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Provisional and Territorial Records Guide

Marion County History and Records

Marion County, originally named Champooick District (later Champoeg), was created July 5, 1843, by the legislative committee of the provisional government. Champoeg District was redesignated a county in 1845 when the legislative assembly ratified the action of the legislative committee. In 1847, all of Champoeg County south of Polk County was used to create Linn County. In 1849 Champoeg County was renamed Marion County after General Francis Marion, a Revolutionary War hero. That same year Salem was designated the county seat.

Marion County's present boundaries were established in 1854 with the creation of Wasco County and the extension of Clackamas County. Marion county is bounded by the Willamette River and Butte Creek on the north, Clackamas County and the Cascade Mountains on the east, the Santiam. River and the North Fork of the Santiam on the south, and the Willamette River on the west.

The provisional legislative assembly met at Oregon City in 1845 and elected four officers for Champoeg County. These included three judges and a sheriff. The three judge county court was responsible for all administrative and judicial functions of the county. The court was given authority to levy road taxes and to apportion justices of the peace. The president of the court was authorized to act as ex officio probate judge for the county.

When Oregon Territory was established in 1848 a special county election was held to elect three judges and a clerk for the probate court, a sheriff, an assessor, a treasurer, a school commissioner, and three justices of the peace. One of the administrative changes made by the 1851 territorial legislative assembly was to designate boards of commissioners as the administrative body in counties. This body was generally referred to as the commissioner's court and the probate judge usually presided.

The territorial capital was moved to Salem, Marion County's seat of government, from Oregon City in 1852. For the next fifteen years there was a controversy between political factions over where the capital should be located. The legislative assembly met in Marysville (Corvallis) in 1855. The next session, and all sessions thereafter, were held in Salem, which was finally designated the state capital in 1864.

Series Descriptions for Marion County

Assessment Rolls
Census Rolls
Champoeg County Commissioner's Court Journal
County Clerk's Recorded Documents Register
County Commissioner's Court Journal
County Court Claim Records
County Treasurer's Journal
County Treasurer's Receipt Ledger
Declarations of Intention
Justice Court Case Records
Justice Court Grand Jury Transcripts
Justice of the Peace Register
Mechanics' Liens
Naturalization Indexes
Probate Bond Record
Probate Court Case Records
Probate Court Journal
Probate Court Letters of Administration
Sheriff's Attachment Record
Sheriff's Commission
Tax Rolls
US District Court Case Index
US District Court Journal
Will Record

QUICK LINK to the records inventories!

147. Assessment Rolls (MARCOUN023)

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.

 

148. Census Rolls (MARCOUN024)

1849-1857
.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.

 

149. Champoeg County Commissioner's Court Journal (MARCOUN007)

1848
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 12

Series documents the proceedings of the Champoeg (Marion) County Court. Journal entries show officers present at the session, date of session, and actions taken. Actions include an order for a forthcoming election, designation of polling places, voting precinct judge appointments, authorization for clerk expenses, rental of houses for court sessions, fee bill services, and grand jury expenses. This record is glued in the front of the U. S. District Court journal. Series is arranged chronologically by session date.

 

150. County Clerk's Recorded Documents Register (MARCOUN009)

1850-1859
.25 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 12

Series documents the recording of legal documents with the county clerk. Recorded documents include wills, obligation bonds, quit claims, deeds, conveyances, acknowledgments of receipt of mortgage satisfaction, agreements, charters, partnership dissolutions, contracts, and powers of attorney. Series is arranged chronologically by date recorded.

 

151. County Commissioners' Court Journal (MARCOUN003)

1849-1859
.5 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 11

Series documents the proceedings and orders of the county commissioners' court. Journal shows session date, court location, officers present, and actions taken. Actions include motions and orders regarding the payment of commissioner and juror expenses, justice of the peace appointments, county road changes, sale of county real estate, establishment of voting precincts, road report filings, license fees received, and boundary designations. Series is arranged chronologically by session date.

 

152. County Court Claim Records (MARCOUN006)

1852-1859
.25 cubic feet

Series documents claims filed with the county commissioner's court. Information includes date, transaction description, amount, totals, and account balance brought forward. Disbursement claims include jury fees, writ issuance costs, copying fees, and per diem expense for court attendance. Series also includes county clerk's bills for service performed ex officio for the U. S. District Court. Series is arranged chronologically by session date.

 

153. County Treasurer's Journal (MARCOUN013)

1850-1859
.25 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 13

Series documents the county treasurer's receipt and payment of county funds to the territorial treasury. Information includes date, name of person paying, amount, interest, totals per page brought forward, totals paid to the territorial treasurer, county order number. and reason for payment. Series is arranged chronologically by transaction date.

 

154. County Treasurer's Receipt Ledger (MARCOUN010)

1857-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 12

Series documents daily fiscal transactions of the county treasurer. Ledger shows school funds received, date, officer transmitting funds, and amounts received. Series also includes transactional data on school fund notes received for school lands sold, by whom executed, interest due date, amount, and totals. Series is arranged chronologically by transaction date.

 

155. Declarations of Intention (MARCOUN021)

1849-1859
.25 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 13 and 14

Series documents the first step in US naturalization proceedings. Declarations show county and court name, declarant's name, former citizenship, declaration and oath, length of residence, date sworn, and signatures. Series is arranged alphabetically by declarant's surname.

