Provisional and Territorial Records Guide

Territorial Treasurer

The office of treasurer was established under the provisional government formed July 5, 1843. The Oregon government proposed in the 1841 public meetings included the office of treasurer, but plans to form a government were abandoned.

The treasurer was responsible for receiving all funds belonging to the government, for keeping records of receipts and expenditures from the treasury, for making annual reports of government accounts to the legislative assembly, and for transferring complete records of transactions to his successor in office. Until 1851, the treasurer also served as auditor of public accounts. The treasurer did not receive a salary; instead, he received two percent of all receipts and expenditures during his term of office.

During the early years of Oregon's government, the treasury was nearly empty. Taxation was prohibited under the laws adopted in 1843; the only means of funding the government was voluntary subscription. This method was largely ignored. Even when taxation was implemented in 1844, payment was often made in wheat. The treasury did get a significant infusion of funds when the provisional government liquidated Ewing Young's estate in 1845, but most of that was used to pay for jail. When the Cayuse Indian War began in 1847 the treasury balance was $39.43.

When Oregon was granted territorial status in 1848 the treasurer's duties were not altered. The treasurer was not appointed by the President, but continued to be elected. The legislative assembly passed laws in 1849 to regulate the exchange of scrip and its use to pay government debts. In 1851, the office of territorial auditor was established. Rules were established to provide quarterly communications between the treasurer and auditor and the treasurer was required to audit the accounts of the auditor's office. In 1854, the treasurer was made the ex officio sealer of weights and measures.

The Oregon Constitution, ratified in 1857, did not specifically change the treasurer's duties. It did, however, require the state to operate with a balanced annual budget. The treasurer was prohibited from making expenditures unless the treasury had adequate funds.

Series Descriptions for the Office of the Treasurer

Account Statements
Annual Reports
Tax Receipts
Treasurer's Correspondence
Treasury Account Ledgers

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349. Account Statements (TREAS00002)

.1 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm

Series documents transactions in territorial accounts managed by the treasurer. Statements show account name, receipts, expenditures, transaction date, and account balance. Accounts include executive office, legislative expenses, state house expenses, and tax collection. Series is not arranged.


350. Annual Reports (TREAS00004)

.1 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm 

Series documents the treasurer's reports to the legislative assembly about territorial treasury receipts and expenditures. Reports show date, itemized expenditure report, itemized receipt report, and treasury balance. Series is not arranged.


351. Tax Receipts (TREAS00001)

.25 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm

Series documents the transmittal of taxes to the territorial treasury. Receipts show date, amount paid, county name, type of tax, and treasurer's certification. Taxes includes poll tax, property taxes, license fees, and Chinese mining taxes. A few of the receipts document treasurer's expenses.


352. Treasurer's Correspondence (TREAS00005)

.1 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm 

Series documents communications between the treasurer and federal, territorial, and local agencies. Correspondence shows date, correspondents' names, and text of communication. Series is not arranged.


353. Treasury Account Ledgers (TREAS00006)

.25 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm 

Series documents transactions in account held in the provisional and territorial treasuries. Ledger entries show account name, transaction date. amount received or paid, and account balance. Accounts include legislative expenses, officials' expenses, county payments, territorial expenses, court fees, license fees, scrip exchange, common school funds, and tax collection funds. Series also includes a daily receipt and expenditure register for the years 1852 1859. Series is arranged by account name.


354. Vouchers (TREAS00003)

.1 cubic feet
Calendar Microfilm 

Series documents funds paid by the territorial treasurer for supplies and services. Vouchers show date, payee's name, amount paid, description of payment, and treasurer's authorization. Series is not arranged.

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