to California, via train, and Julius and his younger brother went via New York and the Isthmus, being twenty-one days on the journey. He was afflicted with typhoid fever during the trip. Having learned the harness trade, he wrought at it in California but as his health was poor there and he failed to recuperate it in the hot baths, he came in 1879 to Douglas County, Oregon, and in 1882 came on to Spokane County, Washington. His trouble was rheumatism and by bathing in the waters of Medical Lake in this last mentioned County, he was fully cured. Then he wrought at his trade in Cheney with Mr. Walters and later bought a farm and did dairying. He then moved to Colfax and gardened.

In the fall of 1899, he came to the reservation and took a homestead five miles north from Russell. This has been improved and is producing abundant fruits and vegetables for his business in Nez Perce. Mr. Curtis operates what is known as the Equity fruit store. He sells fruits, vegetables and dairy products, having a fine cold storage plant which enables him to handle his products all seasons of the year. This was opened in July, 1902. Mr. Curtis has a vegetable wagon and runs a barn for the stage, while the express office is in his building. He has built up a good trade and is prosperous and well esteemed by all.

On October 26, 1869, Mr. Curtis married Miss Sarah L., daughter of Alvin and Climena (Washburn) Skinner. The father was a merchant in Maine and died m 1855. The mother came to California in 1869, where she now lives. Mrs. Curtis was born in Corinth. Maine, on October 25, 1850. Eight children have been born to them, Gertrude L., wife of Charles F. Munz, in Maysville. Missouri; Fred M., a farmer in the Pig Bend country; Charles C, studying for the ministry in Divinity College in Eugene, Oregon: Mary A., saleslady in Spokane department store: Nellie E., wife of Walter Collison, a school teacher in Garfieid, Washington: Grace, died in California; Floyd, died at Cheney: Guy E., at home.

Mr. Curtis and his wife and all their children are members of the Christian Church. He has always taken an active part in the progress of the country where he has lived and especially has he wrought for the advancement of educational facilities. His children have all been well educated and are all prosperous in the walks of life, which reflects great credit on Mr. and Mrs. Curtis.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903