Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

SALT LAKE COUNTY (UTAH). CLERK

Agency History #956

CREATION

The Salt Lake County Clerk, as a member of the county court, was created by the provisional government of the State of Deseret in 1850. The County Clerk was first created as Clerk of the County Court in 1850 ( O.S.D., 1850, p. 21 sec 25). Following statehood in 1896 the name was officially changed to County Clerk.

FUNCTIONS

The County Clerk is the accountant and bookkeeper of the county and is required to keep an official record of every business transaction of the county and carefully file all papers, books, and records which pertain to public affairs. The clerk also has a number of responsibilities in the conduct of elections and the organization of political parties in Utah.

Initially Salt Lake county clerks were appointed by the county court (2639) as Clerk of the County Court with the requirements to take an oath of office, file a bond with the supreme court, affix their seal to all papers, keep a record of all proceedings, issue processes, and deliver appeal transcripts ( O.S.D., 1850, p. 21, sec 25). Further duties were added in 1851 when the clerk was required to settle with the county road commissioner, the assessor, and collector, report fiscal affairs of the county, receive claims against the county ( O.S.D., 1851 p. 19 sec. 4), prepare election notices (ibid., p. 24, sec. 2), and perform various other election duties ( O.S.D., 1850, p. 9-11, sec. 6-20).

The territorial legislature required the clerk of the county court to keep a record of marks and brands ( L. of U., 1852, p. 85, sec. 6), count election votes with the selectmen or probate judge ( L. of U., 1851-70, p. 90, sec 7), fill out tax levies and deliver them to the assessor and collector and to make an annual report of the county treasurer (L. of U., 1854, p. 9, sec. 10).

In 1888, the office of clerk of the county court was made elective for a term of two years with the clerk acting as ex-officio clerk of the probate court (L. of U., 1888, chap. 51, sec. 1, Art. 2). The clerk's duties as probate court clerk ended when the granting of statehood in 1896 dissolved the probate court.

Following statehood the title of the office was changed to County Clerk with the clerk designated as clerk to the board of county commissioners (921) with duties to record complete minutes of board meetings, file reports, and list all claims allowed and report the same to the county treasurer (L. of U., 1896, chap. 131, sec. 16). In 1933 the county clerk's role was expanded to ex- officio clerk of the district court along with clerk to the board of county commissioners (Rev. Stat., 1933, 19-5-14 and Rev. Stat., 1933, 19-17-1; Const. Art. 8, sec. 14).

District Court (275, 1688) duties included keeping the seal of the court, issuing of notices and entering a synopsis of all orders, judgments, and decrees. These duties were expanded in 1943 to include the keeping of a fee book, register of criminal actions, record of naturalization-declarations of intention, book of jurors' certificates, witness book, record of attendance of all jurors and witnesses, execution book, judgment book, judgment docket, administration of oaths, register of probate and guardianship proceedings, and probate record books. (Utah Code Annotated, 1943 Chapter 17, 19- 17-2).

As clerk of the board of county commissioners the clerk was required to keep a bounty record ( Rev. Stat. 1933, 19-17-1), a record of marks and brands (ibid., 3-5-98), record of incorporations until 1961 (ibid., 18-2-9), a fee book for all monies received (ibid., 19-17-4), register of marriages (idem), 58-2-2), send marriage statistics to state board of health (ibid., 35-2-2), execute under seal all deeds and conveyances of real estate for the county, take acknowledgments and administer oaths, keep the seal of the county clerk (ibid., 19-17-4), and file all official bonds of county officials, except his own (ibid., 19-13-11).

Other duties as clerk include the keeping of all proceedings of the board with full entries of all resolutions, record the vote of each member on any case in which there is a division, preparation of certified list of all claims allowed, filing of all reports and petitions to board members, authentication with seal of all ordinances and proceedings, recording of all orders levying taxes.

Election duties of the county clerk include the keeping of minutes of all election proceedings, notification of all election officers of their appointments (ibid., 25-2-23), filing of certificate of nomination (ibid., 25-4-3), preparing and delivering of ballots and poll books (ibid., 25-6-8), and acting as ex-officio clerk of the board of county canvassers (ibid., 25-7-2), in which capacity the clerk is required to record the results of elections (ibid., 25-7-5); deliver election certificates to winning candidates (ibid., 25-7-7); make certified abstracts of canvassers' records (ibid., 25-7-8); and transmit them to the secretary of state (ibid., 25-10-20). The clerk is also required to submit a report to the secretary of state of the election of and appointment of county officers. The report must include the elected officials name, county of residence, name of office elected to, and expiration of term ( Utah Code Annotated, 1943, 19-17-5).

The county clerk was also allowed the appointment of deputies (ibid., 19-13-7). In Salt Lake County the clerk must maintain offices at the county seat and must keep their offices open for the transaction of business from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ibid., 19-13-9).

In 1988 the county clerk's duties as district court clerk were revoked and simplified with duties simply stated as follows: "The county clerk is clerk of the governing body of the county." This description applies to all clerks except for those in secondary counties where clerks also act as clerk to the district court in the state district court administrative system (Laws of Utah, 1988, 17-20-1).

ADMINISTRATION

The county clerk is governed by the County Commissioners who are responsible for "all county affairs in general and the supervision of all county officers and departments" ( State and Local Government in Utah 1962, p. 178) and insure "that they faithfully perform their duties" (Utah State Government, p. 117).

COUNTY CLERKS

Cummings, James W. 1852-1860
East, E.W. 1861-1871
Buckholt, Dirk 1872-1884
Cutler, John C. 1884-1890
Allen, Clarence E. 1890-1892
Meloy, Henry V. 1893-1894
Stanton, Charles Egbert 1895-1896
Dunbar, David C. 1897-1900
James, John 1901-1904
Eldredge, J.U. Jr. 1905-1908
Witcher, Margaret Z. 1909-1912
Palmer, L.P. 1913-1914
Holmer, Thomas 1915-1918
Clark, J.E. 1919-1920
Cowan, Clarence 1921-1926
Mackay, Alonzo 1927-1934
Korth, W.J. 1935-1941
Keddington, Alvin 1942-1964
Weiler, Jacob 1965-1966
Allen, Richard G. 1967-1968
Evans, William Sterling 1968-1983
Hindley, H. Dixon 1983-1991
Swenson, Sherrie 1991-present

COMPILED BY: Kenneth R. Williams, April 28, 1995

SOURCES

Allen, James B. The Evolution of County Boundaries in Utah. Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah State Historical Society, October 1955.

Morris, Bent C. Utah Profile, 1991-1992. Orem, Utah: American Heritage Publications, 1991.

Thomas, George. Utah State Government and Twenty-Seven Federal Agencies. Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1944.

Utah. Archives. Court history documents summaries and history. Compiled by Douglas S. Beckstead, circa 1988.

Utah. Historical Records Survey. Inventory of the County Archives of Utah, 30 vols. no. 29, Beaver County.

Utah. Legislature. Laws of Utah. [Series #83155]

Utah. Legislature. Utah Code Annotated. [Series #83238]

Utah. Legislature. Compiled Laws of Utah. [Series #83238]

Utah. Legislature. Utah Code Unannotated. [Series #1052]

Utah. Territorial Legislature. Ordinances of the State of Deseret 1850-1851.

Utah Constitution.

Utah Foundation. State and Local Government in Utah.