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Provisional and Territorial Records Guide

Washington County History and Records

Washington County was created as Tuality District on July 5, 1843. One of the four original counties created by the legislative assembly, Tuality County was bordered on the north by latitude 54' 40", on the east by Clackamas County, on the west by the Pacific Ocean, and on the south by Yamhill County. In June, 1844, the Columbia River was made the northern boundary of Tuality County and Clatsop County was created from Tuality County's western half. In 1849, the legislative assembly changed the name of Tuality County to Washington in honor of George Washington. Washington County obtained its present boundaries in 1854 with the creation of Columbia County to the north and Multnomah County to the east.

Although Tuality County government was established in 1843, a complete county government was not organized until 1845 due to its small population. In that year three county judges having probate and administrative authority, a treasurer, and a sheriff were appointed for Tuality County by the legislative assembly. In 1846, legislation was enacted providing that all county officers be elected.

County business was conducted from 1845 to 1851 by the county court. The county court initially consisted of the county judges appointed by the legislative assembly and later by three justices of the peace acting as county commissioners. In 1851 the organization of the county court was changed to consist of three elected commissioners. Subsequent laws prescribed the election of a single judge to handle probate matters.

The first election of county and territorial officers was held June 1, 1846. Three representatives to the legislative assembly, a sheriff, a treasurer, an assessor, a colonel, a lieutenant colonel, a major, and three county court judges were elected.

The Presbyterian meeting house was the setting for the first sessions of the county court in 1846. The following year the Methodist meeting house served as headquarters. Columbia was selected as the county seat in 1850. The county court bought a quarter section of land and a log building from David Hill at a cost of $200; payment was made from proceeds derived from the sale of lots to settlers. The town was given the name of Hillsborough, which in 1858 was modified to Hillsboro. A building fund, provided for by tax assessments in 1852, was used to construct permanent county headquarters in Washington County. A frame courthouse was built in 1852.

Series Descriptions for Washington County

Assessment Rolls
Census Roll
Claim Records
Coroner's Inquest Records
County Commissioner's Court Journal
County Court Petitions
County Officer Oaths and Bonds
Courthouse Construction Records
Deed Indexes
Election Abstracts
Election Certificates
Ferry and Liquor Vendor Licensing Records
Financial Statements
Indentures
Jury Summons
Justice Court Case Records
Land Claim Record
Mechanics' Liens
Mortgage Indexes
Poll Books
Post Office Records
Probate Court Orders
Probate Court Process Records
Probate Court Record
Recorded Documents Index
Resignations
Road and Bridge Records
Treasurer's Account Ledger
Treasurer's Receipts
US District Court Case Records
US District Court Docket
US District Court Fee Ledger
Warrants

QUICK LINK to the records inventories!

205. Assessment Rolls (WASCOUN033)

1845-1859
.75 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 18 and Calendar Microfilm

Series documents tax assessments levied against county residents. Rolls show property owner's name, township name, block and lot numbers, range number, acres, land value, improvement value, personal property value, tax, and totals. Tax breakdown includes poll, school, territorial, and county categories and may include delinquent taxes owed, a listing of lots sold, and signatures of sheriff, auditor, and assessor. Series is arranged chronologically by tax year.

 

206. Census Roll (WASCOUN032)

1845-1857
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 18 and Calendar Microfilm

Series documents the enumeration of county residents and was used to report population statistics to the territorial government. Censuses show family surname, number of adult males and females, number of male and female children per family, and totals. Series is arranged chronologically by census year.

 

207. Claim Records (WASCOUN025)

1846-1859
.1 cubic feet

Series documents claims for reimbursement made by county officers, citizens, and companies for services rendered to the county. Services include jury duty, guarding of prisoners, printing, preparing documents, and assessing property values. Information includes date, amount claimed, itemized work performed, name(s), auditor's signature, and whether claim was allowed or not by the county commissioners. Series is arranged chronologically by claim date.

