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Chupaderos de la Lagunita Grant

by J. J. Bowden

Ponciano Lucero and the other heirs of Lorenzo Lucero filed suit[1] in the Court of Private Land Claims on February 21, 1893 praying for the recognition of the Chupaderos de la Lagunita Grant. The plaintiffs attached a copy of an instrument to their petition which recited that on December 18, 1839 Lorenzo Lucero appeared before Damasio Salazar, the Alcalde of San Miguel del Vado, and submitted a petition for a grant covering the premises known as Los Chupaderos de la Lagunita. Lucero, among other things, stated that he planned to use the premises for agricultural and grazing purposes. Finding the request to be just and reasonable, Salazar granted the request and proceeded to place Lucero in possession of a tract of land described as being: 

. . . . . one half league round from the center thereof to each of the cardinal points, adjoining the lands of Santiago Garcia, from where the road comes down from Tecolote below the boundary of Juan Sandoval, from there on the proper boundaries of said land on the north the wagon road, on the south the Aguage de Legion, on the east with the residents of Lagunita where the Arroyo joins, and on the west the old road that comes out of Bernal.

 The plaintiffs estimated that the grant contained 4,340 acres and stated that no action had been taken with respect to the confirmation of the grant by any authority of the United States. The United States filed a general denial placing the allegations contained in the plaintiffs’ petition in issue.

The case came up for trial on March 17, 1891, at which time the plaintiffs submitted their documentary evidence and some oral testimony in support of their claim. The government’s principal defense centered around a theory that Salazar had no authority or power to issue the grant. At the close of the hearing, the Court announced that it would take the case under advisement. Nearly two years later the court rendered a decision rejecting the claim. In its decision, which was dated January 25, 1898, the Court held that a grant made by an Alcalde was not a concession which the United States was bound to recognize and confirm by virtue of the treaties made with Mexico.2]

[1] Lucero v. United States, No. 113 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

[2] 3 Journal 310 (Mss., (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).