Harrisburg Mining District (Utah). Recorder

Entity: 3100
Entity Type: Mining District


In 1871, miners in Washington County organized the Harrisburg Mining District (originally the Union Mining District) to manage the mining activity that resulted from John Kemple's discovery of silver at Silver Reef. In accordance with established custom and then federal law, local mining districts managed mining operations and a mining district recorder registered claims of individuals to the valuable mineral deposits they discovered on the public domain. The boundaries of the Harrisburg District included twelve square miles with the Harrisburg school house at the center. Mining in the district produced nearly 8 million dollars worth of silver and led to the establishment of Silver Reef, the only significant mining town in Washington County.

Biography/History Notes

In 1897 the Utah Legislature enacted a mining law, which abolished the office of mining district recorder. County recorders of the respective counties assumed all the duties and responsibilities previously performed by mining district recorders, (Laws of Utah, 1897, chapter 36, Mining Claims) and all books previously kept by district recorders were deposited in the office of the county recorder.

Utah law recognized mining district recorders as public officials, and deemed the records in their custody to be official public records, receivable in the courts of the Territory. Utah law also required that the mining rules and regulations established by each mining district should be recorded by the county recorder in the county where the mining district was located (Compiled Laws of Utah, 1876, Chapter 10). The Harrisburg Mining District recorder was responsible to record all mining claims within the mining district. District by-laws regulated the manner in which claims should be marked and the amount and specific kind of labor which was expected once claims had been recorded.

The mining district recorder was elected from among the mining claim holders within the mining district.

The recorder appointed deputies as necessary to assist in carrying out his responsibilities, and he collected fees for each recording and also for examining the stakes or monuments which marked claims.