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The Elena Gallegos Grant

Elena Gallegos, daughter of Antonio Gallegos and Catalina Baca, was one of the Hispanic colonists of New Mexico who was present at the time of the Pueblo Revolt. Gallegos was a child in 1680, and fled south with her family, returning sometime after the Spanish re-occupation of New Mexico in the 1690s.

Unlike English and early U.S. common law, under Spanish colonial law women retained ownership of property that they brought into a marriage  Gallegos may have purchased the land as it does that Montoya would simply give away such a valuable tract to someone with no familial relationship to him. Indeed, Gallegos may have held a relatively high position in Hispano society, given that she registered her own brands with the Spanish colonial government and in these documents was referred to by the honorific “Doña.”

 It is possible that Hispanic colonists occupied the grant prior to the Pueblo Revolt, though no documentary evidence of this occupation survives today.   The large-scale destruction of legal documents during the Revolt, however, means that we will never know for sure. The documents that do survive make it clear that a private land grant for the tract was issued to Diego Montoya in 1694. The grant was re-issued in 1712 following the loss of the original grant papers. This re-issuance may have been spurred by the transferal of the tract to Elena Gallegos that year. Either Diego Montoya or his son, Antonio, gave or sold the land to Elena Gallegos that year or sometime shortly thereafter.           

Transcript:

 The Elena Gallegos Grant[1]

Denise Holladay Damico

1897 Map of Elena Gallegos Grant

Today most Albuquerque residents might know the name “Elena Gallegos” for the open space and picnic area, “a gem in the Open Space system,” that bears the name. The Open Space area is located in the gorgeous foothills of northeast Albuquerque.[3]  In fact, the name of this popular yet serene picnic area is just one of the many ways in which modern-day inhabitants of the Duke City are connected to New Mexico's Native American, Spanish, and Mexican past. A portion of Albuquerque used to be encompassed in a land grant known as the Elena Gallegos grant, and also sometimes known as the Jesus María tract and the Ranchos de Albuquerque grant. Though originally an individual land grant, made to one person, by the time the grant was adjudicated in the U.S. Court of Private Land Claims in the late nineteenth century, the grant was being occupied and utilized as though it were a community land grant – individuals owned their own tracts of irrigated land and used the hillier, un-irrigated area as a commons for grazing livestock. This grant is also significant because court rulings provided an important decision about the way in which grant boundaries were delineated.

Though the original papers to the land that came to be known as the Elena Gallegos grant do not survive, several partial documents submitted to the Court of Private Land Claims during the adjudication of the grant in the late nineteenth century shed light on the grant's early history. The tract of land which came to be known as the Elena Gallegos grant was originally made to a Diego Montoya in 1694, a time when Hispanos were re-colonizing New Mexico following their expulsion after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. It is possible that Hispanic colonists occupied the grant prior to the Pueblo Revolt, though no documentary evidence of this occupation survives today. Historian Marc Simmons speculates that when the re-conqueror of New Mexico, Diego de Vargas, gave several colonists to establish homes in the Albuquerque area during his 1693 march northward to Santa Fe, he was giving “old settlers” permission to re-occupy lands they had dwelt upon before the Pueblo Revolt.[4]  The land now encompassed in the greater Albuquerque metropolitan area was fertile and strategically located, so it seems to make sense that this Hispanos would have settled upon this land prior to the Pueblo Revolt. The large-scale destruction of legal documents during the Revolt, however, means that we will never know for sure.

The documents that do survive make it clear that a private land grant for the tract was issued to Diego Montoya in 1694. The grant was re-issued in 1712 following the loss of the original grant papers. This re-issuance may have been spurred by the transferal of the tract to Elena Gallegos that year. Either Diego Montoya or his son, Antonio, gave or sold the land to Elena Gallegos that year or sometime shortly thereafter.[5]

Elena Gallegos, daughter of Antonio Gallegos and Catalina Baca, was one of the Hispanic colonists of New Mexico who was present at the time of the Pueblo Revolt. Gallegos was most likely a child in 1680, and fled south with her family, returning sometime after the Spanish re-occupation of New Mexico in the 1690s.[6]

