Early Military Encampment on Silver Creek

George Curry

Camp Currey

By Steve Lent, Historian

The site of Camp Currey was located at the northern edge of Silver Creek Valley near present Suntex. It was about eight miles northwest of present Riley, Oregon. During the Civil War volunteers of the 4th California Infantry, 1st Washington Territorial Infantry, 1st Oregon Infantry and the 14th U.S. Infantry were deployed to the Harney Basin to protect settlers and wagon routes through the region from raids by marauding Native Americans.

A temporary camp was established near upper Silver Creek and occupied by the volunteer military companies. The camp was built late in August 1865. It is believed to have had about forty 10 feet by 12 feet hewed log cabins and a cellar or storehouse was dug into a hillside. There are three graves located at the site that are presumed to be those of soldiers. The camp was named for Col. George Byron Currey who served as an officer in the 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry and later with the 1st Oregon Calvary. Currey was born in Crawfordsville, Indiana on April 4, 1833. He came to Oregon in 1853 and practiced law near Eugene. He married Jennie Gaines in 1864. During the Civil War he helped organize Company A of the First Oregon Calvary in Wasco County. He served as Capt. of Company A. In 1865 he was promoted to Colonel of the 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry Regiment. After the death of General George Wright in 1865 he was temporarily appointed as commander of the Department of the Columbia and served in that capacity for about 4 months. He died in La Grande, Oregon on March 6, 1906.

The camp was only utilized until 1866 because of its nearness to Fort Harney which became the main military outpost. The camp was sometimes misspelled as Camp Curry. The graves are the only remaining trace of the camp. The site is located on private property. Camp Currey Spring is located near the site of the camp.