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A Critique of the Solution of the Southwestern Private Land Claims Problem

"A Critique of the Solution of the Southwestern Private Land Claims Problem"  is the title of Chapter Five, Book I, Private Land Claims in the Southwest, submitted by J. J. Bowden in 1969 as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Laws in Oil and Gas at Southern Methodist University.

A Critique of the Solution of the Southwestern Private Land Claims Problem

 by J. J. Bowden

Many believed that Congress would recognize the private land claims which had been filed with the Register of Land, which had been created under the Kearny Code[1], since the confirmation of land titles was customarily one of the first concerns of any government acquiring ownership of ter­ritory from another nation. However, hopes for such a quick and simple solution of the problem were dashed when the New Mexico legislature repudiated land registration portion of the Kearny Code and Congress passed the Act of July 22, 1854,[2] which charged the Surveyor General's office with responsi­bility for examining the claims in order to enable Congress to perform its treaty obligations. Between 1854 and 1891 there were 241 private land claims filed in the offices of the Surveyors General of Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. The sole[3]claim filed with the Surveyor General of Colorado was recommended for rejection, but no action was taken thereon by Congress. The surveyors General of Arizona reported on 17 of the 19 claims filed in their offices. All except 2 of the reported Arizona claims were recommended for confirmation. Most of these claims had been sold to the grantees under the Act of May 20, 1825.[4] The 2 grants which they recommended for rejection had been found to be spurious. In New Mexico, 200 private land claims and 21 pueblo claims were filed. (For a schedule of these claims, see Appendix D.) Of these, 153 private land claims and 21 pueblo claims had been examined and reported to Congress, and 47 were pending in the Surveyor General's office in 1891. Congress acted upon only 65 of the claims which had been referred to it for its “further pleasure.” Between 1858 and 1879 Congress had confirmed 18 pueblo claims[5]and 46 private claims. One private land claim was referred by Congress to the Territorial courts for adjudication.[6]  Sixteen of the confirmed private land claims were classified as town[7] or community grants. The confirmation of pueblo and community grants resulted primarily from the instruc­tions to the Surveyor General’s office dated August 21, 1854[8], which stated that the existence of a city, town or village at the time the United States took possession of New Mexico was to be considered as prima facie evidence of a grant to such town. At this time it generally was accepted[9] that Spanish and Mexican towns, proprio vigore, were entitled to four square leagues of land. Therefore, the examinations conducted by the Surveyor General inquired into the genuineness of the grant papers for the purpose of establishing the extent of the grant. Little, if any attention was paid to the authority of the granting offi­cial to make the concession. The remaining thirty private land claims[10] were confirmed as a result of the government's liberal policy of presuming —when the claim was supported with genuine title papers —that the granting officer, by issuing the concession, had authority to make a valid grant. Since only a small portion of New Mexico had been surveyed prior to 1869 and the claims could not be officially sur­veyed prior to their confirmation, the Surveyors General in conducting their investigations could do little more than verify that the claim covered the lands described in the grant papers. In several instances the original grantee requested and received grants covering a parcel of land sufficient to plant a certain number of fanegas of corn but was placed in possession of a tract of land described as being bounded on each of its four sides by a specific natural object. However, the Surveyor General had no way of determining the location of these natural objects short of an actual survey. Also, little reliance could be placed upon the “guesstimations” offered by the old and illiterate witnesses, who were called by claimants to give testimony in support of their claims. Such witnesses all too fre­quently had no concept of area or distances. The Committee on Private Land Claims of the House of Representatives freely confessed[11]  that it did not have time to examine the claims fully and admitted its ignorance of the amount of land covered by most of them. Congress, upon discovering that the Las Animas and Rio Don Carlos grants covered immense tracts of land, limited their confirmation[12]to the legal maximum which was permitted under the Colonization Law of August 18, 1824[13], but, for some unknown reason, it failed to impose this restriction upon the confirmation of any other Mexican grant.

Once the conditions had stabilized in New Mexico following the end of the Civil War, the owner of a portion of the Sangre de Cristo Grant brought suit to eject a homesteader, John Tameling, from his land and, thereby, determine the effect of the confirmation of the grant. Tameling contended the act merely confirmed title to a “floating” grant of eleven square leagues to each of the grantees, which were to be located anywhere within the exterior boundaries of the tract described in the grant papers. The Supreme Court held[14]  that the congressional confirmation was, in effect, a grant de novo to the full extent of the claim. Later a group of squatters and miners sought to have the patent to the 1,714,764.09-acre Maxwell Grant set aside on the ground that it was based upon a fraudulent survey. The Supreme Court held[15] that (1) al­though the Colonization Law of August 18, 1824, limited the maximum amount of land which could be granted to 22 leagues, the Act of June 21, 1860, was a grant de novo of all the land embraced within the exterior boundaries described in the grant papers; (2) the government had not shown that the survey was incorrect in any essential particular; and (3) there was no evidence of fraud in connection with the procuring of the survey of the grant.

A review of the private land claims which had been confirmed by Congress shows that, while most were not "com­plete and perfect," they had been made under the "usages and customs" in existence at the time of their issuance, and therefore were equitable claims. Since all just claims were to be respected as though sovereignty had not changed and should not be subjected to stringent rules of construction, the United States was obligated to provide prompt and reasonable means for their adjudication. The shortcomings under the procedure established by the Act of July 22, 1854[16] (for a copy of this act see Appendix E) were (1) Congress's failure to act on the claims reported to it, (2) the Sur­veyor General's lack of information concerning the location of the natural objects called for in the grants; and (3) an absence of control over surveying operations created by the contract system, which tended to promote the personal financial interests of the deputy surveyors at the expense of the public domain. Thus, the surveys often were hurried, unscientific, and whenever two natural objects could qualify as the one called for in the grant papers, the question generally was resolved in favor of the claimants. However, since the surveys were approved by the Surveyor General and Land Department, the Supreme Court held[17] that it would not substitute its judgment for theirs. This decision highlights the astonishing fact that instead of endeavoring to meet its public land problems, the federal government persistently chose to ignore them.

The acknowledged inability of the Surveyor General to adjudicate the validity or extent of the Southwestern private land claims effectively, coupled with the storm of criticism over the previous confirmation and patenting of the Maxwell Sangre de Cristo, and Canon del Agua Grants, caused Congress to lose faith in the procedure, and blocked all further action by Congress on pending claims after 1879. By the end of 1885, the Surveyor General of New Mexico had examined and reported upon 139 private land claims. Of these, only six[18] were recommended for rejection.

The election of President Grover Cleveland in 1885 upset the rule of the Republican Party, which had been in power since before the Civil War. As a result of this long tenure, the Republican leaders in New Mexico, who were called the "Santa Fe Ring," controlled appointments, elections, and the Territorial legislature.[19] As a result of their inability and influence, the two principal leaders of the Santa Fe Ring, Tom B. Catron and Stephen B. Elkins, who were law partners, represented a great many grant claimants. Therefore, they were the recipients of much of the criticism which grew out of Cleveland's radical land reform movement. It had been charged that the General Land Office, under previous administrations, had permitted the most desirable portions of the public domain to fall into the hands of speculators. Therefore, Cleveland appointed Lucius Q. C. Lamar, as Secretary of the Interior, and William A. J. Sparks, as Commissioner of the General Land Office. One of Lamar's first acts was to instruct Sparks to correct the evils and record as much of the fraudulently appropriated public lands as possible.[20] George W. Julian was appointed by Cleveland to the position of Surveyor General of New Mexico in May, 1885; however, he was not confirmed by the Senate until February 28, 1887. Julian, according to his own account[21], proceeded to correct the “blunders and mistakes” of his predecessors and strip the grant claimants of their “ill-gotten gains.” After charging that ninety per cent of all land entries in the territory were fraudulent, he proceeded to re-examine many of the grants which had been recommended for confirmation during the previous thirty years. Based upon ex parte investigations of 35 grants,[22] he wrote Supplemental Reports in which he reached a conclusion contrary to that of his predecessor concerning the validity or extent of each of the claims in question. The unrest and reaction to the radical Democratic land reform movement finally forced Cleveland to ask for and receive Spark's resignation on November 15, 1887. Shortly thereafter, Lamar was elevated to the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Julian, not content with the mischief he had caused by his Supplemental Reports, published an inflammatory article[23]in which he charged that the Sur­veyors General of New Mexico criminally had permitted the “wholesale plunder of the public domain.”  After attacking a number of confirmed and unconfirmed grants, he recom­mended the institution of suit by the government to set aside the land grant patents which he alleged had been procured by fraud and the speedy and final adjudication of the "pretended title" of the "land sharks" by the Commis­sioner of the General Land Office with a right of appeal to the Secretary of the Interior. Julian soon had the entire territory in an uproar and petitions soon started pouring into Washington, D.C. demanding his dismissal. The hostile Santa Fe Daily New Mexican recommended[24]he be appointed Ambassador to "Tierra del Fuego." Antonio Joseph, the Democratic delegate to Congress, believed[25] that if Cleveland's land reform program was carried out, it would "prove ruinous" to New Mexico. Julian soon had a falling out with the Democratic Governor of New Mexico, Edmund G. Ross, when Julian accused Ross of joining the Santa Fe Ring. Thus, by the end of 1887, Julian had dashed all hope for the speedy solution of the Southwestern private land claims problem and threatened to jeopardize party harmony.

Since most Southwesterners were willing to accept a certain amount of fraud in order to "get things done," Cleveland was forced to adopt a more conservative approach to land reform. The appointment of William F. Vilas, as Lamar's successor, reflected Cleveland's recog­nition of the geographical realities of the Southwest and desire to play down land frauds. However, the reaction of his reform crusade caused his defeat in the election of 1888 and left Julian heartsick and potentially unemployed. The Daily New Mexican, jubilant over the results of the election stated:26]

Title-tortured New Mexico will soon be rid of a man who has done more than all others combined to cloud land titles and retard the progress of our young commonwealth."  

On August 6, 1889, the Santa Fe paper reported[27]"Everybody wore a smile this morning. The sky, the law­yers and every good citizen. And all on account of the news of Julian's removal."

On the other hand, Julian, in reflecting upon his achievements, wrote:[28]

I look back over my work here during the past four years with the most unqualified satisfaction. I can say truly that I have no fault to find with it. If what I have set on foot should be carried out it will work out the regeneration of New Mexico. If not, the credit of having attempted it will be my sufficient honor and reward. My record as Surveyor General ought to be, and I believe it will be, historic. It is conspicuously and honorably in contrast with that of every one of my predecessors.

By 1889 the Indian and transportation problems, which had troubled the Southwest for centuries, had been solved and its population commenced growing at an accelerated rate. Since the unsolved private land claims problem was retarding its development, all concerning recognized that the speedy and equitable settlement of the government's treaty obligations was desirable. There­fore, President Benjamin Harrison, in his Annual Message[29] for 1889 called attention to the need of addi­tional legislation to adjudicate the validity of the Spanish and Mexican grants. Local pressure coupled with presidential concern over the growing problem finally forced Congress to abandon its policy of neglect. On March 2, 1891 an act providing for the creation of a special land court was passed by Congress and approved by the President on the following day.[30]

In his second Annual Report[31] the United States Attorney, Matthew G. Reynolds, reported that up to October 15, 1892, forty cases had been filed in the court and eight cases[32] had been tried. The plaintiffs won seven of these cases and a rehearing in the eighth. The government appealed two of the cases and was successful in one.

The Attorney General, in his Annual Report[33]for 1893, reported that by November 6, 1893 a total of 281 cases had been filed, but the large increase in this number of cases should not be taken as indicating a proportionate increase in the number of serious cases before the court, since many had been filed shortly before the deadline to protect some possible rights, but probably would not be brought to trial. Reynolds, in his report,[34] noted that the total number of cases would probably be reduced by about 31 when suits covering the same grants were con­solidated. He reported that out of 25 cases tried in 1893, the Court of Private Land Claims rejected only six.[35] In regard to the 19 grants[36] confirmed by the Court of Private Land Claims in 1893, Reynolds pointed out that they were "earlier cases," and were of a better character.

He pointed out that their title papers had been produced and proven genuine, and that they were supported with continuous possession. Continuing, he stated:

The trial of the New Mexico cases has not been rapid, as the rush necessitated our going slow, for many of the claims conflict as to boundaries, and in a great many there are adverse claimants and possessors, who, under the law, are necessary parties to the suits.

The plaintiffs have been adverse to allege con­flicts and adverse claims and possessions, thus forcing upon me the duty of investigating and showing the same, in order that all necessary grants might be in court and the Government given their "aid in defeating the claimants, as was contemplated and intended by the law....