Gallegos was also the widow of Jacques Grolet/Santiago Gurule, who was a former member of the ill-fated La Salle expedition (1687) in which French explorers attempted to stake a claim in Spanish territory. The expedition came to ruin, with many of the explorers killed. Jacques Grolet took refuge with or was captured by a band of Native Americans (probably in modern-day Texas). Because Spanish authorities considered the La Salle expedition to be an illegal trespass onto Spanish territory, they eventually sent Grolet and another compatriot to prison in Spain and Mexico. As a condition of his release from prison, Grolet became a Spanish citizen and became known as “Santiago Gurule.” He made his way to New Mexico in the late 1690s and on 10 December 1699 he, at the age of about 36, and Elena Gallegos, age 19, were married. They had a son, Antonio Gurule, in 1703. Eight years later, in 1711, Santiago Gurule died.[7]

Sometime after that, probably in 1712, Elena Gallegos obtained the grant which came to bear her name.[8]   Some have speculated that Diego Montoya left the land to Gallegos because the two were in love.[9] However this author is aware of no documentary evidence to either support or refute this claim. In fact, it seems possible that Montoya sold the land to Gallegos, instead of simply giving it to her. Furthermore, it was not terribly uncommon for women, especially widows, to own property under Spanish colonial law. In fact, unlike English (and early U.S.) common law, under Spanish colonial law women retained ownership of property that they brought into a marriage.[10]  So it seems just as likely that Gallegos purchased the land as it does that Montoya would simply give away such a valuable tract to someone with no familial relationship to him. Indeed, Gallegos may have held a relatively high position in Hispano society, given that she registered her own brands with the Spanish colonial government and in these documents was referred to by the honorific “Doña.” [11]

In turn, Gallegos left the land to her son, Antonio Gurule.[12]  He married Antonia Quintana, the daughter of Jose Quintana and Antonia Lujan Dominguez. A 1750 census shows the couple living in Albuquerque with their children and two Native American servants, descendants of whom also took the last name Gurule.[13]  This family story of intermarriage and connectivity between Frenchman, Hispana, and Native Americans helps illustrate the multi-ethnic history of New Mexico.

Antonio Gurule and Antonia Quintana had nine children, and bequeathed each of them part of the land.[14]  This practice of partible inheritance, or dividing up land and leaving each heir an equal portion, was common in Spanish New Mexico. In fact, by the late nineteenth century, there were several hundred occupants of the Elena Gallegos tract, heirs of Gallegos and Gurule.[15]

Land occupation patterns at the time of the grant's adjudication before the Court of Private Land Claims were in fact fairly typical. Each individual or family owned a “long-lot,” perhaps only a few yards wide.[16]  The lots stretched all the way from the Rio Grande to the Sandia Mountains (or “East Mountains”). In the case of the Elena Gallegos grant, claimants reported that, though they technically held the land closer toward the mountains individually, in actuality this area operated like a commons on a community grant, with everyone sharing the resources for grazing and timber purposes.[17]

On July 30, 1887, several hundred claimants petitioned the Surveyor General for confirmation of the grant. They estimated that the grant contained about seventy thousand acres, and described the boundaries thus bounded on the south by the northern line of the Villa of Albuquerque and on the north … by ...extended easterly to the summit of the Sandia Mountain Range; on the west by the Rio Grande del Norte as the … ran in the early part of the seventeenth century, to wit: - near the eastern foot-hills of the Rio Grande Valley, and such ancient courses, as your petitioners are informed and believe, is about where the same is located by the preliminary survey of the Alameda grant, a copy of which survey is filed herewith, and marked “Exhibit A,”; the northern boundary being about the southern boundary of the lands of the Pueblo of Sandia; … running easterly from an ancient ruin at or near the southeastern corner of said Pueblo of Sandia to the summit of the said Sandia Range; the eastern boundary being the [illeg.] of said range...”[18]

Though Surveyor General Julian reported that he believed the grant should be confirmed, Congress failed to act on it, as was the case with many other land grants in New Mexico.[19] This inaction helped spur the creation of the Court of Private Land Claims, which took over the task of adjudicating New Mexico's land grants, in 1891.

