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Jose Romulo de Vera Grant

by J. J. Bowden

The Jose Romulo de Vera Grant was one of a number of small grants located within the Santa Fe League which was presented to the Court of Private Land Claims for confirmation in the closing days of the two-year period prescribed in Section 18 of the Act of March 3, 1891,[1] for institution of suits for the confirmation of a Spanish or Mexican Grant in New Mexico. This suit was filed on February 23, 1893, by J. A, Romero, who claimed an interest in the grant by inheritance as a remote descendant of the original grantee.[2] In support of his claim, Romero filed the testimonio of the grant This document showed that Jose Romulo de Vera, “finding himself with an increasing Family” and having no land for their maintenance, petitioned Governor Joaquin Codallas y Raibal for the grant covering a tract of vacant agricultural land situated “down river from the town” He described the tract as being bounded:

On the north, by the lands of Catarina Maise; on the east, by the lands of Domingo Valdez; on the south, by the Camino de los Carros and on the west, by the lands of Juan Jose Archuleta.

To impress the governor and dignify his request, Vera pointed out that his wife was Angela de Valdez y Marquez, a descendant on both her father’s and mother's side of the family from the conquerors and original settlers of New Mexico. In a routine decree dated January 8, 1746, Codallas granted the request and ordered the Alcalde of Santa Fe, Antonio Ulibarri to place Vera in royal possession of the “piece of land” which he had solicited. Ulibarri met with the owners of the tracts adjoining the grant, which was situated “beyond the walls of the town,” on January 30, 1746, and after finding there was no opposition to the grant, proceeded with the delivery of royal possession of a tract covering about 300 acres of land to Vera in the customary manner. Romero’s petition also alleges that the grantee or his descendants had, at all times thereafter, held peaceable possession of the grant and no one had ever asserted any adverse claim to the premises. In its answer, the government filed no special defenses, but merely put the allegations contained in the plaintiff’s petition in issue. Since the grant was situated wholly within the boundaries of the Santa Fe League, the City of Santa Fe joined the government in opposing the recognition of the grant.

Like the plaintiffs in a number of comparison cases covering lands lying within the Santa Fe League, Romero announced that he no longer wished to prosecute his suit when it came up for a hearing upon the merits on February 3, 1898. Whereupon, the court issued its usual decree rejecting the grant and dismissing the plaintiffs petition.[3]

[1] Court of Private Land Claims Act, Chap 539, Sec 18, 26 Stat. 854 (1891).

[2] Romero v United States, No. 121 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

[3] 3 Journal 344 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).