Cedar County (Utah). Probate Court

Entity: 2652
Entity Type: County


The Cedar County Probate Court was established with the creation of the county by the territorial legislature in 1856, to oversee estate, guardianship, civil, criminal, and chancery cases brought to court in the county.

Biography/History Notes

Part of a continuing conflict between the federal government and the Utah Mormon population concerned the jurisdiction of the county probate court. Probate courts under federal law traditionally dealt with matters of estates. The probate court had jurisdiction over the probate of wills, administration of estates of deceased persons, and the guardianship of minors, idiots, and insane persons. In addition, the territorial legislature provided that the probate court have original jurisdiction in civil, criminal, and chancery cases, jurisdiction normally reserved solely for the district courts. The court also was given jurisdiction in divorce cases. Evidence of servitude or slavery had to be filed with the probate court. In 1858, the territorial legislature began requiring all federal appointees to take an oath before a county probate judge.

The Cedar County Probate Court was presided over by a probate judge elected for a one year term by joint vote of the legislative assembly. He was commissioned by the governor and required to file an oath and bond. In the case of a vacancy, the governor could appoint a judge until the next legislature elected one. The probate judge appointed a clerk to keep a record of the proceedings.