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Sitio de los Serrillos Grant


Distinguished Sergeant Cleto de Miera and Pedro Bautista Pino petitioned Governor Fernando Chacon on January 21, 1788, asking for a grant covering the tract of land known as the Sitio de los Serrillos and setting forth as its boundaries the following natural objects:

On the north, the boundaries of the Sitio de los Cienegas; on the east, the Ojo de Serrillos; on the south, the wooded hills; and the west, the boundaries of the Sitio de Juana Lopez.

Miera stated that he recently had been discharged from the army and was without any land for his support. Pino stated that while he had a small tract of land, it was not sufficient to support his family. Therefore, the petitioners were seeking the grant in order to provide sustenance for their large families. Chacon granted the applicants’ request subject to the understanding that the grant was not to be in perpetuity, but only until circumstances required him or his successors to determine otherwise. He also ordered Juan Ortiz, the Alcalde of Santa Fe, to place the grantees in royal possession of the premises if his investigation showed that the grant would not prejudice the rights of any adjoining landowner. Ortiz, in obedience with this decree, delivered royal possession of the grant to Miera and Pino on February 11, 1788, and in his report on the proceedings stated that its boundaries were:

 The boundary of the Cienega on the north; the lands of the heirs of Alfonza Real de Aguilar on the east; the heights of the hills on the south; and the lands of Pedro Bustamante Pino on the west. He reported that the tract measured 900 varas from east to west, that Pino had been allotted the western half and Miera was given the eastern half of the grant.[1]

The grantees went into possession of the premises and more than a century later the heirs and legal representatives of the original grantees still held and claimed the property. For some unexplained reason the grant was never submitted to the Surveyor General’s office for examination. However, on February 11, 1893, Beatriz Perea de Armijo, one of their descendants, filed a suit[2] in the Court of Private Land Claims seeking the confirmation of the claim. In support of her petition, she filed the original copy of the grant papers and pointed out that the grant was referred to in the grant papers of several adjoining grants.[3] She also called the court’s attention to the fact that John Gwynn and Robert P. Willison claimed certain tracts of land located within the outbounds of the grant under patents from the United States. The United States filed a general answer putting the allegations contained in the plaintiff’s petition into issue. Gwynn and Willison also answered setting forth their titles to the lands which they had purchased from the United States under the public land laws.

The case came up for trial on August 21, 1894, at which time the plaintiff introduced the grant papers and oral testimony showing that she and her predecessors had held possession of the grant more than 100 years. The government offered no special defenses but defendants Gwynn and Willison introduced their patents. By decision dated September 29, 1894, the court stated that the plaintiff’s petition had been sustained by satisfactory proof and found as a matter of law that the heirs and legal representatives of the original grantee were entitled to the confirmation of the grant to the full extent claimed by the plaintiff except for any lands located within its boundaries which previously had been disposed of by the United States.[4] No appeal was taken, and, shortly thereafter, the grant was surveyed by Deputy Surveyor Walter C. Marmon for 572.4 acres, A patent covering the land was issued on December 17, 1897.[5]

[1] Perea v. United States, No. 79 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.). 

[2] Ibid.

 [3] Los Serrillos and Sitio do Juan Lopez Grants.

[4] 2 Journal 238 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.). 

[5] The Sitio de Serrillos Grant No, F‑229 (Mss., Records of the S.G.N.M.).