 

208. Coroner's Inquest Records (WASCOUN018)

1851-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 17

Series documents inquest hearings held by the county coroner. Records include inquest transcripts, jury verdicts, coroner's expense statements, summons, and subpoenas. Information includes name of deceased, property inventories, expense amounts, and signatures. Series includes a subpoena for three Indians to appear before a grand jury with Joseph Meek's signed statement as deputy marshal that the Indians could not be found due to "having gone bare hunting." Series is arranged chronologically by year.

 

209. County Commissioners Court Journal (WASCOUN030)

1847-1848
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 18

Series documents the proceedings of the Tuality (Washington) County Commissioners Court. Journal shows session date and location, judges present, and a narrative report of the proceedings. Recorded court orders include payments authorized to county officers, jurors, and witnesses, appearance summons, estate administrator orders, election precinct Judge appointments, road overseer appointments, trade license authorizations, road work orders, ferry rate schedule authorizations, and county expense claim authorizations. Series is arranged chronologically by session date.

 

210. County Court Petitions (WASCOUN005)

1844-1854
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 15

Series documents petitions submitted to the county court. Petitions show date submitted, petitioner's signature(s), and subject of petition. Subjects include liquor licenses, divorce, voting place relocation, reimbursement for services rendered, road surveys, justice of the peace appointments, probate record requests, power of attorney revocations, and notices to creditors. Series also includes some related documents such as promissory notes, fee bills, indemnity bonds, and attachment orders. Series is arranged chronologically by date recorded.

 

211. County Officer Oaths and Bonds (WASCOUN015)

1847-1859
.25 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 17

Series documents the appointment of county officers and the recording of oaths of office and obligation bonds. Records include certificates of appointment, oaths of office, obligation bonds, and bonds for ferry license and liquor retail license holders. Information includes election date, date filed, name, amount and conditions of bond, and reason for appointment. Series is arranged chronologically by year.

 

212. Courthouse Construction Records (WASCOUN019)

1851-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 17

Series documents contracts, reimbursement claims, petitions, and bids for construction of a county courthouse in Hillsborough. Records include specifications, bonds, lien notices, bills for work performed, and related correspondence. Series also includes a contract for a fence to be built around the courthouse. Series is arranged chronologically by date recorded.

 

213. Deed Indexes (WASCOUN010)

1850-1859
.5 cubic feet

Series is used to provide direct access to recorded deeds. Indexes show name of grantor and grantee, volume and page number of volume in which deed is recorded, and may include a brief description of the real estate being deeded. Series is arranged alphabetically by grantor's or grantee's name.

 

214. Election Abstracts (WASCOUN016)

1847-1858
.1 cubic feet

Series consists of unbound documents recording summaries of election results of the various voting precincts within the county. Abstracts show date of report, date of election, precinct name, tallied votes, and issue or candidate involved. Issues and officers voted upon include the slavery question, the Oregon Constitutional Convention (1857), location of the Territorial Capital, territorial officers, and county and city officers. Series is arranged chronologically by year.

 

215. Election Certificates (WASCOUN012)

1850-1858
.25 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 16

Series documents the certification of county election results. Certificates show the name(s) of the person(s) elected, date and location of the election, term length, and name of the filled office. Offices include justice of the peace, constable, Portland City Recorder, assessor, sheriff, auditor, county commissioner, coroner, superintendent of schools, treasurer, representative, and county judge. Series also includes some oaths of office. Series is arranged chronologically by election date.

 

216. Ferry and Liquor Vendor Licensing Records (WASCOUN020)

1848-1854
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 18

Series documents ferry operator's and liquor vendor's applications for licensure by the county. Records include obligation bonds, license applications, license fee receipts, petitions, court orders to the sheriff for tax collection, and ferry sale notices. Records include a few grocery store license related documents. Series is arranged chronologically by date recorded.

