Series 23254
Washington County (Utah). County Clerk Water claims and breeders certificates

Dates: 1880-1896; 1916-1926.

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

Historical Note

An agency history is available.

Scope and Content

n 1880 the Territorial Legislature passed the first act establishing and regulating water rights (Laws of the Territory of Utah, 24th session of the Legislative Assembly, Chapter 20). The legislature appointed the selectmen of each county to act as a water commission to generally oversee the distribution and use of water within their county. The water commission evaluated water resources, adjudicated all claims for water use, and issued water certificates validating rights to use water and specifying the amount. The Washington County recorder's Deed Record Book J, which is entitled "Water Claims and Breeders Certificates," contains the minutes of the meetings of the Washington County Water Commission. After the minutes, the county clerk used this book to record breeders certificates (Dec 1916-April 1925). These certificates describe bulls and verify that they are purebred.

The Water Commission appointed a board consisting of selectmen from both Kane and Washington Counties to settle water rights on the Virgin River. The commission specified regulations to govern their adjudication of water claims, and appointed individuals to measure the amount of water in various Washington County rivers and streams. Beginning in 1881, the commission began to evaluating claims. The minutes include a history of the claims presented. Claimants explained how the water had been used previously and how existing claims had been determined, sold, bought, etc. The water commission then determined the legitimacy of claims. Initially, the water commission dealt with water claims presented by many individuals. Later the water commission dealt with claims presented by various companies, including the Bloomington Irrigation Company, Washington Field Canal Company, Hurricane Canal Company, and the LaVerkin Fruit and Nursery Company.

In 1915, the Utah State Legislature tightened regulations on cattle on the public range (Laws of Utah, 1915, chapter 52, section 2). The legislature determined that it should be unlawful to allow any bull to run at large on the public domain other than a pure bred of some recognized breed of cattle. The legislature further mandated that a certificate should be recorded with the county clerk where the bull was to be permitted to run at large. Breeders certificates are sworn statements that an animal is a purebred. The certificates do not follow a particular format, but they provide information relating to the bull's breed, his calving date, his sire and dam, his breeder and owner, and his description including brand. Sometimes the certificates include lengthy pedigrees.



Related Records

Water certificates and deeds from Washington County (Utah). County Recorder, Series 23251, contain the water certificates issued by the water commission.

Access Restrictions

This series is classified as Public.

Preferred Citation

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

Processing Note

Washington County recorder's Book J was microfilmed by Utah State Archives in July 1973 and processed by Rosemary Cundiff in January 2001.

Finding Aids

Indexes: Indexes are included in the book for both breeders certificates and water claims. The index to breeders certificates is not alphabetized, but is simply a list of names associated with the certificates.

Indexing Terms

  • Water rights--Washington County (Utah).
  • Cattle breeders--Washington County (Utah).
  • Water-supply--Washington County (Utah).

Container List

1 Index to breeder's certificates
1 Water commission's minutes
1 Breeder's certificates
1 Index to water commision's minutes

Page Last Updated October 18, 2012.