- Jack attended Somerset High School and upon graduation went to work in a Drug Store in Somerset. The pharmacist he worked for there was named Kip Dye. Jack married Edith Colyer in 1938. A drug company rep from Massengil befriended Jack while he worked at store and put in a good word for him at Massengil. Jack and then wife Edith traveled together to Bristol Tennessee where he put in application and was hired in his first pharmaceutical sales job. Jack remembers meeting old Dr. S.E. Massengil perhaps at this job interview. Upon starting work for Massengil, Jack was assigned a sales territory in Murfreesboro, TN where he and his wife Edith moved from Somerset. They lived in Murfreesboro for about 3-4 years until Jack was drafted into the army during World War II. Served in Army 4 years first at Fort Jackson in Columbia South Carolina ( per Jack 11/05/05) later stationed in St. Augustine Fla in grave digger division. It was in Fort Jackson at Columbia South Carolina where his wife Edith worked doing secretarial work for an officer on the base. Upon entering the army, Jack recommended his former pharmacist boss Kip Kye to get his territory in murfreesboro. Kip had lost his Somerset drugstore job and needed help. Mr. Dye took the Murfreesboro territory after Edith Curtis had briefly filled in for Jack during the early months of his miliary training. Mr. Dye later had a drug store in McMinnville Tn. After Jack got out of the army, Massengil have him a job and and assigned him a territory in Lexington Ky. After working with Massengil for about a year in Lexington, Jack got a job with Abbott Labs. for Lexington Territory after the Abbott rep Eulis Moss, moved to Louisville to take that territory. Jack worked the Lexington Ky Territory from about 1947 until 1956 when Mr. Eulis Moss was promoted to Abbott District Manager in Lousivlle and and requested Jack move to louisville to take his sales territory. Jack was promoted to District Manager with Abbott in 1965. Jack retired from Abbott in 1982 after 35 years. Worked with Abbott in Lexington Ky and Louisville, Ky. Now resides in Louisville.
As told by Jack Curtis to son Richard 11/18/2000 over dinner at Mrs. Winners chicken:
Started out talking about going to Somerset and took some pictures of old acquaintances he looked up. Said the last time they went down to Somerset saw an old friend Ed Tucker. Said Ed was a football player and he had several brothers that were big football players at Somerset high school. He said he didn't know why Ed had taken to him, but for some reason he had. Ed was originally in his high school class, but he may have flunked a grade and got behind. Ed had gotten to go to college at Bowling Green and had obtained a teaching certificate that enabled him to teach school. In the summers, since teachers only worked 9 months a year, he had to get any work he could in the summer and had driven a delivery truck of some sort. Several years ago at a high school reunion, he had shown up and every knew him, even though he really did not graduate with Dad's class since had fallen behind a year. Dad said gratefully that Ed said that he had just come by to see Jack Curtis. Dad seemed very pleased and honored, but did not know why Ed had taken to him. He said that when he would go to Somerset to visit "Dad and Mother" Ed would drop by the house and visit with them.
Dad told of a time when he was delivering papers, he had Dot with him for some reason and was coming down the hill home, with his paper bags over his shoulder with Dot with him. That a tall skinny boy a year or sold older, know to pick on kids younger than he, named Rat Hargis came out and stopped Dad trying to pick on him and would not let him pass. Dad said "?I became more concerned because Dot was only about five years old at the time and she was walking on ahead and would have to cross the busy street down below to get home." He was saying to Rat ?.come on let me go, I have to go. About that time Ed Tucker who lived within the block came by and said to Rat ?..let him go, leave him alone. Ed was a big football player type and so could take up for Dad and Rat would back down from him. Rat told Ed that Dad had done something or said something to irritate him , but Ed told Rat to leave him alone. Dad said that since he had Ed there taking up for him, who was bigger than either of them, and he knew Rat would not do anything with Ed there, he jumped up and socked Rat. (making a face of tight lips and motioning of punching). He laughed.
He said some days later, he was on his way home on his bicycle after delivering papers with one paper bag over his shoulder and the other in the Bike front basket. He came around the corner to go down the steet (South Central) at the Methodist Church and there was Rat. He said he tried to ride to the other side to avoid him, but Rat ran up and grabbed his paper bag and pulled him off his bicycle. They started fighting, just going at it. Dad said they were kind of out in the street fighting and traffic was stopping and people watching. He said Rat was so much taller that Dad had to jump up and punch to try to punch Rat in the face. He laughed saying it must of looked quite funny him jumping up fighting like a bainty rooster.
Dad said they fought on like this until a black gentleman who worked the only men's clothing dept store stopped. He saw that dad and Rat were tired of fighting and worn out, so he separated them, and said they needed a break. So he separated them and said "you have a three minute rest between rounds." After a few minutes, he sent them back to fighting...He said this went on for about three rounds until both were so tired, they finally quit. Dad said after that, though, Rat never picked on him again.
