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Francisco Garcia Grant

by J. J. Bowden

While the instrumento de la fundación of the Villa of Albuquerque has been lost, there is a strong tradition that it received a grant in 1706, covering at least four square leagues at the Bosque Grande. One of the several documents in the archives which supports the tradition is the grant to Francisco Garcia, who was one of the ten soldiers from Bernalillo who was transferred with his family to protect the new villa. Garcia petitioned Martin Hurtado, Alcalde of Albuquerque, and commander of the military detachment, and, after noting that Hurtado was in the process of partitioning the grant, asked him to grant him a tract of land in a hollow, in order that he might own the land and use it for the support of his family. Hurtado granted the request, and, on February 25, 1706, placed Garcia in royal possession of the tract, which was described as being bounded:

On the north, by the lands of Francisco de la Candelaria; on the east, by the side of an arroyo; on the south, by the lands of Antonio de la Silva; and on the west, by two large cottonwood trees.[1]

Some ten years later, Garcia presented the grant to Governor Felix Martinez during one of his official visits to Albuquerque, and requested its revalidation and confirmation, together with a new grant covering an additional tract lying east of the original concession. Garcia pointed out that he had failed to timely settle upon the original grant, and had built his house on the bank of the arroyo, thus necessitating a revalidation of the original grant and his request for the additional lands upon which his house was located. Martinez granted both of the supplications contained in Garcia’s petition on October 5, 1716.[2] However, there is no evidence that possession of such land was formally delivered to him under this decree.

 

The Francisco Garcia Grant may have been one of the three grants which were presented to Governor Juan Domingo de Bustamante for investigation on June 20, 1727 on the ground that Hurtado had made them without consulting the inhabitants of the villa. The result of this investigation is not known, for the last page of the document[3] is missing. There is no further mention of the grant during the Spanish and Mexican regimes.

On March 3, 1893 Matias Contreras, who claimed an interest in the grant by inheritance and prescription, filed suit[4] in the Court of Private Land Claims, seeking the confirmation of the grant. The government filed a general answer, putting the allegations in Contreras’ petition in issue. The case was set for hearing on June 2, 1897, at which time Contreras requested the dismissal of the suit. Since the grant was located within the Town of Albuquerque Grant, which had been approved by the court and had not yet been rejected by the Supreme Court, he probably felt he could not sustain his claim. The court granted his request and rejected the grant on the same date.[5]

 

 


[1] Archive No. 297 (Mss., Records of the A.N.M.).

[2] Archive No. 314 (Mss. / Records of the A.N.M.)

[3] This document is archived in the Bancroft Library, Berkeley, California.

[4] Contreras v. United States, No. 230 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

[5] 3 Journal 254 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).