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Mesita Blanca Grant

by J. J. Bowden

Antonio Baca, for himself and the other heirs and legal representatives of Jesus Griego, Francisco Provincio, Juan Silva, Jose Silva, Francisco de Carza, Vicente Roibal, Benito Varela, and Marcelino Ortiz, filed suit[1] in the Court of Private Land Claims on March 2, 1893, seeking the confirmation of the Mesita Blanca Grant which covered an 18,000 acre tract of land described and bounded:

On the north by an arroyo and a cross; on the east, by the lands of Domingo Fernandez; on the south, by the point of a white bluff and a cross; and on the west, by the upper point of a hill known as the Gavilanes.

In support of his claim, Baca filed a copy of the expediente [2] of the grant which showed that Jesus Griego and his seven associates petitioned the Ayuntamiento of Santa Fe on February 3, 1843, asking for a grant covering the premises. Four days later the Ayuntamiento issued the requested grant, and on February 15, 1843, the Alcalde of Santa Fe, Antonio Sena placed the eight grantees in possession of the concession. The government filed a general answer putting in issue the allegations set forth in the plaintiff’s petition.

By 1897, it was well established that an Ayuntamiento had no authority to make a valid grant covering public lands.[3] Therefore, when the case came up for trial on May 25, 1897, Baca announced that he would not further prosecute his claim. Whereupon, the court entered a decree dismissing the action and rejecting the grant.[4]


[1] 11 Baca v, United States, No 159 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L, Cl.).

[2] Archive No. 398 (Mss., Records of the A.N.M.).

[3] Vigil v. United States; 13 Wall (80 US.) 449 (1872), and Cessna v United States, 59. Ct: Pvt. L. Cl. (1895).

[4] 3 Journal 224 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).