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         In the beginning of the fall 1998 semester at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas; for my class of Kansas Characters; as students, we were given time to decide on what Kansas Character we wanted to do, either as personal characterization or a web page.
        For me the choices were very easy. Charles Curtis as the person and to do a web page (which I had never done before and therefore a challenge of the first rank!).
        I would like to see Charles Curtis remembered for all of his achievements in Congress (not just for being 1/8th Kansa Indian, 1/8th Osage Indian, 1/8th Potawatomie Indian, and 1/8th French and 50 per cent English American).
        I am a native of Topeka, as was Charles Curtis.  I was born just 96 years after his own birth, and 20 years after his death.  Though, my own heritage is German, Scottish and Irish (and of late some Native Indian - Pawnee DNA somewhere),  I was drawn to Charles Curtis as a intentionally forgotten, intentionally abandoned, real hero of Topeka, Kansas, in my own opinion.
        I was an English Literature major with a minor in Kansas Studies, I graduated in the Spring of 2000 from Washburn University.  I am now working on turning this web site into a complete book biography on Charles Curtis and family (working title is "Charles Curtis: Native-American Vice-President - Setting The Record Straight").  Along with trying to find the Indian in my own background.
        I have been asked to join the DAR (Daughters of Revolution), so I am looking through my family genealogy history.
        Around Topeka, throughout the years of my growing up, I never felt any difference among the people from the Indian Reservations around Topeka.  When I visited Montana, about age 12, I lived just about one mile from the actual site of the Little Big Horn massacre of General George Armstrong Custer.  I visited the Rosebud Reservation, different people both Indian and Anglo-Saxon, there was a BIG difference in the attitudes.  It was like living in a time warp!  I was warned not to be on the streets of the reservation after dark.
        This difference is why I was drawn to Charles Curtis. In my own honest opinion, the majority of the people of Topeka (and Kansas) would say "Charles who?"  Since 74 years after his death, Charles Curtis has been forgotten by his own hometown and home state.  Even on the Kansa Web Page (done by the Kansa Reservation now located in Oklahoma, SEE Resources), Charles Curtis is sometimes recognized as a person of their tribe but NOT for his accomplishments, even 74 years after his death. (The last time I checked the web site, he wasn't even on the site anymore, changes had been made)  According to their web page, Charles Curtis' ancestors are more important, but they were the ones who had signed the Indian treaties (1815 for the Kansas part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 from France) the treaties began the actual decline of the Indian tribes, many years before Charles Curtis' birth, and certainly before his time in the Whitehouse office. Though, the current Native-American Indians of today actually blame Charles Curtis for their problems of today. I have heard him called "traitor" by these Native American Indians of today, who have the vote, are American citizens, their land rights protected, all possible from the hard voluntary work of Native American Indian Kansan Topekan Charles Curtis.
      I have collected quite a few history books on Kansas and the City of Topeka, and I began to notice a pattern, that Charles Curtis would not even be mentioned (or just a line or two) with Eugene (later North Topeka) not being mentioned at all, though much of the history, Slave Road to Freedom (through North Topeka), Civil War, took place in North Topeka. Now this makes sense, how can people know (or learn) about Charles Curtis when he is NOT even included in local history books?
        The Sardou Bridge in Topeka, when it was being built, a name was suggested as the Charles Curtis Memorial Bridge, that was apparently voted down.
        The Curtis street that is located in North Topeka, many of the local people think it was named for Charles Curtis, the Indian Vice-President, when the actual fact is, the street was named for his paternal grandfather, William Curtis.  Curtis Junior High School in North Topeka, was named for Charles Curtis, the Indian Vice-President (which is no longer a school but is being changed into apartments), there are park green ways named for Charles Curtis, a Curtis Hall at Haskell Indian College and and Curtis Middle School in Wichita, but so far in my research, this is all that I can find that is named for Charles Curtis, the Indian Vice-President, but I would appreciate any information that I can verify.
       The Charles Curtis grave site is neglected (NOT by the Topeka Cemetery where it is located) but by tourists and visitors to Topeka (pictures of grave under memorials) who do not visit the site.
        In doing my research I became so excited when I found that the original boyhood home of Charles Curtis built by his grandfather William Curtis in 1864, at 905 North Van Buren (in North Topeka).  That it still existed and was being restored, I had to go find it.  Imagine my frustrations, when I could not locate the house so I spoke with some neighbors.  I was told, yes the owners wanted to restore it, but the City of Topeka felt the restorations were taking too long, the house was considered an eyesore to them and wanted it demolished since the city of Topeka already had the Curtis house.  Did the City of Topeka check into the history of the house?  The house was actually built 20-30 years before The Charles Curtis House at 11th and Topeka Blvd. Charles grew up in the house that his grandfather William Curtis had built.   I doubt it.  The house was demolished (1970s?) . A picture of the house I managed to find that was taken before it was demolished is located on the page of the extended family of Charles Curtis in Biography A, check the page of William Curtis.
        In another area of doing my research, in communicating with the Kansa Indians of today, the Indians seem to be totally unaware of the FULL scope of just what accomplishments Charles Curtis was able to help change and actually benefit the Indians and what changes are still in effect today.  They have not checked the actual legislation in how Charles Curtis participated in. Most people have no idea just what he stood for, that was for honesty and justice. In my own opinion, the Indians (Kansa "Kaw" tribe) of today are "judging" Charles Curtis by the standards they have of the year 2006 and not of the 1880's - 1936 of when Charles Curtis actually lived,  when the only "the good Indian was a dead Indian", and "shoot first, ask questions later", these seem like terrible clichés, but these were actually the way of US Kansas territory/state after the pioneers came to Kansas and after Kansas became a state.

W A R N I N G

It is my humble, and honest opinion that the section written by Steve W. Tally on Vice-President Charles Curtis, (see Page 249) in his book "Bland Ambition, From Adams to Quayle - The Cranks, Criminals, Tax Cheats and Golfers who made it to Vice-President" ; published in 1992 ISBN 0-15-61340-4 by Harcourt/Brace, is very much inaccurate, the article has actually been proven incorrect in places by historical research for the FACTS; so how much of his entire book is factual and how much is fake?

There is NO source documentation used in the book "Bland Ambition, From Adams to Quayle - The Cranks, Criminals, Tax Cheats and Golfers who made it to Vice-President" on any of the Vice Presidents, especially no documentation for the article 'written' on Vice-President Charles Curtis, so I would actually as any person doing historical research begin to question the very authenticity of such articles written. I have asked Mr. Tally for any source documents that were used in preparing the article on Vice-President Charles Curtis for his book, this information is usually provided at the back on a book when 'facts' such has he has presented;  the sources or bibliography,  are usually presented at the back of the book so that the 'research' can be validated; but was not in the case of this book. None was forthcoming. It is my honest opinion that this book be considered 'for entertainment purposes only' rather than a source record.

My Opinion is based on the facts obtained from 18 years of diligent, extensive and intensive quest for the facts on the life of Vice-President Charles Curtis.


homeReturn to Home Page        http://www.vpcharlescurtis.net/index.html

Overview of Charles Curtis life

Timeline A:  The Indians in Kansas


Timeline B :  The timelines of Kansas and the USA

Timeline C -  Major events and Famous Firsts

Biography ACharles Curtis and his extended family genealogy.


Biography B :  Charles Curtis (before going into Politics)

Politics  and Beliefs of Charles Curtis

Legacy   left by Charles Curtis

Memorials  and donations

Charles Curtis home in Topeka, Kansas

Signature Bldg.  New Kansas State Office Building named for Charles Curtis

Resources  and recommended books for reading.

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Updated January 03, 2014
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