Pennsylvania in the Civil War

Virtue ~ Liberty ~ Independence

Andrew Gregg Curtin

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Andrew Gregg Curtin, a lawyer of Scotch-Irish descent, was 43 years old when he defeated Henry D. Foster of Westmoreland County and became Pennsylvania's chief executive on January 15, 1861. A former Whig, he joined the new Republican Party in 1860 and was one of Lincoln's staunchest supporters. Curtin was responsible for establishing the first and largest Civil War camp (named in his honor) and was the first governor to send troops to defend the nation's capital. In September 1862, he arranged a conference in Altoona for northern governors to raise support for President Lincoln and his war effort.

After his term expired, Governor Curtin was named ambassador to Russia. He ended his political career by serving six years as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Born on April 22, 1817 in Bellefonte, Centre County, Governor Curtin was the son of Roland Curtin, a Scots Irish immigrant who had begun an iron manufacturing concern in Centre County, and his second wife, Jean Gregg, who was the daughter Andrew Gregg, a major Pennsylvania politician and president pro tem of the U.S. Senate. The cavalry officer, He was a first cousin of Major General David McMurtrie Gregg, Commander, Second Cavalry Division, Army of the Potomac. After attending the Milton Academy, Curtin studied law with his mother's cousin, William W. Potter, and entered Dickinson University, where he continued his studies with Judge John Reed, founder of the Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle. He graduated with the class of 1837 and began a private practice after being admitted to the bar in 1839.

After serving two terms in the U. S. House of Representatives, Andrew Curtin retired from public life in 1887 and lived quietly in his home in Bellefonte until his death on October 4, 1894. He is buried in the Union Cemetery.

For more information:

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission

Camp Curtin Historical Society








U. S. C. T.

©  2015 Alice J. Gayley, all rights reserved