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Local Farming History

Welcome to Benton County Food History!

Welcome to local farming in Benton County!

There are several key places within the county that have a lot of farming history. The next few pages will go more into depth about more centralized areas such as Corvallis, Alsea, and Kings Valley / Hoskins area. Though not all information will be provided, these pages will be a great starting point to further your own research! 

It will include links of all kinds:

  • Archives
  • Newspapers
  • Images
  • and more!

Below, you will find some general links and information about Benton County to help get started!

Benton County Information

                                                                            

Benton County is full of rich farming and agricultural history that may not always be obvious. 

There's Oregon State University, which was named the Oregon State Agricultural College in 1882. Agriculture and farming has been very prevalent in the college's history from early on, which you will see in the "Corvallis" tab. 

Below, you'll find more information about the Benton County Historical Society and Museum, which is a great resource for Agriculture and Farming history.

Here's a map of what Benton County looks like:

                    

As you can see, it's pretty large and encompasses many towns and cities. The county is roughly 679 square miles, and as of 2014 boasts a population of approximately 86,000 (huge compared to the 1850 population of 814.)

To help navigate Benton County more fully, here are some great resources.

Benton County Records Inventory 

  • This records inventory boasts a wide array of information, and directs you towards where you can find the physical copies of the information. Here are the most beneficial inventories to the local farming history:
    • Land Subdivision Records (1851 - Ongoing):
      • Series documents the subdividing and partitioning of land within the county. Records include survey notes, correspondence, photographs, satisfaction of agreements, maps of subdivided and partitioned land, and contracts and permits. Information includes subdivision names; lot, street, and alley dimensions; and township, range, and section numbers of land to be subdivided or partitioned.
    • Maps, Plans, Drawings (1855 - Ongoing):
      • Series provides a visual representation of the county and of physical structures constructed on county lands. Series includes maps, plans, and drawings that vary in size, scale, and date. Included are maps, plans, and drawings of counties and cities, election precincts, courthouses and other county buildings, cemeteries, rivers, Indian reservations, school districts, construction projects, and soil classifications. General road maps may be found in the series titled Road and Bridge Records. Technical road survey maps may be found in the series titled Road Maps and Survey Notes.
    • Farm Name Registration Records (1911 - 1959):
      • Series documents the application for and registration of farm names with the county clerk or recorder. Records may include registers, original applications, or certificates. Information includes owner's name and address; farm name, location, and description; and date and number of application and final application. Series may also include an index arranged either alphabetically by name of owner or by farm name. Farm name records have been inventoried through 1964.
    • Land Title Registers (1865 - 1971):
      • Series records the ownership of land within the county. Records may include title registers, land indexes, land registration registers, torrens registry of titles, indexes to registered land, certificates of title, town lot indexes, ownership registers, and plat books. Information includes parties involved, land descriptions, dates, number and nature of titles, subdivisions, title holders, terms, discharge dates, and registrar's signatures. The torrens system of land registration was abolished in 1972 by Oregon law. Additional land ownership records may be found in the Deeds and Indexes series.

Century Farm

  • A Century Farm or Centennial Farm is a farm or ranch in the United States or Canada that has been officially recognized by a regional program documenting the farm has been continuously owned by a single family for 100 years or more. This database gives an idea of the farms that have been in the local area and in one family's hands for 100 years.

Extension Services - Benton County

  • OSU Extension faculty work with business people, growers, foresters, youth, and community leaders. They see first-hand what’s working, and what’s not working, in Oregon communities. Extension educators consult with scientists at Oregon State University, where they focus their research on the real issues important to real people. Results from that research circle back to the community through Extension programs. Knowledge grows from this cycle of reaching out and engaging the people who use it.
  • They also have a free online newsletter Small Farms, that concentrates on both commercial small farm entrepreneurs as well as non-commercial small acreage landowners.

Ag Census - Benton County 

  • The Ag Census is from 2012, but it provides a lot of information about the types of agricultural use for the farms in Benton County. It also details out the land values, as well as some statistics on the operators of these farms.

County Surveyor 

  • The Benton County Surveyor’s Office files surveys of property lines, property line adjustment surveys, partition and subdivision plats and oversees the public land corner restoration program and the county road list. Here are the types of documents that they have:
    • Plats, Surveys, Benton Map and Road List Links
    • Record of Survey
    • Property Line Adjustment
    • Partition Plats
    • Subdivision Plats
    • Recording Fees
    • The Corner Restoration Program

Benton County Historical Society & Museum

The Benton County Historical Society and Museum is a treasure trove of information (and also a fun place to visit!) Just outside of Corvallis in Philomath, it holds a wide array of information about Benton County - including farming and agricultural history!

                                                                   

"The Benton County Historical Society is a leading cultural institution in the Willamette Valley.

We operate museum facilities and preserve collections to the highest museum standards, providing a dynamic visitor experience and quality education programs. Our collection includes over 120,000 artifacts including photographs, historical documents, textiles, clothing, domestic arts, farm implements, scientific instruments and personal possessions.

We sponsor numerous exhibitions, lectures, educational programs and special events, and offer many opportunities to get involved."

  • In 1868, Corvallis College is designated State Agricultural College in 1862 under the Morrill Act.
  • In 1870, the farmers of Benton county hold a mass meeting and unanimously agree to organize a Farmers' Club.
    • In the same year, the Corvallis Brewery burns down.

Some key names/words and search terms found while searching through their database:

  • Seavey Farms - Corvallis, OR
    • James W. Seavey
  • Oregon Apple Company - Monroe, OR
  • Kenagy Berry Farm - Benton County, OR
  • Bloomington Fruit and Nut Company - Benton County, OR
  • Mayers Beaver Creek Truck Farm - Benton County, OR
  • Musk Melon Farm - N/A
  • Brownsville Canning Company (Corvallis Facility) - Corvallis, OR
  • Benton County Growers Association
  • Ireland Hop Yard - Benton County, OR
  • Western Oregon Packing Corp. - Corvallis, OR
  • Asa Peacock Farm - Albany, OR
  • W.R. Read - Farm Owner
  • Edwin Russell Jackman - E.R. Jackman Institute for Agriculture Resources
  • Bill Lewis
  • J.C. Mann - Farm Owner - Philomath, OR
  • F.H. Hughson - Farmer
  • F.A. Horning - Farmer - Corvallis, OR
  • George Mercer
  • Ernest C. Haley
  • L. E. Harris
  • H. J. Moore - Philomath, OR

Also of note, the Benton County Historical Society has a Historic Benton County Business Directory, dating back to as early as 1867. From here you can look up businesses by name, location, year, and individual people!