Patrick Curran father of James Curran in the article was my great grandmother, Julia Curran O'Neill's brother. The Curran/Stapleton marriage of their parents originates in Meath, Ireland and immigrates to St. Andre, Quebec and then some of the family like Patrick and Julia migrate to Berkeley, Califoria where they settle and raise their families.
Berkeley Daily Gazette Dec 13 1939 article about the Currans
From the So We're Told column by Hal Johnson
"When you go up into the East Bay Regional Park someone may point out to you the Curran fruit orchard. There were 60 or more trees - apple, pears and cherry in that orchard in Wildcat Canyon. The trees are pretty old but their fruit is good.
Yesterday we talked with James Curran, 1928 Berkeley Way. Sixty years ago he used to climb those trees in Wildcat Canyon, for the canyon was part of the last Berkeley Hill farm owned by his father, the late Patrick Curran. James Curran farmed there as late as 1915. He is still farming in Berkeley, for he takes the contract every spring to plough up the University's experimental gardens, Oxford, Virginia, Walnut Sts. and Hearst Ave., at the Botanical gardens on the campus and down on the Schmidt tract.
James Curran knew his Berkeley when it was wheat fields and acres of hay. Those were the days when the nearest store was down in Oakland, where Sixth Street and Broadway are now located. The other store was over in San Pablo.
Mr. Curran, now 76, was one of a family of 10 children. He and his sister, Mrs Sarah Seale of Cottonwood, Shasta County, are the last of the
Wildcat Canyon farmers. His father came to Berkeley from Montreal, Canada, purchased 500 acres of land, built a house and then sent for his family a few months later.
Mrs. Patrick Curran came around Cape Horn on a sailing ship. The boat touched at Panama and it was there that James Curran was born. To get to the Curran farm mother and baby had to ride horseback from Oakland to what is now Cragmont. The trail to Wildcat Canyon went over the ridge back of Cragmont Rock.
In the old days the Currans ran choice herds of cattle over the Berkeley hills. Their property line came down to what is now Grizzly Peak Boulevard. Pat Curran got some of the his stock from the late Napoleon Byron, also know as Nap Burns. Byron or Burns crossed the plains from Missouri in 1850. He wanted grass not gold and the Berkeley Hills looked good to him.
The Peraltas sold him grazing land and he built his farmhouse near what is now Spruce and Rose Sts. He owned all of North Berkeley and Cragmont. Of course being from Missouri he specialized in jacks and jennies and many Berkeley mules found themselves in the army over at the San Francisco Presidio.
In Wildcat Canyon the Currans farmed while Francis K. Shattuck, William Hillegass and George M. Blake were farming what is now downtown Berkeley. The Currans kept on farming while the farms of those other early settlers became city streets. Not until years after the East Bay Water Company secured Wildcat Canyon area by condemnation proceeding for watershed purposes did the Currans give up the greater part of their hill holdings. They had a herd of cows and sold butter and milk in Berkeley up to 1915.
The famous Wildcat Caves, where so many University of California fraternity men received their intiations, were on the Curran property. Deer and elk were abundant there in early years and the howl of wildcats was the forerunner of radio in Cragmont
We have it from James Curran that in those good old days there were many good fishing streams in Wildcat Canyon. As a boy he used to catch trout and even salmon there."
OBITURARIES OF MARY CURRAN WIFE OF PATRICK AND JAMES CURRAN BROTHER OF HER HUSBAND, PATRICK
MRS. MARY CURRAN CALLED BY DEATH
BERKELEY, July 19.— Mrs. Mary Curran, widow of Patrick Curran, who at one time owned and farmed all the land from the eastern" side of the university campus to Wildcat canyon, which U now: owned by the university, the People's water company and others, died at her home in "Wildcat canyon this morning ■ at the age of -78 -years. She was a native of New .York. and came west by way of the horn-in: the early 60s. j ' • V V
Her husband, Patrick- Curran,'' died several years ago. Since his death her son, James E. Curran, has been '; in charge of the big ranch in the canyon, which is still owned by the family.
Three- sons and -four daughters survive, James E. Curran of this city, Sara Scale ■of Cottonwood, •. Shasta county; Katherine Collins.- William Curran, Anna Curran, Patrick Curran and Mary Scale.
The funeral will be held from the Scale residence. 2041 Center Street,' Thursday morning at 9 o'clock, thence to the St. Joseph's - Catholic church, where a; requiem mass will be celebrated by Dr. F.. X. Morrison. Interment will take place in St. Mary's cemetery. » U->U –
MARTINEZ PIONEER DIES AT AGE OF 81
James Curran Lived Many; Years in Contra Costa
BERKELEY. ; July 22. — Following closely after the death of his sister, in law, the late Mrs. Mary Curran, who was buried Thursday, James Curran, for many years a resident of Martinez and Contra Costa, county, died last night in Martinez at the age ot 81 years. He was a brother of John Curran., Julia O'Neil, Thomas Curran and the late., Patrick Curran.
The funeral services will be held from* the home o£ Mrs. Scale in Center street tomorrow morning at * o'clock, thence to St. Josepus church, where Dr. F. X. Morrison w»l! officiate at the requiem high mass.
Interment will be in- St. Mary's cemetery. I
HORSE BREAKS BOY'S LEG— Oakland. Julr '22. — Harold McHnijb. 12 y^ars old, of 3527 Linden strwt was kicked by a hors<* today, the ki.-V brrakins his risbt lesr below tbe kne#.