Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


By Fred Cruger
Contributing Writer 

A Look Back


December 3, 2012

John Curtis' grave at the Snohomish GAR Cemetery. - Contributed Photo

John H. Curtis owned the Granite Falls Creamery and served as president of Granite Falls State Bank. His dad, John Curtis, served in the Civil War before bringing his family west from Wisconsin to Washington.

His grandson, Don Prigg of Everett, recently brought a number of early Curtis family pictures to the Granite Falls Museum. Among them was a large poster, sold in the 1890s by the Easel Monument Company to thousands of Civil War veterans.

Each poster was personalized with the service record of each veteran, and often included a personal dedication to the veteran's family. The price was only a few dollars, but the poster raised millions, ostensibly to build the actual monument in the state selling posters to the highest percentage of its veterans.

Unfortunately, the sponsors apparently pocketed the proceeds and the monument was never built! Many of the posters have survived, however, memorializing the service of thousands.

John Curtis' poster reproduction. - Contributed Photo

John Curtis is buried next to his wife Alzoa and son Lute, in the Snohomish GAR Cemetery, but unfortunately his poster suffered water damage and loss of significant portions of the original lithograph. Thankfully, the personalized text survived almost unscathed.

Some online research uncovered other posters, and with the cooperation of the Huntington Library in California and the Pratt Library in Maryland, enough information was found to "repair" John's poster to a state close to the original lithograph. A newly produced full-sized print was donated to the GAR cemetery on Veterans Day, where it will soon be on display with other Civil War ephemera.

Check out the "before" and "after". Full size is about 22" x 30".


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