JAMES T. CURREY
A debt of gratitude than can never be repaid is due to the pioneers of any country. In the midst of an advanced civilization the people of today cannot realize what was endured by those who reclaimed this country from its primitive condition. They met nature in her wild mood and though her resources were boundless it required great effort to utilize them and make them yield good return for labor. Mr. Currey is one of those who crossed the plains with oxen, making the long journey across the hot stretches of sand and over mountains in order to secure a home on the Pacific coast. Here he found mining camps situated in the midst of a land that had hitherto been the domain of the Indians and the haunts of wild beasts. Few of the comforts of civilization had been introduced, but the better element among those who came to search for gold succeeded in laying the foundations of a commonwealth which now stands second to none of the sister states of this great Union.
Mr. Currey is a native of Kentucky, his birth having occurred in Jefferson County, on the 28th of December, 1826. His father, Edward Currey, was a native of England or Ireland, and during his childhood accompanied his parents when they crossed the broad Atlantic to the new world, taking up their abode in Pennsylvania. When he was four years of age they removed to Jefferson County, Kentucky, where he was reared to manhood and there he married Miss Elizabeth Smith, a daughter of Philip Smith. Both the paternal and maternal grandfathers of our subject were heroes of the Revolutionary War who valiantly aided in acquiring the independence of the colonies. The latter was of German descent and his daughter, Mrs. Currey, was born in the state of Pennsylvania. The father of our subject and his two brothers were soldiers in the War of 1812. He lived to be seventy-one years of age, but his wife passed away at the age of fifty-two. They were members of the Presbyterian Church and their lives were in harmony with their professions. The father held the office of postmaster for many years and was a gentleman of sterling worth, always true and faithful to the trust reposed in him. At the battle of New Orleans he had sustained a wound which crippled him for the remainder of his life.
James Thomas Currey was one of a family of thirteen children, but as far as he now knows he is the only survivor. He was the twelfth in order of birth and was reared to manhood in Kentucky. At the age of twenty-seven years he started upon the long and tedious journey to California, his wagon drawn by oxen whose slow gait made the trip an almost interminable one. However he finally arrived at his destination and engaged in mining at Rattlesnake Bar on the American River, being quite successful in his operations. He took out eighteen hundred dollars in a single day and continued to mine there for three or four years. Later, however, he invested considerable of his savings in other mining ventures which proved unprofitable. Be it said to his honor, however, that he neither gambled nor drank in those days when such practices were common among the miners, and wherever he was he commanded the respect and confidence of all with whom he was associated. For a time he was employed on a ranch and later began working on the Old Bear River ditch, remaining with the company for twenty-nine years, a fact which indicates in an unmistakable manner his capable service and his fidelity to duty. He has charge of the water in this vicinity, acts as collector for the company and is one of its most reliable and trustworthy employees.
Mr. Currey took up his residence in Loomis in 1866 and built the second residence in the town. He has planted many fruit and ornamental trees here and is now living in a pleasant home amid comfortable surroundings, having through the years of his active and honorable career acquired a handsome competence. He was married in 1869 to Miss Elizabeth Freeman and unto them was born a son, Harry, who is now a resident of Sacramento. After the death of his first wife Mr. Currey was married on the first of July, 1884, to Miss Amelia Cutsgar, a native of Prussia, who has since been to him a faithful helpmate and companion on life’s journey. She is a member of the Catholic Church. He is not identified with any religious organization, but socially is connected with the Red Men, and in politics he is a Democrat, but at local elections where no issue is involved he votes for the man rather than the party, regarding merely his fitness for the office. His life has been quietly passed but the elements of his character are those which constitute honorable manhood and in the localities where he has resided he has enjoyed the unqualified confidence and esteem of his fellow men.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.