George Byron Currey (April 4, 1833 – March 6, 1906) was a pioneer, lawyer, soldier, farmer, and editor in the U.S. state of Oregon. A native of Indiana, he served as an officer of Oregon Volunteers, then as commander of the District of Oregon at the end of the American Civil War and in command in the Snake War in 1865.
Currey was born at Crawfordsville, Indiana, April 4, 1833, and was educated at Wabash College in Indiana as a lawyer. He came to Oregon over the Oregon Trail in 1853, and was admitted to the bar and practiced law near Eugene in the Willamette Valley. In 1864, Currey married Jennie Clarissa Gaines of Yamhill County.
During the Rogue River Indian War in the 1850s, Currey served in the Territorial forces. During the American Civil War, in 1862 Currey raised Company E, of the First Oregon Cavalry in Wasco County and was its captain during much of its service and later captain of Company A. In early 1865, Currey was made lieutenant colonel. In June 1865, Currey was made colonel of 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and was appointed commander of District of Oregon from (July 14, 1865), then commander of the Department of the Columbia (July 30, 1865 – November 20, 1865) following the death of George Wright.
In the fall of 1865, Colonel Currey was planning a winter campaign against the Snake Indians in eastern Oregon. He sent detachments of the 1st Oregon Infantry along with Oregon cavalry units to establish camps in their territory. Detachment commanders were instructed to build winter quarters at their posts and prepare for a winter offensive. Winter provisions were to follow in supply wagons. However, Colonel Currey was released from duty in November 1865 along with the men from the First Infantry. His successor Lieutenant Colonel John M. Drake was released from service in December, so the planned winter campaign never got started. It remained for George Crook to institute winter campaigns, like Curry intended, that brought that war to a close.
Later life and death
After leaving the Army, Currey returned to private life and practiced law at Salem from 1866 to 1868. He farmed near Lafayette in northwest Oregon from 1868 to 1872. Currey then moved to Eastern Oregon where he practiced law at Canyon City from 1872 to 1880. He also served as a presidential elector in 1882. George Byron Currey died of epilepsy, in La Grande, Oregon March 6, 1906.
- March 3, 1906, issue of the Oregonian, Page 7
- "History of the Pacific Northwest: Oregon and Washington: Embracing an Account of the Original Discoveries on the Pacific Coast of North America, and a Description of the Conquest, Settlement and Subjugation of the Original Territory of Oregon; Also Interesting Biographies of the Earliest Settlers and More Prominent Men and Women of the Pacific Northwest, Including a Descripiton of the Climate, Soil, Productions of Oregon and Washington". North Pacific history Company. 25 June 1889 – via Google Books.
- Elwood Evans, History of the Pacific Northwest: Oregon and Washington, Volume 2, North Pacific History Company, Portland, 1889, p.21-22
- Edwards, Glenn Thomas, Oregon Regiments in the Civil War Years: Duty on the Indian Frontier, unpublished Master of Arts thesis, Department of History, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, June 1960.
- Carey, Charles Henry, History of Oregon, The Pioneer Historical Publishing Company, Chicago & Portland, Oregon, 1922, pp. 673-74.
- 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry - Oregon Encyclopedia (includes picture of Currey)