Friday, September 12, 2008

Reed Josiah Curtis and Ella May Canfield Curtis

This history was written 1 December 1977 by Reed Josiah Curtis and was supposed to be an autobiographical history, but instead the main focus of the history is Reed's mother, Ella May Canfield Curtis:

I Reed J. Curtis the nineth child of William Rushmer Curtis and Ella May (Canfield) Curtis, shall write a little about my mother. My first recollection of her was as a small child perhaps about four years old in Parker Idaho, where we had moved to from Big Timer, Montana at age two and a half. We lived in a log house where two of my younger sisters were born. I remember her at that time as a busy loving mother with a large family to care for.

We lived close to the church, which was the hub of most all our activity. I remember the "Ward Teachers" coming to our home and we allways had prayer, kneeling down to chairs. It has had a lasting impression on my life. Also Christmas time at the Church brings fond memories. Mother was always the spiritual one in the family. Teaching us to pray and always keep the commandments which she taught us. She taught us how to work and be honest.

After moving back to Montana in 1910 my youngest sister was born. Mother worked real hard with such a large family, washing, cooking, bakeing and many other duties that go with a large household. We always had a clean home no matter how humble. Dad used to say mother could make a palace out of a pig pen.

Mother took a lot of pride in her personal appearance, keeping herself always looking nice and prim.

Most all her life while raising the family we lived where we had no contact with the church, only as missionaries came through our part of the country. A few families of Saints who lived in the area would gather at one of the homes on the Dry Creek School House and hold meeting.

We had just built a new home in 1916 at Big Timber, Montana and mother had been ill for some time, finally the doctor told her she would have to move to a lower altitude as it was over four thousand feet at Big Timber. So in spring of 1917 mother, dad and the three youngest sisters left for Long Beach California. The population of Big Timber at that time was 1500, now sixty years later it has grown to 1550, an increase of 50.

Mothers health improved rapidly, and she enjoyed pretty good health the balance of her life. We lived on three different ranches as dad had charge of 400 poland China hogs for Freeman A. McKinzie the first ranch was 40 acres at Lywood, Ca., next we moved to a place temporarily on Willow Ave in Long Beach, a sandy river bottom, it is now solid city in that area. Next to a place one mile west of Westminister, had a 40 acre place, it also is solid city now.

After I had married and moved to Fresno California in 1929, entered into business "Meat Market" Mother and dad came up to Fresno and dad worked with me in the market for a year or so. Then returned to Long Beach. After dad died Mother lived with my oldest sister where she passed away following dad after twelve years. Mothers kind and loving personality has made a deep impression on my life, for which I shall always be greatfull.

Signed by Reed J. Curtis.

In the sketch Reed wrote about his father William Rushmer Curtis, he included this short paragraph about himself:

I Reed J. Curtis was born at Big Timber, Sweet Grass County, Montana 25 January 1904 the nineth child, I have no physical defects, about 18 years ago I lost partial vision in my left eye, I have only tunnel vision in that eye.

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