San Luis Obispo County,
Delinquent Taxes, Delinquent Property Sales & Poll Taxes
As part of the ongoing search for early SLO County data,
Digital copies of local Newspapers are being gleaned for
information. In the course of settling any particular
location, land became available as the Mexican Land Grants
and Ranchos were broken up and sold. Some of the land that
had not been surveyed by the United States Government was
Homesteaded. Other sections were purchased from the Land
Patent owners after California became a State and after the
formation of San Luis Obispo County in 1850. It is this land
that is showing up on Delinquent Tax Lists.
Note: SLO Rancho and Land Grants can be found here.
The Delinquent Tax Lists and Property Sale Lists that have
been found so far are from 1869 forward to 1919. Here is a
sample of a Delinquent Tax List. Samples are being included
of various land owners who were in default. Notice that
there is a complete description of the land and that if the
Poll Tax for the time period has not been paid, it is added
to the Notice. Land Record research is not easy by any
stretch of the imagination, but if the Delinquent Tax Lists
can be found, they provide excellent clues and follow-up
research can be instituted.
With the help of SLOCGS Volunteer Indexers Dianna, Joyce,
Shana, Sher & Susan I have been able to put together a set
of Indexes for Delinquent Taxes, Tax Sales and Poll Taxes.
Below is an explanation of Poll Taxes:
San Luis Obispo Tribune
July 17 1880
NOTICE TO TAX-PAYERS
The attention of the Tax-Payers of San Luis Obispo County is
respectfully called to the following sections of the Revenve
[sic] Law of California;
The Assessor must collect the taxes on all personal property
when, in his opinion, said taxes are not a lien upon real
property sufficient to secure the payment of the taxes.
In the case provided for in the preceding section at the
time of Making the assessment, or at any time before the
first Monday of July, the Asseasor [sic] may collect the
taxes by seizure and sale of any personal property owned by
the person against whom the tax is assessed.
Every male inhabitant of this State over twenty-one and
under sixty years of age, except paupers, insane persons,
and Indians not taxed, must annually pay a poll tax of two
dollars; provided the same be paid between the first Monday
in March and the first Monday in July; but if not paid prior
to the first Monday in July, then it shall be three dollars.
Poll tax must be collected by the Assessors between the
first Monday in March and and the 2d Monday in January of
the ensuing year.
The Assessor must demand payment of poll tax of every person
liable therefor, and the neglect or refusal of such person
to pay the same, he must collect by seizure and sale of any
personal property owned by such person.
The Sale may be made after three hours’ verbal notice of
time and place, and the provisions of Sections 3791, 3793,
3794, 3795, and 3796 apply to such seizure and sale.
These provisions of the law will be strictly enforced.
A M Hardie
The California Revenue Law of 1861 details the exact roll
the County Officers must take with regard to publication and
collection of Delinquent Property Taxes. Additionally, it
spells out all charges associated with the Sale of
On November 6 1861, The Sacramento Daily Union published a
portion of that Law.
It can be found here:
There are two incarnations of the San Luis Obispo Newspaper
available on Genealogy Bank: San Luis Obispo Daily Telegram
and the San Luis Obispo Tribune. While SLO Public Library
has earlier Newspapers, the two mentioned above are the only
ones currently available as being online and Digitized.
A careful search of the California Digital Newspaper
Archives indicates that the Delinquent Tax Lists were not
published in Newspapers outside of San Luis Obispo County.
The reason this is important is that many of the owners of
local property were not local residents. Land was purchased
as an investment: Many of the investors never intended to
live in San Luis Obispo County for any length of time.
C H Phillips was just one of many who took advantage of the
availability of inexpensive land on the West Coast. He
partnered with P H Dallidet, Jr and the Steele Brothers in
[Biography of C H Phillips]
The indexes for the Delinquent Tax Lists, Delinquent
Property Sales and Poll Taxes can be found here in
searchable pdf format. Interested researchers, please
SLO Genealogical Library
for additional Resarch.
BLM Records are available here and will enhance the
research of lands that have gone into default.
The County of San Luis Obispo has a really great site
that contains many of the old surveyed lands. The interface
requires a bit of getting used to, but once mastered it is a
Finally, there is an
1874 Map showing the Ranchos and many of the coordinates
mentioned on the Delinquent Lists.
The SLO Genealogical Library has hard copy of the
Typed Delinquent Tax Index for 1874 ~ 1875 [Includes
description of land]
Delinquent Tax Sale [Parts 1 & 2]