The cases are now fairly well in hand and are being investigated as rapidly as the interest of the Government will permit,-bearing in mind that the investigation of the mutilated and badly arranged archives and the running down of the history of each (which in most instances is necessarily gathered promiscuously must be slowly done to be done well....

I am not disposed to flood the Supreme Court with appeals in cases where the equities in favor of plaintiffs are very strong, although in some in­stances doubting the soundness of the judgment of the court on disputed facts...

Reynolds’ report[37] for the year 1894 shows that between November 6, 1893 and September 30, 1894 the Court had confirmed, either wholly or partially, 30 grants.[38] The Supreme Court reviewed only four of these decisions. It reversed the Court of Private Land Claims in each in­stance. The reversal of the Court of Private Land Claims' decision in the San Miguel de Vado Grant was one of the most important and far reaching decisions of the Supreme Court regarding Southwestern Spanish and Mexican land grants. During this same period, the Court of Private Land Claims rejected 19 grants. [39]  Six cases[40] were dis­missed by the plaintiffs. The area claimed under grants finally disposed of during this period covered 2,573,005 acres, of which 261,250 acres, or approximately ten per cent, were confirmed. Reynolds also pointed out that a number of the surveys which had been returned to the court under the tenth section of the Act of March 3, 1891[41]were “flagrant violations of the terms of the decree... As these surveys must be approved in open court, leaving the United States an opportunity to object thereto, I will be compelled to file objection on behalf of the government and try the question of the correctness of said surveys.” Thus began one of the most important and fruitful functions of the government's attorney.

Reynolds' next report[42] shows that the period between November 3, 1894 and June 30, 1895 was occupied primarily with the preparation and trial of the Peralta­-Reavis case.[43] As a result of the experience obtained from the extensive examination in this case, he stated that he was satisfied that no fraudulent grant could get through without being exposed. His schedule of the cases tried shows that four additional grants[44] had been confirmed, partially or totally. Four other grants were rejected.[45] Four cases were dismissed upon the motion of their plaintiffs.[46]

The following year was a slow one, and only 14 cases were tried by the court. Seven grants[47] were con­firmed and seven[48] were rejected. Only three (the Dona Ana Bend Colony, San Ignacio de la Canoa and Cuyamungue grants) were confirmed for the total amount claimed.

Reynolds, in his report[49] dated September 15, 1896, stated:

Since my last report the number of cases disposed of has not been as great as I had anticipated, but the result of the work done upon those remaining on the docket will enable the work to be rapidly completed, provided the claimants can be forced to trial. During the last term of court, which has just were compelled to be continued under a ruling of the adjourned, sixty-five cases were on the trial docket, and after preparing them all, a large number of them court construing the sixth section of the act, which required that a copy of the petition, together with citation, be served upon any adverse possessor or claimant of the property for which confirmation of title is sought... Some delay in the early part of the year was occasioned by the court expecting that the Supreme Court would advance some of the cases from this Territory, and by waiting for the same a large number of appeals could be avoided and the work very much more rapidly done. However, the business of the office is in very good shape, and these delays have not delayed the office in the preparation of the cases, and so far as the prepara­tion for trial of cases is concerned, this office is very much ahead of the other work of the court ...

Reynolds, in his Annual Report[50] for 1897, was pleased to report that between September 5, 1896 and October 5, 1897 "very considerable progress had been made in disposing of the cases yet remaining on the docket." He pointed out that 57 cases involving 48 different grants[51] had been tried. Eighteen of these grants were confirmed, either wholly or partially, and the balance[52] were re­jected. Twenty of the grants were rejected at the plaintiff's request or as a result of his failure to appear and prosecute. No Arizona cases were tried, since the remaining claims were all controlled by decisions on appeal to the Supreme Court. Notwithstanding this concerted effort, there were still many important cases to be tried. There were 85 cases covering 75 grants to be tried in the New Mexico district and 7 cases covering 7 grants to be adjudicated in the Arizona district. In addition to the trial of the cases, the court had to make a careful investigation of each survey made under Section 10 of the Act of March 3, 1891, in order to hold them to the limitations imposed by the confirmation decree. Reynolds noted that the hearings conducted in connection with the approval of the survey often required more time than that taken for the original trial of the case.

 On October 6, 1898[53] Reynolds reported that during the previous year 56 cases covering 51 grants located in New Mexico and Colorado had been tried. Of these, 3 were confirmed[54]and 48 were rejected.[55] Forty-one of the rejected grants were dismissed at the plaintiff's request, or as a result of his failure to appear and prosecute his claim. The Court did not hold a term of court in Arizona during this period. However, Reynolds noted that this was due to the fact that the four cases on appeal had not been decided until May, 1898, and they had "done much to clear up the law." The case involving the Jose Garcia Grant, which was rejected in toto by the Court of Private Land Claims, was described by Reynolds as involving a "most im­portant principle. II The grant was supported by recitals in grants adjacent to the grant of Jose Garcia. The Court held that lithe claimants must prove not only that their predecessors in interest had a grant, but also the character of the grant; that until this is done the court cannot know whether it is of the class of titles cognizable under the Act of March 3, 1891, and that until such proof is furnished a confirmation cannot be secured.  He was especi­ally pleased that the court finally had recognized that its jurisdiction was limited, and that until the claimants, by full legal proof, brought themselves within its juris­dictional limits, there could be no confirmation. In other words, the court had no power to presume a grant, and the claimants must prove they have a grant, and that the character of the grant is such as falls within the court's jurisdiction. Continuing, he stated:

 In most of these appeals, however, the cases were remanded for further proceedings by the Court of Private Land Claims, and it is believed that there will be very serious controversies of fact between the parties of these further hearings. The result is that the Arizona docket must practically be tried de novo, the only issues eliminated being those of law settled by the decisions ...

During the next year (October 5, 1898-1899) the Court tried 20 cases involving 18 grants.[56] Nine were wholly or partially confirmed,[57] and an equal number were rejected.[58] Reynolds reported that there were only 19 cases involving 13 grants remaining on the court's docket for trial. He noted that as the number of cases remaining to be tried declined, an increasing portion of his time was involved in trying cases on appeals and holding hearings in connection with the approval of surveys. He considered the latter to be one of his most important duties and was proud of the fact that, as a result of his careful scrutiny, the accuracy of the surveys had improved to the point that he was not required to protest the approval of any survey filed between October 5, 1898 -1899.

The court's docket was increased slightly between October 5, 1899 and October 5, 1900 as a result of several cases being remanded by the Supreme Court and the filing of two cases seeking money judgments due to the federal govern­ment having disposed of land within perfect grants.[59] During the period the court tried 30 cases involving 25 grants. Of these, nine were confirmed in whole or in part,[60] and 16 were rejected.[61] Reynolds happily reported that there were only five cases remaining on the court's docket awaiting a preliminary trial. In regard to the claim which had been filed by the owners of the Juan Jose Lobato Grant under Section 14 of the Act of March 3, 1891 seeking money judgments, the Court of Private Land Claims awarded them $2,320.91; however, the decision was reversed by the Supreme Court on the ground that the plaintiffs, by waiting four years after the confirmation of the grant to bring this suit, were barred from recovering a money judg­ment for the lands within the grant which had been disposed of by the government.[62]

 It was during the year October 5, 1900 to October 1, 1901 that the court cleared its docket of cases for pre­liminary trial[63]During this period the eight cases in­volving seven remaining grants were either tried or dis­missed. Of these, four[64] were either wholly or partially confirmed, and three[65] were rejected. Since many of the claims were still pending on appeal to the Supreme Court and many surveys had not been completed and surveyed, Reynolds was confident that the life of the court would be extended beyond June 30, 1902.

On October 1, 1902 Reynolds reported[66] that during the previous year three new suits had been filed, seeking the confirmation of claims alleged to be perfect, and thus exempt from the two-year limitation imposed by Section 12 of the Act of March 3, 1891. Two other suits were insti­tuted, seeking money judgments for land within confirmed grants which previously had been sold by the United States.[67] One grant was rejected, [68] the money judgment in connection with the Juan Jose Lobato Grant was dismissed upon mandate from the Supreme Court, and the suit for a money judgment in connection with the Sebastian de Vargas Grant was disallowed.[69]


In his Annual Report[70] for 1903, Reynolds showed that three grants[71] had been rejected. He also stated that a large portion of the unfinished business pending before the court had been disposed of and considerable progress had been made toward winding up the business remaining on the court's docket. In conclusion, he wrote:

. . . I beg to say that the work of this office is up to date, and that every effort consistent with the interest of the Government will be made by this office to facilitate and hasten a final disposition of the remaining business now pending before the court.

 In his Final Report[72] dated June 30, 1904, Reynolds was happy to report that after more than thirteen years of toil the Court of Private Land Claims finally had disposed of all litigation and business that had been brought before it. During the existence of the court title to 35,491,020 acres covering 250 grants had been adjudicated in 289 cases. The court confirmed title to 2,051,526 acres and rejected the balance. Only one money judgment for $512.62 had been paid by the government under Section 13 of the Act of March 3, 1891. Continuing, he stated:

Serious contentions and feuds between settlers and claimants over the possession of these lands were encountered by me immediately upon taking charge of the litigation, and lasted until final decrees were entered. The peaceful conditions since and the prosperity of New Mexico and Arizona as this tribunal passes out are sufficiently important and gratifying to be noted.

In closing, Reynolds praised the individual members of his staff, upon whom he had relied and had trusted at all times; and none of whom were ever found unworthy or negligent of the trust and confidence reposed in them. To each, he accorded a measure of the credit for settling “land titles in the territory acquired from Mexico in 1848 and 1853.”

In settling of the Southwestern Private Land Claims Problem, the Court of Private Land Claims passed upon a variety of different types of claims. Most of the grants were based upon an expediente found in the proper archives, or the testimonio given to the original grantee. A few of the claims were founded on presumed grants based on long possession of the land. The Act of March 3, 1891 recognized two classes of grants. The first were perfect and complete grants,[73] and the second were incomplete grants.[74] Suits seeking the confirmation of incomplete grants had to be filed for adjudication by March 3, 1893, and could not be confirmed for more than eleven square leagues.[75] However, the court had no equity jurisdiction, and all claims, in order to be confirmed, had to be based upon "a title un­lawfully and regularly derived from the Government of Spain or Mexico, or from any of the States of the Republic of Mexico.[76] The act defined this provision as meaning that, if the grant was not complete and perfect at the time the United States acquired the territory, the claimant would have to have had a lawful right to make it perfect had the sovereignty not changed. Therefore, the court was greatly restricted in the type of claims which it could confirm. Several grants which were similar to ones con­firmed by Congress were rejected. The court also rejected many grants on the ground that the granting officials had no authority to issue a valid concession, even though they had been made under the "usage and customs" prevailing at the time of their issuance, and their claimants had strong equities. In New Mexico, grants made by authorities other than the governor were consistently rejected, and those made after 1837 were held to be imperfect unless approved by the Departmental Assembly or the Supreme Executive. Cases held that grants of public land by Alcaldes,[77] Prefects,[78] Ayun­tamientos[79] and the Departmental or Territorial Assembly[80] are void.[81] Such grants frequently were made in good faith by officials who assumed they had authority which they did not possess.[82] This arose chiefly from the frequent changes in the constitution and legislation of the central govern­ment[83] and the great distances of the frontier provinces and territories from the seat of government.[84] Thus, a governor might exercise his functions for months, or even a year, before he learned of a change in his authority.[85] Under such condi­tions, many grants that had been made perhaps a century before the establishment of the court and had existed without their titles being disputed by the Spanish or Mexican governments or the local citizens and which, in strict equity, were entitled to be held good, had to be rejected by the court under the limiting provisions of Section 13(1)[86] of the Act of March 3, 1891, which required proof of strict legal authority in the granting power and a rigid compliance with law in the form and manner of its execution. Otherwise, the claim would be held to be a mere license which expired when the United States acquired jurisdiction over the area.87]

In Arizona, the only provision made for disposing of public land was by sale at public auction by the Board of Sale. Valid mineral grants could be made only by the local Mineral Deputation under the Royal Ordinance of 1783..The Act of March 3, 1891 expressly excepted certain hard minerals  from any confirmation unless the minerals had expressly been granted.[88]

The court strictly construed the Acts under which grants had been made. A majority of the recognized grants were made under the following laws:

(a) Pueblo grants under the Cedula of June 4, 1687.

(b) Spanish grants under the Cedulas of Oct­ober 15, 1754 and January 4, 1813.

(c) Colonization grants under the Iturbide Colonization Law of January 4, 1823.

