Biography of Charles Forrest Curry

The name of Charles Forrest Curry is honorably inscribed upon the pages of California’s history, and in molding the public policy he has had due regard for the general welfare, his course ever being marked by a patriotic devotion to the general good. He is now serving as secretary of state, and his course in official life is in harmony with his record as a businessman and a private citizen, distinguished by fidelity to every trust reposed in him and by the prompt discharge of every duty that devolves upon him.

Mr. Curry was born March 14, 1858, in Naperville, Illinois, a son of Charles H. M. Curry, who was a native of England and in his childhood days was brought to America by his parents, who settled in Wisconsin, becoming early residents of that state. In the year 1873, Charles H. M. Curry came to California and embarked in the jewelry business in San Francisco, becoming a representative merchant of that city. He was for fifteen years grand secretary of the Knights of Honor for the state of California, and he died in San Francisco in 1896 at the age of sixty-three years. He was a man prominent in public affairs and served as a delegate to various municipal and state conventions of the Republican party, being recognized as one of its leaders in local ranks. He married Emma J. Kimball, who was born in Illinois and was of Scotch and English descent. Her parents were of an old American family, established in New England at an early period in the colonization of the New World. Her ancestry in the paternal line can be traced back to the arrival of the Mayflower with its little band of Pilgrims who made the first settlement in New England. The parents of Mrs. Curry were of Massachusetts and Virginia families. She still survives her husband and is now living in Sacramento at the age of sixty-six years. In her family were three sons and three daughters, of whom Charles Forrest is the eldest. The others are now deceased with the exception of Annie M., the wife of James Peterson, and Minerva.

Charles Forrest Curry began his education in the public schools of Mineral Point, Wisconsin, where his father was filling the position of superintendent of public instruction. He afterward benefited by a year’s study in the University of Washington at Seattle, but at the age of seventeen years put aside his textbooks and became an active factor in business life. Returning to San Francisco, he accepted a position as salesman in the Methodist Book Depository, where he remained during the years 1875 and 1876. On the expiration of that period, he embarked in the jewelry business in connection with his father and continued in that trade until 1890, when he was appointed superintendent of station B of the San Francisco post office, serving in that capacity until 1894. In the fall of the latter year, he was elected county clerk and filled that position from 1894 until 1898. His name was then placed upon the ticket of the Republican party in connection with the candidacy of secretary of state, and, being elected, he entered upon a term of service that has continued through re-election up to the present time in 1904, and he will remain as the incumbent in the office until 1906. He had represented his district in the general assembly of California in 1886, having been chosen for a term of two years.

In 1892 occurred the marriage of Mr. Curry and Miss Lillie A. Sieperly, a native of California and a daughter of F. W. and Sarah A. Sieperly, both of whom were natives of New York. Mrs. Curry died in 1898, leaving two children: Florence A. and Charles F., both of whom are students in the public schools of Sacramento.

Mr. Curry is prominent and popular in fraternal circles. He is connected with the Masonic lodge, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, the Knights of Honor, the Woodmen of the World, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, and has been a member of the supreme lodge of the Knights of Honor for the past ten years. He has also been a member of the grand lodge of the Ancient Order of United Workmen for seventeen years, and at present is a member of the arbitration committee. He is the first vice president of Aerie, No. 9, of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, of Sacramento. A resident of California since fifteen years of age, his record is well known especially in the central part of the state, where his sterling worth has commanded for him the confidence and regard of those with whom he has been associated. His public career is commendable and has reflected honor upon the state which has honored him. Throughout his whole life, whatever his hand has found to do, whether in his mercantile career or in his official duties or in any other sphere, he has done with all his might and with a deep sense of conscientious obligation.

Source: Leigh H. Irvine; A History of the New California Its Resources and People, 2 Volumes; New York and Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1903.

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