Provisional and Territorial Records Guide

Tillamook County History and Records

Tillamook County was created by the legislative assembly on December 15, 1853, from portions of Yamhill and Clatsop Counties. It was named for the Tillamook Indians. Tillamook County is bounded on the north by Clatsop County, on the east by Washington and Yamhill Counties, on the south by Polk County, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean.

The first US contact in the area was in 1788, when Robert Gray entered Tillamook Bay in the sloop Lady Washington to provision his ship. In a skirmish with the local Indians, Gray's servant, Marcos Lopez was killed. The ship's clerk named the bay "Murderer's Bay." There is also an Indian legend of a Spanish ship which was wrecked in Nehalem Bay in the mid 1700s.

Lewis and Clark visited this area in 1805-1806. The Tillamook Tribe, a branch of the Salish people, inhabited the Tillamook Bay and Nehalem Bay areas. The tribe numbered 2,200 in 1806, but disease reduced the tribe's population to 200 in 1849.

The earliest white settlement in the area was the town of Tillamook, formally known as Hoquarten by the Indians or "The Landing" by early white settlers. The settlement was situated on a prairie above the east bank of the bay. The first settler, Joseph Champion, arrived in 1851. By 1852, families had begun settling in the area.

Population remained stable in Tillamook County from the time of its formation in 1853 until statehood. There were seventy seven inhabitants in 1854 and 100 in 1858. When the county government was established in 1854, twenty eight legal voters elected thirteen government officers to serve them. These officers included a sheriff, a clerk, a probate judge, a prosecuting attorney, a treasurer, an assessor, a coroner, two justices of the peace, a constable, and three county militia officers. The county seat was established at the town Tillamook in 1854.

Tillamook County was remote from the rest of the territory. Several roads were built to alleviate this: from Grand Ronde to Tillamook in 1854, from Salem to Tillamook Bay in 1858, and from Eola to Tillamook Bay in 1859. Tillamook County is heavily timbered. Its 1125 square miles lies for the most part between the Coast Range and the Pacific Ocean and numerous rivers run east west through the county.

Series Descriptions for Tillamook County

Assessment Rolls
Census Rolls
County Court Order Ledger

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189. Assessment Rolls (TILCOUN002)

.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.


190. Census Rolls (TiLCOUN003)

.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.


191. County Court Order Ledger (TILCOUN001)

.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 14

Series documents the payment of county expenses by the county court. Ledger entries show court term, date order issued, payee's name, order number, amount of order, and total expenses for the term. Series is arranged chronologically by date of court term.

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