(d) Colonization grants under the Coloniza­tion Law of August 18, 1824 and the Regulations of November 21, 1828.

(e Sales in Sonora and Sinaloa by the Board of Sales under the Law of March 20, 1825.

(f) Colonization grants under the Coloniza­tion Law of January 15-, 1849 and Regulations of May 22, 1851.

Since many of the Spanish and Mexican laws affecting Southwestern Private Land Claims were not readily available, Reynolds, to assist the bench and bar, published a compila­tion of such laws in 1895. The strict construction of such laws resulted in the rejection of many grants which probably would have been recognized by Mexico had sovereignty not changed, or by Congress if presented prior to 1860.  

As a general rule, the court had little trouble in determining whether the grant was valid or invalid. The common impression that many of the Mexican grants had been forged was proven to be in correct. Only eleven Southwestern grants were found to be, or seriously suspected of being spurious. [89]

Perhaps the most important phase of the court's work was the approval of surveys made under Section 10 of the Act of March 3, 1891.

Questions concerning the location of the boundaries called for in the grant papers gave the court some of its most difficult problems. A survey of all confirmed grants was required under Section 10 of the Act to be made at the expense of the government, and upon completion was to be returned to the court for its approval. Where boundaries were designated by natural objects, such as a standing rock, a red hill, a saguaro, a cottonwood, or a mesita, and the area was studded with similar objects, it was difficult to determine which was the true landmark. Thus, as Stone[90] puts it:

. . . in the unparalleled climate and under the gen­erous sun of the Rocky Mountains, not only does vegetation thrive and grow to enormous size by irrigation, but the land grants themselves grow immensely -without irrigation.

Old ruins, Indian Pueblos, picturesque rock etched with crosses or ancient hieroglyphics, and other natural objects were exam­ined by the court. On one occasion, while sitting in Tucson, the entire court, with a party of about forty persons, went by special train some seventy miles to examine a disputed land­mark near the International Boundary and enjoyed a judicial picnic in mid-winter in summer garb beside an immense spring of cool water under the shade of evergreen live oaks.

Careful examinations were conducted in the field by Reynolds' office to insure that the boundaries of the grants as confirmed by the court's decree were not "stretched." This phase of Reynolds' work undoubtedly saved a great deal of land for the public domain. In his Final Report,[91] Reynolds stated:

The dangers lurking in unknown areas of land to be determined by the identification of boundaries was impressed upon the Department, and after numerous requests and reports made from time to time, the Attorney General recommended and Congress appro­priated sufficient money with which to enable this office to investigate each grant and protect the Government against extravagant claims. The amount of land claimed in each of the suits filed was very often excessive; and it appears from the claims made that fully one-half or more of the total area of New Mexico was apparently clouded by these titles.

One of the most interesting facets of the court's business was the historic romance which surrounded these claims. The documentary evidence was often supplemented with oral tes­timony by witnesses relating to occupation, Indian hostilities, and heirship. Many of these witnesses were from 75 to 100 years old, and testified to the occurrence of events related to them when mere children by their aged grandparents. They often told of the exploits of their ancestors -the conquerors and re-conquerors of New Mexico; dangerous marches northward on the Camino Real across the dreaded Jornada del Muerto ­over drifting sand, through prickly cactus and chaparral, under a blazing sun, to the cool pine-clad mountains and fer­tile valleys of the Rio Arriba; the founding of frontier settlements and the accompanying harsh frontier life in crude adobe and jacal dwellings; and the hand-to-mouth living, with frequent drouths and loss of stock to hostile Indians. Such stories were always told in order to bolster, in some way or other, a particular grant. However, in these long overlooked case files lie the foundations of the history of the Southwest. Many of the most important cases took many months to prepare for trial —especially on the part of the government. Archives had to be searched and testimony gathered from such far away places as Mexico City, Guadalajara, Chihuahua and Hermosillo in Mexico, and Madrid and Seville in Spain. In securing such evidence, one of the Justices of the Court had to go along in order to have it properly authenticated.

Occasionally the courtroom would be enlivened by a delegation of Pueblo Indians. The delegation usually was headed by the governor of the tribe, who, although attired in his humble native costume, had fierce pride, which could not help but draw respect from all who witnessed the proceed­ings. The grave and imperturbable bow which the governor gave the judges in recognition of their equality with himself was enough to evoke a smile from even the most calloused observer. On one occasion, when asked for the patent to his pueblo's land, the governor rose up, and after much fumbling, produced the precious document from the hidden recesses of a back pocket in his shirt tail, and  in his aboriginal innocence, could not understand why the audience laughed so boisterously.

The court proceedings in an important case often were graced with the attendance of famous members of the bar from such far away places as New York, Chicago, Cleveland, St. Louis, Washington, D.C. and Mexico City. Their eloquent forensic arguments frequently held the audience spellbound. The trial of the Peralta case, for instance, lasted a month, and was argued by six famous lawyers for nine days. 92]

Many of the large grants which were not wholly rejec­ted by the court were cut down in area, either by the restric­tions of Section 13(7) of the Act of March 3, 1891,[93] the eleven-league limitation of the Colonization Law of August 18, 1824,[94] or as a result, of the grant being found to cover less land than claimed, An example of the latter is the Canon de Chama Grant which had been sold to an English cattle company as containing over 200,000 acres, but determined by the court[95] to cover only 1,500 acres in a narrow canyon.

When The Act of March 3, 1891 and the Court of Private Land Claims ceased to exist on June 30, 1904, the United States could, for the first time in half a century, relax, for it finally had fulfilled its treaty obligations respecting the recognition of private land claims in the South­west.[96]


[1] 1 New Mexico Statutes, 348-350 (1953).

[2] An act to establish the offices of Surveyor Gen­eral of New Mexico, Kansas, and Nebraska, to grant donations to actual settlers therein, and for other purposes, Chap. 103, 10 Stat. 308 (1854).

[3] Two claims which are now located in Colorado were filed in the office of the Surveyor General of New Mexico prior to the creation of Colorado. One (the Las Animas Grant) was confirmed before, and one (the Rio Don Carlos Grant) after the creation of Colorado.

[4] Reynolds, Spanish and Mexican Land Laws,129 (1895).

[5] The claims of twelve pueblos (Jemez, Acoma, San Juan, Picuris, San Felipe, Pecos, Cochiti, Santo Domingo, Zia, Laguna, San Cristoval, and Zuni) were based upon alleged grants by Governor Domingo Jironza Petriz de Cruzate in 1689. Congress confirmed each of these claims, except those of Laguna, San Cristoval, and Zuni, on December 22, 1858. Al­though these grants were later found to be spurious, it is generally believed that had Congress been aware of this fact, in 1858, it still would have confirmed them, but based their confirmation on the Cedula of June 4, 1687. Eight pueblos (Taos, Santa Clara, Nambe, Tesuque, San Ildefonso, Pojoaque, Isleta, and Santa Ana) had no grant papers. Their claims were based upon a tradition that they each had received a concession but had lost their grant papers. The claims were all confirmed by Congress. Only one confirmed pueblo grant (Sandia) was supported with grant papers now believed to be genuine. Only two pueblo claims (San Cristoval and Zuni) were abandoned prior to 1848 and their lands regranted to others. The claimants of these did not press their claims. Although Zuni's claim was never passed upon, the pueblo re­ceived a reservation covering an area larger than that claimed under its grant. The Pueblo of Laguna's claim, not­withstanding the discovery that its title papers were spuri­ous, was confirmed by the Court of Private Land Claims to the extent of four square leagues. Since these pueblo lands are under the supervision of the government, they are, in effect, little more than reservations, and thus legal con­cepts concerning private land claims are not applicable to them.

[6] The Jomada del Muerto Grant. It was rejected in United States v. Vigil, 13 Wall. (80 U.S.) 499 (1871) on the ground the grantee had failed to perform the conditions upon which it had been made. This case is extremely im­portant, for it marked a new trend in the adjudication of land grants in that it, in effect, reversed the "presumption of authorities" rule of United States v. Peralta, 19 How. (60 U.S.) 343 (1856), and strict proof of power in the granting authority to issue a concession was required not­withstanding local usage and custom.

[7]   (1). The Town of Tome Grant was granted to 29 individuals by Governor Gaspar Domingo de Mendoza in 1739, in order that they might form a new settlement. The New Mexico Supreme Court held this to be a private land grant insofar as it covered the occupied tracts and a Congressional grant de novo as to the unoccupied lands in favor of the Town. Bond v. Unknown Heirs of Juan Barela, 16 N.M. 660, 120 P. 707 (1911).

(2) The Town of Casa Colorado Grant was granted to 41 settlers by the Ayuntamiento of Tome on July 12, 1823, and was approved by the Provincial Deputation eighteen days later. A local court recognized that the granting officials had no authority to make a valid grant, and also it was made during the period when there was no power to grant land in New Mexico. The grant has been held to be a “Congressional” community grant. Board of Trustees of the Belen Grant v. Board of Trustees of the Casa Colorado Grant, No. 1766 (Mss., Records of the District Clerk's office, Socorro, New Mexico).

(3) Town of Belen Grant was granted to 34 colonists by Governor Gaspar Domingo de Mendoza in 1740. The Federal District Court found it to be a community grant in Yeast v. Pru, 292F. 598 (C.D.N.M., 1923).

(4) The Town of Manzano Grant was issued to 173 settlers in 1829 by the Territorial Deputation. The Supreme Court, in United States v. Vigil, 13 Wall (80 U.S.) 849 (1871), held that the Territorial Deputation had no authority to make a valid grant.

(5)The Town of Torreon Grant was issued to 27 settlers by the Prefect for the Central District of New Mexico in 1841. Although he questioned the prefect’s authority to make a valid grant, the Surveyor General, in his favorable report to Congress, noted that the Town of Torreon was in existence in 1848. United States v. Pena, 175 U.S. 500 (1894) holds that a prefect had no power to make a grant of land on behalf of the Mexican Government. 

(6) The Town of Tajique Grant was issued to 20 settlers by the Acting Governor of New Mexico in 1834, subject to the confirmation by the Department Assembly. There is no evidence that such confirmation was issued. The alcalde, who delivered possession of the grant, allo­cated individual tracts to the grantees.

(7) The Town of Anton Chico Grant was issued to 27 settlers by Governor Faciendo Melgores on May 2, 1822. In an effort to overcome any question of Melgores' authority to issue the grant, it was shown that the inde­pendence of Mexico was not promulgated in New Mexico until December 21, 1822. The Surveyor General failed to decide the question, but elected to base his recommendation for the confirmation of the grant on the ground that the town was in existence when the United States acquired New Mexico. The grant was patented to the 38 grantees. The grant had been held to be a community grant. Reilly v. Shipman, 266 F. 852 (8th Cir., 1920).

(8) The Town of Tecolote Grant was issued to its six petitioners in 1824 by the Territorial Deputation with the consent of the governor. The grant has been held to be a community grant. The Territorial Deputation had no power to make a grant in New Mexico, even though the governor had consented to such action. Chavez v. United States, 175 U.S. 552 (1899).

(9) The Town of Las Vegas Grant was issued to 29 persons on March 23, 1835 by the Territorial Deputation with the concurrence of the governor. The Court of Private Land Claims rejected the Nerio Antonio Montoya Grant on the ground that the law required a grant to be made by the governor with the consent of the Territorial Deputation, and not vice versa. Chaves v. United States, No. 20 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(10) The Town of Chilili Grant was made to 27 applicants by the Governor of New Mexico on March 8, 1841. The claim was based on a certified copy of the grant issued by a Probate Clerk. The original papers allegedly had been lost as a result of the frequent changes in the “accountable officers” of the country. Heavy emphasis was placed on the fact that the town was in existence in 1848. The courts at an early date established the principle that written evi­dence of the grant, in the form required by Mexican law, must be found in the public archives, in order to sustain a grant. United States v. Castro, 24 How. (65 U.S.) 346 (1860). The Embudo Grant, which was based upon a certified copy of the grant made by an alcalde, was rejected by the Court of Private Land Claims on the ground the alcalde had no authority to certify instruments. Griego v. United States, No. 174 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(11) The Town of Mora Grant has no grant papers, but is based upon a distribution of land amongst its in­habitants by an alcalde which allegedly had been made pur­suant to an order issued in 1835 by the Governor of New Mexico. The Surveyor General recognized that the claimants' failure to account for the lack of documentary proof of the grant tended to show that one had not been made; however, he presumed that the allotments would not have been made unless the alcalde had been directed to act by competent authority. He also felt that the Mexican government would not have allowed the inhabitants of the town to remain upon such a valuable tract of land if it had not been granted to them. Strong emphasis was placed on the fact that the town was in existence in 1848. In a case involving somewhat similar circumstances, the Court of Private Land Claims hold that the facts indicated that the claim was either a grant made by an alcalde, which would be void for want of authority, or merely an allotment under a community grant, which would have to be alleged and proved, in order to entitle its confirmation. Perea v. United States, No. 145 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(12) The Town of Trampas Grant was issued to 12 colonists by Governor Tomas Velez Cachupin in 1751. The grant was increased by a strip of land conveyed to the colony by Sebastian Martin off the eastside of his grant. Each colonist received an individual allotment of land when the alcalde placed him in possession of the concession.

