Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service


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Agency History #3121


Iron County miners organized the Silver Belt Mining District in the area northwest of Cedar City in 1872. According to federal law (Statutes at Large, Treaties, and Proclamations, of the United States of America, vol. XVII, chap. 152), mineral deposits in the public domain were free and open to exploration, and locators of the same had exclusive right of possession. Local mining districts established by-laws and oversaw mining operations within specified boundaries. A district recorder kept a record of claims. In 1897 the Utah Legislature enacted a mining law which transferred responsibility for recording claims from mining district recorders to county recorders.


Utah law recognized mining district recorders as public officials and deemed the records in their custody to be official public records, receivable in the courts of the Territory. The by-laws of the Silver Belt Mining District specified that each claim should be recorded by the district recorder within 30 days after location. The mining district recorder was to record claims in a substantially bound book, which was to be available for public inspection. The by-laws also specified that each claim should be marked with a blazed stake three feet high in a raised mound two feet wide at the base and three feet high. The stake was to designate the name of the lode and specify the amount of ground claimed each direction from the stake.


The Silver Belt Mining District recorder was responsible for recording all mining claims. He was elected from among the claim holders in the district for a one year term, and was required to take an oath and give a $3,000 bond.


The recorder appointed deputies as necessary to assist in carrying out his responsibilities, and he collected a fee for recording claims or issuing certificates. In 1897 the Utah Legislature enacted a mining law which required mining district recorders to deposit their books in the office of the county recorder. County recorders of the respective counties assumed the responsibility of recording claims which had previously been recorded by mining district recorders (Laws of Utah, 1897, chapter 36, "Mining Claims").

Louis Fishers 1872-1873
Charles Duncan 1873
James Russell 1873-1875

COMPILED BY: Rosemary Cundiff , November 2001


Laws of Utah, 1897, Chapter 36, "Mining Claims." Statutes at Large, Treaties, and Proclamations, of the United States of America, vol. XVII, chap. 152. Published by authority of Congress, Boston: Brown, Little and Company Silver Belt Mining District (Utah). Recorder, Mining location notices, Utah State Archives, (Series 23968).