Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

CEDAR COUNTY PROBATE COURT

Agency History #2652

CREATION

The Cedar County Probate Court was established with the creation of the county by the territorial legislature in 1856 ("An Act in Relation to Counties," Laws of Utah, 5th Annual Session, 1855-1856, sec. 8, p. 7). The court had jurisdiction not only in estate and guardianship cases, but original jurisdiction in civil, criminal, and chancery cases. The Cedar County Probate Court was abolished with the dissolution of the county in 1862.

FUNCTIONS

Part of a continuing conflict between the federal government and the Utah Mormon population concerned the jurisdiction of the county probate court. Probate courts under federal law traditionally dealt with matters of estates. The probate court had jurisdiction over the probate of wills, administration of estates of deceased persons, and the guardianship of minors, idiots, and insane persons. In addition, the territorial legislature provided that the probate court have original jurisdiction in civil, criminal, and chancery cases, jurisdiction normally reserved solely for the district courts. The court also was given jurisdiction in divorce cases. Evidence of servitude or slavery had to be filed with the probate court. In 1858, the territorial legislature began requiring all federal appointees to take an oath before a county probate judge.

ADMINISTRATION

The Cedar County Probate Court was presided over by a probate judge elected for a one year term by joint vote of the legislative assembly. He was commissioned by the governor and required to file an oath and bond. In the case of a vacancy, the governor could appoint a judge until the next legislature elected one. The probate judge appointed a clerk to keep a record of the proceedings.

PROBATE JUDGES (dates approximate)

Allen Weeks, 1857-1859
Zerrubbabel Snow, 1859-1862

PROBATE COURT CLERKS (dates approximate)

James H. Glines, 1856-1858
James A. Leishman, 1858-1859
Zerrubbabel Snow, 1859
Walten O. Sawyer, 1859-1862

COMPILED BY: A.C. Cone, February 1996

SOURCES

Cedar County Court. Minutes (Series 17489)

Cedar County Recorder. Deeds (Series 17494)

Cedar County Probate Court. Minutes (Series 17493)

Legislative Assembly. Journals (Series 3145)

Legislature. Laws of Utah (Series 83155)

Secretary of State. Election Papers (Series 364)