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La Nasa Grant

by J. J. Bowden

On March 3, 1893, Albino Lopez filed suit[1] against the United States in the Court of Private Land Claims to secure the confirmation of “two strips of river bank land facing one another on both sides of the river, commonly known as La Nasa,” which had been granted to Manuel Lucero in 1810, for agricultural purposes. Possession of the grant was delivered by the Alcalde of Santa Cruz, Manuel Garcia, on June 20, 1810, based upon a “verbal order,” by the major of the military post of Santa Cruz. The Act of Possession stated: 

I went and gave royal possession and. personal ownership using as boundaries the fences that I built placing at each angle a monument and by the other two sides the lands called El Barrado and the two limits of the Mesas.

 In support of his claim, Lopez referred to a copy of the Act of Possession which he had filed in the Surveyor General’s Office on May 10, 1881.[2] The grant was described in the petition as being bounded:

On the north, an Arroyo; on the east, the tops of the bluffs on the east side of the Rio Grande River; on the south, the Sebastian Martinez (Martin) Grant; and on the west, the tops of the bluffs on the west side of the Rio Grande River.

It was estimated to contain 2,000 acres of land. The government filed a general denial on December 29, 1896, and two years later filed a motion requesting that the owners of the Embudo Grant be made parties defendants since the grant appeared to conflict with the Embudo Grant.

Since the documentary evidence concerning the grant was not only vague and incomplete, but had been made by the Commanding Officer of the Presidio of Santa Cruz[3] instead of the governor, Lopez realized that he could not sustain the burden of proving the validity of his claim. Therefore, on May 17, 1897, he requested the dismissal of his suit, which promptly was granted.[4]

[1] Lopez v. United States, No. 238 (Mss., Record.3 of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

[2] The La Nasa Grant, No. F‑186 (Mss., Records of the S.G.N.M.).

[3] On October 22, 1791, the Commandant General of the Interior Provinces, Pedro de Nava with the approval of the Viceroy, promulgated what is known as the “Order of Pedro de Nava,” which provided for the allotment of lands by the Captains and Commanders of Presidios. The “Order of Pedro de Nava” was revoked on January 19, 1793. Reynolds, Spanish and Mexican Land Laws 29 (1895).

[4] 3 Journal 206 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).