Theophilus Robert Curnick was born into a prominent Boston family. He attended Boston University, where he recieved his Theology Doctorate in 1891. His thesis was entitled "The Dawn of Day in the Dark Continent", and is still housed in the University's library. He married and had at least one son, Arthur. Theophilus was a Methodist preacher and worked as a circuit rider, gaining some fame in that area of the country.