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Pacheco Grant

by J. J. Bowden

Jose Pacheco, a soldier stationed at the royal garrison at Santa Fe, and his brother Salvador Pacheco, a resident of Rio Arriba, petitioned Governor Pedro Fermin de Mendinueta for the revalidation of the grant covering a tract of land “susceptible of being sown with one and a half fanegas of corn” which previously had been granted to their father, Felipe Pacheco, by Governor Pedro Rodriguez Cubero. In a decree dated April 27, 1769, Mendinueta stated that he had investigated the matter and found that possession of the grant had not been delivered to Felipe Pacheco and, since, the concession was incomplete subsequent grants could and had been made to third parties. Therefore, Mendinueta revalidated the grant to the heirs of Felipe Pacheco insofar only as it covered the lands embraced within the boundaries of the original concession which had not been re‑granted. The decree also instructed the Alcalde of Santa Fe to place the petitioners in royal possession of the premises. Two days later Felipe Tafoya, Alcalde of Santa Fe, met with them and the adjoining landowners on the grant. After excluding the lands which had been granted to others, Tafoya found that the grant measured 485 varas from east to west and was bounded:

On the north, by the old acequia madre which separated the lands of Juan Antonio Apodaca from those of the Gardunos; on the east, by the lands of the Maes people; on the south, by the Camino de los Carros; and on the west, by the lands of Juana Roybal.

Since no one objected to proceedings, the Alcalde placed Jose and Salvador Pacheco in quiet and peaceful possession of the lands covered by the revalidated grant.[1]

On July 18, 1892, Matias Dominguez and the other heirs of Jose and Salvador Pacheco filed suit in the Court of Private Land Claims seeking the confirmation of the grant which they alleged contained about 500 acres of land. The government had no special defenses against the confirmation of the grant and its answer merely put the allegations contained in the plaintiff’s petition in issue.

When the case came up for trial on December 3, 1892, the plaintiffs presented the testimonio of the grant together with oral testimony showing that the land had been more or less continuously occupied up until about 1867, when the scarcity of water forced the owners to move to Santa Fe. Seven days later, the court announced its opinion in the case. It found that the plaintiffs had sustained with satisfactory proof all of the material allegations contained in their petition. Therefore, it confirmed the grant.[2] Since the decision was not appealed, the grant was promptly surveyed by Deputy Surveyor John H. Walker for 581.29 acres. However, the grant was not patented until February 27, 1913.


[1] Dominguez v. United States, No. 18 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. CL.).

[2] 1 Journal 78‑80 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).