Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service


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Agency History #3141


On 12 February 1896 mine owners of Little Valley and Vernon Creek met at the Old Benyon log cabin at the mouth of Little Valley Creek to organize the Blue Bell Mining District. This mining district included an area in the southeast corner of Tooele County. The development of the cyanide process in the early 1890s, and the construction of the first commercial cyanide mill in Mercur greatly enhanced the profitability of gold mining, stimulating mining activity, and prompting the organization of several new mining districts. These districts were organized according to federal law which states that mineral deposits in the public domain are free and open to exploration, and locators of the same have exclusive right of possession (Statutes at Large, Treaties, and Proclamations, of the United States of America, vol. 17, 1872, chap. 152). In 1896 the law authorized the organization of mining districts to keep records and oversee mining operations within specified boundaries. The following year the Utah Legislature enacted a mining law, which transferred responsibility for keeping mining records to county recorders (Laws of Utah, 1897, chapter 36).


In accordance with federal guidelines, mining districts adopted by-laws to regulate mining activity within the district and elected recorders to keep records of claims. Prospectors in the Blue Bell District were required to build a monument at the site within ten days after the discovery of a potential location. By-laws gave them 30 days to mark the four corners and to have a location notice recorded. By-laws required that location notices describe claims in terms of some permanent local object. According to federal law, annual assessment work was required to maintain claims. In the Blue Bell District proof of assessment labor was established by the signature of two or more witnesses. Mines in the Blue Bell District produced gold, lead and silver. Some prominent mines were the Blue Bell Lode, Twilite Lode, and the Brown Mountain Claim.


Miners in the district elected one of their number to be mining district recorder for a one year term. The recorder collected $1 for each claim recorded, and kept all records open for public inspection.


The recorder appointed deputies to assist him as needed. In 1897 the Utah Legislature enacted a mining law which transferred responsibility for keeping mining records to county recorders. (Laws of Utah, 1897, chapter 36). The mining records of the Blue Bell District were transferred to the office of the Tooele County recorder.

Albert Brown Feb 1896-May 1897

COMPILED BY: Rosemary Cundiff , August 2002


Blanthorn, Ouida. A History of Tooele County. Utah Historical Society, 1998.

Blue Bell Mining District (Utah). Recorder. Mining records. Utah State Archives (Series 24153).

Butler, B.S., G. F. Loughlin, V.C. Heikes and others. Ore Deposits of Utah. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1920.

Laws of Utah, 1897, Chapter 36. Utah State Archives (Series 83155).

Statutes at Large, Treaties, and Proclamations, of the United States of America, vol. 17, chap. 152. Published by authority of Congress, Boston: Brown, Little and Company.