Carson Homestead 1852-1910

Greenberry Smith confirmed as administrator of David Carson estate_paid 1000_November 25 1852.jpg

Nov 25, 1852 Greenberry Smith confirmed as administrator of David Carson estate paid 1000

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

After Greenberry

Deed of Sale_Carson Land to George Fogle for 860 dollars_May 30, 1857 (2).jpg

Greenberry Smith sold the land to George Fogle for a sum of $860. Written in 1857, this document is proof of the transfer of land ownership with the approval of the court. It cuts off in the middle of the document and is continued on in the latter half of the page, in the next document.

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.


This document is the confirmation of the sale following Greenberry Smith's sale of David Carson's estate to George Fogle. It states, "This day Greenbury Smith Admr of the estate of David Carson decd returned into Court his Sale bill of the Land belonging to said estate of 320 acres, as Sold to George Fogle for the sum of $860.00. And proof being made to the satisfaction of the Court as to the legality and fairness of said Sale, the Same is ordered to be confirmed; and conveyance made to Said George Fogle by the Administrator" and is dated June 1857.

1905 View of the Carson lands in Soap Creek Valley

Soap Creek Valley Carson lands ca 1905.jpg

View of the Soap Creek Valley, including most of the Carson Estate Donation Land Claim lands. The fence line near the right side of the photo is the northern boundary of the Carson lands. The image was originally titled "Tampico town site, Soap Creek Valley." It was used in "Eugene Glender: Growing up on a Tampico Family Farm, Benton County Oregon, 1910-1941." Monograph #9, Soap Creek Valley History Project, OSU Research Forests. Authors Bob Zybach and Janet Meranda captioned the photo "Glender fields, c.1905. Named hills in background include Writsmans Hill and Forest Peak. Trees in field line the course of Soap Creek. Background hills now form the eastern extent of OSU's Dunn Forest."

1905 c. Tampico town site in Soap Creek Valley


The old tavern at Tampico in the Soap Creek Valley of Benton County. to the left of the structure is the site of the horse racing track. Tampico was a rival community of Corvallis in the mid to late 1850s. Although this image dates nearly 40 years after Letitia moved from the Soap Creek Valley, it paints a portrait of the life of Soap Creek Valley settlers in a time period similar to, adjacent to Letitia's. The surrounding land and lifestyle mirror what David and Letitia experienced during their time in the valley, giving us an idea of what life would have been like for them when photographs were too new to have captured Benton County, Oregon.

Next Page: Carson Homestead 1910-1945


Browse Exhibits