 

217. Financial Statements (WASCOUN026)

1853-1859
.1 cubic feet

Series documents the current fiscal status of the county treasury. Statements show dollar amounts for sale of school lands, remittance to the territorial treasurer, interest, taxes, assets, and liabilities. Series is arranged chronologically by fiscal year.

 

218. Indentures (WASCOUN017)

1837-1856
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 17

Series documents records relating to debt indentures certified by the county clerk as recorded. Records include bills for work done, promissory notes, attachments, affidavits, appointment notices, and appraisals. Information includes debtor and creditor names, work performed descriptions, and dates. Work performed includes dam, road, and courthouse construction. Series is arranged chronologically by year.

 

219. Jury Summons (WASCOUN031)

1845-1848
.1 cubic feet

Series documents orders of the justice of the peace and the county court for the sheriff to summon prospective jurors to appear at court for jury duty. Summons show juror's names, sheriffs name, clerk's name, location of court, and date of session. Summons may also show litigants' names. Series is arranged chronologically by summons date.

 

220. Justice Court Case Records (WASCOUN004)

1845-1859
.25 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 15

Series documents court cases heard before the county justice courts. Records include subpoenas, summonses, docket transcripts, complaints, affidavits, warrants, and obligation bonds. Causes of action include debt actions, trespass, assault, and theft. Series is arranged chronologically by year.

 

221. Land Claim Record (WASCOUN034)

1849-1851
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 18

Series documents land claimed by settlers. Record shows claimant's name, legal description of boundary lines, claim date, surveyor's name, recorder's signature, and number of acres claimed. Record may include names of survey party personnel. Series is arranged chronologically by entry date.

 

222. Mechanics' Liens (WASCOUN021)

1853-1855
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 18

Series documents notices to hold liens against property owners for work performed but not reimbursed. Liens show debtor and creditor names, itemized bills of labor performed and materials used, promissory notes, complaints, and seizure orders. Debtors include the Willamette Falls Canal, Milling, and Transportation Company; Multnomah County; and the steamer Gazelle. Series is arranged chronologically by lien date.

 

223. Mortgage Indexes (WASCOUN009)

1850-1859
.5 cubic feet

Series is used to provide direct access to recorded mortgages. Indexes show mortgagor and mortgagee names, reception date, nature of instrument, volume and page number where recorded, and may include a brief description of the property being mortgaged. Series is arranged alphabetically by mortgagor's or mortgagee's name.

 

224. Poll Books (WASCOUN014)

1846-1858
.75 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 16

Series documents results of elections held within the county. Poll books show voter's names, candidate's names and office, number of votes for each candidate, precinct location, tally, and certifying signatures. Series also includes some oaths of office for precinct judges and votes on the slavery question. Series is arranged chronologically by election date.

 

225. Post Office Records (WASCOUN022)

1851-1853
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 18

Series documents activities of the Hillsborough Post Office. Records include mail route schedules, complaints, mail forwarding requests, supply inventories, post master appointment notices, Oregon post office listing, post office establishment notices, and related correspondence. Series is arranged chronologically by date of record.

 

226. Probate Court Orders (WASCOUN011)

1844-1855
.1 cubic feet

Series documents orders and proceedings of the county probate court. Records include summarized minutes, guardian obligation bonds, exhibits, court officer payment warrants, and other probate court documents. Minutes show county treasury withdrawals, receipts, balances, and orders relating to probate matters. Series is arranged chronologically by order date.

 

227. Probate Court Process Records (WASCOUN006)

1850-1851
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reels 15 and 16

Series documents routine case proceedings of the probate court. Records include estate appraiser appointment notices, subpoena issuance orders, licensure fee collection orders, sheriff's fee bills, a ferry license petition, and summons. Series is arranged chronologically by date recorded.