 (13) The Town of Chamito was regranted to Antonio Trujillo by Governor Juan Domingo de Bustamante in 1724. A thriving community had developed around the settlement originally established by Trujillo prior acquisition of New Mexico by the United States. Since the petitioners had presented no evidence linking themselves to Trujillo, the Surveyor General recommended that it confirmed to the legal representatives of Antonio Trujillo. Since the grant conflicted with the Pueblo of San Juan, the problem was presented to the Pueblo Lands Board, which upheld the claim of Trujillo’s legal representatives to 52 tracts of land. Thus, it would appear that this was an individual instead of a community grant.

 
(14) The Town of San Isidro Grant was granted by Governor Juan Bautista de Anza in 1786 to Antonio Armento and Antonio Sandoval for agricultural and ranching purposes. Although it was styled as the Town of San Isidro Grant, it was confirmed to the legal representatives of the original grantees. The cases hold this type situation to be an individual grant.

 

(15) The Town of Tejon Grant allegedly was granted to Salvador Barreras and a number of other persons for the purpose of forming a new settlement sometime prior to 1840. The claim was based upon a certificate issued by an alcalde evidencing the allocation of a number of tracts within a larger tract which had been granted to them by “superior orders.” The Surveyor General recommended its confirmation on the ground the town was in existence in 1848. Later evidence tends to show that the “grant” merely was a further distribution under the San Antonio de las Huerta Grant.

 

(16) The Town of the Canon de San Diego Grant was issued in 1798 by Governor Fernando Chacon to 20 colonists who had proposed the formation of a new settlement. Possession was delivered and individual allotments were made to the grantees. The Court of Private Land Claims probably would have limited the confirmation, if the claim had been presented to it, to the allotted areas. United States v. Sandoval, 167 U.S. 278 (1897).

 

Thus, it appears that a majority of these town grants would not have been confirmed if adjudicated by the Court of Private Land Claims or, if confirmed, would have been limited to the lands actually allotted and occupied by their inhabitants.

 

[8] A copy of these instructions is contained in S. Misc. Doc. No. 12, 42d Cong., 1st Sess., 5 (1871).

[9] Welch v. Sullivan, 8 Cal. 165 (1857).

[10]  (1) The Preston Beck, Jr., Grant was to Juan Estivan Pino by Governor Bartolome Baca on December 23, 1823. Possession was delivered. The grant was void prior to its confirmation in 1860, since it was issued at a time when there was no power to make a valid grant in New Mexico. Stoneroad v. Beck, 16 N.M. 754, 120 P. 898 (1912).

(2) The Tierra Amarilla Grant was issued to Manuel Martinez and his eight sons by the Provincial Depu­tation in 1832. Possession was not delivered. Under the decision of the Supreme Court in United States v. Vigil, 13 Wall. (80 U.S.) 449 (1871), grants by the Provincial Deputation were declared void.

(3) The Sangre de Cristo Grant was issued to Charles Beaubien and Stephen Lee by Governor Manuel Armijo in 1843 and approved by the Departmental Assembly. Posses­sion was delivered.

(4) The Brazito Grant was based upon a voluminous amount of documentary evidence pertaining to a number of proceedings instituted by Juan Antonio Garciade Noriega seeking a concession, but no granting decree was issued and possession was not delivered.

(5) The Los Trigos Grant was granted to Francisco Trujillo by the Ayuntamiento of Santa Fe in 1814. Governor Alberto Maynez confirmed the concession insofar as it covered the land occupied and used by the grantee. In 1842 a number of colonists requested and received allot­ments covering the excess from the Alcalde of San Miguel de Vado. The grant obviously was void for want of power in the granting authority, but, if valid, would have been limited by the Court of Private Land Claims to the occupied tracts of the claim had it been submitted to it for adjudication.

(6) The San Cristoval Grant was issued in 1827 by Governor Manuel Armijo to 31 colonists. Possession of the grant was delivered and allotments were made to the grantees. Under the doctrine of the Sandoval Case [United States v. Sandoval, 167 U.S. 278 (1897)), the Court of Private Land Claims probably would have limited the confir­mation of this grant to the occupied tracts if it were presented to it.

(7) The Nuestra Senora de la Luz Grant was based on a Spanish document which showed that the lands covered by the grant had been devised to the Roman Catholic Church in about 1820. The United States Supreme Court, in United States v. Teschmaker, 22 How. (63 U.S.) 392 (1859), held that the record of the title must be shown, or its absence accounted for to the satisfaction of the court. Reference to the grant in another instrument was held to be inadequate proof in Peabody v. United States, 175 U.S. 546 (1899).

(8) The John Scolly Grant was issued to eleven colonists by Governor Manuel Armijo in 1843. The grant was revalidated in 1846 by Armijo and possession was delivered. Congress confirmed the claim but limited it to five square leagues instead of five leagues square.

(9) The Agua Negra Grant was issued on November 24, 1824, by the Territorial Deputation with the consent of Governor Bartolome Baca to Antonio Sandoval for ranching purposes. Possession was delivered. Under the decisions of the Vigil and Pueblo of Zia cases [United States v. Vigil, 13 Wall. (80 U.S.) 449 (1871) and Pueblos of Zia, Jemez and Santa Ana v. United States, 168 U.S. 198 (1897)), the grant at best was a mere license which terminated when the United States acquired New Mexico.

(10) The San Pedro Grant was issued to a group of colonists in 1839 by the Prefect of the Central District. The grant was regranted to eight of the grantees by an alcalde in 1844 and individual allotments were made. The grant was extended and validated in 1845 by Governor Manuel Armijo.

(11) The Maxwell Grant was issued to Charles Beaubien and Guadalupe Miranda by Governor Manuel Armijo in 1841. Possession was delivered to the grantees in 1843.

(12) The Jose Leandro Perea Grant was issued by the Territorial Deputation in 1825 with the approval of the governor. Possession was not delivered. The Supreme Court of New Mexico found that, prior to its con­firmation, the grant was void for want of authority in the granting authority. [Stoneroad v. Beck, 16 N.M. 754,120 P. 898 (1912)].

(13) The Las Animas Grant, which is located in Colorado, was issued to Cornelio Vigil and Coran St. Vrain by Governor Manuel Armijo in 1843. Possession was delivered. Although the grant covered over four million acres of land, Congress in confirming the claim, limited it to a total of 22 square leagues.

(14) The Canon de Pecos Grant was issued to three settlers by Acting Governor Alberto Maynez in 1815 for agricultural and grazing purposes. Possession was delivered and partitioned amongst the grantees.

(15) The Luis Maria Cabeza de Baca Grant was granted Baca and his 17 sons in 1821 by the Provincial Deputation. In response to an order by the governor of New Mexico, possession of the grant was delivered to them. It was confirmed by the Territorial Deputation in 1825 and the redelivery of possession ordered by the governor in 1826. The concession, being a grant by the Territorial Deputation, was void for want of authority.

(16) The Sebastian Martin Grant was issued to Sebastian and Antonio Martin by Governor Diego de Vargas in 1703. Possession was delivered. The grant was re­granted to Sebastian Martin by Governor Jose Chacon in 1712 and possession was redelivered.

(17) The Laguna purchases (Paquate, El Rito, Gigante, San Juan and Santa Ana tracts) were acquired by the Laguna Indians between 1805 and 1825 and each of the pur­chases approved by the Governor of New Mexico.

(18) The Gaspar Ortiz Grant was issued by Governor Gaspar Domingo de Mendoza in 1739 and the grantee was placed in possession of the concession.

(19) The Pedro Armendaris No. 33 Grant was issued to Armendaris by Governor Facundo Melgares in 1819, but there is no evidence that possession was delivered. The concession was augmented by a second concession by the governor a year later but he was not placed in possession of the land.

(20) The Pedro Armendaris No. 34 Grant was granted to Armendaris by Governor Facundo Melgares, in 1820. There is no evidence that he was placed in possession of the grant. Boudin v. Phelps, 30 F. 547 (9th Cir., 1887)  held that the delivery of possession was essential for the investiture of title.

(21) The Bosque del Apache Grant was issued in 1845 to Antonio Sandoval by Governor Manuel Armijo as compensation for military service and forced loans. It appears that after 1824 there was no authority in New Mexi­co to grant land as a reward for services. Pinkerton v. United States No. 46 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L.Cl.).

(22) The Ramon Vigil Grant was issued in 1742 by Governor Gaspar Domingo Mendoza to Pedro Sanchez in order to support his large family. Possession was delivered.

(23) The Ortiz Mine Grant was issued by the Alcalde of Santa Fe in 1833. The United States Supreme Court in United States v. Casterillo, 2 Black (67 U.S.) 17 (1863), held that after 1824 land could be granted only by the governor with the concurrence of the Departmental Assembly and mines could be granted only by a mining deputation.

(24) The Canon del Agua Grant was issued by Governor Mariano Martinez in 1844. He also revalidated title to a mine located thereon which had been discovered by the grantee's grandfather. Possession was delivered. A patent, which had been secured by fraud, was set aside and a new patent issued.

(25) The Antonio Ortiz Grant was issued by Governor Facundo Milgares in 1818 and the grantee was placed in possession of the land.

(26) The Ojo del Espiritu Santo Grant was issued to Luis Maria Baca by Governor Alberto Maynez in 1815. Possession was delivered.

(27) The Antoine Leroux Grant was issued by Governor Domingo de Mendoza to Pedro Vigil de Santillan and his two nephews in 1742. Possession was delivered.

(28) The Mesita de Juana Lopez Grant was issued by Governor Juan Bautista de Anza in 1782.

(29) The Rio Don Carlos Grant, which is located in Colorado, was issued in 1843 by Governor Manuel Armijo to Gervacio Nolan. Possession of the grant was delivered. Congress limited the confirmation of the grant to eleven square leagues.

(30) The Pablo Montoya Grant was granted by the Territorial Deputation on November 19, 1824, for ranching purposes. Possession was delivered. The grant, if not merely a license, was void for want of authority.

[11] H. R. Report No. 321, 36th Cong., 1st Sess., 1-2 (1860).

[12] An act to confirm certain private land claims in the Territory of New Mexico, Chap. 167, 12 Stat. 71 (1860), and an act to confirm the title of the heirs of Gervacio Nolan, deceased, to certain lands in the Territory of Colorado, Chap. 202, 16 Stat. 646 (1870).

[13] A copy of this law is contained in Reynolds, Spanish and Mexican Land Laws, 121 (1895).

[14] Tameling v. United States Freehold & Emigration Co., 3 Otto. (93 U. S .) 644 (1877).

[15] United States v. Maxwell Land Grant and Railway Co., 121 U.S. 235 (1887). The government filed a petition for rehearing on the ground the Court had wrongly inter­preted the case. After considering the petition, the Court refused. Ibid., 122 U.S. 365 (1887). Notwithstanding the clean bill of health given the grant by the highest court in the land, this grant repeatedly has been pointed out as being the prime example of a fraudulent land grant and that fraud had been utilized in an extensive piracy of the public domain in New Mexico For instance, Professor Harold H. Dunham has asserted that the Maxwell Grant possesses a record as “discreditable as any in American history.” Dunham, Government Handout 214 (1941). Gustavus Myers has made the following reckless statement: “The frauds in the settlement of private land claims on alleged grants by Spain and Mexico were colossal. Vast estates in California, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and other states were obtained by collusion with the government administrative officials and Congress. These were secured upon the strength of either forged documents purporting to be grants from the Spanish or Mexican authorities, or by means of fraudulent surveys.” Continuing, he states: “Beginning by about the year 1860, Congress was ‘induced’ to confirm one private land claim after another. The reports of a number of the Congressional Committees on Private Land Claims strongly suggest bribery, but no positive, specific proof appears.... After the passage of these acts by Congress, the next step was to have a fraudulent survey of the alleged grants made by land office officials.” Myers, History of Great American Fortunes, 263, 651 (1937).

