Friedrich Curtze (also known as "Fritz" and, later, "Frederick") was born in Corbach, Germany, on March 11, 1813. He was educated in Germany and worked as a silversmith before immigrating to the United States in 1836. After arriving in New York, where he remained for two years, he moved to Boston, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was a silversmith and goldsmith. In 1840, he settled in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he became a German language instructor, oil cloth manufacturer, and justice of the peace. He married Mary Ann Beckmann (d. 1864), also a German immigrant, in 1844, and their children included Hermann Jerome (b. November 30, 1847) and Mary. Friedrich Curtze died on April 14, 1891.
Hermann Jerome Curtze studied bookkeeping in Buffalo, New York, and completed his secondary education in Germany, earning a doctoral degree in law from the University of Heidelberg. He returned to Erie, Pennsylvania, where he began practicing law in January 1875, focusing on estate administration and property law. He married Henriette S. Goehling, also the child of German immigrants, on June 4, 1878; they had no children.