 

228. Probate Court Record (WASCOUN001)

1847-1859
.25 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 15

Series documents wills and estate administration orders recorded with the probate court. Records include estate administrator oaths, estate administrator appointment orders, obligation bonds, guardianship appointment orders, executor and appraiser appointments and bonds, and wills. One volume also includes county court proceedings concerning road survey fees paid, courthouse construction contracts, juror reimbursement, and ferry operation license issuance. Series is arranged chronologically by date entered.

 

229. Recorded Documents Index (WASCOUN008)

1854-1859
.75 cubic feet

Series consists of two bound volumes used to locate recorded documents not found in the mortgage or deed indexes. Information includes date document recorded, type of document, names of parties involved, and volume and page number reference. Types of documents recorded include leases, wills, powers of attorney. bonds, and liens. Series is arranged chronologically by date recorded.

 

230. Resignations (WASCOUN013)

1850-1857
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 16

Series documents the resignations of various county officers. Resignations show the name of the resigning official, date, reason for resignation or revocation, and date filed. Officers include justices of the peace, assessor, deputy sheriff, superintendent of common schools, auditor, and probate judge. Series is arranged chronologically by date of resignation.

 

231. Road and Bridge Records (WASCOUN023)

1845-1859
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 18

Series documents the siting, surveying, building, and maintenance of territorial/county roads and bridges. Records include accounts memoranda, petitions, labor and surveying bills, reimbursement orders, receipts, complaints, claims, and survey reports. Roads include Canyon Road, Old Mountain Road, Barnes Road, and the Portland Salem Road. Series includes a listing of subscribers in stock of the Portland and Valley Plank Road Company. Series is arranged chronologically by date recorded.

 

232. Treasurer's Account Ledger (WASCOUN007)

1846-1850
.1 cubic feet

Series is a photocopy reproduction of an original marked "Treasurer's Book Tuality County, Oregon Caleb Wilkins Treasurer 1846 1849." Information includes a listing of receipts (fines, fees, and taxes collected) with date and amount; a listing of expenditures with date and amount; and treasury balance. Series also includes the names and terms of office of nine county treasurers from 1846 to 1858. Series is not arranged.

 

233. Treasurer's Receipts (WASCOUN024)

1853-1859
.1 cubic feet

Series documents funds received by the county treasurer and the county clerk for taxes collected by the sheriff, license fees, school land sales, and fines collected. Series also includes territorial treasurers receipts. Information includes amount, fund, date received, received from, and treasurer's or clerk's signature. Series is arranged chronologically by year.

 

234. US District Court Case Records (WASCOUN002)

1846-1859
1.5 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 15

Series documents cases heard before the US District Court. Records include docket transcripts, writs, warrants, complaints, affidavits, subpoenas, bonds, indictments, and other case related documents. Causes of action Include liquor law violations, murder, perjury, rape, theft, claim jumping, assault, and appeals from justice courts. Series is arranged chronologically by year.

 

235. US District Court Docket (WASCOUN028)

1852-1855
.1 cubic feet
Microfilm Reel 18

Series documents case proceedings and dispositions in the US District Court. Docket shows attorneys' names, litigants' names, and cause of action. Causes of action include assumpsit, in admiralty, recognizance, forgery, appeal, petition for divorce, disposition continued, confessed, judgment by default, and attachment. Series is arranged chronologically by session date.

 

236. US District Court Fee Ledger (WASCOUN027)

1851-1859
.1 cubic feet

Series documents case fees charged by the US District Court. Ledger entries show itemized lists of costs including filing fees, recording costs, mileage reimbursement costs, issuing or serving fees, witness and juror reimbursement, case names, service description, total per case, date, and cause of action. Series is arranged chronologically by trial date.

 

237. Warrants (WASCOUN029)

1845-1849
.1 cubic feet

Series documents the county treasurer's authorization to reimburse individual claims upon the treasury. Warrants show date, amount, name of note holder, and signature(s) of the county treasurer, clerk, or judge. Payees include sheriff, prosecuting attorney, assessor, and jurors. Series is arranged chronologically by warrant date.

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