Pennsylvania's Civil War Governor
Roland Curtin's son, Andrew Gregg Curtin, was Pennsylvania Governor (1861-1867) during the Civil War and was an early backer and a close ally of Abraham Lincoln. At a time early in the war, when military losses were mounting and support for the war was flagging, Curtin organized a conference of governors from loyalist States. The unified platform which emerged was critical in moving ahead with the war effort necessary to save the Union. He was an inspirational military recruiter and effectively organized recruits into cohesive units. He presciently established the Pennsylvania Reserves, crucial in rapid deployment of troops to protect Washington, DC and to provide reinforcements wherever a critical need arose. Doggedly insisting on adequate training, equipment, pay, medical care, benefits for soldiers, and education for children orphaned in the War, he became known as the Soldier's Advocate. Governor Curtin suggested that Gettysburg be recognized as a National cemetery, invited Lincoln to attend the dedication, and was present along with his son during Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. After serving two terms as Governor, Curtin was appointed Minister to Russia by President Grant and later served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1881-1887). Reputedly, he was affable and charitable, and he was a gifted and persuasive orator. The personal Victorian carriage used by Andrew Curtin and his family is on display at Eagle Iron Works and Curtin Village.