San Luis Obispo
Genealogical Society
San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo County, California
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


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
County Assessor

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 Delinquent Property.
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 several businesses. [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 contact the 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 valuable resource.

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 1874 Map.


Typed Delinquent Tax Index for 1874 ~ 1875 [Includes description of land]


 1914 Delinquent Tax Sale [Parts 1 & 2]

Additional Land and Tax Data

Homestead Index ~ Book A
Carpenter Index [Deeds, Land Transfers, Book 1]
Land Patent Indexes ~ 1859 > 1923 [Parts 1 & 2]

There are many Civil Cases involving problems with land and the ownership of same.
Check here for Civil Court Cases

There is an ongoing project to find Homestead Pre-Emption, Final Proof and Declaration of Intention Data.
Please check back often.

This Site Belongs to the San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society
Site Created: 20 October 2015