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Ojito de Galisteo Grant

by J. J. Bowden

Nicolas Pino filed suit[1] in the Court of Private Land Claims On March 2, 1893, seeking the confirmation of the Ojito de Galisteo Grant under which he claimed an interest by inheritance from Juan Cruz Aragon in support of his claim, Pino filed a Spanish document which showed that Aragon, a retired soldier, submitted a petition to the Alcalde of Santa Fe, Antonio Jose Ortiz, on February 1, 1799, asking for a grant covering a tract of vacant land as a pasturage for his animals. The requested tract was described as being bounded:

On the north, by the high ridge of Reconocida; on the east, by the slopes of the high hills west of Galisteo and continuing to Pedrogosa ridge of the San Cristobal del Monte plain; on the south, by the slopes of the Galisteo River; and on the west, by the Canada Colorado and Cerrito Huerfano.

On the following day, Ortiz forwarded the petition to Governor Fernando Chacon for his consideration and further action. Two days later, Chacon issued a decree stating “As it is asked by the party in interest”. Ortiz placed Aragon in royal possession of the premises on April 9, 1799, This instrument was an undated certified copy of the original made by Ortiz in the capacity of War Captain. It allegedly was made at Aragon’s request to replace the original, which according to a recitation in the certified copy, was very old and had been damaged by being wet. The government in its answer asserted that the grant papers were a forgery.

The government’s special defense must have been true, for when the case came up for trial on November 16, 1896, Pino announced that he would not further prosecute his suit. The court forthwith issued a decree dismissing the suit and rejecting the grant. [2]

[1] Pino v. United States, No 164 (Mss., Records o the Ct. Pvt. L, Cl.).

[2] 3 Journal 129 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L Cl.).