[16] Surveyor General George W. Julian, who perhaps was the harshest critic of Spanish and Mexican land grants, recognized that the Act would have "proved wise and salu­tary if the Surveyors General had been first rate lawyers, incorruptible men, and diligent in their work, and if Congress had promptly acted upon the cases reported to it for final discussion. But the reverse of all this happened." Continuing, he noted "competent and fit men for so impartial a service would not accept it for the meager salary provided by law .... Their duties presupposed judicial training and an adequate knowledge of both Spanish and American law; but with one or two exceptions they were not lawyers at all." Julian, “Land Stealing in New Mexico,” 145 North American Review 18 (1887).

[17] United States v. Maxwell Land Grant and Railway Co., 121 U.S. 235 (1887).

[18] These were:

 

 

(1) The Jornada del Muerto Grant

Rej. by S. Ct.

(2) The Town of Galisteo Grant

Part. Conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.

(3) The Ojo del Apache Grant

Rej. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl. 

(4) The San Cristoval Grant

Claim abandoned

(5) The Bartolome Baca Grant

Rej. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.

(6) The Sebastian de Vargas Grant

Part. Conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.

 

As a result of the decisions in the Vigil, Tameling, Maxwell and Canon del Agua cases [United States v. Vigil, 13 Wall. (80 U.S.) 449 (1871); Tameling v. United States Freehold & Emigration Co., 3 Otto. (93 U.S.) 644 (1874); United States v. Maxwell Land Grant and Railway Co., 121 U.S. 235 (1886); and United States v. San Pedro and Canon del Agua Grant, 4 N.M. (gild.) 405, 17p. 337 (1887) ], more attention was paid by the Surveyors General to the question of the authority of the granting official to make a valid concession. For instance,· in each instance where a grant was recommended for rejection, the Surveyor General's recommendation was based upon the fact that there was either insufficient evidence that a grant had been made, or a lack of authority in granting officer.

[19] For a discussion on the Santa Fe Ring, see Lamar, The Far Southwest, 1846-1912, 136-184 (1966).

[20] Cato, Lucius Q. C. Lamar, 427 (1935).

[21] Journal of George W. Julian, October 11, 1885 and December 7, 1886 (Mss., Julian Paper, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, Indiana).

 

[22]

 

 

(1)The Jose Sutton Grant

Rej. bec no evid. Of grant or del. Of poss. (Rej. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.)

(2) The Barnabe M. Montano Grant

Recom. be limited to 7 sq. leagues (Part. conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(3) The Canada de los Apaches Grant

Rej. Bec. No evid. Cond. Performed (Part. conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(4) The Nerio Antonio Montoya Grant

Rej. bec want of auth. To grant (Rej. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(5) Juan Bautista Valdez Grant

Rej. bec. Of insufficient evid. Of grant (Part. conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(6) The Town of Cienequilla Grant

Inadeq. evid. of title but recog. as equitable claim (Rej. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(7) The San Joaquin del Nacimiento Grant

Rej. bec. of failure to occupy within time req. by Spanish law (Rej. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(8) The San Clemente Grant

Rej. Bec. No evid/ cond. Performend (Part. Conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(9) The Luis de Armenta Grant

Recom. bec limited to one fanega. Claim abandoned.

(10) The Estancia Grant

Rej. bec. No archive evid. Of grant and it was illegal since made under Col. Law of 1824 and grantee already had more land than maximum (Rej. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(11) The Canon de Chama Grant

Equitable claim and therefore limited to occupied area. (Part. conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(12) The Sierra Mosca Grant

Rej. bec. forgery (Conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl. As imperfect grant for 11 sq. leag. Rev. by S. Ct.).

(13) The San Antonio de Rio Colorado Grant

Equit. Cl. And therefore limited to area occupied (Rej. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl. as prefect had no authority to make grant).

(14) The Arroyo de San Lorenzo Grant

Under Col. Law of 1824, the grant could not exceed one sq. league. Gross stretching of boundaries cast doubt on validity of grant so recom rej. (Rej. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl. For want of authority in the Prov. Deputation to make grant).

(15) The Canada Ancha Grant

Recog. for 130.93 acres but rej. for failure of claimants to connect themselves with orig. grantee. (Part. conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(16) The Gaspar Ortiz Grant

Rej. bec. of forgery. Cl. abandoned.

(17) The Town of Alameda Grant

Rej. bec. no evid. cond. performed (Part. Conf. By Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(18) The Canon del Rio Colorado Grant

Rej. for want of auto. in Ayuntamiento to make grant, no re. in archives and poss. not del. (Rej. Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(19) The Chaca Mesa Grant

Rej. bec. no evid. of settlement within time req. by law and size stretched to more than ten times quantity granted (Part. conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(20) The Canada de las Alamos Grant

Rej. bec. no evid. of settlement within time req. by law. (Part. conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(21) The Felipe Tafoya Grant

Rej. bec. not occupied as req. by law and size unlawfully increased by alcalde (Part. conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(22) The Agua Salada Grant

Rej. bec. no evid. cond. performed, the claimants had not connected themselves with orig. grantee, or the boundaries had been stretched (Part. conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(23) The Petaca Grant

Recog. as equit. claim to extent occupied (Conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl. for 11 sq. leagues; Sup. Ct. limited to area allotted).

(24) The Ojo de la Cabra Grant

Rej. for want of auth. in Departmental Assembly to make valid grant and bec. poss. not del. (Rej. Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(25) The Town of Socorro Grant

Grant papers a forgery but recom. conf. as equit. cl. to area occupied (Conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(26) The Vallecito de Lobato Grant

Rej. on ground legal grant had not been made, but if grant papers valid was merely a license (Rej. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(27) The Santa Teresa Grant

Rej. bec. grant not recorded as req. by Gadsen Treaty (Conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(28) The Juan Bautista Valdez Grant

Rej. bec. insuff. evid. of legal or equit. claim (Part. conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(29) The Francisco de Anaya Almazan Grant

Disc. so vague and indef. that land could not be located, therefore conf. only to extent occupied (Part. conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(30) The San Miguel del Vado Grant

Recom. be conf. to all allotees and not just the grantee named in Governor’s decree (Conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl. to extent of allotments).

(31) The Antonio de Salazar Grant

Recom. conf. as equit. claim to extent occupied since cond. not performed (Rej. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(32) The Canada de Cochiti Grant

Rej. bec. no evid. of a valid grant. Basewd on certified copy (Part. conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(33) The Sebastian de Vargas Grant

Recom. conf. although predecesor recom. rej. (Part. conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

(34) The Canada de Santa Clara Grant

Recog. as valid but recom. gov’t. purchase land (Conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl. to extent occupied).

(35) The Santo Tomas de Yturbide Grant

Rej. bec. no evid. patent papers genuine but further exam. changed recom. (Part. conf. by Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

 

[23] Julian, "Land Stealing in New Mexico," 145 North American Review, 2-31 (1887) .

[24] Daily New Mexican, March 12, 1889.

[25] Joseph to William C. Whitney, March 10, 1885 (Mss., Whitney Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.).

[26] Daily New Mexican, February 9, 1889.

[27] Ibid., August 6, 1889.

[28] Journal of George W. Julian, August 18, 1889 (Mss., Julian Papers, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, Indiana). See also Williams, "George W. Julian and Land Reform in New Mexico, 1885-1889," 41 Agricultural History, 71 (1967).

[29] Richardson, A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 5484 (1897). Henry J. Siever's failure to mention the land grant problem or the creation of the Court of Private Land Claims in his biography of President Harrison is disappointing. Sievers, Benjamin Harrison, Hoosier President (1968).

[30] Court of Private Land Claims Act, Chap. 539, 26 Stat. 854 (1891) For a copy of this act, see Appendix B.

[31] Report of the Attorney General, 3-5 (1892).

[32]         

(1) The Town of Cubero

Appealed by the Government. Affirmed by the S. Ct.

 

(2) The Bernabe Montano Grant.

No appeal but decision later reformed to conform with testimony.

 

(3) The Albuquerque Grant.

Appealed by government. Decision of Ct. Pvt. L. Cl. reversed and case remanded on ground Spanish city not entitled to four sq. leagues of land by operation of law.

 

(4) The Rancho del Rio Grande Grant.

No appeal

 

(5) The Socorro Grant.

No appeal

(6) The Francisco Mones Vigil Grant.

 

No appeal

(7) The Cristobal de la Serna Grant.

No appeal

 

(8) The El Paso de los Algodones Grant.

The grant was rejected on the ground that the title papers were forged. A rehearing was granted. The grant was subsequently rejected on the ground the State of Sonora had no power to make a valid sale in 1836 unless subsequently approved by the national government. United States v. Coe, 174 U.S. 578 (1899).

 

 

 

[33] Report of the Attorney General, IX (1893).

[34] Ibid., 4-5.

[35] The Court rejected (a) The San Antonio del Rio Colorado Grant, (b) The Jose Duran Grant, (c) The Rancho de Santisima Trinidad Grant, (d) The San Antonita Grant, (e) the Pueblo of Zia, Santa Ana and Jemez and Jemez Grant, and (f) The Canon de San Diego Grant. All of the decisions were appealed to the Sup. Ct. The Appeals in the San Antonio del Rio Colorado, Jose Duran and Rancho de Santisima Trinidad Grants were dismissed. The decisions in the cases were affirmed. The San Antonio de Rio Colorado and San Antonito Grants were rejected on the ground a prefect had no authority to issue a valid grant. The Jose Duran Grant was rejected since it had not been proven that the conditions of occupation and settlement had been performed. The Rancho de la Santisima Trinidad was rejected on the ground that plaintiff had failed to connect himself with the original grantee. The Pueblo of Zia, Santa Ana and Jemez Grant was rejected on the ground it was a mere license, which terminated when the United States acquired New Mexico. The Canon de San Diego Grant was rejected on the ground the court had no jurisdiction over lands previously confirmed.

 

[36]  

(1) The Arroyo Hondo Grant

No appeal

(2) The Sebastian de Vargas Grant -Appeal by claimants dismissed

Appeal by claimants dismissed

(3) The Godoy Grant

No appeal

(4) The Town of Alameda Grant

No appeal

(5) The Canada de los Apaches Grant 

Appeal by claimants dismissed

(6) The Gijosa Grant

No appeal

(7) The Pacheco Grant

No appeal

(8) The Cristobal de la Serna Grant

No appeal

(9) The Pueblo of San Marcos Grant

No appeal

(10) The Nuestra Señora del Rosario Grant

No appeal

(11) The Piedra Lumbre Grant

Appeal by government dismissed

(12) The Luis Jaramillo Grant

Appeal by government dismissed

(13) The Town of Jacona Grant

Appeal by government dismissed

(14) The Caja del Rio Grant

No appeal

(15) The Polvadera Grant

Appeal by government dismissed

(16) The Domingo Valdez Grant

No appeal

(17) The Luis Marquiz Grant

No appeal

(18) The Nicolas Duran de Chaves Grant

No appeal

(19) The El Paso de los Algodones Grant

Appealed by government. The S. Ct. reversed and rejected grant for want of authority.

                  

[37] Report of the Attorney General, 5 (1894).

 

[38]

(1) The Plaza Colorado Grant

No appeal

 

(2) The San Miguel del Vado Grant

 

Appealed by government. [United States v. Sandoval, 167 U.S. 278 (1897)]. S. Ct. reversed and held: Town grants limited to lands occupied under individual allotments.  

(3) The Plaza Blanca Grant

No appeal

(4) The Elena Gallegos Grant

Appeal by government dismissed

(5) The Town of Abiquiu Grant

 

No appeal

(6) The Bartolome Fernandez Grant

No appeal

 

(7) The City of Santa Fe Grant

Appealed by government. [United States v. City of Santa Fe, 165 U.S. 675 (1897)]. S. Ct. reversed and held Spanish towns not entitled to four square leagues by operation of law.  

(8) The Juan de Gabaldon Grant

 

No appeal

(9) The Ojo Caliente Grant

No appeal

(10) The Talaya Hlll Grant

Appeal by claimants dismissed

(11) The Juan Jose Lobato Grant

No appeal

(12) The Canada de Santa Clara

No appeal

(13) The Miera and Padilla Grant

No appeal

(14) The Town of Atrisco Grant

Appeal by government dismissed

(15) The Canon de Carnue Grant

No appeal

(16) The Los Cerrillos Grant

No appeal

(17) The Sitio de los Cerrillos Grant

No appeal

(18) The Sitio de Juana Lopez Grant

No appeal

(19) The Canon de Chama Grant

Appealed by claimants [Rio Arriba Land & Cattle Co. v. United States, 167 U.S. 298 (1897)]. S. Ct. reversed and held fact that Congress confirmed similar grant does not authorize Ct. Pvt. L. Cl. to confirm grant which does not fall within jurisdiction of the Act of March 3, 1891.

