Washington County (Utah). Probate Court Land claims adjudication record books
Some records may not be available for research from June 1-11, 2015 due to equipment upgrades. Please consider visiting beforehand or contacting the Research Center for more information.
These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.
An agency history is available.
Scope and Content
Washington County Probate Court's Land Claims Adjudication Books are records of the proceedings of special court sessions held to judge property ownership within Washington County's several cities and towns. The testimony of each claimant, as recorded in the record books, contains proof of his identity, a description of the boundaries for the property he claimed, and a history of his occupancy on the property, including time of arrival and the nature of improvements made. Each testimony is followed by the court's decision about the claim. Special sessions were held to distribute land in the St. George, Santa Clara, Washington and Harrisburg town sites.
The probate court adjudications were prompted by national and territorial legislation. In March 1867, Congress passed "An Act for the Relief of the Inhabitants of Cities and Towns upon the Public Lands" (Statutes at Large, Treaties, and Proclamations, of the United States of America, vol. XIV, chap. CLXXVII. Published by authority of Congress, Boston: Brown, Little and Company). This act provided that corporate officials, for incorporated towns, or the judge of the county court if not incorporated, should enter town site lands at the land office and purchase them for the benefit of all inhabitants. Congress further specified that state or territorial legislatures should prescribe rules for the disposal of individual lots.
Pursuant to this law, the Utah Territorial Legislature established regulations for disposing of town site lands. (Compiled Laws of Utah, 1876. Chap IV). Within 30 days after making the entry, the judge or mayor was required to give public notice and advertise the land he had entered. Every person, association or corporation claiming to be rightful owners to any part of this land was required within six months to present a claim to the probate court. In case of adverse claims the probate judge was required to "decide according to justice in the case," and when claims were undisputed, to determine the validity of the claim. The probate judge or mayor was required to issue a deed conveying to each claimant the land adjudged to him. The costs of purchase and distribution were to be prorated among the claimants and any unclaimed land was to be sold at auction.
Chronological by special session in most cases.
Record Book E (1873-1876) contains special sessions for Saint George, Harrisburg, and Washington. Book F (1875-1886), contains more special sessions for these communities and also for Santa Clara.
Civil and criminal record books from Washington County (Utah). Probate Court, Series 3168, record the proceedings of the first special sessions, distributing land in the Saint George town site.
Deeds (Washington) from Washington County (Utah). County Recorder, Series 23262, contain deeds conveying lands from the general land office to the probate judge or mayor as well as mayor's or probate judge's deeds conveying land to claimants in the Washington and Harrisburg town sites.
Deeds (Pine Valley) from Washington County (Utah). County Recorder, Series 23264, contain deeds conveying lands from the general land office to the probate judge as well as probate judge's deeds conveying land to claimants in Santa Clara.
Deeds (Saint George) from Washington County (Utah). County Recorder, Series 23286, contain deeds conveying lands from the general land office to the probate judge or mayor as well as mayor's or probate judge's deeds conveying land to claimants in the Saint George town site.
Claims abstracts from Washington County (Utah). Probate Court, Series 23578, contain summaries of the land claims adjudicated by the probate court.
Deeds from Washington County (Utah). County Recorder, Series 84219, include copies of deeds conveying land from the general land office to the probate judge.
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.
Washington County Probate Court Record Books were microfilmed by the Utah Genealogical Society in October 1966 and processed by Rosemary Cundiff in October 2000.
Indexes: Indexes to claimants appear at the end of Book E and at the beginning of Book F.
- Real property--Saint George (Utah).
- Land titles--Registration and transfer--Washington County (Utah).
- Real property--Washington County (Utah).
- Real property--Washington (Utah).
- Real property--Harrisburg (Utah).
- Real property--Santa Clara (Utah).
- Washington County (Utah)--Recording and registration.
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