The State of Utah was governed as
a territory from 1847 until granted statehood in 1896.
In January 1850, the first counties in Utah Territory
were established; Weber County was formed first.
The county's territorial sheriff
had responsibility for all Weber County boundaries as
defined by the Utah Territorial Legislature in October
Weber County Sheriffs in Utah's History
1852 -1855 Benjiman F. Cummings
1856 -1859 Henry Beckstead
The county was immense. The 42nd
parallel, the southern boundary of the Oregon Territory,
current southern boundary of Oregon and Idaho, became
the northern boundary of Weber County and was also the
northern boundary of Utah Territory. The western boundary
of Utah Territory was the Sierra Nevada in California,
which also became the western boundary of Weber County.
The county also acquired new territory to the east with
the county boundary being set where the Weber River
"enters a canyon about four miles below the ford
on Emigration road." The southern boundary of the
county ran through a point at "the junction of
the county road and the head water of Rocky Creek, being
about two miles south of the mouth of Weber River Canyon.
This boundary line extended west to California.
In 1855, due to additional growth,
the boundaries were changed. The area in Weber County
that now is Davis County was defined as Davis County.
In 1862, the area of Box Elder County was formed, thereby
reducing Weber County's size further.
Again, in 1866 Weber County lost
a piece of land that became Morgan County.
In 1880, Weber County was given a
wedge shaped portion of the Great Salt Lake. This also
brought Fremont Island under Weber County jurisdiction.
In 1898, the state legislature codified the boundaries
of the counties.
On August 4, 1851, an election was
held in Weber County. Benjamin F. Cummings was elected
Sheriff. During this time, he was also a Captain in
the county militia. By 1857 he had been raised to the
rank of Major. The Weber County Sheriff's Office had
its beginnings in 1852 when probate judge Isaac Clark
of the Weber County Court appointed R. W. Cummings to
the office of County Sheriff. The city marshal and the
sheriff worked closely with the city and county courts
to enforce the laws.
Many settlers during this period
of time, lived on a city lot in Ogden and had additional
acreage to farm in outlying areas surrounding Ogden
City. In 1854, the population of Ogden was approximately150
families, Uintah City approximately 35 families, North
Ogden had 47 families, Bingham's Fort (northwest end
of Ogden) had 732 residents. The county had three schools
and two stores. The U. S. Census of 1850 lists the population
of Weber County at 1,141 people.
Henry Beckstead and his family were
one of the first settlers in the Uintah area of Weber
County. He was the second Sheriff for Weber County from
1860 Lester J. Herrick
1861 L. Alvin West
1862-1870 Gilbert Belnap
Lester Herrick, a local businessman
in the area, was the Sheriff of Weber County in 1860.
He was later elected mayor of Ogden City for seven two-year
terms. He held the office in 1871, 1873, 1875, 1879,
and 1881. There were two parties: the Liberal party
and the Peoples Party. Mayor Herrick ran on the Peoples
Party ticket. By 1860, the population of Weber County
During the 1860s, Weber County continued
to grow with additional commerce and industry. In 1862,
President Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railroad
Act into law.
By 1870, the population of Weber
County had increased to 7,358. The increase was tied
to the coming of the railroad.
1870-1883 William Brown
1883-1884 Thomas J. Stevens
William Brown and Thomas J. Stevens
were elected Sheriffs of Weber County during the coming
of the railroad. The Union Pacific Railroad track was
completed to Ogden on March 8, 1869. The expansion of
rail lines through Echo Canyon provided work for citizens
living in Weber County. Ogden City Mayor Lorin Farr
and his partners contracted with Central Pacific Railroad
for work maintaining Central Pacific lines. With the
coming of the railroad, the population increased, as
travel from coast to coast now only took seven days.
As the population increased, crime throughout northern
Utah also increased.
By 1880, the county had 12,344 residents.
This increased to 22,273 by 1890.
1884-1894 Gilbert R. Belnap
Gilbert R. Belnap was elected sheriff
of Weber County in 1884 and served 14 years in that
position. As sheriff, he was involved in arresting a
variety of criminals, including train robbers, gamblers,
and other law-breakers. Belnap was paid $80 a month
and had to furnish and feed his own horse and equipment.
One of his most famous arrests was that of Joseph Nay
and E. K. Fisher, who had robbed a Denver and Rio Grande
train in September 1889 and were captured in an Ogden
pool hall. When they were captured, Belnap noted that
they had enough "dynamite cartridges" on them
to blow up the building.
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Do You Have Any Information About Our History?
If you have any further information about
the history of the Weber County Sheriff's Office, or photos
of any of the past county sheriff's, please contact us.
WCSO Sheriffs Photo Gallery
|Charles E. Layne
|Joseph W. Bailey
|Edward E. Harrison
|Thomas A. Devine
|Herpert C. Peterson
|Richard D. Pincock
|Amossa M. Hammon
|John R. Watson
|Wilson A. Allen
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