The history of the pioneer settlement of Santa Clara county would be incomplete without the record of this gentleman, who from its early days has been a prominent factor in its substantial growth and improvement. When California was cut off from the advantages and comforts of the east by long hot stretches of sand and the high mountain, ere the railroads shortened distance and annihilated time, he came to California and brved all the trials and hardships of pioneer life in order to make a home in the golden west--rich in its resources, yet unclaimed from the dominion of the red men and untransformed from the primitive condition in which it was left by the hand of nature. It was in the yer 1852 that Mr. Curtner arrived in this state, and through the intervening years he has been an active factor in business life, devoting his energies to agricultural pursuits and to real estate operations, making his home at the present time in Warmsprings, Alameda county.

Mr. Curtner was born in Fountain county, Indiana, on the 17th of January, 1831, his parents being Jacob and Nancy (Heaton), Curtner, the former a native of North Carolina and the latter of Tennessee. The father was a farmer by occupation and in the period of pioneer development in Indiana he went to that state, where he secured a tract of land and developed a farm. The family numbered ten children.

Henry Curtner was reared upon the old family homestead in the county of his nativity, and while he devoted his labors to the work of the fields during the summer months, he gave his attention to the mastery of the branches of English learning taught in the public schools throughout the winter seasons. He continued at home until he had attained his majority, when he resolved to seek his fortune in the far wast and made preparation to come to California. He journeyed by way of the isthmus of Panama and arrived in the Golden state on the 20th of October, 1852. The story of pioneer conditions here at that time is largely familiar to the world, and yet no one who did not live through these experiences can fully comprehend the difficulties that the frontiersmen met. After remaining at Mission San Jose for about four years, Mr. Curtner settled in Alameda county, where he turned his attention to farming, and since that time has given his energies uninterruptedly to agricultural pursuits and to real estate operations, buying and selling much property. He has negotiated many important real estate transfers and in his line of business is well known. Moreover, he has been largely interested in raising cattle in both Nevada and California, and at the present writing is president of the Milpitas Land and Livestock Company, a corporation owning about thirty thousand acres of land, devoted to the raising of hay and cattle and capitalized for three hundred thousand dollars. Success comes as the legitimate result of well applied energy, unflagging determination and perseverance in a course of action when once decided upon; she smiles not upon the idler or dreamer, and only the man who has justly won her favor does she deign to crown with blessings. In tracing the history of Mr. Curtner it is plainly seen that the prosperity which he enjoys has been won by the commendable energies above mentioned. A number of the important business interests of central California have felt the stimulus of his energy and executive ability, and his efforts have formed an important element in promoting business activity here, nor has he been remiss in citizenship. On the contrary he has been a co-operant factor in the movements for the general good, and thus is deserving of mention among the representative men of Alameda county.

In 1857 was celebrated the marriage of Henry Curtner and Miss Lydia Kendall, a native of Indiana and a daughter of Jmaes Kendall, who was one of the old settlers of that state. Eight children were born to them, of whom seven are yet living namely: Walter J., who is conducting a sheep ranch in San Benito county; Frank S., a farmer of San Jose; William M., who follows farming at Milpitas; Allen E., who devotes his attention to agricultural pursuits and fruit raising; Josephine, a teacher of music; Grace, the wife of W. Realey, of San Jose; Howard, who died in 1864; and Jacob. Mrs. Curnter died in 1878, and Mr. Curtner was again married, his second union being with Mary Meyers, also a native of Indiana, and they became the parents of two sons, Albert H. and Arthur D. After the death of his second wife Mr. Curtner was married in 1884 to his present wife, who bore the maiden name of Lucy Latham. She is a native of Springfield, Illinois.

Mr. Curtner gives his political allegiance to the Republican party and is always deeply and actively interested in local and state politics, regarding it the duty as well as the privilege of every American citizen to support the principles in which he believes. Few men are more prominent or more widely known in this section of the state than Mr. Curtner, for he has been an important factor in business circles and his popularity is well deserved, as in him are embraced the characteristics of an unbending integrity, unabating energy and industry that never flags.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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