|#1-Published in the Blair Democrat January 25, 1917|
John Currie, Sculptor of Lincoln Statue Buried Monday
John Currie, who achieved fame many years ago by starting a statue of Abraham Lincoln on the capitol grounds. Currie died at his residence in the First Ward Saturday. He was a remarkable character and before coming to Blair had been in the limelight in Nebraska and Iowa on many occasions. He was a stone cutter by trade and worked on the building of the State Penitentiary.
John Currie conceived the idea of obtaining a block of marble from the State of Tennessee from which he sculptured a life sized figure of Abe Lincoln. Through some hitch in the legislature proceedings, funds were not allowed for the erection of Currie’s masterpiece and the statue still reposes in the basement of the capitol building. Currie stated to agitate the question up and down the state and expended hundred of dollars in advertising the ingratitude of the politicians at the capitol. The newspapers took up the story and Currie got a full share of praise and censure.
When the Coxey Army started to march to Washington, John Currie formed a company to invade Washington. He left Lincoln shortly afterwards and went to Iowa where he lectured on temperance to admiring crowds. He came to Blair in May 1891, with letters of commendation from A. E. Hargraves of Lincoln, Judge Tibbits, Chancellor McLean of the State University, Ex-Governor, Silas Holcomb, of who he made a marble bust, also a letter from Robert Lincoln, recommending him for work on the Lincoln statue.
His career in Blair previous to a dozen years ago was one of activity in political circles. He stirred up the press and citizens by heading the First Ward Improvement Club and once ran for mayor. John Currie was a great talker and could always hold a crowd spellbound on any subject he started. He had served four years in the Union Army and at a military encampment years ago was given the title of Major. The failure of the Lincoln statue made the old man very bitter in his remarks on the ingratitude of politicians and it was a constant subject of agitation with him. John Currie died of a general decline and leaves a widow. He was buried in the Blair Cemetery Monday afternoon.
Published in the Tribune January 24,1917
John Currie, a Civil War veteran, died at this home in this city on Saturday, January 20, 1917. He was born in Ireland on August 11, 1839 and was a stone cutter by occupation.
He married Amanda J. Hollar in 1898 and has made Blair his home since that time.
He enlisted in the army in 1861, joining the Illinois Volunteer Infantry and served through the entire period of the war being mustered out in 1864.
The funeral services were held in the Methodist Church on Sunday, Jan. 21, Rev. Underwood officiating, and interment was made in the Blair Cemetery.
Obituaries courtesy of the Washington County Genealogical Society. Newspaper clippings on file in the Blair Public Library at Blair, Nebraska.