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David Alonzo and Ellen Curtis

17 December 1820 - 5 March 1905
Conference Cane: 1904
Age at death: 84 years, 2 months

Rev. David Alonzo Curtis

Sabbath evening, March 5, 1905, Rev. David Alonzo Curtis heard the Master’s call and entered into rest, in a higher sphere, where greater possibilities of the divine will are forever his.

Born in Smithfield, Madison County, N.Y., Dec. 17, 1820; thus over four score and four years were the days of his pilgrimage. At the age of 12 his father came to Michigan, and began pioneer life between Dundee and Petersburg. At a meeting held on the south branch of Macon creek, David was converted at the age of 13. The sweet peace of God’s love became his. At 23 he was licensed as an exhorter and was admitted on trial as a minister by Bishop L.L. Hamlin, at Coldwater, in 1844. After two years he was ordained Deacon, and in 1848, Elder, by Bishop Janes. About 43 years he spent in the itinerant’s ranks, and 18 in the superannuated relation to his Conference; making 61 years of ministerial life, much being spent in pioneer work and some among the Indians as a missionary.

On the 5th day of April, 1849, he was united in marriage to Miss Mary Jane Beal, who departed this life March 17th, 1876. April 18, 1877, Miss Ellen J. Dunham became his companion, whom he leaves bereft of a kind and loving husband. Three of his live children survive him: Charles B. Curtis, of Otsego County, Mich.; W.F. Curtis, of Oklahoma, and Mrs. Ella Campbell, of L’Anse, Mich. He also leaves one brother (Norman D. Curtis, of Fort Scott, Kansas), one sister (Mrs. Emmeline Traverse, of Chicago), and 13 grandchildren.

He was one of the noble patriots of the war of the Rebellion, and served as chaplain of the 18th Mich. Infantry. Nineteen of the twenty years since the organization of Morgan Parker Post No. 281, Petersburg, he has been their honored Chaplain, and that year he was Commander. They did not forget him in death, but with flags and tears and the choicest flowers, they with their burial service and the Woman’s Relief Corps and their offering, duly honored the dead soldier.

Among the places where Bro. Curtis preached were Dundee, Petersburg, Deerfield, Lambertville, Vienna, Raisinville, Oakville, London, Macon, Milford, Hartland, Highland, Brighton, Hamburg, Whitmore Lake, New Boston, Lexington, Ingham, Lyons, Lansing, Medina, Palmyra, Clinton, Indian Mission, Augusta, Clayton, L’Anse, Farmington, Carleton and Fairfield.

Jan. 31, 1904, he was honored as the first holder of the Detroit Conference cane, being the oldest of the three who were longest members of the Conference, Rev. F.A. Blades and Rev. Seth Reed, joining the Conference at the same time.

The services of interment were in charge of his pastor, Rev. N. Norton Clark, held at the Petersburg M. E. church, where Bro. Curtis for years has been a constant, devout worshipper. We think no man was more faithful to the church of his choice.

Rev. A.J. Bigelow, a dear friend of this promoted fellow worker, commended the bereft into the hands of the Heavenly Father at the home. Rev. J.D. McLouth, of Dundee, and Rev. A.M. Stirton, pastor of the Presbyterian church, read select portions of God’s word; Rev. H.W. Wright, who was so intimately acquainted with Bro. Curtis, invoked the divine favor upon all who knew the holy life of departed worth. His pastor, Rev. N. Norton Clark, in giving a review of his long and useful life, felt his own loss in the death of a personal helper, a wise counsellor, and a loyal, faithful, devout Christian. His life was as sweet incense falling on us all. His former pastors, Revs. J.M. Gordon, C.W. Baldwin, E.M. Moore, W.G. Stephens, and J.B. Oliver, each as time was again lived over, spoke of their high appreciation of this man of God, when Presiding Elder, Rev. E.B. Bancroft, D.D., did honor to the faithful servant of Jesus Christ.

We close with a few of the last words while his pastor was with him. He wanted him to sing, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” He responded, “Praise God,” “Jesus saves,” then soon added, “My Savior Jesus, glory to the Great I Am.” After resting a little he said, “Preparation is the lesson, perfectly true, perfectly holy, perfectly right.” Listen again and hear him say, “Taste and see the goodness of God in this great planet.” Then, to sum up his Christian life he said, “To-day it is a glorious experience, a blessed hope.”

Peacefully and calmly he sleeps near buried love, on the banks of the river Raisin waiting the resurrection of the just. “Well done.”


- Detroit Annual Conference minutes of 1905, pp. 167-169

Mrs. Ellen J. Curtis

May 16, 1914, in Petersburg, Mich., Mrs. Ellen J. Curtis, highly respected, was called to rest. She was born in Nichols, N.Y., Oct. 30, 1835. She was united in marriage April 18, 1877, by Rev. A.R. Hazen to Rev. David A. Curtis, an honored member of the Detroit Conference. This happy union was severed by his death March 5, 1905. Mrs. Curtis was a charter member of the W.C.T.U. of Petersburg, organized twenty-eight years ago. One month after the death of her brother, James Dunham, Mrs. Frances Hyers, a cousin residing in New York, came to her assistance, and tenderly and lovingly gave her the best of care, which, with the ever ready hands of Mr. and Mrs. Curtis Dunham, was a benediction even to the brink of the grave. Mrs. Curtis was converted about forty years ago, identified herself with the Methodist Episcopal Church and was faithful.

Her funeral was largely attended and an appropriate address was given by Rev. D. H. Ramsdell, D.D., who in his early ministry was one in the family. The following ministers acted as pallbearers, each taking some part in the service: Rev. A. Balgooyan, Rev. N. Norton Clark, Rev. T.A. Greenwood, Rev. J.S. Priestley, Rev. I.N. Wilson and Rev. F.J. Clifford. All that is mortal now rests in Pleasant View cemetery to wait the call of our Lord.


- Detroit Annual Conference minutes of 1915, p. 475