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Diego de Belasco Grant

by J. J. Bowden

 Diego de Belasco, a resident of Santa Cruz, petitioned Governor Juan Domingo de Bustamante for a grant covering a tract of vacant land located in the Cundiyo Valley “for the purpose of settlement.” The tract was described, as being bounded:

On the north, by the Rio de en Medio; on the east, by the hills within the Canada Adentro; on the south, by the Rio de Cundiyo; and on the west, by the lands called El Potrero.

By decree dated July 14, 1725, Bustamante granted the land to Belasco provided it did not prejudice the rights of any third party. The decree concluded with an order directing the Alcalde of Santa Cruz to inspect the tract, notify the adjoining land owners of grant, and, if he encountered no opposition, place Belasco in possession of the premises.[1]

Antonio Vigil, who claimed an interest by inheri­tance and purchase, filed suit[2] in the Court of Private Land Claims for the confirmation of the grant on March 3, 1893. The United States attorney called attention to the fact that the grant was incomplete since there was no evidence that possession had ever been delivered. He also pointed out that during the course of Governor Enrique de Olavide y Michena’s general visit to the Pueblo of Nambe on September 15, 1738, the Indians requested him to revoke the grant. The Indians’ petition was based on the ground that the grant was detrimental to their interests and that during all the intervening years Belasco had never received possession of the property. After finding that their complaint was well founded, Olavide entered a notation on the bottom of the expediente evidencing the recall of the grant.

Confronted with these impediments, Vigil notified the court on December 7, 1898, when the case came up for trial, that he no longer wished to prosecute the claim. Whereupon, the court entered a decree[3] rejecting the claim and disclaiming his petition.

[1] Archive No. 1041 (Mss., Records of the A.N.M.).

[2] Vigil v. United States, No. 251 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

[3] 4 Journal 44‑45 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).