Washington County (Utah). Probate Court Claims abstracts
These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.
An agency history is available.
Scope and Content
The probate court created an abstract or summary of land claims presented during special court sessions held to judge property ownership within Washington County's several cities and towns. The abstracts provide the names of claimants and describe each claim. Most claims contain additional penciled-in information, such as where the deed is recorded, whether the claim was suspended or continued to another session or the property location on an official map. Abstract Book 1 contains claims in the city of Saint George (1871-1876) and in the Pine Valley town site (1881). Abstract Book 2 contains claims in the Washington town site (1872-1873), the Harrisburg town site (1872-1874), the Santa Clara town site (1882), and the Pinto town site (1885).
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 the appropriate land at the land office and purchase it 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 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 of conveyance to each claimant for 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.
By town site.
The abstracts are arranged according to town site, and claims within each town site are numbered separately.
Abstract Book 1 contains two isolated claims in Pine Valley and New Harmony, which were recorded in 1910.
Civil and criminal record books from Washington County (Utah). Probate Court, Series 3168, contain full proceedings of early Saint George adjudication sessions.
Land claims adjudication record books from Washington County (Utah). Probate Court, Series 22875, contain full proceedings of later Saint George adjudication sessions as well those for all other communities.
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.
These books were transferred from the Washington County Court House in January 2001 and processed by Rosemary Cundiff in February 2001. The books were microfilmed and the inventory updated in April 2002.
- Real property--Saint George (Utah).
- Land titles--Registration and transfer--Washington County (Utah).
- Real property--Washington County (Utah).
- Real property--Pine Valley (Utah).
- Real property--Washington (Utah).
- Real property--Harrisburg (Utah).
- Real property--Santa Clara (Utah).
- Real property--Pinto (Utah).
- Washington County (Utah)--Recording and registration.
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