(20) The Galisteo Grant

No appeal

(21) The Bartolome Baca Grant

Appeal by claimants and government [Bergere v. United States, 168 U.S. 66 (1897)]. S. Ct. reversed and held an imperfect grant, in order to be confirmed, must be one which claimant, by right and not grace, could have demanded be made perfect by former sovereign.

(22) The Black Mesa Grant

No appeal

(23) The Antonio de Abeita Grant

 

No appeal

(24) The Pajarito Grant

No appeal

(25) The Majada Grant

No appeal

(26) The Ojo de Borrego Grant

Appeal by government dismissed

(27) The Ojo de San Jose Grant

Appeal by government dismissed

(28) The Canada de Cochiti Grant

 

Appealed by claimant [Whitney v. United States, t167 U.S. 529(1897)] S. Ct. reversed and held that where the descrip­tion is ambiguous and two natural objects could be the one described in the grant papers, the one which will limit the size of the grant will be picked.

(29) The Santa Barbara Grant

No appeal

(30) The Cevilleta Grant

No appeal

 

 

[39]    

(1) The Joaquin Mestas Grant

Rejected. Plaintiff failed to connect to original grantee. No appeal.

 

(2) The Gervacio Nolan Grant

Rejected be­cause previous confirmation had satisfied claim. Appeal by claimants dismissed.

 

(3) The Arroyo de San Lorenzo Grant

Appealed by claimants [Hayes v. United States, 170 U.S. 637 (1898)]. S. Ct. affirmed and held a grant made by one who had no authority is not a “just title” which would support a title by prescription, and the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl. has no authority to confirm such equitable claims.

 

(4) The Corpus Christi Grant

 Rejected because of grant forgery. No appeal.

 

(5) The Bosque Grande Grant

 

Rejected because deed connecting plaintiff to original grantee was spurious. No appeal. (A subsequent case confirmed this grant)

(6) The Arroyo de los Chamisos Grant

Rejected because located within previously confirmed grant. No appeal.

 

(7) The Canada de San Francisco Grant

Rejected because prefect had no authority to make valid grant. No appeal.

 

(8) The Juan Cayetano Lobato Grant

Rejected because located within previously confirmed grant. No appeal.

 

(9) The Antonio Dominguez Grant

Rejected because located within previously confirmed grant. No appeal.

 

(10) The Roque Lobato Grant

 Rejected be­cause deed in plaintiff's chain of title was forgery. No appeal.

 

(11) The Rio del Picuris Grant

Rejected because of want of authority of Territorial Deputation to make valid grant. No appeal.

 

(12) The Lo de Padilla Grant

Rejected because grant covered lands other than that claimed by plaintiff. Appeal by claimants dismissed.

 

(13) The Rancho de Ysleta Grant

Rejected because grant located in area ceded by Texas. No appeal.

 

(14) The Rito de los Frijoles Grant

Rejected because mere license. Appeal by claimant dismissed.

(15) The Peralta Grant

Rejected because certified copy by J.P. not sufficient to support claim. No appeal.

 

(16) The San Jose de Sonoita Grant

 

Rejected for want of authority in granting officer). Appealed by claimant. [Ely's Admr. v. United States, 171 U.S. 220 (1898) S. Ct. confirmed grant for quantity bought by grantee.

 

(17) The Ignacio de Babocomari Grant

Rejected for want of authority in granting officer. Appealed by claimant. [Perrin v. United States, 171 U.S. 292 (1898)]. S. Ct. reversed and remanded to permit claimant to identify land purchased.

 

(18) The San Rafael del Valle Grant

Rejected because state officials had no authority to grant land. Appealed by claimant. [Camou v. United States, 171 U.S. 277 (1898)]. S. Ct. confirmed grant because Law of August 4, 1824 gave revenue from sales to states.

 

(19) The Los Nogales de Elias Grant

Rejected because grant one of quantity and no land covered thereby was located in United States. Appealed by claimants. [Ainsa v. United States, 161 U.S. 208 (1896)]. S. Ct. affirmed.

 

             

 

 

[40] These were (1) a companion case concerning the Canon de Chama Grant, (2) The Rancho de los Comanches Grant, (3) The Rancho de Corrales Grant, (4) The Rancho de Gallina Grant, (5) The Rancho El Rito Grant, and (6) The Rancho de Abequiu Grant. These grants obviously were filed merely to protect a possible claim from being barred by the statute of limitation.

[41] Court of Private Land Claims Act, Chap. 539, 26 Stat. 854 (1891).

[42] Report of the Attorney General, 55-57 (1895).

43] Peralta-Reavis v. United States, No. 110 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

[44]

(1) The Ignacio Chaves Grant

No appeal.

(2) The Felipe Tafoya Grant

Appeal by claimant dismissed.

(3) The Antonio Baca Grant

Appeal by government dismissed.

(4) The San Mateo Spring Grant

Appeal by claimant dismissed.

 

 

 

[45]   

(1) The Gotera Grant

 

Rejected because of want of authority in Territorial Deputation to issue a valid grant. No appeal.

 

(2) The Peralta Grant

Rejected as a fraud. Appeal by claimant dismissed.

 

(3) The John Heath Grant

Rejected because of want of authority in Ayuntamiento to issue a valid concession outside its grant. Appeal by claimant. [Cessna v. United States, 169 U.S. 165 (1898). S. Ct. affirmed.

 

(4) The Tumacacori, Calabazos and Huebabi Grant.

Rejected because Departmental Treasurer acting alone had no authority to make a valid grant. Claimant appealed. [Faxon v. United States, 171 U.S. 244 (1898).

 

 

[46] These were (1) The Santiago Bone Grant, (2) The San Acacio Grant, (3) The Rancho del Rio Arriba Grant, and (4) The Rancho los Rincones Grant.

[47]

(1) The Dona Ana Bend Colony Grant.

Appeal by government dismissed

 

(2) The San Clemente Grant

No appeal

 

(3) The Alamitos Grant

 

Appeal by government dismissed

 

(4) The Petaca Grant

Appealed by government. [United States v. Pena, 175 U.S. 500 (1899). S. Ct. reversed and remanded the case, hold that, where the grantees were given possession of only undivided allotments, the confirmation should be limited to allotted lands.

 

(5) The Cebolla Grant

Appealed by the gov­ernment. [United States v. Elder, 177 U.S. (1900)]. S. Ct. reversed and held that grantee had been given a license which terminated upon the cession of the territory to the United States.

 

(6) The Cuyamungue Grant

Appealed by the government. [United States v. Conway, 175 U.S. 60 (1899)]. S. Ct. reversed and, with two dissenting justices, held that land previously confirmed by Act of Congress should be excepted from a decree of confirmation, even though the previously confirmed grant was void.

 

(7) The San Ignacio de la Canoa Grant

Ap­pealed by the government. [United States v. Maish, 171 U.S. 244 (1898)]. S. Ct. reversed and remanded the case, hold­ing that the confirmation should be limited to the amount sold and purchased.

 

 

[48]  

 (1) The Nerio Antonio Montoya Grant

Rejected for want of authority by Territorial Deputation to make valid grant. Appealed by claimant. (Chavez v. United States, 175 U.S. 552 (1899). S. Ct. affirmed.

 

(2) The Baird's Ranch Grant

Rejected because of no evidence of grant. Appeal by claimant dismissed

 

(3) The Town of Cieneguilla Grant

Rejected because no evidence of grant. No appeal.

 

(4) The Barranca Grant

Rejected because grant had been revoked by the governor shortly after its issuance in 1735. No appeal.

 

(5) The Nuestra Senora de los Dolores Mine

Rejected for want of authority in the Judge of the First Instance to make a valid concession of minerals. Appeal by claimant dismissed.

 

(6) The San Bernardino Grant

Rejected on ground grant not recorded in archives as required by Gadsden Treaty. On rehearing in 1900, plaintiffs intro­duced index from archives which listed this grant and Ct. Pvt. L. Cl. confirmed the small portion lying within the United States. No appeal.

 

(7) The Sopori Grant

 

Rejected because fraudulent. Appeal by claimant dismissed.

 

 

[49] Report of the Attorney General, 25-27 (1896).

[50] Report of the Attorney General, 10-15 (1897).

[51]           

(1) The Lo de Padilla Grant

This was a com­panion case filed after rejection of a different claim. No appeal.

 

(2) The Manuel and Santiago Montoya Grant

No appeal.

 

(3) The Sierra Mosca Grant

Appealed by the government. [United States v. Ortiz, 176 U.S. 422 (1900)]. S. Ct. reversed and held that a claimant is charged with the duty of tendering proof as to the existence, regularity and archival record of the grant, as well as his connection with it. 

 

(4) The Antonio Gutierrez Grant

Appealed by government. [United States v. Chaves, 175 U.S. 509 (1899)]. S. Ct. affirmed, holding that long and uninter­rupted possession creates a presumption that formal instru­ments or records of title once existed.

 

(5) The Joaquin Sedillo Grant

Appealed by government. This case was consolidated by the St. Ct. with the Antonio Gutierrez Grant in the Chaves case and affirmed the decision of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.

 

(6) The Rio Tesuque Grant

Rejected in 1898 on rehearing.

 

(7) The Jose Garcia Grant

Rejected in 1898 on rehearing.

 

(8) The Ranchito Grant

No appeal

 

(9) The Town of Bernalillo Grant

No appeal

 

(10) The Angostura Grant

No appeal

 

(11) The Santiago Ramirez

No appeal

 

(12) The San Jose del Encinal Grant

Appealed by government. [United States v. Baca, 184 U.S. 653 (1902)].S. Ct. reversed and held any decision on the merits of a claim under a Spanish grant located within a confirmed grant is forbidden under the Act of March 3, 1891.

 

(13) The Salvador Gonzales Grant

No appeal

 

(14) The San Antonio de las Huertas Grant.

Appeal by claimant dismissed.

 

(15) The Pueblo of Laguna Grant

No appeal

 

(16) The Don Fernando de Taos Grant

No appeal

 

(17) The Francisco de Anaya Almazan Grant

No appeal

 

(18) The Bartolome Sanchez Grant.

Appeal by claimant dismissed.

 

 

[52]  

(1) The Ojo del Apache Grant

Rejected be­cause alcalde had no authority to make a valid grant. Appealed by claimant. [Hays v. United States, 175 U.S. 248 (l899)]. S. Ct. affirmed.

 

(2) The Ojo del Cabra Grant

Rejected be­cause Territorial Assembly had no authority to make a valid grant, and, if valid, had been revoked. Appeal by claimant dismissed.

 

(3) The Canon del Rio Colorado Grant

Rejected because prefect had no authority to make a valid grant. Appeal by claimant dismissed.

 

(4) The Orejas del Llano de las Aguages Grant

Rejected because governor had no authority to make valid grant in 1826. No appeal.

 

(5) The Canada de las Mestenas Grant

Rejected because alcalde had no authority to make a valid grant. Appeal by claimant dismissed.

 

(6) The Bernal Spring Grant

Rejected because no evidence of issuance of a grant. No appeal.

 

(7) The Town of Bernalillo Grant

Rejected upon plaintiff's motion to dismiss. This grant was con­firmed in a companion case.

 

 

(8) The Jose Trujillo Grant

Rejected upon plaintiff's motion to dismiss. Since it conflicted with pre­viously confirmed grant, there was no hope of obtaining a confirmation.

 

(9) The Arroyo Seco Grant

Rejected upon plaintiff's motion to dismiss. Since it was alleged that the grant papers had been forged, there was little hope of obtaining a confirmation.

 

(10) The Ojito de Galisteo Grant

 

Rejected upon plaintiff's motion to dismiss. Since it was alleged that the grant papers had been forged, there was little hope of obtaining a confirmation.

 

(11) The Guadalupita Grant

Rejected upon plaintiff's motion to dismiss. Since it was recognized alcalde had no authority to issue a valid grant, there was no reason for the plaintiff to proceed.

 

(12) The Town of Real de Dolores Grant

Re­jected because located within previously confirmed grant. Appealed by claimant. [Town of Real de Dolores del Oro v. United States, 175 U.S. 71 (1899)]. S. Ct. affirmed.

 

(13) The Rancho del Rio Puerco Grant

Rejected upon plaintiff's motion to dismiss. This case was filed to protect a fanciful claim.

 

(14) The Rancho de Las Truchas Grant

Rejected upon plaintiff's announcement she no longer wished to prose­cute. The grant was located within a previously confirmed grant .

