Contra Costa County











            HENRY JAMES CURRY.  Since settling in Martinez in 1885 Mr. Curry has identified himself with various enterprises of an important nature and is now not only one of the leading men of the place, but one of the most popular as well. His entire life has been passed in this portion of California. A native of Contra Costa county, he was born at Clayton, June 19, 1865, and is a son of James R. and Ellen (Callahan) Curry. His paternal grandfather, Edward Curry, who was born in Tennessee, lost his wife when their son, James R., was still a small child, and subsequent thereto he took the son to Missouri, where he embarked in farm pursuits in Jackson county. When news came of the discovery of gold in California, in 1849 he crossed the plains to the Pacific coast, where he engaged in mining. He soon learned the need of stock and decided it would be advantageous to bring a herd west. Returning home in 1850, he recrossed the plains with two hundred and fifty head of cattle and some horses, his son accompanying him on the trip. In 1854 they settled in Eldorado county and for two years engaged in mining, also raised cattle. Next they removed to Contra Costa county, where Edward Curry bought one hundred and sixty acres at the foot of Mount Diablo. The cultivation of that tract engaged his attention until he died at forty-five years of age.

            Born in Tennessee March 30, 1835, James R. Curry had a part with his father in many thrilling experiences and severe hardships. Upon starting out for himself he settled in Clayton, Contra Costa county, where he engaged in teaming and the livery business, also established and conducted stage lines from Oakland to various points in his home county, continuing his numerous enterprises until 1903, when he sold out and came to Martinez. The children born of his marriage to Miss Callahan were named as follows: Janie (deceased); Charles E., Henry J., Samuel R., Thomas R., George W. (deceased), William (deceased), and Bert. While still a mere boy Henry James Curry began to drive stage for his father and in this way he not only gained an excellent knowledge of the country, but also accumulated a sufficient amount to render possible the establishment of a business of his own. In 1885 he settled in Martinez and bought the livery stable owned by H. E. Ward and established in 1875 by S. W. Johnson. Since purchasing the stable he has remodeled the building to suit the demands of his business. In 1887 he bought the undertaking and embalming business owned by Hiller & Johnson and afterward erected a building suited to the needs of this department of his work. In his undertaking establishment may be found every modern equipment and an elaborate stock. Branch undertaking establishments are conducted at Crockett and Point Richmond, Contra Costa county. In 1899, in connection with Reese Jones, Mr. Curry bought the Bennett livery stable and opera house, and has since remodeled the structure. Between thirty-five and forty horses are kept in the stable, as well as vehicles of all kinds.

            The office of coroner of Contra Costa county, which Mr. Curry has held since 1890, was tendered to him by the Democratic party. This is a strong Republican county and it is worthy of note that he is almost the only Democrat who has been elected to a county office there in years. About 1896 he received from the governor an appointment as president of the Agricultural District Association of Contra Costa county, which position he has since held. He is married, his wife being a daughter of James Kelly, a former supervisor of Contra Costa county. In fraternal relations he is connected with Oakland Lodge No. 171, B. P. O. E., and is also a charter member of the Martinez Parlor, Native Sons of the Golden West, in which he is past president. In 1904 Mr. Curry erected a modern home dwelling in Martinez, at a cost of $15,000.




Transcribed by Marie Hassard 05 January 2015.

ญญญญSource: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Pages 328-331. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

2015  Marie Hassard.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library