Legislative Council Journal record books
Dates: i 1858-1882.
These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.
An agency history is available.
Scope and Content
These two volumes contain the journal entries for the territorial legislative council, or senate, from the eighth session through the twenty-fifth session. They constitute the handwritten minutes of the council's proceedings. The legislature began keeping journals shortly after the creation of the territory in 1850. Most early minutes appear to have been discarded following publication. The entries were kept by a clerk and signed by the president of the council. The territorial secretary was to keep custody of the journals and arrange for their publication and distribution. Entries for the House of Representatives are also included for 1880; these were normally kept in House JOURNAL RECORD BOOKS.
Each day's entry covers a standard order of business. The place and date is entered, there is note of the call to order and roll, a prayer, then the daily legislative business, reading of minutes, adjournment, and a closing benediction. While the activities are noted, details are not. The beginning day of each session usually lists those members answering to roll call, thereafter the entries just specify if a quorum is present.
Legislative business is only slightly more detailed. The process of enacting legislation via bills and resolutions is the most frequent business recorded. The title of the bill is noted (the contents are not recorded) as is its status: which reading it is at, whether or not it is passed, whether it has been referred back to committee, what amendments or rewrites are motioned for, etc. The names of individuals motioning for these actions are recorded. Original bills are numbered, proceeded by H.F. for House file and C.F. for Council file, depending on where they were introduced.
The election of senate officers is recorded as is the election by joint session of officials from notary, to county probate judge, to Penitentiary director. The appointment of legislative committees is common at the beginning of each session, with the name of the committee and its members recorded.
Committee reports may also be entered in the record and are a little more narrative than much of the business noted; the reports cover a wide spectrum of business from the condition of coal mines to taxation on federal military reserves. Brief reports of territorial agencies, such as the Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Society, University of Deseret, Treasurer, and the Auditor's Office, are regularly read into the record.
Messages from the House, usually relating to a joint session or the passage of a bill in that house, are recorded in full. Other less frequent messages are those from the territorial secretary regarding administrative matters or the governor's wishes in relation to legislation. Annual messages from the governor are noted, but may or may not be recorded; if not, the reader is referred to the Executive Journal for the contents. Tributes are rare but long, notably one read into the record in 1878 following the death of Brigham Young the previous year.
Executive record books from the Secretary of State, Series 242, includes a more complete set of the governor's annual messages to the territorial legislature than are cited in the minutes of the Legislative Council.
Journals from the Legislative Assembly, Series 3145, contain the published minutes from 1851-1880.
Legislative acts, resolutions, and memorial journals from the Secretary of State, Series 3148, contains official copies of legislation and resolutions mentioned in these journal record books.
Territorial legislative records from the Legislative Assembly, Series 3150, contain many original copies of bills and other papers of the territorial legislature referred to here.
Journal record books from the Legislative Assembly. House, Series 16660, include the rest of the handwritten House minutes.
Laws of Utah from the Legislature, Series 83155, contain the final versions of bills and resolutions passed by the legislature.
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.
Microfilmed in 1970. Archivally processed by A.C. Cone in 1990.
- Young, Brigham, 1801-1877.
- Legislators—Utah—Selection and appointment.
- Legislative bodies—Utah—Committees.
- Utah—Politics and government—1858-1882.
Page Last Updated October 18, 2012.