First Advisor

David A. Johnson

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






Fabritus R Smith, Land grants -- Oregon, Pioneers -- Oregon -- Marion County, Agriculture -- Economic aspects -- Oregon -- Marion County, Oregon -- History



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, iii, 108 p.)


The social and economic structure of Oregon was influenced by the Donation Land Law. The Congressional law conferred upon early settlers to Oregon 320 acres, 640 if married (and settled before December 1, 1850). Oregon attracted settlers who desired land and were uninterested in commercial agriculture. The Oregon settlers who took advantage of the law were in a position to create their own society and economy. The purpose of this thesis is to identify the social and economic structure created by the Donation Land pioneers and to identify their land disposition strategy. This thesis examined the fifty households that comprised the neighborhood of Fabritus R. Smith. The neighborhood is defined as the fifty households with whom Smith dealt in 1854 and 1855. The neighborhood of the 1850s was a communally based society in which production was geared for household consumption, not commercial purposes. Settlers exchanged goods locally on a market that functioned on the basis of barter and a personal monetary system. The progression of time brought changes to the social and economic structure. Lineal families working for themselves replaced nuclear families working in community as a productive force. Salem's growth, and the rise of a cash economy replaced exchange among households. Donation Land pioneers who deeded land to their children created the lineal family structure of society. The production of the lineal family remained geared for household consumption, not commercial purposes. The farmers of the second generation did not change their objective, only their strategy to meet the new economy. Two additional strategies were identified. Some Donation Land pioneers disposed of their land and used the money to pursue other ventures outside Oregon. Other Donation Land pioneers sold their land and moved to Salem.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL

Persistent Identifier

Included in

History Commons