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Bartolome Trujillo Grant

by J. J. Bowden

Late in the summer of 1734, Bartolome Trujillo, Juan Jose de la Serna, Salvador de Torres, Miguel Montoya, Juan Trujillo, Miguel Martin Serrano, Josefa de Torres, Cristobal Tafoya, Francisco Trujillo and Vicente Jirón “registered” a tract of land in the Chama River Valley which was situated between the lands of Ventura Mestas on the east and Arroyo de Abiquiu on the west. The petitioners asserted that they needed such lands in order to support their large families and desired to occupy the land as soon as possible. However, they pointed out that due to the severity of the weather they probably could not construct shelters and plant enough food to sustain their families during the coming winter. Therefore, they requested an extension of the period prescribed by law for the settlement of the premises. On August 23, 1734, Governor Gervacio Cruzat y Góngora took up the matter. After carefully examining the petition and appreciating the needs of the petitioners, he granted them the “lands at a place called Abiquiu” upon the condition that they settle upon the grant within a period of one year. Thus, he had extended the legal period for settlement in view of the fact that it would be impossible for them to occupy the land prior to the following spring. He concluded his decree by directing Juan Páez Hurtado to place the grantees in royal possession of the grant and allot the following quantities of corn planting land to each individual:

Bartolome Trujillo, two and a half fanegas; Juan Jose de la Serna, one and a half fanegas Salvador de Torres, two fanegas in a bend on the south side of the river and one half a fanega on the north bank opposite Bartolome Trujillo’s house; Miguel Montoya, two and a half fanegas from the Arroyo de Abiquiu east past the Pueblo of Abiquiu; Juan Trujillo and Miguel Martin Serrano, a total of two and one half fanegas; Josefa de Torres, one and a half fanegas in the basin; Cristobal Tafoya, one and a half fanegas Francisco Trujillo, one fanega and Vicente Jirón one half a fanega.[1]

Hurtado met the grantees at Abiquiu on August 21, 1734, and proceeded to allot the following ten individual tracts:

1.      Miguel Montoya, two and a half fanegas of land bounded:

On the west by the Arroyo running from south to north into the Chama River; on the north, the Chama River; on the east, a large rock (Penasco); and on the south, the hills.

2.      Juan Trujillo, one and one quarter fanegas of land bounded:

On the west by a large rock (Penasco) and the lands of Miguel Montoya; on the north, the Chama River; on the cast, three large cottonwoods; and on the south, the hills.

3.      Captain Miguel Martin Serrano, one and a half fanegas of land bounded:

On the west, three large cottonwoods and the lands of Juan Trujillo; on the north, the Chama River; on the east, a clump of cottonwoods and a thicket of garambullo trees; and on the south, the hills.

4.      Francisco Trujillo, one fanega of land bounded:

On the west by a clump of cottonwoods, a thicket of garambullo trees and the lands of Captain Miguel Martin Serrano; on the north, by the Chama River; on the east, by the sand hills beyond the Corrals of Antonio de Salazar; and on the south, the road to Abiquiú as far as a pool of water.

5.      Juan Jose de la Serna, one and a half fanegas of land bounded:

On the west, a dry arroyo which runs from the hills into the Chama River near the Corrals in which Antonio de Salazar encloses his stock; on the north, the Chama River; on the east, a dry arroyo which is Josefa de Torres western boundary; and on the south, the hills.

6.      Josefa de Torres, one and a half fanegas of land bounded:

On the west, by a dry arroyo from the hills to the Chama River; on the north, the Chama River; on the east, a cross and the lands of Cristobal Tafoya, on the south, the hills.

7.      Cristobal Tafoya, one and a half fanegas of land bounded:

On the west, a cross; on the north, the Chama River; on the east, a cross and the lands of Salvador de Torres; and on the south, the hills.
 

 8.     Salvador de Torres, two fanegas of land bounded:

On the west, a cross; on the north, the Chama River; on the east, the lands of Ventura Mestas; and on the south, the hills, together with two almudes of land located in a bend on the north bank of the Chama River opposite the house of Bartolome Trujillo.

