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Provisional and Territorial Records Guide

Curry County History and Records

Curry County was created by the territorial legislature December 18, 1855, from the western portions of Coos and Jackson Counties. The county was named after George Curry, who served as territorial governor from 1854 until statehood.

Curry County is bordered on the north by Coos and Douglas Counties, on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the California border, and on the east by Jackson County. The county covers an area of 1,040,640 acres.

The first settlement in Curry County was established in 1851, when William Tichenor, with sixty five men, founded a colony at Port Orford. An attempt to establish a settlement earlier the same year failed when nine men brought from Portland by Tichenor were forced to leave the area when a group of Indians besieged them at Battle Rock and a relief ship did not arrive.

The earliest inhabitants were primarily the Tu Tut Ni Indians although there were at least ten other tribes in the immediate area. The discovery of gold near the mouth of the Rogue River and the resulting influx of miners led to sporadic conflicts between white settlers and local tribes. In 1855, these skirmishes developed into the Rogue River Indian War which lasted until the fall of 1856. By 1857 gold mining had stopped in Curry County.

Following an election of officers in June, 1856, the first session of the county court was held in July in Port Orford, the county seat. In 1859 county government moved to Ellensburg (later renamed Gold Beach). One of the first acts of the county was to petition the district judge not to hold the ensuing term of court. More than half the taxable property in the county was destroyed in the Rogue River Indian Wars and many of the citizens had fled. Following statehood in 1859, Curry County government was administered by the county court. Common to all Oregon counties, the court had both judicial and administrative duties and was made up of a county judge and two commissioners.

Series Descriptions for Curry County

Assessment Rolls
Census Rolls
Estate Administrator Appointment Record
Probate Bond Record
US District Court Docket
US District Court Judgment Lien Docket

QUICK LINK to the records inventories!

104. Assessment Rolls (CURCOUN005)

1857-1859
.1 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm

Series used to assess real and personal property in order to determine tax liabilities. Assessment rolls show tax year, taxpayer's name, real and personal property values, taxes assessed, and assessor's name. Items assessed include gold dust, scrip, land, livestock, boats, and wagons. Series is not arranged.

 

105. Census Rolls (CURCOUN006)

1856-1858
.1 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm 

Series used to document county population and to report statistics to the territorial government. Census rolls show resident's name; number of legal voters, adult males and females, males aged 10 to 21, females aged 10 to 18, and males and females under age 10; totals, census date; and census taker's certification. Series is not arranged.

 

106. Estate Administrator Appointment Record (CURCOUN002)

1856-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 9

Series documents the probate judge's appointment of estate administrators. Entries show date recorded; names of deceased, administrator, and probate judge; and conditions of appointment. Series includes an alphabetical index by name of estate. Series is arranged chronologically by appointment date.

 

107. Probate Bond Record (CURCOUN003)

1856-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 9

Series documents estate administrator's bonds filed with the probate court. Record entries show administrator's name, deceased person's name, conditions and amount of bond, and date and signature(s) of administrator(s)... Also includes probate judge's orders of appointment and security affidavits regarding bonds. Series includes an alphabetical index by name of administrator. Series is arranged chronologically by date recorded.

 

108. US District Court Docket (CURCOUN004)

1856-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 9

Series documents actions heard in the US District Court. Entries show attorneys' names, defendant's and plaintiffs names, cause of action, and final case disposition. Series is arranged chronologically by session date.

 

109. US District Court Judgment Lien Docket (CURCOUN001)

1855
.1 cubic feet

Series documents judgments entered in the US District Court. Docket entries show names of debtor and creditor, lien judgment amount, entry date, and name of judgment assignee. Series is arranged chronologically by judgment date.

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