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Inquest Register

March 3, 1898 - November 1, 1902

  • Agency: Justice of the Peace (Fifth Precinct: 1874-1902
  • Series: 4886
  • Dates: March 3, 1898 to November 1, 1902
  • Size: 1 Microfilm reel
  • Arrangement: Chronological


It was the duty of the justice of the peace to act as coroner and hold inquests on the bodies of those supposed to have died of unlawful means within his precinct. According to legislation passed in 1896, a register of inquests was to be kept recording:

  • date
  • the name of the deceased if known
  • if not, a description of the deceased
  • the description of any property found on the deceased and its disposition
  • the cause of death if determined

This register contains documentation of inquests held by Alexander McMaster and Dana T. Smith, justices of the peace in the 5th precinct of Salt Lake City in Salt Lake County. In addition to the information specified above register entries usually include:

  • The place of the inquest
  • Jurors names and witnesses names
  • If an autopsy was held, the names of the doctors are usually stated
  • Dates that a venire was issued
  • Subpoenas issued
  • Files turned over to the district court, etc. are also mentioned
  • The costs of the inquest and burial are often itemized along with the name of the individual assuming the cost if other than the county.

Each summary is brief, rarely extending beyond a single page. 

The location of any inquest register from McMaster's previous term is unknown. In 1901, new legislation provided that henceforth cities of the first class no longer be divided into multiple precincts, thereby bringing the series to a close with the end of the term in 1902.

Name Index Available.

Description from Utah State Archives catalog. Ronda Frazier, August 2007