Young Curtis laid the foundation of his education in the Raleigh schools from which he passed to the St. Augustine Normal School also at Raleigh. He spent four years at the North Carolina Experiment Station at Raleigh, N. C. Later he matriculated at the N. C. A. & T. College at Greensboro, from which he was graduated in 1899. He has the B. S. Agri. and M. of Agriculture degrees from that institution. He also did summer work at Cornell University. He was under the necessity of making his own way in school but with characteristic North Carolina patience and perseverance he refused to be discouraged till he was equipped to do first class work in his chosen profession.
In the fall of 1899, following his graduation in the spring of the same year, he came to Institute as Professor of Agriculture at the Collegiate Institute and has been at the head of the department for 23 years. In fact, it may be said that he created the department.
Some of the outstanding accomplishments of Mr. Curtis are the introduction of new crops, tile drainage, use of lime and the marked improvement in the fertility of the soil.
Land that would not yield 15 bushels of corn per acre is now producing 70 to 80 bushels per acre.
Soil that would not grow clover is now yielding three tons per acre.
On December 20, 1905, Prof. Curtis married Miss Dora Thorne Brown, daughter of W. S. and Alice C. Brown., Mrs. Curtis was before her marriage an accomplished teacher. They have two children, a girl and a boy. The girl's name is Alice Cabell Curtis, while the son is named for his father, Austin Wingate, Jr.
Among the secret and benevolent orders, he belongs to the A. F. and A. M. of which he is a P. G. M. of W. Va. In politics he is a Republican, in religion a Methodist. He is a trustee in his local church and was formerly Superintendent of the Sunday School. Prof. Curtis is a life member of the Association of Teachers in Colored Schools, also life member of the association for the Study of Negro life and history and was President of the West Virginia Teachers Association 1917-18. His favorite reading is along scientific lines.
History of the American Negro Index
West Virginia History Center