Thomas and Polly Ann Tice

Thomas and Polly Ann Tice were the first settlers on the land that would encompass Multnomah

The Donation Land Claim Act of 1850

The Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 was a statute enacted by the Congress of the United States intended to promote homestead settlement in the Oregon Territory (comprising the present-day states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho).

To view the 1852 Donation Land Claim Map covering southwest Portland (Township 1 South, Range 1 East), click here.

The Act granted 320 acres of federal land to a qualified settler who resided on the public lands in the Oregon Territory on or before December 1, 1850 and who had cultivated the same for four consecutive years.  The settler could locate anywhere on vacant unreserved non-mineral public land in the then Oregon Territory. This gift or grant gave the settler a right to the land the moment he occupied and cultivated it. After a claimant had submitted the required notification, including proof of settlement, cultivation, and citizenship and upon completion of the survey by the government a certificate was issued to the settler by the General Land Office. This certificate gave him marketable title.

Thomas and Polly Ann Tice

Thomas Tice and his wife, Polly Ann Tice, settled in the vicinity of Multnomah February 10, 1850.

Thomas Tice Land Grant

Thomas Tice Land Grant outlined in Green.  Modern map overlaid on 1852 Donation Land Claim Map.

Thomas and Polly Ann divorced in 1857.  Polly Ann got the North half of the claim and two city lots in Portland, but sold the east half of the north half back to Thomas, retaining ownership of the land where Multnomah would be.

Thomas and Polly Ann Tice Divorce Settlement

Thomas and Polly Ann Tice Divorce Settlement, Polly Ann’s property outlined in blue.  Modern map overlaid on 1852 Donation Land Claim Map.

Thomas must have been quite a piece of work.  He remarried in 1872 to Maria, who divorced him in 1874 citing “cruel and inhuman treatment, rendering life burdensome” and fraudulently conveying title to their land to deprive her of alimony.    Divorces in those days were exceedingly rare, so Thomas must have been a real SOB to have two women divorce him.  Between 1867 and 1875 Thomas was also involved in various suits, several alleging land fraud, all of which he lost.  On June 3, 1875 Thomas’ remaining land was deeded by the Sheriff to John F. Caples, J.C. Moreland, and Maria Tice.

Thomas’ first wife, Polly Ann, may have lost some or all of her Multnomah land in these legal proceedings.  Even though they settled the land in 1850, patent (marketable title) was not granted to Thomas and Polly Ann until October 15, 1873 and not recorded October 24, 1874

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2 Responses

  1. dick brainard says:

    The names Tice & Moreland are old plumbing contractor names–maybe these were the two originals of the company.

  2. timlyman says:

    Hi Dick –

    Possibly, given that Thomas Tice’s land was given to J.C. Moreland by the Sheriff it may have been in settlement of a business dispute between the two. This 1888 map shows the land Caples and Moreland got. The yellow line is the county road that would become Capitol Highway.

    Caples and Moreland

    There was also another Tice in the area, a J.M. Tice shown on this DLC map (Thomas Tice’s claim is in the upper left corner):

    J. M. Tice

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