Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN WAR RECORDS

Agency History #1788

CREATION

In 1909 the Utah State Legislature created a "Board of Commissioners to be known as 'Commissioners of Indian War Records,' to consist of the Adjutant General of the State, who shall be chairman and custodian of the records thereof, and three members to be appointed by the Governor." (Laws of Utah, 1909, ch. 55, p. 77-78). At the next session in 1911, the board was abolished leaving the Adjutant General as the sole Commissioner of Indian War Records (Laws of Utah, 1911, ch. 72, p.101-102). The Adjutant General of the National Guard continued as the ex-officio commissioner until that law was repealed and the Utah State Archives and Records Service was made the official custodian of the records in 1996 (Laws of Utah, 1996, ch. 31, p. 101).

FUNCTIONS

The Indian War Commissioner's primary duty was to validate pension claims of Indian War veterans. He was to ascertain the names of persons who had performed military duty during any of the wars or expeditions against the Indians or who had performed the duties of home guard with any military organization during that time period. He was to determine the character of the service rendered, the duration, the name of the organization and the name of the commanding officer of that organization, and any other facts relating to such service he deemed proper, including collecting the sworn testimony of witnesses. The commissioner had the power to prescribe such rules, regulations, and forms as he deemed necessary and proper regarding the taking of testimony and the preservation of all Indian War records. The last of the actual pension claims were filed ca. 1919, but the commissioner retained custody of all records created during the application process until 1996.

ADMINISTRATION

Initially, the Board of Commissioners of Indian War Records consisted of the Adjutant General of the State as chairman and custodian of the records, and three members appointed by the governor. In 1911, this was changed to a single commissioner, the Adjutant General. The Adjutant General, himself appointed by the governor for a six year term, is the chief of staff of the Utah National Guard.

PRIOR NAMES: Board of Commissioners of Indian War Records

COMPILED BY: A. C. Cone, 6 February 2002

SOURCES

Commissioner of Indian War Records. Indian war service affidavits, 1909-1919 (Series 2217 ).

Legislature. Laws of Utah (series 83155).