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Provisional and Territorial Records Guide

Douglas County History and Records

Douglas County was created January 7, 1852 from the portion of Umpqua County lying east of the Coast Range summit. Its boundaries remained unchanged until 1862, when it absorbed Umpqua County. Douglas County is bounded by Curry, Jackson, and Josephine Counties to the south; Wasco County to the east; Lane County to the north: and Coos County and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Douglas County was the eleventh county created in Oregon and was named for US Senator Stephen A. Douglas.

Indians and whites skirmished intermittently between 1850 and 1853. General Joseph Lane and Rogue River Chief Joe signed a treaty which stopped hostilities temporarily. Due to treaty violations and murders of both whites and Indians, most of the southern Oregon tribes united in 1855 and fought the US regulars and local militia units for two years. The Rogue River War ended in 1856 and Indians were moved to the Grande Ronde and Siletz reservations.

The first meeting of the Douglas County Commission was held at Winchester in April, 1852. Winchester remained the county seat until 1854 when Deer Creek (later Roseburg) was made the seat by popular election. The same year, Reverend James H. Wilbur formed Umpqua Academy at the town of Wilbur. This was the only secondary school between the Willamette Valley and Sacramento, California.

Roseburg and Winston were located along the main route between California and the Willamette Valley. Roseburg maintained active trading and transportation industries. The remainder of the county's industry has focused on logging and wood products.

Prior to the inclusion of Umpqua County in 1862, Douglas County lay between the Coast Range and the Cascades. Both the north and south forks of the Umpqua River run east-west through the county and numerous mountain lakes, notably Diamond Lake, are located in the Cascades. Most of the county is undeveloped and heavily timbered. Douglas County currently occupies 5,071 square miles.

Series Descriptions for Douglas County

Assessment Rolls
Census Rolls
Tax Rolls

QUICK LINK to the records inventories!

110. Assessment Rolls (DOUGCOU001)

1854
.1 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm

Series used to assess real and personal property in order to determine tax liabilities.

 

111. Census Rolls (DOUGCOU002)

1854-1857
.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.

 

112. Tax Rolls (DOUGCOU003)

1855-1856
.25 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm

Series documents the collection of assessed taxes. Tax roll entries show taxpayer's name, poll tax owed, county tax owed, school tax owed, territorial tax owed, and total tax owed. Some years also include "paid" notations. Series is not arranged.

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