 

(15) The Rancho Grant

Rejected upon plaintiff's motion to dismiss. The case was filed to protect a fanciful claim .

 

(16) The Rancho Grant

 Rejected at plaintiff's request. This was another case filed to protect a fanciful claim.

 

 

(17) The Arroyo Hondo Grant

Rejected at plaintiff's request. It was void for want of authority of Ayuntamiento to make a valid grant, or was merely an allot­ment of the Arroyo Hondo Grant.

 

(18) The Tacubaya Grant

 

Rejected when plain­tiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute. The claim was obviously void for want of authority in the Ayuntamiento to make a valid grant, and also because it was located with­in a previously confirmed grant.

 

(19) The Nasa Grant

Rejected upon plaintiff's motion to dismiss. The grant was void for want of authority of commanding officer of a presidio to make a valid grant.

 

(20) The Paraje del Panche Grant

Rejected upon plaintiff's motion to dismiss. There was insufficient documentary evidence to sustain the claim.

 

(21) The Rio del Oso Grant

Rejected upon plaintiff's motion to dismiss. There was insufficient docu­mentary evidence to sustain the claim.

 

(22) The Lomitas Grant

Rejected when plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute the claim. There was insufficient documentary evidence to sustain the claim.

 

(23) The Mesita Blanca Grant

Rejected when plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute claim which had been granted by an Ayuntamiento.

 

(24) The Luis Garcia Grant

 

Rejected upon motion of the plaintiff following the confirmation of the Town of Bernalillo Grant. This was a companion claim to the Town of Bernalillo Grant.

 

(25) The Francisco Garcia Grant

Rejected upon plaintiff's request, since the claim was located within the Town of Albuquerque Grant, which previously had been con­firmed by the Ct. Pvt. L. CL.

 

(26) The Hacienda del Alamo Grant

Rejected when plaintiff failed to appear and prosecute his claim. There was no documentary evidence of grant. The claim was based upon recitals in other documents.

 

(27) The Ojito de las Medanos Grant

 

Rejected because no evidence that possession of the grant had been delivered, and the concession was a mere license which had been abandoned prior to the change of sovereignty.

 

 

(28) The Rancho el Rito Grant

Rejected because boundaries were vague and presumed to cover land previously confirmed.

 

(29) The Vallecito de San Antonio Grant

Re­jected when plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prose­cute. The claim was based on an hijuela, instead of a grant, and was located within the Juan Jose Lobato Grant, which previously had been confirmed.

 

(30) The Town of Vallecito de Lobato Grant

Rejected on ground that Governor had no authority to issue a valid grant in February, 1824, and even if he had such authority, the concession was not a grant but was a license which expired upon the change of sovereignty in 1848. Appealed by claimants. [Peabody v. United States, 175 U.S. 546]. S. Ct. affirmed.

 

 

 

[53] Report of the Attorney General, 10-19 (1898).

 

[54]

(1) The Santo Domingo and San Felipe Grant.

Appeal by claimant dismissed

 

(2) The Juan Bautista Valdez Grant

No appeal

 

(3) The Santa Rosa de Cubera Grant

No appeal

 

 

[55]

 

(1) The Las Animas Grant

Rejected on the ground that the grant had been acted on previously by Congress. Appealed by claimants. [Las Animas Land Grant Co. v. United States; 179 U.S. 201 (1900)]. S. Ct. affirmed.

 

(2) The Pino Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute the claim. The "grant" appears to be an allotment under the Pueblo of Quemado Grant.

 

(3) The Salvador Lobato Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute. There was not sufficient documentary evidence to sustain the claim.

 

(4) The Antonio Armijo Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute the claim. This grant was located within the Santa Fe Grant, which previously had been confirmed by the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.

 

(5) The Archuleta and Gonzales Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute the claim. This was located within the Santa Fe Grant which previously had been confirmed by the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.

 

(6) The Chupaderos de la Lagunita Grant

Rejected because an alcalde had no authority to make a valid grant. No appeal.

 

(7) The Jose Antonio Lucero Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff failed to appear and prosecute his claim. The grant was located within the Santa Fe Grant which previously had been confirmed by the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.

 

(8) The Catarino Maese Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff failed to appear and prosecute his claim. The grant was located wholly within the Santa Fe Grant.

 

(9)The Juan Felipe Rodriguez Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute the claim. The grant was not supported by sufficient documentary evidence, and was located within the Santa Fe Grant.

 

(10) The Jose Romulo de Vera Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute the claim. The grant was located within the Santa Fe Grant.

 

(11) The Juan Jose Archuleta Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff failed to appear and prosecute the case. The grant was situated within the Santa Fe Grant.

 

(12)The Juan Antonio Flores Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff failed to appear and prosecute the case. The grant was situated within the Santa Fe Grant.

 

(13) The Guadalupe Miranda Grant.

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute the claim. The grant had not been approved by the governor and Director and Secretary of the Topographical Corps, as required by law.

 

(14) The Arquito Grant

Rejected because the grant was either void, having been made by an alcalde, for want of authority, or merely an allotment under a community grant.

 

(15) The Ancon Colorado Grant

 

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute the claim. The grant was located within the Canon de San Diego Grant, which had been confirmed by Congress.

 

(16) The Sanguijuela Grant

Rejected because the grant was located within the Las Vegas Grant, which had been confirmed by Congress.

 

(17) The Pueblo of Quemado Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prose­cute the case. There was not sufficient documentary evi­dence to appeal the claim.

 

(18) The Pueblo of Cochiti Pasture Grant and Juana Baca Grant

Rejected because plaintiff failed to amend petition and prosecute these two claims separately. The first appears to be a mere license, and the second was not sustained by sufficient documentary evidence.

 

(19) The Embudo Grant

Rejected because a copy of a grant, which was certified to be true by an alcalde, was insufficient evidence to sustain a grant. Appeal by claimant dismissed.

 

(20) The Jose Ignacio Martin Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff requested the suit be dismissed. This was one of the companion cases seeking the confirmation of the Arroyo Hondo Grant.

 

(21) The Felipe Medina Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff requested the suit be dismissed. This was one of the companion cases seeking the confirmation of the Arroyo Hondo Grant.

 

(22) The Manuel Fernandez Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff requested the suit be dismissed. This was one of the companion cases seeking the confirmation of the Arroyo Hondo Grant.

 

(23) The Santa Cruz Grant

Rejected when plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute. This was a companion case to the Santa Cruz Grant, and there was not sufficient evidence to show the issuance of this grant.

 

(24) The Felipe Tafoya Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute the suit. This grant appears to have been revoked and regranted to a third person. The land was located within the Santa Fe Grant.

 

(25) The Manuel Tenorio Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced that she no longer wished to prose­cute the claim. There were no grant papers to sustain the claim, which was located within the Santa Fe League.

 

(26) The Tomas Tapia Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute. The grant was located within the Santa Fe League.

 

(27) The Diego Arias de Quiros Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff failed to appear and prosecute the suit. The claim was located within the Santa Fe League.

 

(28) The Alfonso Rael de Aguilar Grant

 

Re­jected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute the suit. The claim was located wholly within the Santa Fe Grant.

 

(29) The Felipe Pacheco Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute the suit. There was not sufficient documentary evidence to sustain the claim that a grant had been made. Also, the claim was located wholly within the Santa Fe Grant.

 

(30) The Badito Grant

Rejected because the claim was either an allotment under a community grant or a grant by an alcalde .

 

(31) The Santa Fe Canon Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff failed to appear and prosecute the claim. There was insufficient documentary evidence to sustain the grant.

 

(32) The Alamo Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff failed to appear and prosecute the claim. The grant was not supported by sufficient documentary evidence.

 

(33) The Rancho El Rito Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced she no longer wished to prosecute. There was insufficient documentary evidence to establish the existence of a grant.

 

(34) The Ocate Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff failed to appear and prosecute the suit. The genuineness of the grant was questionable.

 

(35) The Cristoval Crespin Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prose­cute the claim. The grant was located within the Bartolome Sanchez Grant, which previously had been confirmed.

 

(36) The Alfonso Rael de Aguilar Grant

Re­jected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute his suit. The claim was located entirely within the previously confirmed Pueblo of Pojoaque Grant.

 

(37) The Antonio de Salazar Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute the suit. The grant was located within the boundaries of the Pueblo of Pojoaque Grant, which had been confirmed by Congress.

 [sic]

 

 

(39) The Las Manuelitas Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff failed to appear and prosecute the claim. The grant was void, since it had been issued by the Departmental Assembly, which had no authority to make valid concessions of public land.

 

(40) The Rancho de Coyote Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff notified the court he no longer wished to prosecute the suit. There was insufficient evidence to sustain the claim.

 

(41) The Manuel García de las Ribas Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced. he no longer wished to prosecute the suit. The evidence indicated that the grant had been revoked prior to the change of sovereignty.

 

(42) The Cristobal de Torres Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prose­cute the suit. The grant appeared to have been revoked prior to the change of sovereignty.

 

(43) The Juan de Ulibarri Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prose­cute the suit. There was no evidence that possession of the grant had been delivered, and it conflicted with the Bartolome Sanchez Grant.

 

(44) The Juan Esteban García de Noriega Grant

Rejected because it appeared that the grant had been revoked prior to the change of sovereignty. No appeal.

 

(45) The Jose Antonio Torres Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff notified the court he no longer wished to prosecute the suit. The grant papers showed the grant had been revoked.

 

(46) The Antonio de Ulibarri Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prose­cute the suit. The grant papers indicated the grant had been revoked prior to the change of sovereignty.

 

(47) The Juan de Tafoya Grant

Rejected upon the request of the plaintiff that the suit be dismissed without prejudice. The claim conflicted with the Canada de Santa Clara Grant.

 

(48) The Maragua Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff failed to appear and prosecute the suit. The court held there was no authority in the state officials to make grants of public land between 1824 and 1828.

 

 

 

[56] Report of the Attorney General, 63-69 (1899).

 

[57]

(1) The Santo Tomas de Iturbide Grant

No appeal

 

(2) The Jose Manuel Sanchez Baca Grant

No appeal

 

(3) The Don Fernando de Taos Grant

No appeal

 

(4) The Refugio Colony Grant

No appeal

 

(5) The Mesilla Colony Grant

No appeal

 

(6) The Santa Cruz Grant

No appeal

 

(7) The San Rafael del Valle Grant

Following its remand. Second appeal to S. Ct. affirmed.

 

(8) The San Ignacio de la Canoa Grant

Following its remand.

 

(9) The San Juan de las Boquillas y Nogales Grant

No appeal

 

 

 

[58]          

 

(1) The Tres Alamos Grant

Rejected under Section 13 of the Act of March 3, 1891 because conditions had not been complied with prior to the change of sovereign­ty. Appeal by the claimant dismissed.

 

(2) The Town of Socorro Grant

Rejected on ground that grant papers were forged and, even if genuine, grant was void for want of authority in Governor Manuel Armijo to validate a previous grant made by the Spanish authorities. No appeal.

 

(3) The Reyes Pacheco Grant

Rejected for want of authority in commandant of a presidio to make a valid grant, and because there was no record of the grant in the Mexican archives as required by the Gadsden Treaty. Appeal by claimant dismissed.

 

(4) The Jose Sutton Grant

Rejected because the conditions upon which the grant had been issued had not been performed prior to the change of sovereignty. No appeal.

 

(5) The Estancia Grant

Rejected on the ground the Colonization Law of August 18, 1824, was repealed in 1837, and governor had no authority to make a gratuitous grant of public land). Appealed by claimant.

[Whitney v. United States, 181 U.S. 104 (1901)]. S. Ct. affirmed, stating that a grant made in 1845 by governor was incomplete if there was no showing that it had been approved by the Departmental Assembly or the Supreme Executive.

 

(6) The Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Mine Grant

Rejected for want of authority in an alcalde to issue a valid mining grant.  No appeal

(7) The Lo de Basquez Grant

Rejected when the plaintiffs announced they no longer wished to prosecute the suit. The evidence showed that the grant had been revoked by Governor Gervasio Cruzate y Gongora.

 

(8) The Diego de Belasco Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute. There was no evidence that possession had been delivered.

 

(8) The Diego de Belasco Grant

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute. There was no evidence that possession had been delivered.

 

 

 

[59] Report of the Attorney General, 59-65 (1900).

[60]

(1) The Petaca Grant

Remanded by S. Ct. with instructions to limit confirmation to allotted lands.

 

(2) The Cuyamungue Grant.

 

Remanded by S. Ct. with instructions to except lands previously confirmed.

 

(3) The Santa Teresa Grant.

Appealed by govern­ment. [United States v. Pendell, 185 U.S. 189 (1902)]. S. Ct. affirmed.