As told to Richard Curtis by father Jack Curtis 12/9/2000:
When Jack was a boy his parents lived on a 4 acre place outside town near Pisgah community. Described as near the side of town where the Mill was. Said they had a few pigs, chickens, and milk cow. Said that during the depression, they bought groceries from the Sam Colyer Grocery store near the Mill. They could not afford to pay for the groceries all the time so Mr. Colyer was real good about letting them go on account. The bill had gotten up pretty high, so Earl Curtis went down and worked out a deal with Mr. Sam Colyer to trade the old milk cow toward their grocery bill. The milk cow had gotten old and they said it wasn't giving good milk anymore. So Earl gave Jack Curtis the job of leading the old milk cow to the slaughter house and sell it to slaughter so the money could go toward the grocery bill. Jack said that he had to have some help to lead the cow over to the slaughter house as it was accross town and the cow would get jittery going through town. But they got it over there and accomplished their chore and paid down on the grocery bill. Jack said 9/25/04 that Sam Colyer's grocery store was located on Monticillo Street at the corner right up from the Somerset Mill that now in 2004 is the location of a Baptist Church.
Jack Curtis said he had kind of met my mother and would go see her at my Aunt Ruby's grocery store after delivering papers on his paper route during the depression. Ruby Colyer's store was down in a bottom that was across the street from the stockyards in Somerset. Jack's paper route included the street (Columbia) that led down into the bottom and goes by the Somerset cemetery.
Jack in conversation 9/4/04 that his father Earl owned a little 4 acre or so farm on Oak Hill Road but lost it during the depression or before. Thereafter he rented houses in Somerset and they moved seemingly about every year or so to new rental house until in late 30's or early 40's bought they house they lived in til death at 224 South Central Ave. On a trip together with the writer to Somerset 9/25/04, Jack pointed out the location where this 4 acre farm was located on Oak Hill Road in Somerset where Jack lived as a boy. It is now a small shopping center and a part of the four lane highway 27 that runs through current Somerset. It is at the corner of Highway 27 and Oak Hill road. Jack said that Earl his father owned and operated a general store for a period of time where Oak Hill Road ends at Monticello St. on the railroad side of Monticello street.
When Jack was 15-16 years old they lived in a rental house in Somerset out towards the Somerset Cemetery that later became Red's diner. Jack's room was upstairs. The house in 2004 is a Gosset Real Estate office. Jack said that the brick house next door was where his friend Bill Hall lived. While living in this house Jack remembers buying his first car from money saved from his paper route. The car was purchased for $15 and had no roof. The seats were worn out and his mother made seat covers out of flour sacks for him. He said that he sold the car and bought another one for 17.50 that had a soft top so he could drive in the winter. He said the soft top sagged so he propped it up with tobacco sticks. Jack said that they moved across the street to a house located on a spot that later became a bus station.
It was during this time that Jack could not afford to put about a gallon of gas in his car at a time. His friend Bill Hall would want him to drive him down a hill past the Somerset Cemetery but Jack would have to refuse because the gasoline would run out of the carborator when driving back up the hill and stop. By the time Jack was "courting age" in high school, he says they had moved to a rental house on main street near what is now highway 80 that is cumberland parkway at where he described as up near Stanford highway. Jack states that before he dated Edith in about 12th grade, he had dated Glenda Burton (and her younger sister Edna Burton who became Mrs. Starling Gregory[married name] at a time) who was one year older in high school. Her father was appointed Postmaster of Somerset and that enabled her and her family to move to a nicer home. She had lived across the street from Jack in the house across from the old bus station near the courthouse. She went off to Univ. Kentucky after graduating as did another classmate of Jack's named Feller Ramsey. Jack stated that Feller Ramsey was well to do as his father owned the local Gulf Oil distributorship in Somerset. Feller Ramsey also went to UK he and Glenda dated then and Dad says Feller stole the girl he had dated earlier in high school. Feller later married Glenda after Jack had become engaged to Edith. Jack says that Feller Ramsey became a General in the Army until retirement.
Sept 2004, Jack stated that he earned up to about $3 a week delivering papers on three paper routes. He said that his father lost his current job working at the flour mill of his father when the family lost the mill during the depression. He said his father Earl had an 8th grade education and that his mother had a 9th grade education. He said his father had a difficult time finding work after loosing his job at the mill but finally got a job at a department store on the town square earning $4 per week. During this difficult time for his family, Earl would have to borrow money sometimes from Jack and his paper route to buy groceries.
- Jack Curtis had a life-long friend from his school days in Somerset named Joe Sheneman. August 20 2016 Somerset Commonwealth Journal reprint of July 19, 1933 paper states "Joe Ed to
Forest Sheneman is building a motor boat at the Sheneman Electric Service store on Mt. Vernon Street.
The boat is 20 feet long and 5 feet 6 inches wide.
It will be powered by a Pontiac six-cylinder engine.
Mr. Sheneman has named the boat after his son, Joe Ed.