On March 15, 1852, the first meeting of the government of Great Salt Lake County in the Territory of Utah was held. The officials met in a long-forgotten post office that was located at 20 South Main Street in downtown Salt Lake City. The first form of County government was called the County Court, which consisted of a probate judge and three selectmen.
Some of the work accomplished at that first meeting included:
The first Probate Judge was Elias Smith, Salt Lake City’s postmaster, providing a possible explanation for why the first County meeting was held at the post office. At this first meeting, 47 year old Elias Smith, first cousin of Mormon founder Joseph Smith, was sworn into office as Salt Lake County’s Probate Judge. The territorial legislature had appointed him to this position.
Judge Smith gave the oath of office to the three appointed County Selectmen at that first meeting, each of whom was designated to receive a salary of $3 per day. Their names were Reuben Miller, Samuel Moore, and Jonathan C. Wright.
The Selectmen met in County Court meetings. These meetings typically lasted four or five days and were held usually once each quarter, in March, June, September, and December.
An Assessor and Collector, and a Treasurer also were appointed at that first meeting on March 15, 1852, a 1/2 percent property tax rate was established, and an additional 1/4 percent was added for “road purposes.”
Above excerpt from the History of Salt Lake County compiled by the Auditor’s Office, Internal Audit Division, in 2005. Check out this compilation on our website for great photographs and history, and also an earlier entry from this blog.