THE VALLEY OF HEART'S DELIGHT
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LUCY LATHAM CURTNER
      

Bio-Sawyers
SURNAMES: Stephenson, Cullough, Valpey

This estimable lady who is following in the footsteps of her philanthropic husband is a woman much loved and appreciated by the citizens of Santa Clara Valley, who admire her for her many attributes of virtue and her kindliness and straightforwardness of purpose.

Lucy Latham was born at Elkhart Grove, Logan County, Ill., January 16, 1839. Her father was born in Kentucky, but reared in Illinois. Her grandfather, James Latham, was Indian agent in Illinois and was the first white man to cross the Sangamon River. Her mother was Margaret Stephenson, also a native of Kentucky, a woman of much refinement, who saw to the rearing and education of her family whom her daughter, Lucy, inherited many of the traits which have made her so well liked and appreciated. She was the fourth oldest in a family of six children. When she was fourteen years of age her parents moved to Springfield, Ill., where she attended Esterbrook's Academy, and afterwards went east and finished her education at Pleasant Hill seminary. Washington County, Pa., when she returned to Springfield.

In that city she had the great pleasure of knowing Abraham Lincoln, the savior of his country, and was elated at his nomination for the presidency in 1860. She also knew Mrs. Lincoln and Dr. Todd and his family. Her brother-in-law and sister, Rev. and Mrs. J. H. Mc Cullough, had come to California, where Rev. McCullough was president of the Irvington College, and in 1884 Miss Latham joined her sister at Irvington, and it was there she met Mr. Curtner and the acquaintance resulted in their marriage May 26, 1885, and they took up their residence on the Curtner place at Warm Springs. She immediately entered into all of her husband's ambitions and threw herself into the work of aiding and encouraging him, her confidence in his ability being rewarded more and more in watching his wonderful rise. She warmly acquiesced and encouraged him in his benevolences and was delighted in his munificent bequests to charitable institutions, especially those to the orphans' and widows' homes, and since his death has continued the work and has contributed all she could to the same end.


Soon after her husband's death she took up her residence at 36 South Thirteenth Street, San Jose. Her niece and grandniece, Mrs. Margaret Valpey and Miss Lucy Valpey, are making their home with her and assist her in dispensing good cheer and old-time hospitality. She is very naturally a stanch Republican in political preferment, having been reared in the environment of the old Abolition party, and is a devout member of the Christian Church, taking an active part in its many benevolences. Mrs. Curtner was reared in an atmosphere of culture and refinement and is a woman of very pleasing personality, is well read, and having a retentive memory, is a pleasing conversationalist. Liberal and generous, she is ever ready to help those who have been less fortunate and do what she can to alleviate suffering and pain. She is modest and unassuming and her acts of charity are always done in an unostentatious manner. It is indeed a pleasure to know this interresting woman, who knew and was a friend of the great emancipator.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 424

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