Thursday, January 25, 2007
Warner W. Curtis
1869 ~ 1969
Warner W. Curtis was one of the children of James and Lucy Pinn Curtis. His father, James Curtis had 29 children all together. He was born on his father's farm on the site of the Battle of Bull Run in Virginia.
Warner Curtis entered Wayland Seminary in Washington D. C. when he was 22 years old. Without funds and having to work, Warner studied hard he graduated. Following his graduation he married Miss Georgiana Randolph (went by both "Dolly" and "Anna"), became a farmer, a school teacher, NAACP branch president and YMCA night secretary.
A short time before 1910 they purchased a 58 acre farm in Harveysburg, Ohio and raised a variety of crops. He also taught school in the Black School in Harveysburg. By 1920 they had moved to Chillicothe, Ohio where he was an orderly in a hospital operating room and served as president of the NAACP branch.
In 1926, Warner and Anna moved to Cleveland, Ohio. There he worked in the Cedar YMCA. In 1941 he became the elevator operator at Fenn College and served seven years until he became ill. In his old age he became a noted "do-gooder" in his neighborhood, along E. 93rd Street in Cleveland. Neighbors would wake up and find their lawns mowed or their sidewalks cleaned. Sadly, his beloved wife of over fifty years died 1946.
Warner was voted Man of the Year in 1965 by the Karamu Golden Age Club. A religious man, he never smoked and had only one drink in his long lifetime. He was active in Mt. Zion Congregational Church on Magnolia Drive and E. 108th St. He often walked the 2 and a half miles to the church.
In his 79th year he was described as a "handsome gray haired man, who wears glasses, a moustache, and a goatee somewhat similar to that of Dr. W. E. B. DuBois" ("79 Year Old Warner W. Curtis Is Gentle Aristocrat of E. 93rd Street" by Simeon Booker, Jr., Cleveland Call & Post, May 7, 1949).