Provisional and Territorial Records Guide

Pacific County History and Records

Pacific County, the third county organized north of the Columbia River, was established on February 4, 1851 by the territorial legislative assembly from the southwestern corner of Lewis County. The county is located in extreme southwest Washington bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the south by the Columbia River. This was the first new county carved out of Lewis County and the first county north of the Columbia organized after Oregon was granted territorial status in 1848.

Pacific County and Clatsop County formed one representative district. This district, together with the one composed of Lewis and Clark Counties, was entitled to one member in the legislative council. Pacific County also shared the US District Court with Clatsop County until January, 1853. Only sixteen voters from the area turned out to cast ballots at the election which formed Pacific County. The first county court in Pacific County convened at Chinook in the spring of 1853.

The act which organized Pacific County also named Pacific City as the seat of justice (and the only election precinct). In 1852, however, most of the town site was reserved by the US government as a military reservation. The county board of commissioners then located the county seat at Chinookville, an Indian village on the mouth of the Columbia River, and first white settlement in the area. The county seat moved to Oysterville in 1861 and finally to South Bend in 1893.

The native inhabitants of the area were mainly of two coastal tribes, the Chahalis and the Chinook. Although the period 1850-1860 was a time of Indian uprisings in other parts of Oregon Territory, the Indians remained peaceful in the Pacific County area. In 1853 there were only 152 white people in the county.

On March 2, 1853, Washington Territory was created and Pacific County was no longer under the jurisdiction of Oregon Territory.

Series Descriptions for Pacific County


357. Assessment Rolls (PACCOUN001)

.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.

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