JAMES M. CURNUTT. This gentleman is one of the very prominent citizens of Ava, and has made his home in this county since 1876. He was born in Campbell County, Tennessee, July 12, 1835, a son of William and Lucinda (Dent) Curnutt, the former of whom was a product of North Carolina and a son of John Curnutt, who is supposed to have been born in France.
In the State of Tennessee William Curnutt grew to manhood, married and there reared his family, which consisted of eight children, four of whom are now living: Preston, who died many years ago in Missouri; John, who is living in Boone County, Arkansas; Reilly, who died in 1877; Mary A., who died in 1862; William, who died in 1853; Nancy, who resides in Tennessee; James M. and Lucinda, who live in Tennessee. The father and mother were members of the Missionary Baptist Church, and died in 1838 and 1874, respectively. The father was a Whig in politics, a farmer by occupation, and for many years held the office of justice of the peace. The Dents are supposed to have come from Germany.
James M. Curnutt passed his early life on a farm in Tennessee, during which time he learned habits of industry, economy, and perseverance that were of material benefit to him in later years. He attended the common schools of his native county, and when he grew up he became a farmer. He was married at the age of twenty-one years to Miss Amanda Housley, a native of Tennessee and a daughter of John and Caroline (Henshaw) Housley, who were early settlers of Tennessee. Mrs. Curnutt was born December 28, 1838. After commencing life for himself Mr. Curnutt resided on a farm in Tennessee, and taught school until the opening of the war, when he moved with his family to Pike County, Indiana, and there made his home for eleven years. He became a member of Company 1, One Hundred and Forty-third Indiana Infantry, in February, 1865, and was on duty until the war closed. He is now a member of the G. A. R., and has commanded the post at Ava. When he came to Missouri in 1876, he took up his residence in the eastern part of Douglas County on a farm located about thirty miles from Ava, and there made his home until 1886, when he was elected to the position of county clerk of Douglas County by the Republican party, of which he has always been a strong member, and then moved to the town of Ava, where his home has since been. He filled the office of clerk with marked ability up to 1890, and since that year was successfully engaged in the mercantile business for a short time. He is living retired from the active duties of life and in the enjoyment of competency which his earlier years of industry, foresight and good management brought him. He is a member of Ava Lodge No. 26 of the A. F. & A. M. He and his wife are members of the General Baptist Church, of which he is a clerk, and in that faith reared their children whom they named as follows: Elizabeth, wife of John R. Penner, a farmer of this county; William also farms here; John died in Indiana; Frank is a farmer of this county and has been a merchant; Horace is living in Ava; Mary is the wife of James Martin of Ava; Leota is the wife of J. A. G. Reynolds; Calvin is living in Ava; Wiley died young, and Ida. Mr. Curnutt has ever been a public-spirited citizen, is an upright and highly honorable man of affairs, and commands the respect and esteem of all who know him.