Series 30478
Spanish Fork (Utah) Mayor's deeds records

Dates: 1873- ca. 1946

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These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.

Scope and Content

This series contains two bound books used to record the transfer of property from the Mayor to property owners in the city. Prior to 1868 settlers in Utah did not have legal claim to the property they occupied. In 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. 14, chap. 177). The act provided that officials of incorporated towns should enter town site lands at the federal land office and purchase them in trust for the inhabitants. In accordance with the provisions of the law, the Utah Territorial Legislature passed "An Act prescribing Rules and Regulations for the execution of the Trust arising under" the federal law. (Compiled Laws of Utah, 1876. Title 19, Chap. 4). This law dictated that within 30 days after making the entry, the mayor of the town give public notice and advertise the land he had entered. Each person claiming to be the rightful owner of land within the town had six months to "sign a statement in writing, containing an accurate description of the particular parcel ... and deliver the same to the Clerk of the Probate Court." The clerk was to make record of the claim in a book and file the statement. If the court received conflicting claims for the same property it was to hear evidence and settle the claim. If no adverse claims were received by the Court it would issue summons to the claimants, who were required to appear before the court with evidence to support their claims and minutes were to be taken and preserved. If the court determined a claim to be valid, it would certify that to the mayor, who would then issue a deed to the claimant.

This series contains an account book that appears to have belonged to Mayor George D. Snell, who used it to track his own finances from 1871 to 1882. In the back of the book he made a record of business licenses issued in 1875 and 1877. He also recorded the deeds he issued to land claimants starting in 1873. He initially noted the deed number, name of the claimant, amount of property deeded, and the fee assessed. Later he would include the date of the deed as well. The record apparently passed on to subsequent mayors, who continued the record until 1898.

The series contains a second volume identified as the "Record of Mayor's Deeds for City lots and Farm lands within the Townsite Entry for Spanish Fork City Compiled by order of the City Council . . . from original Record and Certificates of Ownership issued by Probate Judge George W. Bean, 1873." The book is dated 1898 and the information it contains was likely based in part on Mayor Snell's record. The book records the names of property owners, amount of property deeded, location of property, and date of the probate judge's certificate. It also includes a listing of owners by block and lot numbers. Although originally created in 1898, the record was added to as late as 1946. There is also a list of irrigation users dating from the early 1930s.

In addition to the two books recording land ownership, the series contains one certificate from the Probate Court, certifying the land claim of Joseph H. Randall. All claimants would have presented such a certificate to the mayor to receive a deed to their property and those certificates were apparently used to create the 1898 "Record of Mayor's Deeds," but only a single certificate was transferred to the the State Archives.


Chronological by deed number, alphabetical by owner name, and numerical by block and lot number.

Custody History

The City Recorder transferred the records in this series to the State Archives in July 2020.

Access Restrictions

This series is classified as Public: Utah Code 63G-2-301(2).

Preferred Citation

Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.

Processing Note

The records in this series were archivally processed by Heidi Steed and Alan B. Barnett in February 2023.

Container List

1 1 Mayor George D. Snell's] account book; 1871-1898
1 2 Record of Mayor's Deeds; 1873-1946
1 3 Probate Court certificate for Joseph H. Randall; 1878 Jun 27

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