University News

Historic Court Records Added to SUU Archival Collection

Published: November 19, 2008 | Category: Academics

Historic records from the modern-day Fifth District Court and the territorial Second District Court are now accessible to local researchers on microfilm at the Southern Utah University Gerald R. Sherratt Library.

These records pertain to court proceedings across Washington, Iron and Beaver Counties from statehood in 1896 to 1955 and for the Territorial Second District Court, which was seated in Beaver County, from 1870 to 1896.

Records involved in this project include probate, civil, and criminal case files, as well as court registers of actions, minutes, and judgment books. The records include information about the administration of estates, divorces, and other civil actions as well as criminal cases brought before the court.

Such records are frequently requested by historical researchers. To streamline the research process, finding aids for the newly-archived Fifth District Court proceedings can be found at

Criminal records for the Territorial Second District seated in Beaver include the controversial trail of John D. Lee (1875-1876) for his involvement in the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre.

These Southwestern Utah court records inform us of the lifestyles and challenges of the people in the region, including the transition from the settlement era to a more commercial economy.

Grant funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission allowed the Utah State Archives to archivally process (arrange and describe), microfilm and create finding aids for the historical records of Utah’s Fifth District Court.

The beginning of the project included an inventory of all eight district court’s historical records, which were dispersed through different agencies and locations throughout the state. The inventory is a comprehensive accounting of the state’s historical records. It may be found at

The year-long Judicial Records Preservation and Access grant project was completed in June 2008.

In addition to SUU the Dixie State library has also received microfilm copies of these historical records for the convenience of local users.

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