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Pueblo of Quemado Grant

by J. J. Bowden

Sometime prior to 1743, and possibly in 1721, a new settlement known as the Pueblo of Quemado was formed at the upper end of the Santa Cruz Valley on the north bank of the Rio Quemado. In connection with its formation, the Pueblo of Quemado allegedly received a grant covering a tract of land bounded:

On the north, by the edge of the ridge; on the east, by the hills commonly called Los Burros; on the south, by the Pajarita Mountains; and on the west, by the Penas Negras, commonly called Centinela.

Individual farm tracts were apparently allotted to the colonists at this time.[1] As a result of the hostility the Indians, all of the inhabitants of the pueblo were allowed to move to the San Domingo de Cundiyo in 1748. In the following year conditions became more settled and the former inhabitants of the Pueblo of Quemado returned to their homes.[2] During the next hundred and forty-four years little is known of the history of the Pueblo of Quemado; however, it appears to have been continuously occupied and was one of the small settlements under the jurisdiction of the Villa of Santa Cruz.

On March 3, 1893, Jose de Garcia, as an owner of an undivided interest in the Pueblo of Quemado Grant by inheritance, filed suit[3] in the Court of Private Land Claims for the recognition of the grant. Garcia’s petition stated that he was unable to find a copy of the grant papers and presumed that both the testimonio and expediente had been lost. However, in support of his claim he called attention to the fact that the grant formed the southern boundary of the Nuestra Senora del Rosario San Francisco y Santiago Grant and the northern boundary of the Santa Domingo de Cundiyo Grant. He estimated that the grant was 30 miles wide, measured 15 miles from north to south and contained approximately 288,000 acres. In the alternative, he contended that the settlement, as an ancient Spanish town, was entitled to at least four square leagues of land by operation of law.

After the Supreme Courts decision in the City of Santa Fe Case,[4] which held that the Spanish Law did not proprio vigore confer upon every Spanish town a grant of four square leagues and that the Court of Private Land Claims did not have authority to confirm an inchoate claim, the plaintiff realized that he had no hope of obtaining a favorable decision. Therefore, when the case came up for hearing on May 5, 1900, he announced in open court that he no longer wished to prosecute his suit. Whereupon, the Court entered a decree rejecting the claim and dismissed his petition.[5]

[1] Garcia v. United States, No. 212 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).


[2] Archives Nos. 28 and 718 (Mss., Records of the A.N.M.).


[3] Garcia v. United States, No. 212 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.). Abranda Herrero filed suit on March 2, 1893, seeking the recognition of his claim to a tract estimated to contain 900 acres within the Pueblo of Quemado Grant which had been allocated to Cristobal Baca. Herrera v. United States, No. 171 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.). The claim was based on a deed (Archive No. 981, Mss., Records A.N.M.) dated May 20, 1758 by Santiago Roybal to Philipe de Tafoya which recited that the tract had been allotted to Baca by Governor Juan Domingo de Bustamante in 1721. The claim was rejected on February 16, 1898 after the plaintiff announced he did not wish to further prosecute his suit. 3 Journal 372 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).


[4] United States v. City of Santa Fe, 165 U.S. 675 (1896).


[5] 4 Journal 161 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).