Mount Baldy Mining District (Utah). Recorder

Entity: 3130
Entity Type: Mining District


George Thomas Henry, a mining expert from Silver Reef, arrived in Marysvale in September 1878 where he and a business partner, Joseph Smith, took room and board with William T. Dennis, an area rancher. Joseph Smith discovered gold one day while following fresh deer tracks in the mountains. The Deer Trail Mine was the first recorded, and one of the most productive in the new Mount Baldy District which was organized by Henry, Dennis, Smith, and others at George Henry's home on 18 September 1878. According to federal law, mineral deposits in the public domain were free and open to exploration, and locators of the same had exclusive right of possession. The law authorized the organization of mining districts to keep records and oversee mining operations within specified boundaries. The organizers of the Mount Baldy District adopted by-laws in October, which affirmed adherence to federal mining law. By-laws established the boundaries for the Mount Baldy District as the area south of the Ohio Mining District and north of City Creek and extending from the Sevier River on the east to the summit of the Tushar Mountains on the west. Mines in the Mount Baldy district produced gold, silver, copper, and lead. The Mount Baldy District functioned until 1897, when the Utah Legislature enacted a mining law which transferred responsibility for keeping mining records to county recorders.

Biography/History Notes

Mount Baldy Mining District by-laws required that all mining claims be marked by a blazed tree, stake, or board designating the name of the claim and the amount of ground claimed. By-laws also required all claims to be recorded by the district recorder within 20 days of discovery. After examining the claim and properly recording the notice of location, the district recorder was required to deliver a signed certificate of location. In addition to notices of location, Mount Baldy district recorders also recorded deeds of mining property sold and affidavits showing proof of annual assessment work. In order to maintain a claim, federal law required the performance of at least $100 worth of labor or improvements annually. Mount Baldy Mining District by-laws required the district recorder to annually visit each claim to assess the value of work done, and to issue a certificate validating his assessment. District by-laws stated that in case the owner did not agree with the recorder's assessment the matter could be arbitrated by three disinterested miners.

Mount Baldy Mining District location notices and other mining records were kept in bound books called "Books of Locations." District law required the recorder to keep another book in which he should enter the by-laws, along with the minutes of all miners' meetings and other business attended. Others could examine these books only in the presence of the recorder or his deputy. As payment for his services, the district recorder was entitled to $2 for each location notice recorded, and an additional $.50 for the certificate. He was to receive $.50 for each proof of labor certificate, plus an additional $.50 per mile for traveling from his office to the claim. For other documents, such as deeds or powers of attorney, he was allowed to collect $1.50.

Miners in the Mount Baldy District met each September at the office of the Deer Trail Mining Company to elect a mining district recorder. Once by-laws had been established, the election of a recorder became the primary function of these meetings, and every claim holder was entitled to vote. Early miners' meetings were well attended, but in the 1890s several meetings were canceled because no one came. In these cases the recorder remained in office for another year.

Mount Baldy District recorders appointed deputies to assist in carrying out their responsibilities. In 1897 the Utah Legislature enacted a mining law, which transferred all responsibility for recording mining records to county recorders (Laws of Utah, 1897, chapter 36, "Mining Claims").