Elisha Briggs Curtis, 1835-1915.
Still in short intervals of pleasing woe,—Pope.
Regardful of the friendly dues I owe;
I to the glorious dead forever dear,
Indulge the tribute of a grateful tear.
It is but an act of homage amid the activities of life in short intervals of quiescent being, to pause, and to inscribe a feeble tribute of recognition to an honored and worthy member of this Society, Elisha Briggs Curtis. Mr. Curtis was born in Marshfield in 1835, and was one of the direct descendants of John and Priscilla Alden. In early youth he came to Medford and received his preliminary education in our public schools. When a young man he was engaged in the shipping business in Boston, and later, at about thirty years of age, became associated with the Second National Bank of Boston, which position he faithfully and honorably filled for a period of twenty-five years, retiring from active mercantile affairs in 1890. In 1863 he was married to Miss Lucia J. Leadbetter of Monmouth, Maine, and they made their home in Chelsea, Mass., until about 1885, when they came to Medford, residing at the old homestead on Pleasant street until their decease. Mr. Curtis was exceedingly familiar with the history of Medford, and his reminiscences of the early days of shipbuilding, the old stage-coach, the Middlesex canal, the cyclone and damage done to certain parts of the town, and landmarks long since demolished, were most entertaining, and it may be said of him that whenever called upon to give an informal talk upon Medford's past, he never failed to have a fund of interesting incidents of the early days to draw upon. Elisha B. Curtis was a familiar figure in our midst,— dignified, erect, with a poise which reflected his lineage and a countenance which conveyed a strong and reflecting mind. He was respected and honored by his fellow citizens who showed their appreciation of his manliness and integrity by electing him to the common council [p. 45] when the town first became a city. In his religious life those who were more closely associated with him felt the impress of the real dignity, quality and magnitude of his being; he was an industrious student of the Scriptures which was manifest in his expositions at the family prayer circle of the church. He was a most cautious adviser, leaning a little too much on the side of ultraconservatism at times, but always in brotherly concord with the majority. As a deacon of his church he was an example to all, and was everywhere known as a man of high ideals and principles, sympathetic, kindly and of a most magnanimous spirit. As a member of this Society he took an active part in its deliberations and was interested in all the plans for its welfare. His fund of knowledge of the early days was appreciated here as elsewhere, and his association with the members is a delightful experience long to be remembered. In 1904 Mr. Curtis' wife died, and he on March 26, 1915. Two daughters, Mrs. H. H. Smith, of Lawrence, Mass., and Miss Alice E. Curtis, of this city, survive him.
P. W. A.