Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

FREE COINAGE MINING DISTRICT (UTAH). RECORDER

Agency History #3144

CREATION

In the shadow of large mining districts like Ophir, Rush Valley and Camp Floyd, a number of small mining districts were organized in Tooele County in the 1890s. The development of the cyanide process and the construction of the first commercial cyanide mill in Mercur greatly enhanced the profitability of gold mining and was a stimulus to increased mining activity throughout the area. A group of miners at the Free Coinage Mining Camp in Timpee Canyon organized the Free Coinage Mining District on 28 May 1895. This district covered the area north and west of Grantsville. Landmarks mentioned in the description of the mining district's boundaries include Timpee Spring, the eastern slope of the Onequi Mountains, Willow Canyon, and Burnt Springs in Skull Valley. This new mining district was organized according to federal law which stated that 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 the organization of mining districts to keep records and oversee mining operations within specified boundaries. 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).

FUNCTIONS

In local areas miners organized mining districts and elected district recorders to oversee mining operations and keep records of claims. The by-laws of the Free Coinage District required that all claims be distinctly marked on the ground by stakes or monuments, both at the point of discovery and at the corners. Prospectors were allowed up to 1500 feet in length and 300 feet in width as per federal regulation. Miners were required to have claims recorded by the district recorder within 30 days of discovery.

ADMINISTRATION

Free Coinage by-laws provided for a mining district recorder to be elected by a majority of qualified voters in the district for a two year term. Bone fide voters included all who held 'live' claims within the district, whether recorded in the records of the Free Coinage District or in the records of the Tooele County recorder.

ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

Free Coinage by-laws provided for the district recorder to appoint one or more 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 Free Coinage District were transferred to the office of the Tooele County recorder.

DISTRICT RECORDER
Edward Bird 1895, May-1897, Apr

COMPILED BY: Rosemary Cundiff , August 2002

SOURCES

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

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

Free Coinage Mining District (Utah). Recorder. Mining records. Utah State Archives (Series 24156).

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.

United States. Mining district by-laws. Utah State Archives (Series 3651).

Young, Earl B. "The Mercur Mining District," News Bulletin of the Mineralogical Society of Utah. (December 1943) Vol. 4, no. 2, p. 13-30.