Weld County - County Seat(s)
The historical data and information contained in this outline was taken from authentic Weld County documents and record, dating from 1859 to 1933. The work was done in connection with the re-filing and the rearranging of the Weld County records and documents under a C.W.A. project and an E.R.A. project under the supervision of George E. Horne, recorded at File 22, No. 352.This document was transcribed from a depression era study funded through the Emergency Relief Administration and its successor the Works Progress Administration.
Concerning Weld County and the county seats
The first organized effort to form a county in the area now occupied by Weld County was in 1859. At that time, the settlers in and around Fort Saint Vrain met to “organize a Claim Club and lay of the County of Saint Vrain.”
Quoting from the minute book of the Claim Club, dated October 6, 1859, it states, “The jurisdiction of this club shall be coextensive with the County of Saint Vrain (in Nebraska Territory) and to embrace not less than twenty-four square miles with the Town of Saint Vrain near the center.”
Mr. H. J. Graham was elected the first Recorder of St. Vrain County, being allowed $1.00 for each recording. Mr. Graham was later the first Councilman in the Territory of Colorado Legislature from Weld County, or District No.1, which included Weld, Larimer, and Boulder Counties.
The first claim recorded by Mr. Graham was dated October 12, 1859, as being located in St. Vrain County, Nebraska Territory. On the 23rd of October, 1860, a mass meeting of the citizens of St. Vrain was called for the purpose of defending the rights of Mr. Graham against claim jumpers. At this meeting a committee of five was appointed to tell one Jeremiah Heena and one Hiram Hawkins to “get off the Graham Claim No. 2 and have it over with within twenty-four hours.”
The record of the St. Vrain Claim Club, from August 24, 1863, to January 5, 1863, is missing. It was during this time that the Territory of Colorado was established and the several Counties of the Territory were designated.
Colorado became a Territory in February, 1861. Weld County was established November 1, 1861, with Saint Vrain as the County Seat. The County Seat remained at Saint Vrain until 1868. On October 7, 1868, the offer of D. R. Bailey, to furnish suitable rooms at Lathan for the respective County offices, free of charge for the ensuing year, was accepted by the Commissioners. The first meeting of the Commissioners was held at Lathan on January 4, 1869. A petition by the majority of the voters in Weld County, for a vote on the County Seat at the next General Election (Sept. 8, 1869) was presented to the Board on July 7, 1869. The petition was accepted and the vote ordered. The result of this election gave Lathan the preference. It should be remembered that Weld County, as established in 1861, extended from the present western, northern and southern boundaries, east to the Kansas State line. The towns of Julesburg and Yuma were both in Weld County.
November 15, 1869: “The Commissioners adjourned to examine lands for a County Seat and to receive proposals or donations of land within the surveyed limits of the Town of Evans.” Nothing was accomplished at this investigation as no suitable lands were offered. On this same date “calaboose” was ordered built in the Town of Evans.
January 4, 1870: The Commissioners accepted land from the Denver Land Association, and it was ordered that the location of the County Seat of Weld County be as follows, Block 36, except lots 1 and 18, in the Town of Evans, Weld County, Colorado Territory. There is no record to show that this change of the County Seat was by popular vote.
July 7, 1871: Petition for a vote on County Seat was refused by the Commissioners.
January 6, 1873: Committee of Evans people offered plans and a donation of between six and seven thousand dollars for the purpose of building a Court House and Jail. Offer was laid over.
July 30, 1873: The citizens of Green City petitioned for a special election on August 12, 1873, to establish the County of Platte. This petition was not granted as the petitioners failed to provide money to put on the election.
July 30, 1873: The same petition was presented to be voted on at the next General Election. The petition was granted and the vote ordered.
By an act of the legislature on February 9, 1872, all that portion of Weld County east of the township line between Range 62 and 63 West was set aside and to be known as the County of Platte. This act was subject to the voters of Weld County. The vote was against a division of the County. By an act of the legislature on February 9, 1874, the act creating Platte County was repealed.
July 30, 1873: An offer from the Weld County Building and Improvement Association, of a two-story building in the Town of Evans, was accepted for use as a County Building. One of the stipulations in this agreement was that the Commissioners would have the right to remove any and all County properties from the building when they ceased to use the same as a County Building.
July 22, 1874: A petition for a vote on the County Seat was accepted and so ordered at the next General Election to be held on September 8, 1874. This vote was in favor of Greeley.
October 6, 1874: It was ordered that all offices, books, and records be moved to Greeley. The Board adjourned to meet in the Nichols Building in Greeley on October 7, 1874.
October 9, 1874: Funds subscribed by the citizens of Greeley for the building of a Jail were accepted, as well as lots from the Union Colony for County building purposes. (The jail was finished and accepted on April 7, 1875.)
The moving of the County Seat to Greeley in October, 1874, was the cause of much conflict. The Weld County Building and Improvement Association refused to allow the Commissioners to remove the vault doors and other furniture from the building.
October 9, 1874: The County Attorney was instructed to commence such proceedings by suit or otherwise to obtain possession of all personal property in the Town of Evans. A repelvincse was started against the Weld County Building and Improvement Association and its President in the District Court (District Court Case No. 116), which resulted in favor of Weld County.
October 17, 1874: An alternative Writ of Mandamus was served against the County Commissioners to move the County Seat back to Evans, or in case of refusal to appear before the District Court to show cause of refusal. Commissioners voted to bring the matter before the Court. (District Court Case No. 120) The file of this case was removed to Arapahoe County on Change of Venue. No record of the outcome is shown in Weld County records.
