On Valentine's Day, 1884, his mother died of typhoid fever and his wife died of Bright's disease, two days after giving birth to a daughter, Alice Lee. Amidst this personal trauma, Theodore Roosevelt was on the verge of becoming a national presence.
Charles Curtis was born January 25, 1860, in Topeka, Kansas, to Oren Arms and Ellen (Pappan) Curtis. His mother had American Indian ancestry—Kansa, Osage, and Potawatomi. He worked as a clerk for Topeka attorney A. H. Case and later as partner. He was elected county prosecutor in 1884 and became widely known for his strict enforcement of the prohibition law. Curtis rose to national prominence with his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1892.