From sterling ancestry Isaiah A. Curry is descended, and the family of which he is a creditable representative is one which devotion to every duty of citizenship has ever been a marked characteristic. Mr. Curry was late treasurer of Greenfield and has long been regarded as one of the valued citizens of Hancock county, having at heart the public good and striving to do the right in every sphere to which he was called. Paternally he is descended from Irish ancestry and according to the most reliable information obtainable, the progenitor of the American branch of the family came to America in a very early day and settled in Virginia. In that state was born and reared Isaiah Curry, the subjects grandfather, who as long ago as 1828 came to Hancock county, Indiana, and located a farm about four miles northeast of Greenfield, being one of the early pioneers of that section of the county. He erected a small log cabin in the woods several miles from any neighbor and began clearing land, but death, about five years later, put an end to his well-laid plans. As it was, however, he made a good farm and at the time of his demise had accumulated many conveniences for that early day and left his family in comparatively comfortable circumstances. Isaiah Curry had six sons and four daughters, namely: Calvin, James, Morgan, Willson, Austin, Isaiah B., Rebecca, wife of Joseph Anderson; Jane, wife of William Anderson; Mary, wife of Moses VanGilder; and Nancy, who married Adam Brooks. The family is scattered over a large area, some remaining near their birth-place and other finding homes in various parts of the central and western states.
Morgan Curry, father of Isaiah A., was born in Virginia, accompanied his parents to Indiana and from the year 1828 until his death, in July, 1851, was a farmer in Hancock county. He married in this county, Sophia Haney, who is still living, became a prosperous citizen and departed this life in the prime of manhood, being but thirty-eight years old. Of his children, Isaiah Albert was the first born, after whom, in the order named, are John C., who died a youth in 1851; Armilda, who died in childhood; William Riley, member of Company B., Ninety-ninth Indiana Infantry, in the late Rebellion, served through the war and died at Greenfield about three years after leaving the army; Melissa Ann is the wife of Washington Osborn and lives in this county; Mary Euphema, deceased, was the wife of A. J. Bridges, also a resident of Hancock, and Columbia Alice died in childhood on the day preceding her fathers decease. Some time after the death of her husband, Mrs. Curry married George Fisk, by whom she had one son, Joseph M. Fisk.
Isaiah Albert Curry was born on the home place near Greenfield July 16, 1835, and died July 12, 1902. Reared on the farm until attaining his majority, he selected agriculture for a vocation and followed it successfully until 1882, when he rented his farm and moved to the county seat. In a little log school house, under the direction of a pioneer pedagogue, he received the rudiments of an education which, supplemented by a wide course of reading during the succeeding years, made him one of the intelligent and well-informed men of the community. On the 31st day of December, 1857, he entered into the marriage relation with Miss Mary C. Thomas, who was born in Hancock county, April 4, 1840. Her parents, Alfred and Jane (Plough) Thomas, were among the earliest pioneers of Hancock and Rush counties, coming to the state when the country was a wilderness infested with wild beasts and the scarcely less wild Indians who at that time still occupied the land of their forefathers.
In August, 1862, Mr. Curry enlisted as a private in Company B., Ninety-ninth Indiana Regiment, and was promoted, holding in succession the position of first sergeant, second lieutenant, first lieutenant and captain. He received a certificate of honor, when first lieutenant, for bravery and efficiency, and at the close of the war was honorably discharged. "The boys," as he loved to speak of his comrades in arms, never tire of telling of Capt. Currys care and attention of his men in camp or upon the battlefield. To them he was an inspiration by his love and devotion, manifested in many acts of kindness, and they all bear testimony that a braver soldier never drew sword. He never said "go," but "come on, boys," was the familiar sentiment which he expressed, and to which they responded on many a terrible battlefield.
He first saw active service about Corinth, Memphis and Vicksburg, later participating in the Chattanooga and Knoxville campaigns with Grant, being at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. He made the memorable forced march for the relief of Knoxville, was with Gen. Sherman in the Atlanta campaign and on the famous march to the sea.
Since the war he was active in Grand Army of the Republic circles and in the meetings and the annual regimental unions. His army record is glorious and inspiring, and, since the war was an awful necessity, he, his family or his friends would not have undone his past in that awful contest if the could, and yet there is little doubt that his terrible experience robbed him of many years of life.
Mr. and Mrs. Curry set up their first domestic establishment on a farm of ninety-five acres and continued to reside thereon until 1882 when the removed to Greenfield, where he afterwards resided. Two years previous to that date, in the fall of 1880, Mr. Curry was elected treasurer of Hancock county and in 1882 was chosen his own successor. In 1883 he met with a financial misfortune of such magnitude as to cause him to lose his farm and the savings of all his previous years of labor. Always a very careful and conservative business man, he exercised due caution as custodian of the public funds and the better to insure their safety deposited that year something over eight thousand dollars in the Indiana Bank at Indianapolis. This institution failing soon afterwards, involved him to the above amount, every dollar of which he paid, although it took everything except his home in Greenfield to make good the loss. Mr. Curry congratulated himself upon the fact that none of his bondsmen suffered to the extent of a penny, and when he left the office at the expiration of his term the records showed a full and satisfactory settlement of every matter relating to the receipts and expenditures during his incumbency. On retiring from the treasury he turned his attention to the insurance business, in which he met with gratifying success and which he continued until his election, in 1898, to the office of city treasurer of Greenfield, and in May, 1902, he was re-elected. The confidence which the people had in Mr. Currys honesty and integrity by elevating him to this responsible position was a worthy compliment to a high-minded, honorable gentleman and the manner in which he discharged the duties of the trust demonstrated the wisdom of their choice. He possessed clerical abilities of a high order was a skillful accountant and looked after every detail of the office with the most scrupulous and exacting care. The people of Greenfield imposed implicit trust in him and felt that in his care every dollar of the public funds was absolutely safe.