On February 17, 1893, Thomas Gutierrez, on behalf of himself and over 300 heads of families, filed suit seeking confirmation of the grant before the Court of Private Land Claims.[20]  Eventually the court consolidated the Elena Gallegos case with the Ranchos de Albuquerque case because the land in question was the same. In other words, the Ranchos de Albuquerque arose on the same land as the Elena Gallegos tract. The court decided that the grant was a valid one; the only major controversy arose over the grant's eastern boundary. 

One issue that was a common bone of contention between the U.S. Government, on the one hand, and land grant claimants, on the other hand, was the meaning of and proper translations of boundary calls from Spanish documents. Attorneys for the U.S., led by Matthew Reynolds, sought to ensure that as little land as possible was encompassed in the confirmed land grants. As evidenced by laws like the Homestead Act and bureaucracies like the General Land Office, a major task of the U.S. government in the late nineteenth century was devoted to “opening up” western lands for settlement by (mostly) Anglo-Americans. Many government officials, accustomed to fenced-in farmlands of the humid eastern United States, believed that Hispanos did not make effective, efficient use of the land. As such, they sought to minimize the amount of land confirmed to Spanish and Mexican land grants by the Court of Private Land Claims. A common tactic utilized by attorneys for the U.S. was to claim that the original boundary calls, as stated in the Spanish document, were misinterpreted by the court. In particular, attorneys for the U.S. argued that the CPLC misapplied the term “sierra” to mean the crest of a mountain, when in fact it should have referred to the foot or foothills of a mountain (the latter because of the similar Spanish term cerro, or hill).[21]

In the Elena Gallegos case, the CPLC decided that the term sierra in fact referred to the crest of the mountain (the Sandia Mountains, now known as the East Mountains near Albuquerque), a decision that favored the land grant claimants over the U.S. attorney. The Court was swayed by two factors: first, that the word “sierra” also means “saw” in Spanish, seeming to indicate the crest of a mountain, and by a Californian land grant case with the same question about whether or not “sierra” referred to the base or crest of a mountain.[22]This decision was favorable to the claimants of the Elena Gallegos grant.

The Court's decision would also prove favorable to the residents of the Albuquerque area many decades later, because it was through this decision that the picnic and open space area now known as “Elena Gallegos” remained intact. An Albert Simms eventually acquired the portion of the Elena Gallegos grant that stretches towards the foothills of the Sandias. He gave this to the Albuquerque Academy. In the 1980s, it seemed that private developers might buy the land in order to build new subdivisions there. Albuquerque voters approved a quarter-cent sales tax to allow the city to purchase the land. Today it is administered by the U.S. Forest Service and the City of Albuquerque.[23]  Though the open space/picnic area represents only a small portion of the original Elena Gallegos grant, Albuquerque residents can consider themselves fortunate to be able to experience this reminder of both the social and natural history of modern-day New Mexico. 

Bibliography

Spanish Archives of New Mexico I (available on microfilm at the State Records Center and Archives, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and at the Center for Southwest Research, Zimmerman Library, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico)

Surveyor General case number 234 , Reel 29, frames 1-54.        

Court of Private Land Claims case number 51, Reel 38, frames 756-883.

Websites

Grolet-Gurulé: Los Frances de Nuevo Mexico, http://www.gurulefamily.org/index.html

“Elena Gallegos,” New Mexico Wildlife, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/publications/documents/elena_gallegos.pdf

“Elena Gallegos Picnic Area and Albert G. Simms Parks,” Albuquerque Official City Website, http://www.cabq.gov/openspace/elenagallegos.html

Secondary Sources

Bowden, J.J. “Private Land Claims in the Southwest.” 6 vols. Master's thesis, Southern Methodist University, 1969. Available on microfilm at the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives.

 “Gallegos,” in Fray Angélico Chávez, Origins of New Mexico Families: A Genealogy of the Spanish Colonial Period (Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, Rev. Ed, 1992).

 Robert Julyan, Place Names of New Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2nd ed., 1998).

 Marc Simmons, Hispanic Albuquerque: 1706-1846 (Albuquerque: University of New       Mexico Press, 2003).


[1]      The research and writing of this land grant history was partially funded by the New Mexico Historical Records Advisory Board.

