About this Famous Person
Samuel Ryan CURTIS
American military officer, and one of the first Republicans elected to Congress
Source : Tim DOWLING
Born near Champlain, New York, Curtis graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1831. He moved to Ohio, where he was a lawyer and took several other civilian jobs. During the Mexican-American War, he was appointed a colonel and served as military governor of several occupied cities.
After the war, he moved to Iowa, and became the mayor of Keokuk in 1856. In 1856 he was elected as a Republican to represent Iowa's 1st congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. Curtis and Timothy Davis (elected the same day to represent Iowa's 2nd congressional district) were the first Iowa Republicans elected to serve in the U.S. House. Curtis was re-elected in 1858 and 1860. He was a supporter of eventual President Abraham Lincoln, and was considered for a cabinet position in the Lincoln administration. However, after the Civil War broke out, Curtis was appointed colonel of the 2nd Iowa Infantry on June 1, 1861, prompting him to resign his congressional seat. He was subsequently promoted to brigadier general, effective May 17, 1861.