 

9.      Vicente Jirón, one half a fanegas of land located on the north side of the river in a bend opposite Antonio de Salazar’s corrals and bounded:

On the west, the irrigation ditch, which Bartolome Trujillo uses; on the east, a cross in the middle of the bend; and on the south, the Chama River.

10. Bartolome Trujillo, two and a half fanegas of land bounded:

On the west, a cross and the lands of Vicente Jirón; on the north, some bluffs which run west; on the east by an arroyo running from north to south into the Chama River; and on the south, the Chama River.

Following the completion of the surveys, Hurtado performed the customary formalities of placing the grantees in possession of the grant and their respective tracts.[2]

Sometime prior to 1750, Indian hostilities forced Bartolome Trujillo to move from the grant to Santa Cruz. In 1750 the Viceroy instructed Governor Tomas Vélez Cachupin to resettle the abandoned settlements north and northwest of Santa Fe. Pursuant to such instructions, Cachupin issued a proclamation ordering the former settlers at Abiquiu to return to their lands under penalty of forfeiture. When Bartolome Trujillo failed to return to his ranch, which was known as San Jose de Garcia, Pedro Sanchez, a resident of Santa Cruz, attempted to register the tract. Upon learning of Sanchez’s actions, Trujillo petitioned Cachupin for a revalidation of his title to the ranch, he stated that he was a poor man, needed the tract to support his large family and had never intended to abandon it. He asserted that he had always intended to return when it became safe to de so and had failed to comply with the governor’s order only through ignorance. In conclusion, he promised to promptly reoccupy the tract and he offered to give the crown sixty pesos worth of produce by November 1, 1752, if his title was revalidated. On October 5, 1752, Cachupin examined Trujillo’s “petition seeking an act of clemency” and granted same upon the condition that he pay the “gratuitous contribution which he had offered to the Crown” within the time referred to at current produce prices and delivered at his expense to Santa Fe. The Alcalde of Santa Cruz was directed to place Trujillo in royal possession of the land if the adjoining landowners offered no objections to his revalidation of his title. Alcalde Juan Jose Lovato met Trujillo and the adjoining landowners who witnessed the delivery of possession without objection. Lovato designated the following natural objects as the boundaries of his tract:

On the north, some red bluffs; on the east, the riverlet that comes down from the Pueblo Colorado; on the south, the Chama River; and on the west, the lands of Vicente Jirón.[3]

The Bartolome Trujillo Grant, consisting of its ten separate tracts, was never presented to the Surveyor General, but on March 3, 1893, Francisco Serna filed a suit[4] in the Court of Private Land Claims seeking its confirmation. On the same date Bartolome Trujillo, a great grandson of Bartolome Trujillo, filed suit[5] in the Court of Private Land Claims seeking the confirmation of title to his interest in the tract known as San Jose de Garcia. The area for the Bartolome Trujillo Grant was not given but the San Jose de Garcia tract contained an estimated 2,000 acres. Upon discovery that the San Jose de Garcia tract was one of the parcels comprising the Bartolome Trujillo Grant, the court consolidated the two cases under Cause No. 257. The government’s attorney, in discussing the matter with Thomas B. Catron, who represented both plaintiffs, called his attention to the fact that the Bartolome Trujillo Grant was located within the Juan Jose Lovato Grant and since the later grant had previously been confirmed, the court no longer had jurisdiction over the lands. Catron readily agreed and on May 9, 1900, moved the court to enter a decree dismissing the case without prejudice to any interests the plaintiffs might have adverse title to or under the Juan Jose Lovato Grant. In response thereto, the court on the same day entered such a decree.[6]


[1] A fanega of land is the quantity of land which can be planted with a fanega (approximately one and a half bushels) of seed. A fanega of corn will plant 8.82 acres of land. S. Exec. Doc. No. 5, 50th Cong., 1st Sess., 1 (1887).

[2] Archive No. 954 (Mss., Records of the A.N.M.)

[3] Archive No. 976 (Mss., Records of the A.N.M.).

[4] Serna v. United States, No. 263 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

[5] Trujillo v. United States, No. 257 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

[6] 4 Journal 166 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).