[2]      The Elena Gallegos Grant, 1897. Drawn by George H. Pradt. (Catron Papers, Special Collections, Zimmerman Library, University of New Mexico). Reprinted from Marc Simmons, Hispanic Albuquerque, 1706-1846 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2003), 42.

[3]      “Elena Gallegos Picnic Area and Albert G. Simms Parks,” Albuquerque Official City Website, http://www.cabq.gov/openspace/elenagallegos.html.

[4]      Marc Simmons, Hispanic Albuquerque: 1706-1846 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2003): 27.

[5]      Fragmentary documents, signed by Felix Martines and others. The original Spanish documents are microfilmed under CPLC 51, Reel 38, frames 768-772. At the time of adjudication (late 19th century) a typed, Spanish transcription was also prepared (frames 773-774; 778-780; 788-789) as was a typed English translation (frames 775-776; 781-784; 786-787).   See also Claimants' petition to Court of Private Land Claims for confirmation of Elena Gallegos Grant, Spanish Archives of New Mexico, SANM-I, Court of Private Land Claims (CPLC) 51, Reel 38, frame 806-810. The SANM records are available at the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives (NMSRCA), Santa Fe, New Mexico, and at the Center for Southwest Research (CSWR), Zimmerman Library, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico.  

[6]      Fray Angélico Chávez, Origins of New Mexico Families: A Genealogy of the Spanish Colonial Period (Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, Rev. Ed, 1992): 193. “Index, “ Grolet-Gurulé: Los Frances de Nuevo Mexico,http://www.gurulefamily.org/ancestry/index.shtml.

[7]      “Santiago Gurulé,” Grolet-Gurulé: Los Frances de Nuevo Mexico,http://www.gurulefamily.org/ancestry/santiago.shtml. See also José A Esquibel and John B. Colligan, The Spanish Recolonization of New Mexico: An Account of the Families Recruited at Mexico City in 1693 (Albuquerque: Hispanic Genealogical Research Center, 1999).   See also “Gallegos” in Origins of New Mexico Families

[8]      Fragmentary documents, signed by Felix Martines and others. The original Spanish documents are microfilmed under CPLC 51, Reel 38, frames 768-772; Spanish transcription (frames 773-774; 778-780; 788-789); typed English translation (frames 775-776; 781-784; 786-787).   See also Claimants' petition, CPLC 51, Reel 38, frame 806-810.

[9]      “Elena Gallegos,” New Mexico Wildlife, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/publications/documents/elena_gallegos.pdf

[10]   On women and property in nineteenth century New Mexico, see Deena Gonzalez, Refusing the Favor: The Spanish-Mexican Women of Santa Fe, 1820-1880 (Oxford University Press, 1999).

[11]    CPLC 51, Reel 38, frames 768-772, (typed transcription 773-774) (typed translation 775-6).

[12]    Elena Gallegos will, CPLC 51, Reel 38, 762-766.

[13]   “Index,” Grolet-Gurulé: Los Frances de Nuevo Mexico, http://www.gurulefamily.org/index.html.

[14]   “Index,” Grolet-Gurulé: Los Frances de Nuevo Mexico, http://www.gurulefamily.org/index.html.

[15]   Claimants' petition, CPLC 51, Reel 38, frame 806-810.

[16]   On long-lots, see Alvar Carlson, “Long Lots in the Rio Arriba,”Annals of the Association of American Geographers 65:1 (1975): 1467-8306.

[17]   Claimants' petition, CPLC 51, Reel 38, frame 806-810.

[18]   Claimants' petition, CPLC 51, Reel 38, frame 806-810.

[19]   J.J. Bowden, “Private Land Claims in the Southwest,” 1676. Available on microfilm at the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives. 

[20]   Claimants' petition, CPLC 51, Reel 38, frame 806-810.

[21]   For this latter argument see the Arroyo Hondo land grant. Denise Holladay Damico, “The Arroyo Hondo Land Grant,” available from southwestbooks.org. 

[22]   This case was Ornbaum v. His Creditors, 61 Calif. 455 (1882).

[23]   “Elena Gallegos Picnic Area,” in Robert Julyan, Place Names of New Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2nd ed., 1998): 121.

