Washington Hall Provisional Territorial Land Claim, V. 7, pg. 153. Document courtesy of the National Archives & Records Administration, Seattle Pacific Region
For a downloadable pdf of this document, see Washington Hall Territorial Land Claim, 1848
In February 1848, Washington Hall filed a claim for 640 acres in Lewis (now Pacific) County through the Oregon Provisional Government. The popularly elected provisional government consisted of both Americans and former Hudson’s Bay Company fur trappers, who met at Champoeg in 1843 to establish a legal system and common defense for settlers. Incoming migrants during the 1840s expected that the United States would extend its jurisdiction to the Pacific Ocean and the provisional government facilitated the process. Without formal authority to dispose of land in Oregon Country, and with no agreement between the United States and Native nations, the provisional government allowed migrants to file land claims of 640 acres.
Washington Hall made his first claim in Clackamas County in May 1846, with another claim in “Vancouver County” in August of that year. In 1848, Hall moved to Chenook Plain, where he sought permission from the Chinook to use the very site where Middle Village stood, land he had claimed through the provisional government seven months earlier. Oregon became a territory in August 1848, but there would be no treaty with the Chinook to cede this land until the 1851 Tansey Point Treaties, which were not ratified by Congress.
Washington Hall claims 640 acres of land in Lewis County, sited at and bounded as follows To Wit. Commencing at a stake at Common tide water mark of the pacific ocean, it being the W. side of Chenook plain and W. of a grove of dead timber, which stands on a ridge of said plain & also on the sea coast between Cape Disappointment & Shoal water Bay. Thence ing S. 640 rods with the meanders of the beach to a stake marked, thence E 160 rods to a stake, thence N parallel with the first line 640 rods to a stake, thence W 160 rods to the place of beginning.
Recorded February 27th 1848
Attest Theo. Magruder