Series 24000
San Juan County (Utah). County Recorder Mining location notices (petroleum)

Dates: 1905-1941.

8 microfilm reelsSkip to Containers

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

Historical Note

An agency history is available.

Scope and Content

Mining location notices in this series document the petroleum boom which peaked in San Juan County in 1908-1909. After oil prospectors opened a gusher in March 1908, the ensuing stampede to the San Juan and Colorado Rivers resulted in the recording of nearly 10,000 location notices by July 1909 (Osmond L. Harline, "Utah's Black Gold," Utah Historical Quarterly, vol. 31, no. 3, p. 297). Federal mining law provided that valuable mineral deposits in the public domain were free and open to exploration and that the locators of the same were to have exclusive right of possession as long as they complied with federal and local law (Statutes at Large, Treaties, and Proclamations, of the United States of America, vol. XVII, chap. 152, also Revised Statutes of the United States, chap. 6, title 32). The first step toward ownership was the discovery of a potentially productive site and recording the claim or notice of location. Each notice affirms that the locator has complied with federal andon local mining laws. Each notice names the claim and provides a description of it, and each notice provides the names of locators and their place of residence.


Within each book claims are arranged chronologically as recorded, however the books are not chronological.

Research Note

The rush on the recorder's office is evidenced both in the volume of records and the way they were put together. Apparently, the office did not have enough books to hold all, because Petroleum Books 1-3 had already been used for other purposes. Petroleum Book 1 was originally the mining record book of the Johnson Creek Mining District. After a few pages recorded by that district in the 1890s, the recorder filled the rest of the book by pasting petroleum notices over the top of each page. He likewise created Petroleum Books 2 and 3 by pasting notices over pages in already used books.

Related Records

Miscellaneous records from San Juan County (Utah). County Recorder, Series 23400, contain additional placer petroleum notices of location, as well as many other mining records.

Mining records index (locations) from San Juan County (Utah). County Recorder, Series 23583, provides reference to the documents in this series.

Mining location notices from Gabel Mining District (Utah). Recorder, Series 24039, contain earlier recorded location notices in the Gabel Mining District.

Mining location notices from Monumental Mining District (Utah), Series 24041, contain earlier location notices for the Monumental District.

Mining district minutes from Monumental Mining District (Utah), Series 24042, relate Monumental Mining District efforts to manage petroleum exploration and drilling during the oil boom.

Mining records from San Juan County (Utah). County Recorder, Series 84250, contain many additional placer petroleum notices of location, as well as many other mining records.

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.

Gaps in Series

There are apparent gaps in Mining Locations E, which skips from 1914 to 1927, and in Mining Record K, which skips from 1926 to 1933. Essentially, these breaks do not reflect actual gaps, but the San Juan County recorder used the remaining pages in one book and then the other for placer claims he recorded after the oil boom ended. In both books, the word "petroleum" has been crossed out on post-boom location notices.

Processing Note

San Juan County location notices for petroleum claims were microfilmed by San Juan County in February and March 2001 and processed by Rosemary Cundiff in January 2002.

Indexing Terms

  • Petroleum—Prospecting—San Juan County (Utah).
  • Mines and mineral resources—Ownership—San Juan County (Utah).
  • Mining claims—San Juan County (Utah).

Container List

1 Mar 1905-Feb 1908 (Mining Locations A)
2 Mar-Aug 1908 (Mining Locations B)
2 Oct 1908-Feb 1910 (Mining Locations C)
3 Jan 1909-Feb 1911 (Placer Petroleum D)
4 Jun 1910-Mar 1933 (Mining Locations E)
5 Aug 1911-Jun 1941 (Mining Record K)
6 Jan-Jul 1909 (Petroleum Book 1)
7 Feb-Oct 1909 (Petroleum Book 2)
8 Jan-Mar 1909 (Petroleum Book 3)

Page Last Updated October 18, 2012.