The Elena Gallegos Grant[1]

Denise Holladay Damico

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1897 Map of Elena Gallegos Grant[2]

            Today most Albuquerque residents might know the name “Elena Gallegos” for the open space and picnic area, “a gem in the Open Space system,” that bears the name. The Open Space area is located in the gorgeous foothills of northeast Albuquerque.[3]  In fact, the name of this popular yet serene picnic area is just one of the many ways in which modern-day inhabitants of the Duke City are connected to New Mexico's Native American, Spanish, and Mexican past. A portion of Albuquerque used to be encompassed in a land grant known as the Elena Gallegos grant, and also sometimes known as the Jesus María tract and the Ranchos de Albuquerque grant. Though originally an individual land grant, made to one person, by the time the grant was adjudicated in the U.S. Court of Private Land Claims in the late nineteenth century, the grant was being occupied and utilized as though it were a community land grant – individuals owned their own tracts of irrigated land and used the hillier, un-irrigated area as a commons for grazing livestock. This grant is also significant because court rulings provided an important decision about the way in which grant boundaries were delineated.

            Though the original papers to the land that came to be known as the Elena Gallegos grant do not survive, several partial documents submitted to the Court of Private Land Claims during the adjudication of the grant in the late nineteenth century shed light on the grant's early history. The tract of land which came to be known as the Elena Gallegos grant was originally made to a Diego Montoya in 1694, a time when Hispanos were re-colonizing New Mexico following their expulsion after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. It is possible that Hispanic colonists occupied the grant prior to the Pueblo Revolt, though no documentary evidence of this occupation survives today. Historian Marc Simmons speculates that when the re-conqueror of New Mexico, Diego de Vargas, gave several colonists to establish homes in the Albuquerque area during his 1693 march northward to Santa Fe, he was giving “old settlers” permission to re-occupy lands they had dwelt upon before the Pueblo Revolt.[4]  The land now encompassed in the greater Albuquerque metropolitan area was fertile and strategically located, so it seems to make sense that this Hispanos would have settled upon this land prior to the Pueblo Revolt. The large-scale destruction of legal documents during the Revolt, however, means that we will never know for sure.

            The documents that do survive make it clear that a private land grant for the tract was issued to Diego Montoya in 1694. The grant was re-issued in 1712 following the loss of the original grant papers. This re-issuance may have been spurred by the transferal of the tract to Elena Gallegos that year. Either Diego Montoya or his son, Antonio, gave or sold the land to Elena Gallegos that year or sometime shortly thereafter.[5]

            Elena Gallegos, daughter of Antonio Gallegos and Catalina Baca, was one of the Hispanic colonists of New Mexico who was present at the time of the Pueblo Revolt. Gallegos was most likely a child in 1680, and fled south with her family, returning sometime after the Spanish re-occupation of New Mexico in the 1690s.[6]

            Gallegos was also the widow of Jacques Grolet/Santiago Gurule, who was a former member of the ill-fated La Salle expedition (1687) in which French explorers attempted to stake a claim in Spanish territory. The expedition came to ruin, with many of the explorers killed. Jacques Grolet took refuge with or was captured by a band of Native Americans (probably in modern-day Texas). Because Spanish authorities considered the La Salle expedition to be an illegal trespass onto Spanish territory, they eventually sent Grolet and another compatriot to prison in Spain and Mexico. As a condition of his release from prison, Grolet became a Spanish citizen and became known as “Santiago Gurule.” He made his way to New Mexico in the late 1690s and on 10 December 1699 he, at the age of about 36, and Elena Gallegos, age 19, were married. They had a son, Antonio Gurule, in 1703. Eight years later, in 1711, Santiago Gurule died.[7]

            Sometime after that, probably in 1712, Elena Gallegos obtained the grant which came to bear her name.[8]   Some have speculated that Diego Montoya left the land to Gallegos because the two were in love.[9] However this author is aware of no documentary evidence to either support or refute this claim. In fact, it seems possible that Montoya sold the land to Gallegos, instead of simply giving it to her. Furthermore, it was not terribly uncommon for women, especially widows, to own property under Spanish colonial law. In fact, unlike English (and early U.S.) common law, under Spanish colonial law women retained ownership of property that they brought into a marriage.[10]  So it seems just as likely that Gallegos purchased the land as it does that Montoya would simply give away such a valuable tract to someone with no familial relationship to him. Indeed, Gallegos may have held a relatively high position in Hispano society, given that she registered her own brands with the Spanish colonial government and in these documents was referred to by the honorific “Doña.” [11]

