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Antonio Armijo Grant

by J. J. Bowden

 Antonio Armijo, a resident of Santa Fe and son of one of the reconquerors of New Mexico, Jose Armijo, petitioned Governor Pedro Fermin de Mendinueta seeking a grant covering a tract of vacant agricultural land located south of Santa Fe River, which he described as being bounded:

On the north, by the Camino de los Carros; on the east, by the lands of Juan Antonio Archuleta and Leonardo Gonzales; on the south, by the lands of Bernardo de Serna; and on the west, by the Alamo of Miguel de Alire.

Although he had a house and piece of land in the Villa of Santa Fe, he stated that it was insufficient for his support. He closed with a prayer that the Governor would consider his petition as soon as possible since “the planting season is at hand, and I have but little time to remove my stock there and begin cultivation.” After considering Armijo’s petition, Mendinueta on May 18, 1769, held that since agricultural land in the vicinity was limited and no one was justified in having more land than he could cultivate, he was willing to grant Armijo’s request to the extent of 400 varas square of land on condition that it be used solely for agricultural and domestic stock raising purposes and not as a pasture. Armijo was also prohibited from abandoning his residence in the town. In conclusion, the governor instructed the Alcalde of Santa Fe, Felipe Tafoya, to assemble the adjoining landowners and if they had no objections to place Armijo in royal possession of 400 varas square of land to be measured from Gonzales; and Archuleta’s boundary. The expediente of the entire proceedings was to be returned for filing in the archives. In obedience with the governor’s instructions, Tafoya gave notice to the owners of the tracts surround­ing the grant to meet with him on May 20, 1769. On that date Leonardo Gonzales, Juan Antonio Archuleta, Miguel Alire, Tomas de Serna, Antonio Armijo and Tafoya and his attending witnesses all met together on the grant. Upon being informed of the grant, the adjoining landowners each advised Tafoya that the grant would in no way prejudice their rights. Therefore, the Alcalde proceeded to survey the tract. Whereupon, he discovered that it would be impossible for the grant to cover a tract of agricultural land 400 varas in width. The northern part of such a tract was unsuitable for agriculture due to the thick woods and numerous arroyos. The Chamosos arroyo which formed the northern boundary of the lands of Tomas de Serna prevented the extension of the grant southward. Therefore, the only way to give the grantee 400 varas was to extend the grant westward from the lands of Archuleta and Gonzales to the alto where the Chamisos Arroyo joined the Canada de los Pinos. Since none of the interested parties objected to this modification in the boundaries of the grant, Tafoya placed Armijo in royal possession of such land. The expediente was returned to Mendinueta and filed in the archives.[1]

The first effort to secure the recognition of the grant occurred on February 17, 1893, when Juan de Armijo filed suit in the Court of Private Land Claims.[2] In his petition, the plaintiff alleged that he was an heir of the original grantee and prayed for the confirmation of the grant which he alleged contained about 900 acres. The grant was described in the petition as being bounded:

On the north, by the Camino de los Carros; on the east, by the lands of Juan Antonio Archuleta and Leonardo Gonzales; on the south, by the Chamisos Arroyo, which is the boundary of Tomas de Serna; and on the west, by the Alamo which marks the boundary of the lands of Miguel de Alire at the Alto where the Chamisos Arroyo joins the Canada de los Pinos.

 Since the grant was situated entirely within the boundaries of the Santa Fe League, the City of Santa Fe entered an appearance opposing the claim.

As a result of the court’s previous decision confirming the City of Santa Fe’s claim, the plaintiff announced that he no longer wished to prosecute his claim when it came up for trial. Whereupon, the court, on February 3, 1898, entered a formal decision rejecting the claim and dismissing the plaintiff’s petition.[3]


[1] Archive No 44 (Mss., Records of the S.G.N.M.).

[2] Armijo v. United States,  No. 102 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

[3] 3 Journal 353 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).