Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

BRIGHAM CITY (UTAH). SEXTON

Agency History #2927

CREATION

Brigham City settlers made the first burial in the Brigham City cemetery in 1853. In 1867, when the Territorial Assembly incorporated Brigham City, it granted the city council authority to appoint by ordinance any officers the council deemed necessary. The Brigham City council did not officially create the office of sexton until 1875 (Brigham City Ordinances, Utah State Archives, series 3662, Book 1, p. 15). Prior to 1875 Brigham City sextons cared for the cemetery, acting in an unofficial capacity.

FUNCTIONS

The responsibilities of the sexton have remained fairly constant since they were originally outlined by the city council in 1875. The sexton has charge of the city cemetery and provides or supervises the care, maintenance, and beautification of the cemetery, and the digging of graves. He is required to keep a record of all persons buried in the cemetery, which includes the deceased's name, parents' names, death date, and cause of death. Brigham City sextons are authorized to make rules and regulations regarding the cemetery so long as they are not in conflict with city ordinances. The 1875 ordinance authorized the sexton to sell lots and keep 20% of the proceeds as a commission. Brigham City sextons have continued to sell cemetery lots under the direction of the city council. Sextons issue certificates with the purchase of lots, which entitle recipients to have cemetery deeds recorded. Brigham City ordinance has always prohibited any burial except in the cemetery under the direction of the sexton. Vaults and headstones are required. The original 1875 ordinance prohibited the burial of any convicted murderer in the Brigham City cemetery.

ADMINISTRATION

Brigham City sextons are appointed by the mayor with the approval of the city council and are commissioned to carry out the wishes of the council in the management of the cemetery. The council sets the sexton's wages and controls fees for digging graves, etc. The council has been responsible for plotting and surveying of the cemetery and has expanded it several times. The council officially set aside ground for the cemetery and laid it out in a systematic manner in 1880. In 1888 the council purchased a hearse for the use of all Brigham City inhabitants. The council established a fund for perpetual care 1918. The council provides oversight for cemetery maintenance and beautification, including WPA projects in the 1930s. From ca. 1960 to 1975 the sexton worked under the direction of the Brigham City parks and cemetery department. Reorganization in 1975 moved cemetery management to the department of parks and recreation.

SEXTONS (partial list)
Peter Forsgren ?-1872
Andrew Christensen 1872-?
Alexander Baird 1877-1881
Thomas W. Forrest 1881-?
Jeppa Jeppson 1887-1889
Jeppa Jeppson 1889-1891
Thomas Forrest 1891-1893
Lorenzo Burt 1894-1896
Brigham Jensen 1897-1902
C.J. Nelson 1902-1906
Lorenzo Burt 1906-1908
Joseph Petersen 1908-1910
J.C. Steenhouse 1910-1914
Carl G. Jeppson 1918
Andrew Petersen 1918-1919
Albert Rassmussen 1919-1920
Aurelius Johnson 1920-1923
Joseph Petersen 1924-1926
Aurelius Johnson 1927-1931
Andrew M. Nielsen 1932-1939
C. O. Christensen 1940-1943
Ernest Iverson 1944-1954
Howard B. Kelly 1955-1977

COMPILED BY: Rosemary Cundiff , July 2002

SOURCES

Brigham City (Utah). City council. Council proceedings index, Utah State Archives (series 6326). Brigham City (Utah).

City council. Minutes, Utah State Archives (Series 3803). Brigham City (Utah). City council. Ordinances, Utah State Archives (series 3662).

Brigham City (Utah). Sexton. Interment records, Utah State Archives (series 22072).

Brigham City (Utah). Sexton. Death and burial register, Utah State Archives (series 22073).