Like the Osage, the Kansa tribe includes a number of families with
French surnames. Among them are Pappan, Lessert, Prue, and Roy-names of
Frenchmen who married Kansa women in the eighteenth and nineteenth
century. The Roys trace their lineage to Michel Roy, who came to live
among the Kansa in 1799. One of the Pappan-Roy daughters married an
American abolitionist named Curtis while the Kansa were still in Kansas.
Their son, Charles Curtis (1860-1936), orphaned at an early age, lived
at the Kaw Agency with his grandmother Julie Pappan until she persuaded
him to go to his relatives in Topeka. There he received an education,
became a lawyer, entered politics, and served Kansas in Congress for 34
years. Curtis sought the presidential nomination in 1928 but lost to
Herbert Hoover; Curtis then accepted the second spot on the Republican
ticket and served as Hoover's Vice-President from 1929-1933. Some
thought Curtis to be a mediocre politician, but Senator William Borah
described him as a "great reconciler, a walking political encyclopedia,
and one of the best political poker players in America."
Ironically, as a Congressman, Curtis was responsible for the Curtis Act
of 1898 which helped to weaken and dissolve the Indian Territory tribal
governments by subjecting all persons in the territory to federal law,
abolishing tribal courts, providing for the survey and incorporation of
towns in the territory, and giving all townsmen the right to vote, and
setting up free public schools. Thus, the Curtis Act helped pave the way
for the demise of Indian Territory and the statehood of Oklahoma.
From: "The American Heritage Book of the Presidents and Famous Americans"
N.Y., Dell Publishing Co. 1967 pg.821
Gibson, Arrell M. "Oklahoma: A History of Five Centuries"
University of Oklahoma Press,
Norman, Oklahoma 1965 pg.193
Finney, "The Kaw Indians and Their Indian Territory Agency"
"The Chronicles of Oklahoma". Vol. 35 pg.148
Found on page 61 of NCOHA's award winning book.