National Guard Carbon County firearms confiscation correspondence
Dates: i 1922-1931.
These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.
An agency history is available.
Scope and Content
During the summer of 1922, labor strikes in the Carbon County coal fields resulted in the declaration of martial law by Governor Charles R. Mabey. The National Guard was called into active duty, and residents were ordered to turn over all firearms to military authorities. Following the end of martial law, U.S. citizens could apply for the return of their guns. This series is the correspondence generated as a result of individuals attempting to reclaim their property from the National Guard.
The first folder in the series consists of administrative memoranda. Of note are copies of the proclamations of Governor Mabey, one issued 14 June 1922 declaring martial law and one issued 15 September 1922 ending martial law. There are also compiled listings of firearms collected by various units of the Guard and a memo sent to the various units of the Guard appealing for the recovery of any citizen's firearms in the possession of individual members of the Guard. Finally, there are letters from the Attorney General defining the use of firearms in destroying predators and regarding the sale of unclaimed firearms.
The second folder contains letters from residents requesting return of their guns; these letters were separated from the bulk of the correspondence pending proof of citizenship. Unless an unnaturalized foreign born person was actively employed in the destruction of predatory animals or in caring for stock on the range, that person could not own or have in his possession any firearm. Therefore, "requests from people having foreign names where there is a question as to citizenship, same must be accompanied by a certificate from the County Clerk of Carbon County attesting their citizenship." (Adjutant General W.G. Williams, letter to A.M. Evans, Mayor of Helper, 26 Sept. 1922.)
The remaining folders constitute the bulk of the correspondence. These are letters from residents requesting the return of their firearms. These letters are often accompanied by receipts issued when the gun was taken and by notarized statements regarding naturalization or oaths swearing the individual was native born. If such documentation did not accompany the original request, there is often a letter from Adjutant General Williams requesting it. There are also frequently letters from the Adjutant General stating that they could not find the gun and internal correspondence between the Adjutant General's office and the Quarter Master's office attempting to find the gun. Often a more detailed description of the weapon, including model and serial number, was requested. If the gun was located, there is often a shipping memo from the Quarter Master's office, or rarely a receipt from American Express. In instances where the firearms could not be located, correspondence between the Guard and the owner, or the owner's heirs, might span a number of years. In some such cases a new gun was eventually purchased or one substituted from the unclaimed guns and shipped as a replacement. The correspondence documents all these transactions.
Arrangement is by type of document. Thereafter, the administrative memoranda are chronological and the file pending proof of citizenship is alphabetical by owner's surname, thereunder chronological. The remaining folders are also alphabetical by surname, thereunder chronological.
Adjutant General's records from the National Guard, Series 6308, provides more detail on the role of the National Guard during the strike.
This series is classified as Public.
Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.
Archivally processed by A.C. Cone in 1992. Arranged chronologically within the original topical and alphabetical folders. Microfilmed, with the paper copy destroyed following filming, in 1992.
- Strikes and lockouts—Coal mining—Utah—Carbon County.
- Martial law—Utah.
- Firearms owners—Employment—Utah.
Page Last Updated October 18, 2012.