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San Acasio Grant

by J. J. Bowden

Felicita Ramirez de Crespin filed a suit in the Court of Private Land Claims on March 2, 1893, against the United States, seeking the confirmation of her claim to an 18,000‑acre tract of land known as the San Acasio Grant.[1] She claimed that her father, Serafin Ramirez, had petitioned Governor Manuel Armijo, requesting a grant covering the premises which she alleged was located on the east by the Rio Grande and was described as being bounded:

On the north, by_____ ; on the east, by______; on the south, by______; and on the west by the river.

Continuing, she asserted that Armijo had granted Ramirez’ request, that he had been placed in legal possession of the grant by the proper official, and a testimonio of the proceedings had been delivered to him as evidence of his title. Continuing, she alleged that the testimonio had been delivered to a certain Mr. Childres, an Albuquerque attorney, for examination and that he had mislaid, lost or destroyed the document and that she had been unable to locate the expediente of the grant in the Archives; therefore, she requested permission to establish the validity of her claim by parol evidence. The government filed a general answer placing the allegations contained in the plaintiff’s petition in issue.

This case was obviously filed in order to protect the claim from becoming barred under the two‑year limitation period contained in Section 12 of the Act of March 3, 1891[2] pending the plaintiff’s further efforts to locate some documentary evidence of the existence of the grant. Since the law[3] was clearly established that the absence of record evidence of title under a Mexican land grant was fatal unless its absence could be accounted for, the plaintiff could not sustain her burden of proving a valid grant had been made to her father. Therefore, she dismissed the suit on February 6, 1895.[4]

[1] Ramirez v. United States, No. 158 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).

[2] Court of Private Land Claims Act, Chap. 539, Sec 12, 26 Stat. 854 (1891)

[3] Peralta v. United States, 3 Wall. (70 U.S.) 434 (1865)

[4] 2 Journal 286 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt L, CL.