Carson Homestead 1852-1910
David Carson died after a short illness on September 22, 1852. Greenberry Smith, a wealthy neighbor was then appointed as the administrator of David Carson’s estate on November 25th, 1852, two months later. He was at one point considered the most wealthy man in Benton County. Through becoming the administrator of David Carson’s estate, he was paid $1,000, and additionally gained revenue from estate sales of their belongings, as well as the eventual sale of Carson’s estate property.
According to the document titled, “18521125 Greenberry Smith confirmed as administrator of David Carson estate paid 1000” David Carson died without a will. The lack of will, in addition to Oregon’s racist exclusion laws, left Letitia without any legal agency in the direct aftermath of David’s death. The document goes on to say that Greenberry Smith "will make a perfect Inventory of and faithfully administer all the Estate of the deceased, and pay the debts as far as the assets will extend, and the law direct, and account for, and pay all assets which shall come to his possession or knowledge." It does not list Letitia Carson as a known heir of David Carson's Estate. It is signed and dated by Greenberry Smith and A.G. Hovey Clerk, Probate Court.
The second page of this document appoints Greenberry Smith as administrator saying, "The conditions of this Bond is that if the said Greenberry Smith, administrator of the Estate of David Carson deceased late of Benton Co. O.T. shall faithfully administer said estate, account for, pay and deliver all money and property of said estate and perform all other things touching said administration required by law or order or decree of any court having jurisdiction, then the above bond to be void otherwise to be and remain in full force." The document is signed by Greenberry Smith, John Wiles, and Joseph Hughart. Despite Letitia’s two successful lawsuits against Greenberry Smith, she was not granted her land back and ended up relocating with her two children to Douglas County, Oregon.
Archival sources show that Greenberry Smith sold much of the personal property, farming tools, and livestock that belonged to David and Letitia. Thankfully, he recorded this process and we have primary documents that detail the items he sold, who he sold them to, and how much he charged. The estate sale took place on January 4th, 1853. The first page of the record includes buyers such as D. Davis, D. Carson, J. Moody, L. Carson (Letitia), J. Wheeler, M. Hodges, and J. Hughert. The total profit for the day was $455.07. Letitia Carson bought $104.87 worth of materials including 1 tub, 1 large iron pot, 1 scilet(?) & lid, ½ doz plates, 1 bed & bedding, 1 roan cow, and 1 brindle cow & calf. D. Carson, David Carson Jr (possibly David’s son), bought items such as a bucket, 1 iron pot & lid, 2 large dishes, 1 copper kettle, 4 plates, 4 small pans, 5 cups & saucers, 1 trunk, and shirts and drawers. Others bought tools, home goods, and livestock. On the second page, there are several buyers including S Collins ($80.60), T. Read ($267.50), G. Roberts ($.85), F. McDonald ($3.05), A. Rightsman ($4.87), J.M. Horn ($205.50), E.P. Revfort ($50), M. Last ($151), J. Smith ($86), H. Chamberlain ($41), S. Taylor ($70), A. Hodges ($50), W. Fulton ($18), J. Williams ($41), A. Carson ($7), and Mr. Toppin ($2). The third page includes what Greenberry Smith bought at this sale including one velvet vest, one coat, one yoke of oxen, one steer, one black, one yearling steer, one cow, one sow & three pigs, and one heifer calf. This list totals $254.65 and brings the entire total profit to $1818.81.
Estate sale of late David Carson's property
Greenberry Smith then owned the land for five years. It is unclear what he did with this land during this time. He was known as a wealthy land owner and farmer in Benton County, so it is likely he used it to farm. On May 30th, 1857, he sold the land to George Fogle for a sum of $860. At this point, the clear trail of land ownership documents fizzles out and the next sign of Carson land ownership occurs in 1910. While we don’t have a clear idea of ownership between the time when George Fogle owned the land and the Lender family in 1910, we do have photographs and other renderings of the Carson estate and surrounding land during this time.