The records reproduced in this publication originated in the US district courts at Salt Lake City, Ogden, Provo, and Beaver, seats of the four US judicial districts that existed in the territorial period. When Utah became a state in 1896, these territorial courts were dissolved, and their records were transferred to the new US district court for Utah, and to the circuit court (10th circuit) in Salt Lake City.
Most of the 2,593 case files transferred to the US district court concern crimes of cohabitation, usually polygamy. Each file generally contains a printed complaint form, a warrant for the arrest of the defendant, and subpoenas ordering the defendant's wives to appear as witnesses. A case file may also include orders of the court, a transcript of the testimony, a memorandum of court costs and disbursements, sureties' bond, and a notice of appeal, if applicable. Few Judgments are given.
This series also includes case files involving robbing the mails, illegal voting, violations of liquor and tobacco tariff laws, possession of counterfeit coins, and embezzlement. The 95 case files transferred to the US circuit court primarily concern trespassing, both on private and public land; illegal fencing; illegal cutting; and land disputes over preemptions and homesteads. Other subjects include unlawful cohabitation, violations of postal laws, defrauding the federal government of tax revenue, and counterfeiting.
Each case file usually contains a complaint stating plaintiff’s cause of action, an answer by the defendant, and summons. Occasionally Included are subpoenas, demurrers, findings of fact, records of disbursements, and judgment and execution.
Portions of the information in this section are from the introductory remarks that precede each roll of microfilm from which the images in this title are taken. A PDF of the full introduction is available here.