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Archuleta and Gonzales Grant

by J. J. Bowden
Juan Antonio de Archuleta and Leonardo Gonzales, two landless residents of Santa Fe, registered “a piece of vacant planting land” lying south of the Santa Fe River and extending from the wagon road which goes by the Alamo to the high land known as Serrita de la Jara. They stated that they needed six fanegas of wheat planting land and four of corn planting land in order to support their large families. Governor Gaspar Domingo de Mendoza approved the petitioners’ request on September 4, 1742, and ordered the Alcalde of Santa Fe, Antonio de Ulibarri to accompany the grantees to the grant and place them in royal possession of the land. Since it was too late in the season to plant the premises, the grantees did not request to be placed in possession of the grant until the following spring. On April 22, 1743, Ulibarri performed the customary juridical ceremony necessary to deliver royal possession of the grant and designated the following natural objects as its boundaries:

On the north, by the Camino de los Carros; on the east, by the Holy Cross which marks the boundary of the lands of Juan Filipe Rodriguez; on the south, by the wooded hills of the Chamisos Arroyo; and on the west, by the lands of Captain Miguel de Coca.[1]

Juan de Archuleta filed suit in the Court of Private Land Claims against the United States on February 17, 1893, seeking the confirmation of the grant.[2] His petition alleged that he and his co‑owners or their predecessors had held continuous, undisputed, and exclusive possession of the approximately 1,000 acres embraced within the grant since the date of the issuance of the concession in 1742, and that he knew of no other person claiming an interest adverse to his claim Since the grant was located entirely within the Santa Fe League the City of Santa Fe promptly filed an appearance in the case in which it united with the government in opposing the claim.

In the meantime, the Court of Private Land Claims had upheld the city’s contention that it had received a valid grant to the four square leagues of land by operation of law. Thereafter, the court took the position that once title to a tract of land had been confirmed, sections 8 and 14(4) of the Court of Private Land Claims Act precluded the court from confirming any conflicting claims. Con­fronted with this insurmountable impediment, the plaintiff had no alternative but to announce that he no longer wished to prosecute his suit when it came up for trial on February 1898. Whereupon, the court promptly entered a decree rejecting the grant and dismissing his petition without considering the merits of the action.[3]

[1] Archive No, 25 (Mss., Records of the A.N.M.).

[2] Archuleta v United States, No. 104 (Mss., Records Ct. Pvt. L. CL.).

[3] 3 Journal 347 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).