CURTIS THOMPSON died at his home in Bridgeport, April 17th, 1904. He was born in 1835 of Puritan stock, and his ancestors on both sides resided in Stratford from the settlement of that town.
His career presents a familiar story in American life. It discloses narrow circumstances in childhood, high purpose and ambition, privations endured, difficulties surmounted, and the reward of character, success, competence and public esteem gained.
He was educated at the Stratford Academy and prepared for Yale College, but did not enter owing to lack of means. He learned and practiced a trade, taught school, and thus secured means to attend the Harvard Law School as a member of the class of 1864. In 1871 Yale College gave him the honorary degree of M. A.
After his admission to the Fairfield county bar in April, 1864, he represented Stratford in the General Assembly for three years, serving twice on the judiciary committee. In his adopted city he filled many public places, and served as alderman, councilman, town attorney and city attorney, for several terms in each position.
Mr. Thompson lived a laborious life, applying himself with unwearied industry to every matter placed in his hands by his clients, thus winning the lasting regard of an extensive and important clientage, and serving them in many large affairs with unswerving fidelity and marked ability. He was a high-minded, able and successful lawyer, with an ingrained honesty that was recognized by his client, his opponent, and the court.
His career at the bar was not meteoric or dazzling, but it was strong, substantial and effective. He was not content to be a lawyer merely, he sought also to be a good citizen; his voice and influence were always at the service of every cause tending to the public good. During his mature life he represented in influential speech and action the conscience and candid judgment upon public affairs of the large body of right-minded, public-spirited men in his city.
Mr. Thompson was called upon for occasional addresses in his vicinity more frequently than any other man, and particularly for those of a historical nature; for his mind was a storehouse of information regarding the local history of Bridgeport and vicinity, and his interest in such matters was deep and constant. Local history was his intellectual recreation.
His interest in life and affairs was always keen, and a remarkable freshness of feeling and power of enjoyment pervaded his life to the end. Conversation with him disclosed a social disposition, a wide acquaintance with the best in literature and science, and a catholic breadth of mind, always open to new thoughts and impressions, always growing in sane thinking. He was a manly man, led by a high sense of duty and an unerring instinct toward right action in all the relations of private and public life.
His career recalls these words of Lowell:--
"'The longer on this earth we live
And weigh the various qualities of men,
Seeing how most are fugitive
Or fitful gifts at best, of now and then,
The more we feel the high stern-featured beauty
Of plain devotedness to duty,
Steadfast and still, nor paid with mortal praise,
But finding amplest recompense
For life's ungarlanded expense
In work done squarely and unwasted days."