Samuel Ryan Curtis was born near Champlain, New York, February 3, 1807, and died in Council Bluffs, Iowa, December 25, 1866. His parents removed to Ohio the year of his birth; graduated from West Point, in 1831; resigned from the army the succeeding year, and studied and practiced law in Newark. From 1837 to 1840 he was chief-engineer of the Muskingum river improvements. In 1846 he was made Adjutant-General of Ohio, for the special purpose of organizing the State's quota of volunteers for the Mexican war. He served in that war as Colonel of the 2d Ohio, acting as Military Governor of Camargo, a large military depot, which he held February 18, 1847, against a large force of Mexicans, under General Urrea. In 1855 he commenced the practice of law in Keokuk, Iowa, and was three times elected to Congress; resigning in 1861, he became a major-general. He was a member of the Peace Commission in 1861. From September, 1862, till May, 1863, he was at the head of the Department of Missouri, and that of Kansas, from January, 1864, till February, 1865. He aided in the pursuit and defeat of General Price's army in 1864. From February to July, 1865, he commanded the Department of the Northwest.
His elder brother, Henry B. Curtis, who died in Chicago, November 5, 1885, was an eminent lawyer of Mount Vernon, active in public works, and an authority on banking and monetary affairs. He was instrumental in the selection of the site and founding of Kenyon College in Knox county.
Historical Collections of Ohio, Vol 2, by Henry Howe. (pub 1888)