Mr. Curry was one of the promoters and organizers of the Capital State Bank, of which he was vice-president at his demise, his personality doing much to establish the institution upon a firm basis and win for it the confidence of the public. This is one of the safe and reliable financial institutions of Hancock county, backed by solid business men and managed by officials of recognized ability.
Mr. and Mrs. Curry had six children, of whom four are living at the present time, namely; Cassius Morgan, a merchant of Greenfield, and his fathers successor as city treasurer; Marshall Eddy, a physician located at Hastings, Colorado; Lucian Howard, traveling salesman for a large wholesale house in Ohio, and Euphemia Ann, who married John Moxley and has one child, May Marie Moxley. The deceased are Alfred Riley, who departed this life in 1885, at the age of twenty-two, and John Orlando, who died in childhood.
In politics Capt. Curry was an active Democrat, faithful and unswerving in the advocacy of the principles in which he believed. He was always tolerant and congenial, conceding to every person the same freedom of thought and action which he loved and exercised. While zealous, he was never offensive, but he sincerely believed that every man should study his relations to the state and be an active participant in political measures. In every election when he was a candidate he always received many votes from admiring friends of other parties whose friendship for and faith in him was stronger than party ties.
But commendable as was his career in all these relations, yet it was in and through the church that he exerted his strongest influence for good and found his greatest joy and sweetest comfort. He united with the Methodist Episcopal church at Currys Chapel when a boy, later removing his membership to Greenfield, and died a true, faithful and beloved member of the Bradley Methodist Episcopal church of this city. He served for many years as superintendent of the Sunday school at Currys Chapel and filled with marked efficiency all the lay official positions in the church. He was faithful and liberal in the discharge of all business obligations to the church, fervent in prayer and helpful in song. For many years he led the song service in his church and was a member of the choir to the close of his life. While he was up-to-date and progressive, yet he loved the old songs and enjoyed stirring the old memories by their rendition.
On Sunday afternoon, July 2, 1899, he with several others, met at old Currys Chapel to rehearse some of this old music in the book known as "The Sacred Melodeon." This was one of his favorite books, and no one enjoyed singing those beautiful old songs better than he. At the close of the services the class was organized and Mr. Curry was elected its president. The secretarys record shows that he never missed but one meeting, and that was when his companion was very sick, and his obligation to her was never forgotten or his duty neglected. At the time of his death he was president of the board of trustees of the Bradley Methodist Episcopal church. In the work preparatory to building the new church and in the oversight of the work since in progress, he rendered invaluable service. None but those who have had actual experience can fully understand and appreciate the trials, the labor and the responsibility of a board of church trustees when engaged in such a work. In all these he went steadily forward, and in the quiet dignity of his character, his untiring labor, even beyond his strength, his cheerful demeanor, his unerring manhood, accomplished in the name of the Master a lasting good to his community for which present and future generations will call him blessed. More than once he expressed to his co-laborers the thought that the last ambition of his life was to see a new and suitable Methodist church in Greenfield. The thought of death before his task was fully completed was one of the few things that gave him concern when he saw that in all probability the end was near. But this, like all other desires, was beautifully submissive to the Masters will, and he passed away, giving among his last expressions thought to be put into the completion of this work, which was so near his heart and of which he spent his last energies, attending a meeting with the architect and trustees on Saturday night before his fatal illness, which began to manifest itself a few hours later.
It is to be regretted that he could not live to see this work fully completed and to enjoy the services of the Master in the temple whose plans he studied and knew and in the erection of which he showed such devotion to the church and to Christ his elder brother. But he died without a regret, for he left it all to God whom he had so faithfully served. During his fatal illness he suffered terribly but was always patient, kind and even cheerful. He accepted the services of his loving wife and children in their efforts to help him after he knew full well and told them he must go hence. For him death had no terrors and he talked about the great change with perfect composure. His house had been in order for many years. No one doubted it. His life was a living epistle, known and read of all men. His Christianity was manifested in his daily life. Men of the world who did not possess a saving belief in Christ pointed to him as a true Christian. His brothers and sisters in the church loved him and felt the benign influences of his holy life. His pastors loved him and he was their efficient helper. His neighbors loved and respected him and enjoyed his genial companionship. His Christianity was always manifest and yet he was the trusted friend of men who stood outside the church and they enjoyed his friendship and honored him for his loyalty to the church and were ever ready to testify to his merit as a friend, a citizen and a true Christian gentleman.
In his family he was all that could be expected of such a man. His married life was beautiful in mutual sympathy, devotion and loyalty. The union was such as is ordered by heaven and is a blessing to mankind. He was a kind and indulgent father and yet considerate and wise. He never grew old, but was ever a companion and playmate as well as father to his children. This characteristic remained with him throughout his life and to his grandchildren he was as much the friend and playmate as the grandfather. The relation was beautiful and helpful. His love of children was known and understood by them and they felt on familiar terms with him and enjoyed his presence. He entered into their life, thought and action and left an influence that leads upward. Words can not do justice to such a character for he had been with God and learned of Him. His labors on earth are ended, but his influence will continue to help others and the memory of his beautiful and holy life will linger like a sweet incense to cheer the sorrowing and encourage them to emulate his virtues and trust the God whom he loved, and served and whose blessed truth makes possible such a life.
He was honored with every position within the gift of the congregation to which he belonged, having served a number of years as steward, class leader and superintendent of the Sunday school. He belonged to the Masonic fraternity and had the honor of serving as first commander of Samuel H. Dunbar Post No. 72, G. A. R.
Transcribed from Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Logansport, Indiana, 1902 Pages 307-311.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI July 22, 2002.
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