George Ticknor Curtis
1812 – 1894
Who was George Ticknor Curtis?
Curtis was born in Watertown, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard University in 1832 and then Harvard Law School. After admittance to the Massachusetts bar in 1836, he practiced first in Boston and then in New York City. Curtis was very successful as a patent attorney, working for Samuel F. B. Morse, Charles Goodyear and Cyrus McCormick.
From 1840 to 1843, Curtis was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a Whig. A political ally of Daniel Webster, he was one of the "Cotton Whigs" who joined the Democratic Party when the Whig party dissolved in 1856.
Later, as a U.S. commissioner at Boston, Curtis was compelled to send a former slave, Thomas Sims, back to slavery in compliance with the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. He served as co-counsel for Dred Scott when his case reached the United States Supreme Court in 1857. His brother, Benjamin Robbins Curtis, was notable as one of the two dissenters in Dred Scott v. Sanford.
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