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Mormon Legal History 1850-1900: Utah Territory era: Student Papers

This resource guide covers print and online resources for legal and Mormon history during the Utah Territorial era (1847-1896).

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Legal History Papers by BYU Law Students

Note: Items listed below may only be viewed from the BYU Campus in Provo, Utah.

Michael C. Austin, Life History of Hyrum Smith and Lexia Curtis Harris: With an Emphasis on Their Accomplishments in the Field of Law (1978)
Biography of a Provo, Utah couple who both studied and practiced law. Hyrum Smith Harris (1860-1937, University of Michigan LLB 1894) and his wife, Lexia Amina Curtis Harris (1865-1952) passed the Utah bar in 1894. Hyrum also studied law in Mexico City for six years, after which he helped the Mormon Colonies in northern Mexico, and then returned to Utah.

Appendices include stories of Hyrum’s father in Nauvoo, Illinois (1840s), and photocopies of Hyrum’s Northwestern States Mission release (1887), Karl G. Maeser letter of recommendation to attend law school (1892), Hyrum’s hiring by the LDS Church to work in Mexico (1895), Articles of Incorporation for the Juarez Manufacturing and Power Company (1900) [in Spanish], and the first pages of a deed for property in Colombia (1900).

James H. Backman & Stanley J. Preston, Early Utah Territory and State Lawyers (1980)
Compilation of names, birth and death dates, and locations for
“I. Practicing Attorneys Who Were Active Mormons [6 pages],
II. Probate Judges and Part-Time Attorneys Who Were Active Mormons [9 pages],
III. Practicing Attorneys Who May Have Been Mormons or Were Inactive Mormons [5 pages, and]
IV. History of Mormon Lawyers: Journals, Autobiographies and Other Original Papers [12 pages]”

KeerthiDeep Burre, Polygamy in Other Societies and in the Mormon Society (2009)
Comparative look at polygamy in Islam, Hinduism, and Mormonism

Kenneth L. Cannon II, “Mountain Common Law”: Extralegal Punishment of Seducers in Early Utah in Historical Perspective (1981)
Examines the murders in Utah Territory of James Monroe by Howard Egan (1851), of a Mr. Campbell by William Hughes (attempted, 1868), of Richard Brown by John J. Baum (1871), James Hendry by James & Ezra Hall (1871), and of a Mr. Reeves by Wilford H. Halliday (1874). Also looks at the murder of Parley P. Pratt by Hector McLean (1857, in Arkansas), and of Stanford White by Harry K. Thaw (1906, in New York City)

Elizabeth D. Gee, Territorial Justice on Trial: An Analysis of Potential Religious Prejudice by the Utah Territorial Supreme Court, 1876-1895 (1978)
Statistical analysis of court decisions in Utah Territory looking at bias for or against Mormons in the federal courts

Russell L. Mahan, The History of the County Attorneys of Garfield County (1978)
Overview and history of the position of county attorney within Utah and Garfield County, Utah, as well as short biographies of the sixteen individuals who served as Garfield County attorney from 1882 to 1978

Brad Masters, Reynolds v. United States (2014)
Brief history of the background, major participants, and aftermath of the 1878 US Supreme Court case on polygamy and the First Amendment

David Read, Be Ye Wise As Serpents: A Brief History of the General Counsel to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (2009)
Biographical info on Franklin S. Richards (1849-1934), Wilford “Bill” W. Kirton, Jr. (1922-2000), and Oscar W. McConkie, Jr. (1926- )

Fay E. Reber, The Trials of John D. Lee (1978)
History of the proceedings and attorneys in the two trials in 1875 and 1876 of the only man executed for participating in the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857

Blake Richards, Franklin S. Richards (2013)
Biography of General Counsel of the LDS Church (1849-1934)

David E. Silvester, The Young Family in the Law (1978)
Biographies of four relatives of LDS Church President Brigham Young (1801-1877) who studied and/or practiced law: LeGrand Young (nephew, 1840-1921, University of Michigan LLB 1874), Alfales Young (son, 1853-1920, University of Michigan LLB 1877), Richard W. Young (grandson, 1858-1919, Columbia LLB 1884), and Dallas Huber Young, Sr. (great-nephew, 1892-1971, University of Utah LLB 1925).

Extensive appendices include biographical statements, letters, genealogical charts, newspaper articles, and other source documents used for writing the student paper.

Stacie Stewart & Kristen Olsen, Pioneers Who Paved the Way: A Look at Some of Utah’s First Women Lawyers (2013)
Short biographies of 15 of Utah’s first women lawyers: Cora Georgiana Snow Carleton (1844-1915), Phoebe Wilson Couzins (1839-1913), Rebecca Garelick (1903-1995), Reva Zilpha Beck Bosone (1895-1983), Dorathy Seeley Merrill Brothers (1909-1985), Donna Vivienne Seare Adams (1910-1962), Virginia Frances Seare (1909-1986), Mary Alice Meagher Arentz (1910-1998), Katherine C. Meagher Ivers (1911-1963), Dorothea Merrill Dryer (1915-1990), Mary John Condas Lehmer (1919-1987), Mildred (Mimi) Bird Mortensen (1926- ), Jacque Benson Bell (ca. 1927- ), Mary Jane Carter Due (1922-1991), and Irene Warr (1931-2013)

Reed Willis, Representing the Underdogs (2009)
Biographies of author’s non-attorney grandfather Edwin Jones and three attorneys: Thomas Kane (1822-83), Jim Parkinson (BYU JD ‘76), and Adam Ford (Utah bar ‘07)

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