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Provisional and Territorial Records Guide

Columbia County History and Records

Columbia County was created January 16, 1854 from the northern half of Washington County. It covers 646 square miles and is bounded on the north and east by the Columbia River, on the west by Clatsop County, and on the south by Washington and Multnomah Counties. Columbia County was the sixteenth county created in Oregon and was named for the Columbia River.

Lewis and Clark explored this area in 1805-1806 but no attempts to settle occurred until 1810, when US trader Nathan Winship attempted to set up a trading post on Fanny's Bottom (now Oak Point). It was abandoned after two weeks due to flooding and Chinook hostility.

The next American attempt at settlement occurred in 1834 when Nathaniel Wyeth established Ft. William on Suavie Island. This settlement was brief the Hudson's Bay Company forced Wyeth to abandon the area that same year.

As American immigration increased in the mid 1840s, lasting settlements began to appear. Deer Island and Linntown were founded in 1843, Rainier in 1851, and Milton in 1852. The Yakima Indian War (1855- 1859) drove many Washington Territory residents south of the Columbia river and helped boost the populations of St. Helens and Columbia City.

Columbia County's primary industries are timber, fishing, and water transportation.

Series Descriptions for Columbia County

Assessment Rolls
Censuses
Delinquent Road Tax Rolls
Delinquent Tax Rolls
Election Abstracts
Judgment Lien Docket
Precinct Poll Books
Tax Rolls
US District Court Case Docket
US District Court Case Fee Ledger

QUICK LINK to the records inventories!

92. Assessment Rolls (COLCOUN010)

1854-1859
.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.

 

93. Censuses (COLCOUN009)

1856
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 8 and 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, number of males and females under age 10; totals; and certification and census date. Series is not arranged.

 

94. Delinquent Road Tax Rolls (COLCOUN006)

1857
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 8

Series documents unpaid road taxes due to the county. Roll entries show road name, taxpayer's name, amount of tax due, remarks (usually the reason for non payment), and certification. Series is arranged alphabetically by road name.

 

95. Delinquent Tax Rolls (COLCOUN008)

1854-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 8

Series documents past due county tax payments. Roll entries show taxpayer's name, county tax due, territorial tax due, poll tax due, remarks (usually the reason for nonpayment), certification, date certified, date fled, and an 1855 statement of delinquent county taxes due. Series is arranged chronologically by tax year.

 

96. Election Abstracts (COLCOUN003)

1854-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 8

Series documents election results in county and territorial elections. Abstracts show precinct name, election date, location of polling area, voter's name, offices contested and issues referred, election summary, and signatures of election judges. Election subjects include county and territorial officials, the Oregon Constitutional Convention (1857), location of the territorial capital, slavery, and the exclusion of free blacks. Series is arranged chronologically by election date.

 

97. Judgment Lien Docket (COLCOUN001)

1854-1859
.1 cubic feet

Series documents liens on the property of debtor's against whom judgments have been entered. Docket entries show debtor's and creditor's names, judgment amount, date of entry, date recorded, remarks, and date satisfied. Series is arranged alphabetically by debtor's name.

 

98. Precinct Poll Books (COLCOUN005)

1854-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 8

Series documents individual votes cast in county precincts for county and territorial elections. Poll books show precinct name, election date, location of polling area, voter's name, offices contested and issues referred, election summary, and signatures of election judges. Election subjects include county and territorial officials, the Oregon Constitutional Convention (1857), location of the territorial capital, slavery, and the exclusion of free blacks. Series is arranged chronologically by election date.

 

99. Tax Rolls (COLCOUN007)

1854-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 8

Series documents county tax collection. Roll entries show taxpayer's name, description of land, acreage taxed, real estate valuation, personal property valuation, total assessed value, county tax due, territorial tax due, poll tax due, total tax due, and paid notation. Series is arranged chronologically by tax year.

 

100. US District Court Case Docket (COLCOUN004)

1854
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 8

Series documents actions relating to US District Court cases. Docket entries show plaintiffs and defendant's names, attorneys' names, case number, and cause of action. Causes of action include attachments, trespass, and assumpsit. Docket only includes entries from the October, 1854 court term. Series is arranged chronologically by date of entry.

 

101. US District Court Case Fee Ledger (COLCOUN002)

1854-1859
.1 cubic feet

Series documents fees charged and paid in US District Court cases. Ledger entries show plaintiffs and defendant's names, date of charge, description of charge, amount of charge, total fees, and date and amount of payment. Includes an alphabetical index by plaintiffs name. Series is arranged chronologically by date of first case entry.

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