James J. Curtis, U.S. Commissioner

From the Cullman Tribune, September 30, 1897
Submitted by Robin Sterling

Mr. Curtis was appointed to this office in July of the present year, and is discharging its duties with credit. He is a recent acquisition to the bar of Cullman county, having become a permanent resident in July. Though admitted to the bar but a year, Mr. Curtis has already given evidence of thorough legal acquirements, vigorous mental application and much force of character, all essential to success in his chosen profession.

He was born in Winston county in 1871, and belongs to one of the oldest and most highly respected families of that section. Educated at the State Normal College at Florence and the Birmingham Business College, his training has been strictly along practical lines. While reading law he served as clerk in the office of the United States Attorney at Birmingham, thus gaining much valuable experience. After graduating from the Normal college, he taught school two years in Texas. Last September he was nominated for Congress by the Republicans of the Seventh Congressional District, and though opposed by three other candidates he made a vigorous campaign, receiving 5,000 votes out of a total of 16,000. Ambitious and energetic, he has ever promise for a bright and successful career.

From History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, by Thomas McAdory Owen LL.D., Volume III; Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1921, page: 446

James Jackson Curtis, lawyer and judge, was born August 18, 1871, at Double Springs, Winston County; son of Benjamin F. and Eliza (Taylor) Curtis, the former came from Denmark, Buncombe County, N.C., lived near Double Springs, Ala., was once sheriff of Winston county, also once tax collector, and a member of the legislature of 1878 1879; grandson of Solomon and Charlotte Curtis of Denmark, N.C., and of John and Eliza Taylor, of Haleyville. The Curtis and Taylor families are descendants of early English settlers in North Carolina. He was educated in the schools of Winston County; graduated in 1891, from the State normal college at Florence; later took a course in the Birmingham business college. Studying law he was admitted to the bar in February 1895. His practice has been in Cullman, Birmingham and Haleyville. He was assistant district attorney, 1895 1896; U.S. commissioner, 1897 1903; mayor of Haleyville 1907 1909; supervisor of the census, 1910; elected judge of the fourteenth judicial circuit in 1910, which position he still occupies. He is a Republican; Presbyterian; Mason; Odd Fellow; Knight of Pythias; a member of the Fraternal union, and of the Royal order of moose. Married: June 22, 1904 at Cullman to Lorena, daughter of Judge Asa B. Hays, of that place. Children: 1. Lorena. Residence: Haleyville.