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Provisional and Territorial Records Guide

Territorial Secretary

The office of territorial secretary was created by the Act of Congress of August 3, 1848 which created Oregon Territory. The functions of this office had been discharged uninterrupted, however, since 1841.

From 1841 until the formation of the provisional government in July, 1843, George LeBreton held the position of secretary of Oregon. The duties of this position included serving as secretary to the public meetings held in Oregon, as court clerk in locally established courts, as public recorder, and as clerk of the legislative committees.

The Organic Act of 1843 stipulated that the provisional government would include the office of recorder. The recorder was an elective position and LeBreton was elected recorder. The recorder kept a record of legislative committee proceedings and supreme and probate court sessions, recorded land claims and livestock brands, maintained weights and measures standards, and recorded documents filed in accordance with the law.

The first two recorders died in office, requiring the legislative assembly to appoint successors. In 1846, the office was renamed provisional government secretary. The act of Congress of August 14, 1848, which created Oregon Territory, did not change the duties of the secretary, but it did alter the method of selection. The secretary was appointed to a five year term by the President and served at his pleasure. The secretary was also designated the successor to the governor should the latter die in office, resign, or leave the territory.

In 1854, the secretary's duties were expanded. The secretary was made the custodian of the territorial seal and was given the authority to inspect and certify the work of the territorial printer. The secretary's duties remained unchanged until 1859, when the secretary was made the ex officio auditor of public accounts.

Series Descriptions for the Territorial Secretary

Account Statements
Act of Admission
Appointments
Censuses
Election Certificates
Election Returns
Executive Actions Journal
Invoices
Land Claim Registers
Legislative Acts Journal
Legislative Committee Reports
Legislative Session Journals
Oaths of Office
Original Measure Records
Performance Bonds
Resignations
Secretary's Correspondence
Territorial Auditor's Accounting Records
US Comptroller's Correspondence
US Government Account Ledger
Vouchers
Warrant Record

QUICK LINK to the records inventories!

327. Account Statements (SOS0000012)

1844-1859
.1 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm

Series documents the accounting of funds for the territorial government. Statements show account name, dates of statement transactions, transaction descriptions, transaction amounts, and account balances. Accounts include legislator payroll, legislative expenses, executive office expenses, public building expenses, and territorial expenses. Series is not arranged.

 

328. Act of Admission (SOS0000004)

1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 28 

Series documents the legislative act to admit Oregon to the Union submitted by the territorial legislative assembly to the US Congress. The act describes the legal boundaries of Oregon, the apportionment of representatives, public land set asides, the use of public land sale funds, and jurisdiction over waterways and salt lands. Series is not arranged.

 

329. Appointments (SOS0000022)

1844-1854
.1 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm

Series documents the executive, judicial, or legislative appointment of public officers. Appointments show appointee's name, office name, date of appointment, and signature of appointing authority. Series is not arranged.

 

330. Censuses (SOS0000023)

1845-1858
.1 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm

Series documents the enumeration of people living in Oregon. Censuses show census year, number of people residing in each county, total number of people living in Oregon, and the territorial secretary's certification. Series includes two census years: 1845 and 1858. Series is not arranged.

 

331. Election Certificates (SOS0000011)

1844-1858
.25 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm

Series documents the election of territorial and local government officials. Certificates show name of office, official's name, date, and certification. Series is not arranged.

 

332. Election Returns (SOS0000010)

1844-1859
.75 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm

Series documents the results of local arid territorial elections. Series includes both full election returns and abstracted returns. Returns show county or precinct name, office contested or item referred, results of election, and certification. Election subjects include territorial and local offices, slavery, the Oregon Constitution (1857), and the assumption of territorial status.

Series also includes returns from US Armed Forces units serving in Oregon. Series is not arranged.

 

333. Executive Actions Journal (SOS0000006)

1849-1859
.25 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 29

Series documents official actions of the governor. Journal entries show date of action, text of action, and governor's signature. Actions of the governor include oaths of office, appointments, proclamations, addresses to the legislature, pardons, and commissions. Subjects include statehood, Indian hostilities, donation land claims, elections, and federal appropriations. Series arranged chronologically by date of entry.

 

334. Invoices (SOS0000020)

1843-1859
.1 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm

Series documents the purchase of supplies and services for the territorial secretary's office. Invoices show vendor's name, invoice date, item(s) purchased, item cost(s), and invoice amount. Some invoices have paid notations. Series is not arranged.