 

(4) The Joaquin Mestas Grant

No appeal

 

(5) The San Bernardino Grant

No appeal

 

(6) The San Rafael de la Zanja Grant

Appealed by government. [United States v. Green, 185 U.S. 256 (1902)]. S. Ct. affirmed.

 

(7) The Ignacio del Babocomari Grant

Remanded by the S. Ct. with instructions to allow plaintiff to identify boundaries. A second appeal by claimant was dis­missed.

 

(8) The Buena Vista Grant

Appeal by claimant dismissed.

 

(9) The San Jose de Sonoita Grant

Remanded by the S. Ct. with instructions to allow plaintiff to iden­tify boundaries.

 

 

[61]    

(1) The Sierra Mosca Grant

Remanded by S. Ct. with instructions to reject because plaintiff had failed to prove title .

 

(2) The Town of Cebolla Grant

Rejected under Mandate from the S. Ct. The S. Ct. held that an endorsement by the governor directing a prefect to investigate and place the applicant in possession amounted to a mere license, which terminated upon the change of sovereignty. [United States v. Elder, 177 U. S. 104 (1900)].

 

(3) The Conejos Grant

Rejected because a prefect had no authority to validate a grant and conditions were not performed. No appeal.

 

(4) The San Jose del Encinal Grant

The Ct. Pvt. L. Cl. found the grant to be valid, but it further found that it had no jurisdiction to confirm it because it was wholly within a previously confirmed grant). Appealed by the government. [United States V. Baca, 184 U.S. 653 (1902)]. The S. Ct. remanded the case, stating that once the court discovered it had no jurisdiction it was prohibited from passing upon the merits of the claim.

 

(5) The San Pablo y Nacimiento Grant

Rejected because the evidence showed that the grant was made in order that the colonists could select individual tracts within its out boundaries, but no allotments were made). No appeal.

 

(6) The San Joaquin del Nacimiento Grant

Rejected because grant had been denounced by the Spanish government). No appeal.

 

(7) The Pueblo de Quemado

Rejected when plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute. There was insufficient documentary evidence to support this claim.

 

(8) The Bishop's Ranch Grant

This claim appeared to have been an allotment under the Rio Tesuque Grant. Rejected when plaintiff announced he had obtained title to the land under the homestead laws.

 

(9) The Jose Ignacio Alari Grant

 

Rejected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prose­cute the suit. The grant was located within the previously confirmed Ojo Caliente Grant.

 

(10) The Roque Jacinto Jaramillo Grant

Re­jected because the claim was located wholly within the previously confirmed Juan Jose Lobato Grant. No appeal.

 

(11) The Bartolome Trujillo Grant

Rejected because the claim was located within the previously con­firmed Jose Lobato Grant.

 

(12) The Juan Jose Moreno Grant

Rejected because the claim was located within the previously con­firmed Caja del Rio Grant.

 

(13) The Jose de Leyba Grant

Filed as a perfect grant in 1899. Ct. Pvt. L. Cl. found it covered 4.41 acres within the Santa Fe Grant. It held that the grant was imperfect and, therefore, barred by statute of limitations in Sec. 12 of the Act of March 3, 1891. Appealed by claimant. Serna v. United States, 189 U.S. 233 (1903). S. Ct. affirmed.

 

(14) The Agua Prieta Grant

Rejected because the land bought and paid for by the grantee was located in Mexico. Appealed by claimant. [Ainsa v. United States, 184 U.S. 639 (1902)]. S. Ct. affirmed.

 

(15) The Aribac Grant

Rejected because it was impossible to identify the lands covered by the grant. Appealed by claimant. [Aribaca Land and Cattle Co. v. United States, 184 U.S. 649 (1902). S. Ct. affirmed.

 

(16) The San Pedro Grant

Rejected because the quantity of land bought and paid for by the grantee was located in Mexico. Appealed by claimant. [Reloj Cattle Co. v. United States, 184 U.S. 624 (1902). S. Ct. affirmed.

 

[62] United States v. Martinez, 184 U.S. 441 (1901).

63] Report of the Attorney General, 59-63 (1901).

[64]

(1)The San Miguel del Bado Grant

Retried upon mandate of the S. Ct. to determine extent of the allotted tracts.

(2) The Canon de Chama Grant

Retried upon mandate from the S. Ct. to determine the extent of the allot­ted tracts.

 

(2) The Canon de Chama Grant

Retried upon mandate from the S. Ct. to determine the extent of the allot­ted tracts.

 

(3) The Refugio Colony Grant

 

No appeal

 

(4) The Santo Domingo de Cundiyo Grant.

No appeal

 

 

[65]          

(1) The Town of Albuquerque Grant

Remanded by S. Ct. for further proceedings. However, the suit was dismissed when Congress confirmed the grant by the Act of February 18, 1901.

 

(2) The Francisco Xavier Romero Grant

Re­jected when the plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute the suit. The claim was based on a certified copy made by an alcalde and appeared to be an allotment .under the Santa Cruz Grant.

 

(3) The Vertientes de Navajo Grant

 

Rejected because the grant was based on a certified copy made by an alcalde. Notwithstanding the fact that the grant conflicted with the previously confirmed Town of Cebolleta Grant, the court proceeded to determine the validity of the grant under Section 7 of the Act of March 3, 1891.

 

 

[66] Report of the Attorney General, 14-17 (1902).

[67] Report of the Attorney General, 14-17 (1902).

[68] The Joaquin Mestas Grant. (Rejected on rehear­ing when the plaintiff failed to make numerous parties oc­cupying the land parties defendant).

[69] This claim was rejected because the plaintiff had failed to make patentees parties defendant.

[70] Report of the Attorney General, 32-34 (1903).

[71]      

(1) The Juan Jose Sanchez Grant

Rejected on the ground that the Commissioner of Emigration had no authority to make a grant to an individual.

 

(2) The Romulo Barela Grant

Rejected on the ground that the Commissioner of Emigration had no authority to make a grant to an individual.

 

(3) The Rancho de la Santísima Trinidad Grant

This was a second suit by other parties to secure the recog­nition of this grant. Rejected when plaintiff announced he no longer wished to prosecute the suit. The act of posses­sion appeared to be forged.

 

      

[72] Report of the Attorney General, 95-109 (1904). See Appendix F for a list of grants decided by the Court of Private Land Claims in the New Mexico District. Appendix G is a list of cases appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States from the New Mexico District. Appendix H is a list of cases decided by the Court of Private Land Claims in the Arizona District and also a list of cases appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States from the Arizona District. Appendix I is a synopsis of each case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States upon appeal from the Court of Private Land Claims.

[73] Court of Private Land Claims Act, Chap. 539, Sec. 8, 26 Stat. 854 (1891).

[74] Ibid., Sec. 6

[75] Ibid., Secs. 12 and 13.

[76] Ibid., Sec. 13(1).

[77] Although there were at least six distinct alcalde offices in New Mexico (alcalde mayor, alcalde ordinaris, tiniente alcalde, alcalde constitutional, alcalde de barrio, and alcalde de agua), only two— alcalde mayor and alcalde constitutional —had authority to investigate applications for grants and deliver possession of land. Perhaps, a tiniente alcalde could perform these functions when the alcalde mayor was disqualified or unable to act. Prior to 1812, New Mexico was divided into eight subordinate districts known as alcaldias, each of which was administered by an alcalde mayor. Taos, Santa Cruz de Canada, Santa Fe, Alameda, Albuquerque, Jemez, Belen and El Paso del Norte were the seats of these alcaldias. [Bloom, "New Mexico under the Mexican Administra­tion," 1 Old Santa Fe, 44-45 (1913)]. Towns within such dist­ricts, which were not the residence of the alcalde mayor, were under the jurisdiction of a tiniente alcalde. [Recopilación de leyes de Indias, Lib. v. titl.l, ley 1 (1843)]. The Span­ish Constitution of 1812 replaced the alcalde mayor with an alcalde constitucional. Herein, unless otherwise indicated, the term "alcalde" refers to an alcalde mayor or alcalde constitutional, depending on the date. For a detailed discussion of the duties of an alcalde mayor, see Simons, Spanish Govern­ment in New Mexico, 159-192 (1968).

[78] In 1844, New Mexico was divided into three districts or prefecturas, each under the jurisdiction of a prefect. Bancroft, History of Arizona and New Mexico, 311 (1889).

[79] In New Mexico, only El Paso del Norte, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Santa Cruz de Canada and Taos had ayuntamientos. Ibid.

[80] After the enactment of the Constitution of 1824, New Mexico had a limited legislature or executive council of from four to six members. It was known as the Provincial or Territorial Deputation up to 1837, Junta Departmental between 1837 to 1844, and Assemblia until the United States conquered the area. Ibid.

[81] It had been shown that: (1) Neither an Alcalde nor Prefect had authority to make a valid grant [United States v. Pena, 175 U.S. 500 (1899)]; (2) The Departmental Assembly and Territorial Deputation had no power to make land grants [Chavez v. United States, 175 U.S. 552 (1899)]; and (3) An Ayuntamiento could not make grants outside the limits of the town grant [Cessna v. United States, 169 U.S. 165 (1898)]; and (4) The Board of Sales had no power to sell public land after 1836 without the approval of the general government of Mexico [United States v. Coe, 174 U.S. 578 (1899)].

[82] The classic example of this was the Heath Grant [Cessna v. United States, 169 U.S. 165 (1898)]. Even though the granting officer may not have had authority to make a valid concession, or if there was not sufficient evidence to establish the issuance of a grant, forty years' continuous adverse possession of a tract would raise a presumption that a valid concession had been issued. However, Section 13(1) of the Act of March 3, 1891 would limit its confirmation to 11 square leagues. Huning v. United States, No. 15 (Mss., Records of the Ct.Pvt.L.Cl.). The Supreme Court subsequently reduced the period necessary to raise such a presumption from 40 to 20 years. Chaves v. United States, 159 U.S. 452 (1895). In Hayes v. United States, 175 U.S. 248 (1899), the Supreme Court held that 6 or 7 years’ adverse possession would not raise such a presumption.

[83] One of the greatest difficulties the court encountered was determining whether a particular Spanish or Mexican land law was applicable in the Southwest at a given time.

[84] Laws had to be "promulgated" in the Territory of New Mexico before they would become effective. However, in the absence of proof to the contrary, a "legal presumption arose, after a reasonable time following its issuance, that a law had been promulgated. Hayes v. United States, 170 U.S. 637 (1898).

[85] The Spanish Intendant of Sonora retained his office and authority under the Mexican government until 1824. Ely's Adm’r. v. United States, 171 U.S. 220 (1898).

[86] Court of Private Land Claims Act, Chap. 539, 26 Stat. 854 (1891).

[87] Given v. United States, No. 209 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

[88] Court of Private Land Claims Act, Chap. 539, Sec. 13(3), 26 Stat. 854 (1891).

[89] These were: (1) the Peralta Grant, (2) the Una del Gato Grant, (3) the Sopori Grant, (4) the Oreja del Llano de los Aguages Grant, (5) the Sierra Mosca Grant, (6) the Corpus Christi Grant, (7) the Pueblo of San Cristoval Grant, (8) the Medano Springs and Zapato Grant, (9) the Ojita de Galisteo Grant, (10) the El Paso de los Algodones Grant, and (11) the Pueblo of Laguna Grant. The findings in connection with the Pueblo of Laguna casts doubts on the genuineness of the twelve other "Cruzate Pueblo Grants."

[90] Stone, A Brief History of the Court of Private Land Claims, 20 (1903).

[91] Report of the Attorney General, 97 (1904).

[92] Peralta Reavis v. United States, No. 110 (Mss., Records of the Ct.Pvt. Lnd.Cl.).

[93] Court of Private Land Claims Act, Chap. 539, 26 Stat. 854 (1891;

[94] Reynolds, Spanish and Mexican Land Laws, 121 (1895).

[95] Rio Arriba Land and Cattle Company v. United States, No. 107 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

[96] For general discussions of Private Land Claims in the Southwest, see:

2 Twitchell, Leading Facts of New Mexican History, 451-472 (1912);

1 Coan, A History of New Mexico, 474-483 (1925);

1 Anderson, History of New Mexico, 170-209 (1907);

Paulus, Problem of the Private Land Grant of New Mexico, (Mss., M.A. Thesis, University of Pittsburgh, 1933);

Harris, Arizona Land Grants, (Msso, M.A. Thesis, San Diego State College, 1961); and

 Espinosa, "New Mexico Land Grants," The State Bar of New Mexico, 1962 Journal, 3-13 (1962)