Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service


Agency History #3142


When A.M. and D.N. Murdock discovered gold near Look Out Station (former pony express station in Tooele County) in April 1896 they and others organized the Point Look Out Mining District the following month. District boundaries extended three miles east and five miles west from the summit of the Onaqui Mountain, and eight miles north and six miles south from Look Out Pass. 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, vol. 17, 1872, chap. 152). The law authorized local mining districts to keep records and oversee mining operations within specified boundaries. The following year, 1897, the Utah Legislature enacted a mining law which transferred responsibility for keeping mining records to county recorders (Laws of Utah, 1897, chapter 36).


Miners in local districts adopted by-laws to regulate mining activity within the district. By-laws for the Point Look Out District required that all claims be marked by a discovery monument or stake with a location notice posted, and that the corners be marked with stakes. Sixty-four cubic feet of work were required to hold a claim, and by-laws required that notices of location be recorded within 30 days of discovery. Failure to either record the claim or move the necessary earth would forfeit the claim.


In addition to a district recorder, who recorded claims, miners in the Point Look Out Mining District also elected a chairman to preside at all miners' meetings and a secretary to keep minutes for the same. All officials were elected from among the miners of the district for a one year term.

William J. Ritter 1896, May-

COMPILED BY: Rosemary Cundiff , September 2002


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

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

Point Look Out Mining District (Utah). Recorder. Mining records. Utah State Archives (Series 24154).

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.