Thursday, August 4, 2011

The First Republican Congressmen

Union General and the first Republican Congressmen ever elected Samuel Ryan Curtis resigned from Congress August 4th 1861.

Samuel Ryan Curtis was born in Champlain, Clinton County, New York February 3rd 1805. He attended the United States Military Academy, graduating in 1831. Curtis moved to Ohio, where he became a lawyer. He served as a military governor in several cities under occupation during the Mexican - American War. Following the war he moved to Keokuk, Iowa where he became mayor in 1856. It was also in 1856 that Curtis was elected the first Republican to the United States House of Representatives from Iowa’s First Congressional District. He was re-elected in 1858 and 1860.

When the Civil War started Curtis received an appointment to Colonel in 2nd Iowa Infantry. He resigned his Congressional seat. Curtis was placed in command of the Army of the Southwest December 25th 1861, and he moved the headquarters to Rolla, Missouri. His Army won the Battle of Pea Ridge in March 1862. Curtis was promoted March 21st 1862 to Major General, sadly this was the same day he learned of oldest daughter’s death. In September 1862 he was moved to command the District of Missouri, and then again onto the Department of Kansas and the Indian Territory. 1864 found him fighting along the border of Missouri, where he had a victory in the Battle of Westport. After this he was reassigned to the Department of the Northwest, where Curtis tried to handle the Indian uprisings in Minnesota and the Dakota Territory.

After the war was over Curtis return to Iowa. He worked with the railroads until his death December 26th 1866 in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa. He is buried in the Oakland Cemetery in Keokuk, Iowa.

If you are interested in more information about this man try Samuel Ryan Curtis (1805–1866)

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