 

335. Land Claim Registers (SOS0000021)

1844-1857
.5 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm

Series documents land claims recorded with the provisional recorder and the territorial secretary. Register entries show claimant's name, description of claim, county name, date recorded, and recorder's certification. Series also includes some loose land claims. Series is not arranged.

 

336. Legislative Acts Journal (SOS0000008)

1850-1851
.25 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 29

Series documents legislative measures adopted by the legislative assembly. Journal entries show measure title, text of measure, and date adopted. Subjects include Cayuse War claims, incorporation, the territorial library, establishment of counties, road surveys, Oregon City land titles, and regulation of the court system. Series is arranged chronologically by date of entry.

 

337. Legislative Committee Reports (SOS0000002)

1853-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 28

Series documents reports submitted to the legislative assembly by standing and ad hoc committees. Reports show committee name, date of report, and actions taken by the committee. Subjects include the protection of slave property, incorporation, convict labor, and the enrollment of legislative measures. Series includes reports from the Ways and Means Committee, the Enrolling Committee, the Judiciary Committee, and select committees. Series is arranged chronologically by year.

 

338. Legislative Session Journals (SOS,0000003)

1856-1859
.25 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 28 

Series documents the activities of the territorial legislative assembly during session meetings. Journals show session date, meeting date, members present, legislation discussed, amendments, committee reports, announcements, motions, and voting records. Series consists primarily of house journals, but also includes an 1856 council journal. Series is arranged chronologically by session date.

 

339. Oaths of Office (SOS0000018)

1843-1858
.25 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm

Series documents oaths taken by public officers promising to properly fulfill the duties of their office. Oaths show date, officer's name, office name, and certification. Series is not arranged.

 

340. Original Measure Records (SOS0000001)

1851-1858
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 28 

Series documents legislation proposed, adopted, and amended by the provisional and territorial legislative assemblies. Records include acts, engrossed and enrolled bills, resolutions, memorials, exhibits, amendments, and procedural documents, information includes date introduced, committee referred to, sponsors' names, dates of floor readings, date tabled or adopted, and modifications made to the text of the measure. Series is not arranged.

 

341. Performance Bonds (SOS0000017)

1843-1858
.1 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm 

Series documents bonds executed between the territorial government and public officeholders. Bonds show bond maker's name, date, conditions of bond, securities' names, and certification. Series is not arranged.

 

342. Resignations (SOS0000016)

1844-1849
.1 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm

Series documents the resignation of public officers. Resignations show date of resignation, office held, and the officer's signature. Series is not arranged.

 

343. Secretary's Correspondence (SOS0000013)

1843-1859
.5 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm

Series documents communications between the territorial secretary and other territorial, federal, and local offices. Correspondence includes letters, transmittals, transmittal receipts, memoranda, and copies of reports, information includes date of communication, correspondents' names, and text of communication. Much of the correspondence deals with the transmission and receipt of laws between Oregon and other states and territories.

Series also includes a bound correspondence register (1853-1859). Series is not arranged.

 

344. Territorial Auditor's Accounting Records (SOS0000005)

1854-1859
.1 cubic feet

Series documents claim payments audited by the territorial auditor. Records include common school fund claims, payment warrants, expense claims, delinquent tax lists, and related correspondence. Series is arranged alphabetically by subject.

 

345. US Comptroller's Correspondence (SOSOO00015)

1847-1859
.1 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm

Series documents communications between the territorial secretary and the US Comptroller's Office. Correspondence consists primarily of letters showing date, correspondents' names, and text of communication. Most of the correspondence deals with Oregon Territory's financial transactions with the federal government. Series is not arranged.

 

346. US Government Account Ledgers (SOS0000019)

1853-1859
.25 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm

Series documents transactions in territorial accounts held by the US Treasury. Ledger entries show transaction date, description of payments or receipts, transaction amount, and account balance. Accounts include territorial and executive accounts. Most of the payments are for office expenses and salaries of public officers. Series is not arranged.

 

347. Vouchers (SOS0000014)

1844-1859
.5 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm 

Series documents payments made by the territory for supplies and services. Vouchers show date, payee's name, purchase description, purchase amount, and certification. Most payments are for legislator and government employee salaries. Series is not arranged.

 

348. Warrant Record (SOS0000007)

1857-1859
.25 cubic feet

Series documents payments from the territorial treasury which were authorized by the territorial auditor. Record entries show warrant number, amount, date, reason for payment, and auditor's signature. Payments were made for travel expenses, salaries, and common school fund apportionments. Series is arranged numerically by warrant number.

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Phone: (503) 986-1523 • Fax: (503) 986-1616 • oregon.sos@state.or.us

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