Henry B. Curtis (1799 - 1885) MP

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Birthplace: Champlain, Clinton, New York, United States
Death: Died
Occupation: lawyer
Managed by: Stephen Richmond
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Henry B. Curtis

Henry B. Curtis, November 28, 1799 - November 15, 1885

Parents: Zarah Curtis May 2, 1762-June 9, 1849 and Phalley Yale July 24, 1762-Aug 15, 1831

Wife: Elizabeth


  • Clementine Margaret Curtis - Nov, 1826-Jan 5 1835
  • Adela Agusta Curtis - Dec 1828-Jan 14 1835
  • Henry Berkeley Curtis - Mar 2,1839-Mar 17, 1839
  • Caroline Mary Curtis - Apr 1831-Oct 21, 1834
  • Ellen (Curtis) Devin - Dec 11, 1833-Oct 28, 1907
  • Elizabeth (Curtis) Plimpton - May 4, 1824-Feb 13,1893
  • Henry L. Curtis - May 7, 1841-Mar 28, 1897

Henry B. Curtis, perhaps the individual who had the greatest single role in developing and shaping Mount Vernon and Knox County, was born November 28, 1799, near Champlain, New York and came to Newark, Ohio, in 1809 with his parents. When he was 17, he came to Mount Vernon to study law under his older Brother, Hosmer Curtis. Hosmer, also prominent in local history, later moved on west to Keokuk, Iowa, where he died in 1874 at the age of 85.

Henry spent the rest of his life in Mount Vernon and was a lawyer, banker, churchman, city developer, and civic leader. In 1872 he gave a dinner at Round Hill, the family home, at which he announced his retirement from the active practice of law, having completed 50 years at the bar. He died in 1885.

Henry B. Curtis was the founding father of what is known today as the First-Knox National Bank. He was just seventeen years of age when he arrived in Mount Vernon to take a position as a deputy in the County Clerk’s office. That was a job that put him in contact with all of the legal eagles of the day which was a big help in his law studies. He soon was admitted to the bar and gained a reputation as an enterprising young lawyer with many friends.

Among his friends was Bishop Philander Chase’ who came to the area seeking a suitable location for a proposed institution later named Kenyon College. Together they rode on horseback all over the hills east of town and with Henry’s influence the Bishop was able to purchase the needed 8,000 acres.

He built the home which stood at 101 North Main Street from 1836 until it was razed for contruction of the YMCA in 1965. His daughter Elizabeth and her husband, John G. Plimpton, started in 1853 to build the home on Round Hill, at East Lamartine and Mckenzie Streets, and after Mr. Plimpton died, Mr. Curtis took over the work, completed the home about 1860, and moved there about 1870, to remain until his death. Mr. Curtis was one of the organizers of St. Paul's Episopal Church and for many years a warden and vestryman.

The mansion itself is said to have secret underground passageways that connect it to the family vault of Henry B. Curtis, the builder of the mansion. He was an Abolitionist who used the vault to conceal slaves along the Underground Railroad. The family's crypt is located in nearby Mound View Cemetery.


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Henry Curtis's Timeline

November 28, 1799
Champlain, Clinton, New York, United States
November 15, 1885
Age 85