M. L. Curtis has been associated with journalism, with the exception of little more than a year, ever since
leaving college and in the intervening fifteen years has added wide experience to his excellent general training
and is now one of the most able men associated with the press of the smaller cities of the state. He owns a half
interest in the Knoxville Journal, which is a publication of wide circulation and of a high standard throughout.
Mr. Curtis was born in this county on the 6th of January, 1876, a son of Joshua and Margaret E. (Andrews) Curtis,
both natives of Ohio. The paternal grandfather, Truman Curtis, was also born in the Buckeye state but eventually
became a resident of Iowa, although his arrival was subsequent to that of his son Joshua. Truman Curtis, a cabinet
maker by trade, opened a shop at Knoxville in 1859 and continued to reside in this city until his death. The family
is of English descent. Joshua Curtis came to Knoxville in 1850 and opened a wagon and blacksmith shop. In 1862
he enrolled in the Union army, becoming a member of Company A, Thirty third Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and served
until the end of the war, holding the rank of sergeant during the last of his term of enlistment. After the close
of hostilities he returned to this county and began farming, so continuing during the remainder of his active life.
He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and his political allegiance was given to the republican party.
On the 4th of October, 1894, he passed away but his widow survives and lives in Knoxville. To their union were
born five children: one who died in infancy; George, a farmer of this county; Charles E., a resident of Knoxville;
Frederick, who is a farmer of this county and who is married and has three children; and M. L., of this review.
The last named received his elementary and secondary education in the public schools of the county, graduating
from the Knoxville high school, and he subsequently entered the State University of Iowa, completing a course there
in 1899 and receiving the degree of Bachelor of Arts. In April, 1898, at the outbreak of the Spanish-American war,
during his term at the university, being a member of Company D, Fifty first Iowa Volunteer Infantry, Mr. Curtis
left school, joined his company and accompanied his regiment to San Francisco. He was a sergeant. After being mustered
out, March 4, 1899, on account of physical disability, he returned to school and graduated with honors in his class.
His high scholarship also won him election to Phi Beta Kappa, a national fraternity formed for the purpose of fostering
a love of learning. For a year and a half he taught school in Knoxville and then, deciding that better opportunities
for advancement were to be found in other fields, he purchased an interest in the Daily Republican of Boone, Iowa.
In August, 1901, the Iowa Publishing Company, which issued the Boone Daily Republican and the Atlantic Messenger,
purchased the Knoxville Journal, of which Mr. Curtis was made manager. He has since been connected with it and
in January, 1902, became the sole owner of the paper, buying it from the Iowa Publishing Company, but late in 1903
T. G. Gilson purchased a half interest in the publication. Mr. Curtis is the editor of the paper and his ability
to judge of the news value of a happening of local or general interest and his well developed literary sense have
been important factors in making the Knoxville Journal one of the best papers of its size in the state. Especial
attention is given to the reporting of local happenings but news of a general character is not neglected by any
means and the editorials are timely and are clearly and succinctly written. As the paper has a large circulation
list and as its subscribers are the representative people of the city and county it is valuable as an advertising
medium and is patronized as such by the local merchants.
Mr. Curtis is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and politically is identified with the republican party.
He is an enthusiastic Mason and has been prominently identified with Masonic circles in this part of Iowa. He is
a member of Oriental Lodge, No. 61, A. F. & A. M.; Tadmor Chapter, No. 18, R. A. M.; Melita Commandery, No.
64, K. T.; Des Moines Consistory, S. P. R. S.; and Za-Ga-Zig Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S. He is also a member of Zabud
Council, No. 2, R. S. M. at Oskaloosa. He is a past master of the blue lodge, past high priest of the chapter and
past prelate of the commandery. He is a man fitted by natural ability and training for leadership and as editor
of the Knoxville Journal he wields no small influence in the public affairs of city and county and this power is
always used for the furtherance of the public welfare and the development of the commercial interests of Knoxville.
His activities in the councils and affairs of the republican party are of an important character. He has always
exerted a strong influence in political matters and his value has been recognized by his party, and in the campaign
of 1914 he was one of five men chosen by Senator Cummings personally to manage his senatorial campaign. Mr. Curtis
has never sought nor accepted political preferment as an office seeker. He is held in high respect throughout his
native county and has many personal friends, who value greatly his good opinion.
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Marion County, IA
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