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Provisional and Territorial Records Guide

Linn County History and Records

On December 28, 1847, the provisional legislative assembly created Linn County from all of Champoeg (later Marion) County lying south of Polk County's southern boundary. In 1851, Lane County was created from all of Linn County south of Benton County. Linn County's boundaries were established with the creation of Wasco County in 1854.

The county seat was originally located in Calapooia (Brownsville), but in 1851 the legislative assembly passed an act establishing Albany as the county seat. The selection of Albany proved to be controversial and after much debate a special election was held in 1856 to decide the issue. Voters of the county were to choose between four locations: Albany, Sand Ridge, Brownsville, and Lebanon. The outcome of the election reaffirmed Albany as the county seat.

The general administration of Linn County business was placed in the county court, composed of two elected commissioners and a county judge. The county court met for the first time in December, 1849. Initially much of the court's time was spent establishing and maintaining county roads and licensing ferries. In addition, the county court had authority to levy taxes, act upon claims, erect county buildings, and license certain businesses. In its judicial capacity, the county court had probate jurisdiction, handled civil actions not exceeding $500, and heard criminal cases where the penalty did not involve imprisonment in the territorial penitentiary.

Under the Organic Act of 1843, provision was made for the election of an officer to act as clerk of the county commissioners and ex officio clerk of both the county court and the board of tax equalization. In Linn County, where there was no county auditor, claims against the county were presented to the county clerk. Other official duties of the clerk included issuing licenses, recording brands, making bounty payments, certifying military discharge, and recording conveyances.

Other important offices of Linn County government which were established in 1849 were justice of the peace, sheriff (ex officio tax collector), assessor, and the county treasurer. In 1850 the first county school superintendent was elected and in 1854 the first surveyor was appointed. The county school superintendent's office was abolished in 1851 and reestablished in 1855.

The county is currently bounded on the north by the Santiam River and Marion County, on the east by Deschutes and Jefferson Counties, on the south by Lane County, and on the west by the Willamette River.

Series Descriptions for Linn County

Assessment Rolls
Census Rolls
Declarations of Intention
Justice Court Docket
Livestock Brand Register
Marriage Record
Probate Court Journal
Probate Court Record
School District Minutes
Tax Rolls

QUICK LINK to the records inventories!

137. Assessment Rolls (LINCOUN009)

1850-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 11 nd Calendar Microfilm

Series documents the assessment of taxes and the corresponding value of real and personal property in the county. Rolls show name of person assessed, description of land, number of acres, value per acre, value of real estate, value of personal property, total value, tax, and totals. Rolls also show whether taxes were paid or not. Series is arranged alphabetically by taxpayer's name.

 

138. Census Rolls (LINCOUN010)

1849-1858
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.

 

139. Declarations of Intention (LINCOUN004)

1855-1858
.1 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm

Series documents the first step in US. naturalization proceedings. Declarations show declarant's name, place of previous citizenship, oath, date, and clerks signature. Series is arranged alphabetically by declarant's surname.

 

140. Justice Court Docket (LINCOUN006)

1856-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 10

Series documents the proceedings injustice court cases. Docket shows court fees charged, plaintiffs and defendant's names, and a description of court orders. Cases involve judgments, affidavits, estray livestock, marriages, and creditor and debtor hearings. News clippings are glued over the first several pages, covering the docket entries. Series is arranged chronologically by session date.

 

141. Livestock Brand Register (LINCOUN008)

1850-1851
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 10

Series documents stock brands and ear marks recorded with the county clerk. Register entries show brand owner's name, description of mark or brand, and date recorded. Series is arranged chronologically by date recorded.

 

142. Marriage Record (LINCOUN005)

1850-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 10

Series documents the certification of marriages by the county clerk. Record entries show the names of the persons being married, witnesses, date, and signatures of the justice of the peace or minister. Series also includes an alphabetical index by name of husband or wife. Series is arranged chronologically by marriage date.

 

143. Probate Court Journal (LINCOUN002)

1853-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 10

Series documents the daily activities, proceedings, and orders of the probate court. Entries show the session date, description of filings and orders, determinations made, and references made to the probate court record wherein the recorded orders may be found. Subjects include letters of administration applications, bond and affidavit filings, guardianship cessation, estate inventory filings, estate sale applications, estate administrator accountings, and estate property disposition. Series is arranged chronologically by session date.

 

144. Probate Court Record (LINCOUN003)

1850-1859
.25 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 10

Series documents estate administrator and guardian bonds, letters of administration, powers of attorney, letters of guardianship, testamentary, and wills filed with the probate court. Record entries show date recorded, names of parties involved, provisions, and signatures. Volume one includes an alphabetical index by administrator's or guardian's name. Series is arranged chronologically by date recorded.

 

145. School District Minutes (LINCOUN007)

1855-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 10

Series documents the proceedings of school district meetings for Oak Plain School District (no. 39). Minutes include a description of the district boundaries, officers named, a signed agreement and petition to build a schoolhouse, school fund accounts, orders, and motions. Series is arranged chronologically by meeting date.

 

146. Tax Rolls (LINCOUN001)

1854-1859
.25 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 10 and Calendar Microfilm

Series documents the collection of assessed county taxes. Rolls show taxpayer's name, description of land, number of acres or lots, tax rate, value of real estate and personal property, tax, and totals per page. Also shows taxes paid, non resident status, taxes due from last year assessment, errors, lots in other areas. and merchandise. Series is arranged alphabetically by taxpayer's name.

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