Joseph L. Curby was born on April 4, 1831 in Chester County Pennsylvania to William Curby and Catherine Fletcher Curby. He served in the Civil War as captain of Company I, 84th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers and was also a sutler for various army units. Later, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri, and died on March 8, 1904. He is buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.
Curby was a Pennsylvanian who later settled in St. Louis.