Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

WILLIAMS MINING DISTRICT (UTAH). RECORDER

Agency History #3125

CREATION

Jonathan P. Williams, a trader and prospector in San Juan County, is said to have prompted a rush of gold seekers searching for placer or "flour" gold along San Juan County rivers. Mr. Williams' report of wealth near the confluence of the San Juan and Colorado Rivers was exaggerated by newspaper accounts and railroad promoters who offered special fares to "Utah's Eldorado." In December 1895, Mr. Williams and his associates met to organize a mining district in the area. According to federal law, mineral deposits in the public domain were free and open to exploration, and locators of the same had exclusive right of possession (Statutes at Large, Treaties, and Proclamations, of the United States of America, 1872, vol. XVII, chap. 152). Federal law authorized the organization of local mining districts to manage mining operations and record claims. At the organizational meeting, gathered miners established by-laws, elected a district recorder, and decided to call this district the Williams Mining District. Less than two years after the organization of the Williams District, the Utah Legislature enacted a mining law which transferred responsibility for recording location notices and other mining documents to county recorders.

FUNCTIONS

Nineteenth century mining districts served two primary functions. They established rules and regulations based on federal law and adapted to local needs, and they selected a recorder to keep official records concerning each claim. Williams Mining District by-laws specified that each claim should be recorded by the district recorder within 60 days after location in a book that should remain open for public inspection.

ADMINISTRATION

Williams Mining District miners elected a recorder to serve for a two year term. The district recorder could appoint deputies to assist him as needed.

ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

In 1897 the Utah Legislature enacted a mining law which transferred responsibility for recording location notices and other mining documents to county recorders (Laws of Utah, 1897, chapter 36, "Mining Claims"). All books previously kept by district recorders were to be deposited in the office of the county recorder.

MINING DISTRICT RECORDER:
R.W. Bastian 1896-(1897)

COMPILED BY: Rosemary Cundiff, January 2002

SOURCES

Laws of Utah, 1897, Chapter 36, "Mining Claims," Utah State Archives (series 83155). McPherson, Robert S. A History of San Juan County: in the Palms of Time. Utah Historical Society, 1995). Statutes at Large, Treaties, and Proclamations, of the United States of America, 1872, vol. XVII, chap. 152. Published by authority of Congress, Boston: Brown, Little and Company.Williams Mining District (Utah). Recorder, Mining Location Notices, Utah State Archives (series 24040).