            In turn, Gallegos left the land to her son, Antonio Gurule.[12]  He married Antonia Quintana, the daughter of Jose Quintana and Antonia Lujan Dominguez. A 1750 census shows the couple living in Albuquerque with their children and two Native American servants, descendants of whom also took the last name Gurule.[13]  This family story of intermarriage and connectivity between Frenchman, Hispana, and Native Americans helps illustrate the multi-ethnic history of New Mexico.

            Antonio Gurule and Antonia Quintana had nine children, and bequeathed each of them part of the land.[14]  This practice of partible inheritance, or dividing up land and leaving each heir an equal portion, was common in Spanish New Mexico. In fact, by the late nineteenth century, there were several hundred occupants of the Elena Gallegos tract, heirs of Gallegos and Gurule.[15]

            Land occupation patterns at the time of the grant's adjudication before the Court of Private Land Claims were in fact fairly typical. Each individual or family owned a “long-lot,” perhaps only a few yards wide.[16]  The lots stretched all the way from the Rio Grande to the Sandia Mountains (or “East Mountains”). In the case of the Elena Gallegos grant, claimants reported that, though they technically held the land closer toward the mountains individually, in actuality this area operated like a commons on a community grant, with everyone sharing the resources for grazing and timber purposes.[17]

            On July 30, 1887, several hundred claimants petitioned the Surveyor General for confirmation of the grant. They estimated that the grant contained about seventy thousand acres, and described the boundaries thus:

bounded on the south by the northern line of the Villa of Albuquerque and on the north … by ...extended easterly to the summit of the Sandia Mountain Range; on the west by the Rio Grande del Norte as the … ran in the early part of the seventeenth century, to wit: - near the eastern foot-hills of the Rio Grande Valley, and such ancient courses, as your petitioners are informed and believe, is about where the same is located by the preliminary survey of the Alameda grant, a copy of which survey is filed herewith, and marked “Exhibit A,”; the northern boundary being about the southern boundary of the lands of the Pueblo of Sandia; … running easterly from an ancient ruin at or near the southeastern corner of said Pueblo of Sandia to the summit of the said Sandia Range; the eastern boundary being the [illeg.] of said range...”[18]

            Though Surveyor General Julian reported that he believed the grant should be confirmed, Congress failed to act on it, as was the case with many other land grants in New Mexico.[19] This inaction helped spur the creation of the Court of Private Land Claims, which took over the task of adjudicating New Mexico's land grants, in 1891.

            On February 17, 1893, Thomas Gutierrez, on behalf of himself and over 300 heads of families, filed suit seeking confirmation of the grant before the Court of Private Land Claims.[20]  Eventually the court consolidated the Elena Gallegos case with the Ranchos de Albuquerque case because the land in question was the same. In other words, the Ranchos de Albuquerque arose on the same land as the Elena Gallegos tract. The court decided that the grant was a valid one; the only major controversy arose over the grant's eastern boundary. 

            One issue that was a common bone of contention between the U.S. Government, on the one hand, and land grant claimants, on the other hand, was the meaning of and proper translations of boundary calls from Spanish documents. Attorneys for the U.S., led by Matthew Reynolds, sought to ensure that as little land as possible was encompassed in the confirmed land grants. As evidenced by laws like the Homestead Act and bureaucracies like the General Land Office, a major task of the U.S. government in the late nineteenth century was devoted to “opening up” western lands for settlement by (mostly) Anglo-Americans. Many government officials, accustomed to fenced-in farmlands of the humid eastern United States, believed that Hispanos did not make effective, efficient use of the land. As such, they sought to minimize the amount of land confirmed to Spanish and Mexican land grants by the Court of Private Land Claims. A common tactic utilized by attorneys for the U.S. was to claim that the original boundary calls, as stated in the Spanish document, were misinterpreted by the court. In particular, attorneys for the U.S. argued that the CPLC misapplied the term “sierra” to mean the crest of a mountain, when in fact it should have referred to the foot or foothills of a mountain (the latter because of the similar Spanish term cerro, or hill).[21]