 

156. Justice Court Case Records (MARCOUN001)

1855-1859
.1 cubic feet

Series documents justice court judgments entered in the lien docket. Records include confession judgments, lien docket transcripts, promissory notes, executions, and US District Court docket transcripts. Information includes date, debtor's and creditor's names, terms and conditions of judgment, judgment amount, court costs, and certification of entry. Series is arranged chronologically by session date.

 

157. Justice Court Grand Jury Transcripts (MARCOUN002)

1856-1858
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 13

Series documents grand jury cases heard in county justice courts. Records include grand jury transcripts, complaints, subpoenas, arrest warrants, recognizances, and court cost and sheriff fee bills. Cases involve assault. intent to commit murder, horse theft, and larceny. Series is arranged chronologically by session date.

 

158. Justice of the Peace Register (MARCOUN015)

1850-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 13

Series provides a register of persons who have qualified, been appointed, or have resigned as justices of the peace in Marion County. Register entries show justice's name; year whether qualified, appointed, or resigned; and date of entry. Series is arranged chronologically by date entered.

 

159. Mechanics' Liens (MARCOUN014)

1853-1859
1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 13

Series documents notices of intention to hold a lien claim against property for payments not received for work performed on structures and other property improvements. Liens show creditor's and debtor's names, bills of particulars, description of work performed, amount claimed, and signatures of plaintiff and county clerk. Series also includes an alphabetical index by name of lien holder. Series is arranged chronologically by date entered.

 

160. Naturalization Indexes (MARCOUNO12)

1849-1859
.5 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 11

Series is used to provide access to naturalization records. Declaration Index shows name, nativity, date, and box number. Final Papers Index shows name, nativity, court, book number, page number, and date. Series is arranged alphabetically by surname.

 

161. Probate Bond Record (MARCOUN019)

1853-1859
.1 cubic feet

Series documents estate administrators' and guardians' bonds recorded with the probate court. Record entries show name of probate estate administrator, guardian, or executor; bond amount; conditions and provisions of binding agreement; deceased or ward name; probate judge's name; signatures; and date recorded. Series also includes an alphabetical index by bond holder's name. Series is arranged chronologically by date recorded.

 

162. Probate Court Case Records (MARCOUN005)

1850-1859
1.75 cubic feet

Series documents probate cases brought before the court for settlement. Records include wills, receipts, final estate accounting reports, appraiser's affidavits, bills of sale, inventories, fee bills, appraisals, vouchers, appraiser appointment certificates, appraiser oaths, notices of annual accounting, and sale bills. Series is arranged numerically by case number.

 

163. Probate Court Journal (MARCOUN004)

1853-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 11

Series documents probate court proceedings and orders regarding estate administrator appointments, granting of letters, estate inventories with appraised values, and revocations. Journal entries show date, court officers present, and court actions. Series also includes an alphabetical index to estate names. The probate journal for 1849 to 1852 is combined with the commissioner's court journal. Series is arranged chronologically by session date.

 

164. Probate Court Letters of Administration (MARCOUN018)

1853-1859
1 cubic feet

Series documents the appointment of estate administrators and guardians by the probate court. Letters show dates, names of parties involved, provisions and terms, and signatures. Series is arranged chronologically by date entered.

 

165. Sheriff's Attachment Record (MARCOUN020)

1856-1859
.1 cubic feet

Series documents US District Court orders to the county sheriff to attach real estate of debtors pending trial judgments. Record entries show plaintiffs and defendants names, cause of action, item(s) attached, date of attachment, and county clerk's signature. Record also includes a sheriffs signed statement that the real estate was attached and a legal description of the property's boundary lines. Series is arranged chronologically by date entered.

 

166. Sheriff's Commission (MARCOUN011)

1850
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 13

Series consists of a letter of commission from acting Governor Kintzing Pritchette to William Herren confirming that Herren was elected Marion County Sheriff, his term of office, duties, and prerequisites of the office. Series is not arranged.

 

167. Tax Rolls (MARCOUN025)

1852-1853
.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.

 

168. US District Court Case Index (MARCOUN022)

1849-1859
.5 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 14

Series used to provide access to the US District Court journal and the case records. Index shows case number, plaintiffs and defendant's names, journal, volume and page numbers, and some remarks. Series is arranged alphabetically by plaintiffs surname.

 

169. US District Court Case Records (MARCOUN016)

1849-1859
3.25 cubic feet

Series documents cases heard before the US District Court. Records include subpoenas, transcripts, summons, fee bills, divorce petitions, executions, complaints, confessions of judgment promissory notes, notices of appeal, attachment affidavits, depositions, obligation bonds, injunctions, notifications to the US Surveyor General, and newspaper clippings. Subjects include boundary conflicts, divorce, debts, land claims, and sheriffs sales. Series is arranged numerically by case number.

 

170. US District Court Journal (MARCOUN008)

1849-1859
.25 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 12

Series documents actions taken in cases heard in U. S. District Court. Journal entries show orders and judgments involving bills for divorce, appeals from justice court dockets, injunctions, replevin, continuances, indictments, citizenship, recognizances, and confession judgments. Causes of action include assumpsit, selling liquor on a Sunday or to Indians, larceny, murder, attachments, trespass, gambling, license law violations, damages, and appeals. Series is arranged chronologically by session date.

 

171. Will Record (MARCOUN017)

1853-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 11

Series documents wills admitted to probate. Record entries show terms of will, date, and signatures of witnesses, probate judge, and county clerk. Series also includes an alphabetical index by estate name. Series is arranged chronologically by date entered.

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