Curtis family holds reunion, connecting past to future

Published 3:00 am Friday, July 31, 2015

In today’s rat-race world, family reunions are not as prevalent as they used to be.

And, for that reason, some families are making determined efforts to bring family members together often enough for one generation to know the other.

“Everything has changed,” said Henry Curtis, a descendant of John Douglas Curtis who was an influential member of the Troy community in the early 1800s. “It used to be families got together at least once a year, but now families are so scattered. They may stay connected by emails or on the Internet but they don’t get together often. But, it is important for families to stay connected.”

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On Saturday, the John Douglas Curtis family will get together in the spirit of reunion at the Troy Country Club. This will be the third gathering of the family since 2004 and approximately 60 members of all ages are expected to attend.

Most members of the John Douglas Curtis family live in Alabama, but a few members will cross state lines to attend.

Several members of the family live in Troy, and others are in the Glenwood community area.

Henry Curtis, Steven Curtis, Virginia Bush, Libby Doty and Linda Agar of Troy are descendants of John Douglas Curtis who was a prominent figure in Pike County, having made his mark in Monticello and in Troy.

John Douglas Curtis was born in 1794 in Hancock County, Ga. As a young man, he moved with his family to Clark County in South Alabama where he was actively involved in the community and was a member of the State Militia. He married Lucretia John Dyer, who had moved with her family to the area from South Carolina.

The couple moved to Pike County in the late 1820s and settled in the Monticello area.

Henry Curtis said the patriarch of his family was involved with the governing body of the town of Monticello, which was the county seat at that time.

When the county seat was moved to Troy, John Douglas Curtis and his family settled in Providence on Crenshaw County. He commuted back and forth to Troy. While in Troy, he stayed at the inn owned and managed by Granny Ann Love, an early pioneer of the area.

He was very active in activities in the Troy community, serving as justice of the peace, postmaster and circuit clerk.

“In 1838, he made the arrangements that secured the land for the courthouse at the new county seat of Troy,” Henry Curtis said. “He was involved in bringing a Methodist church to Troy which became the First Methodist Church of Troy. At the time of his death, he was the Worshipful Master of the Troy Masonic Lodge.”

John Douglas Curtis died around 1842 or 1843. He and his wife are thought to be buried in the Curtis-Dyer family cemetery along with their children and other family members. However, there are no markers to verify their final resting places.

“Times were hard in those times and many people died young,” Virginia Bush said. “John Douglas Curtis amassed a sizable estate which consisted primarily of land. As it happened with many other families, most of the estate was lost over the years after his death. It was more than 20 years after his death before his estate was settled. The part of the land where the cemetery is located is still in the family.”

Family reunions are opportunities for families to share the stories that tie them to the past and connect them with the future.

“Family reunions are important for those reasons,” Henry Curtis said. “For those reasons, we hope to have more reunions of the John Douglas Curtis family.”