Provisional and Territorial Records Guide

Thurston County History and Records

Thurston County was created by the territorial legislative assembly on January 12, 1852. The area originally included all of western Washington north of Lewis and Clark Counties. The creation of Pierce (1852), King (1852), and Island (1853) counties placed Thurston County within its present borders. Thurston County is located at the southern end of Puget Sound, which forms its northern border. Counties bordering Thurston are Mason on the north, Pierce on the east, Lewis on the south, and Grays Harbor on the west. The county was named after Samuel R. Thurston, first delegate to Congress from Oregon Territory. Olympia was established as the county seat on December 22, 1852, and became the capital of Washington Territory in 1853. Aboard of commissioners, other county offices, and the probate court were formed in 1852.

On December 21, 1852, an "Act to Allow a Colored Man [George Washington] to Reside in Thurston County" was passed. This was an exception to a law which prohibited blacks from moving to Oregon Territory. Washington Territory was created on March 2, 1853, and Thurston County was no longer under the jurisdiction of Oregon Territory.

Series Descriptions for Thurston County


358. Assessment Rolls (MURCOU001)

.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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