July 25, 1875: A petition for a vote on the County Seat was accepted and the vote so ordered at the next General Election on September 14, 1875.
The canvas of this vote by County Clerk, W.C. Sanders, was in favor of Greeley. Mr. Sanders, it seems, excluded the vote from Fort Lupton precinct for some irregularity. This started the fireworks all over again.
October 4, 1875: The voters of Fort Lupton Precinct protest the action of W. C. Sanders in excluding the votes from their precinct. It was demanded that the original returns be counted and credited the same as had been done in other precincts in Weld County. After much discussion, on motion of Mr. Bailey, it was ordered that the Board of County Commissioners canvass the vote of the last election relative to the vote on the County Seat.
October 5, 1875: The following resolution (in part) was offered and adopted: “And it further appearing upon canvassing the votes polled and given by the legal voters of said Weld County at the County election held in said County on the 14th day of September 1875, that the Town of Evans, in the said County, has received the majority of the votes polled in said County at said election. It is therefore ordered by the Board of County Commissioners of said County, that pursuant to, and by virtue of, the said votes, the County Seat of the said County of Weld, be Evans, that the said Town of Evans is, and is hereby declared to be, the County Seat of the County of Weld in the Territory of Colorado.”
October 6, 1875: The County Commissioners met at the County Seat of Weld County in the Town of Evans.
October 2, 1876: The Greeley jail was rented to one Rev. J.S. Folrey for six months for $200.00.
July 24, 1877: A petition for a vote on the County Seat was accepted and the vote so ordered at the next general election to be held October 7, 1877. This vote was in favor of Greeley by a majority of 64 votes over Evans.
October 6, 1877: A Board meeting was called for the purpose of deciding the question of changing the County Seat. It was requested by the Board that if any person present had anything to say “pro or con” on the question, to so express themselves. Mr. J.A. Pace appeared on behalf of Evans, and E.T. Dunning on behalf of Greeley. “After a very lengthy argument the board adjourned until October 25.”
October 25, 1877: A resolution was offered by J.L. Brush, changing the County Seat from Evans to Greeley. Honorable Hugh Butler of Denver offered objections to Mr. Brush’s resolution. His objections were based on points of law governing County Seat Elections. Honorable S.B.A. Haynes appeared on behalf of Greeley. After discussion, it was decided that the objections offered by the Hon. Hugh Butler were not well taken and therefore, overruled. There was more discussion and a re-canvass of the vote by the Commissioners and the meeting was adjourned until the next day.
October 26, 1877: Honorable Hugh Butler appears and presents an order from Judge Victor A. Elliott, Judge of the District Court, for a writ of injunction directed against the County Commissioners, County Judge, County Clerk, and County Treasurer, restraining them from removing or taking any petition in removing the County Seat from Evans to Greeley. The injunction was duly served by the Sheriff. Upon motion, the County Seat question was postponed.
November 14, 1877: Word having been received from Judge Victor A. Elliott that the injunction granted by him restraining the action of moving the County Seat from Evans to Greeley had been dissolved, Mr. Brush moved the adoption of his resolution of October 25, 1877. The matter was postponed until November 15, 1877.
November 15, 1877: Mr. Brush offered the following resolution:
“Whereas: At a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners held on the 25th day of October, 1877, an Order and Resolution was offered by Mr. Brush, declaring the County Seat of Weld County to be at Town of Greeley, and
Whereas: Before action was taken on the passage of said resolution and order, an injunction was issued out of the District Court, restraining the said Board of County Commissioners from ordering a removal of said County seat from the Town of Evans to the Town of Greeley, also restraining all County officers from taking any action whatsoever in said removal, and
Whereas: Said injunction has been dissolved by order of the Court.
Therefore, Resolved: The Board of County Commissioners do now adopt the aforesaid resolution and order with the following amendments to wit;
And be it further Ordered and Resolved: That the following rooms be, and they are herby designated to be, County offices in the Town of Greeley to wit: The offices of the County Judge and Sheriff at the office of James C. Scott, Esq. The offices of the County Clerk and Recorder, Clerk of the County Courts and the meetings for the Board of County Commissioners shall be in the banking house of Emerson and West. The offices of County Treasurer, County Surveyor, and Clerk of the District Court shall be in the Union Banking House. The place of holding the District Court shall be in the room known as Barnum Hall, and rooms adjacent thereto, and the place for holding the County Court shall be in the office of James C. Scott. Upon motion of Mr. Hammitt, the above Order and Resolution was adopted.” So ends the County Seat question.
July 21, 1879: A petition from the people of Weld County and Larimer County to change Township 4 North, Range 68 West, from Weld to Larimer County, was accepted and a vote so ordered. No Change was voted.
October 7, 1882: A vote was ordered at the next general election for, or against, the erection of a County Building, the cost not to exceed $30,00.00, to be paid for with a special levy of 2 mills for years 1882 and 1883.
January 11, 1883: The vote being in favor of the special levy and the building of a Court House, it was ordered that plans be drawn up. Advertisements for bids were published April 18, 1883. Contract was let May 21, 1883.
February 9, 1887: The County of Washington was created within the boundaries of Weld County, with Akron as County Seat.
February 25, 1887: The County of Logan was created within the boundaries of Weld County, with Sterling as temporary County Seat.
February 1889: The County of Morgan was created within the boundaries of Weld County, with a County Seat to be selected. These three Counties taken from the original Weld County left Weld County as it is today.
The old Courthouse of 1883 was demolished in 1915 and the present Courthouse started and completed in 1917.