Provisional and Territorial Records Guide
Coos County History and Records
Coos County was created by the territorial legislative assembly on December 22, 1853. Empire City was the county seat. Originally the Coos Bay Company from Jackson County had wanted Jacksonville to be the seat of justice, but this proved impractical because of the physical barrier of the Coast Range. Coos County was created from the western parts of Umpqua and Jackson Counties. In 1855, Curry County was formed from the southern part of Coos County. Presently there are 1,629 square miles in the county. Coos is the name of a tribe living on Coos Bay and means "lake" or "place of the pines."
Although trappers had been in the area in the 1830s and Camp Castaway had temporarily sheltered soldiers and sailors from the wrecked ship Captain Lincoln in 1852, the first permanent settlement in Coos County was made at Empire City by members of the Coos Bay Company in 1853. Port Orford had been founded one year earlier, but in 1855 was part of the area annexed to Curry County. An 1855 treaty with the coastal Indian tribes ceded tribal lands to Oregon Territory. The Indians were moved to the Siletz Reservation.
Three county commissioners, a sheriff, and a probate court judge were appointed to serve the county until an election could be held. Another act, establishing fees, provided that in Coos and Jackson Counties all officials, jurors, and witnesses be allowed double the regular schedule of fees in payment of services rendered. Prior to statehood various county offices were established, including treasurer, county clerk (1853), assessor, superintendent of schools (1854), and coroner (1855).
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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.
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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.