            In the Elena Gallegos case, the CPLC decided that the term sierra in fact referred to the crest of the mountain (the Sandia Mountains, now known as the East Mountains near Albuquerque), a decision that favored the land grant claimants over the U.S. attorney. The Court was swayed by two factors: first, that the word “sierra” also means “saw” in Spanish, seeming to indicate the crest of a mountain, and by a Californian land grant case with the same question about whether or not “sierra” referred to the base or crest of a mountain.[22]This decision was favorable to the claimants of the Elena Gallegos grant.

            The Court's decision would also prove favorable to the residents of the Albuquerque area many decades later, because it was through this decision that the picnic and open space area now known as “Elena Gallegos” remained intact. An Albert Simms eventually acquired the portion of the Elena Gallegos grant that stretches towards the foothills of the Sandias. He gave this to the Albuquerque Academy. In the 1980s, it seemed that private developers might buy the land in order to build new subdivisions there. Albuquerque voters approved a quarter-cent sales tax to allow the city to purchase the land. Today it is administered by the U.S. Forest Service and the City of Albuquerque.[23]  Though the open space/picnic area represents only a small portion of the original Elena Gallegos grant, Albuquerque residents can consider themselves fortunate to be able to experience this reminder of both the social and natural history of modern-day New Mexico. 

 

 

 

Bibliography

Spanish Archives of New Mexico I (available on microfilm at the State Records Center and Archives, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and at the Center for Southwest Research, Zimmerman Library, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico)

Surveyor General case number 234 , Reel 29, frames 1-54.        

Court of Private Land Claims case number 51, Reel 38, frames 756-883.

Websites

Grolet-Gurulé: Los Frances de Nuevo Mexico, http://www.gurulefamily.org/index.html

 

“Elena Gallegos,” New Mexico Wildlife, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/publications/documents/elena_gallegos.pdf

                       

“Elena Gallegos Picnic Area and Albert G. Simms Parks,” Albuquerque Official City Website, http://www.cabq.gov/openspace/elenagallegos.html

 

Secondary Sources

 

Bowden, J.J. “Private Land Claims in the Southwest.” 6 vols. Master's thesis, Southern Methodist University, 1969. Available on microfilm at the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives.

 

“Gallegos,” in Fray Angélico Chávez, Origins of New Mexico Families: A Genealogy of the Spanish Colonial Period (Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, Rev. Ed, 1992).

 

Robert Julyan, Place Names of New Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2nd ed., 1998).

 

Marc Simmons, Hispanic Albuquerque: 1706-1846 (Albuquerque: University of New       Mexico Press, 2003).

 

 

 


[1]      The research and writing of this land grant history was partially funded by the New Mexico Historical Records Advisory Board.

[2]      The Elena Gallegos Grant, 1897. Drawn by George H. Pradt. (Catron Papers, Special Collections, Zimmerman Library, University of New Mexico). Reprinted from Marc Simmons, Hispanic Albuquerque, 1706-1846 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2003), 42.

[3]      “Elena Gallegos Picnic Area and Albert G. Simms Parks,” Albuquerque Official City Website, http://www.cabq.gov/openspace/elenagallegos.html.

[4]      Marc Simmons, Hispanic Albuquerque: 1706-1846 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2003): 27.

[5]      Fragmentary documents, signed by Felix Martines and others. The original Spanish documents are microfilmed under CPLC 51, Reel 38, frames 768-772. At the time of adjudication (late 19th century) a typed, Spanish transcription was also prepared (frames 773-774; 778-780; 788-789) as was a typed English translation (frames 775-776; 781-784; 786-787).   See also Claimants' petition to Court of Private Land Claims for confirmation of Elena Gallegos Grant, Spanish Archives of New Mexico, SANM-I, Court of Private Land Claims (CPLC) 51, Reel 38, frame 806-810. The SANM records are available at the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives (NMSRCA), Santa Fe, New Mexico, and at the Center for Southwest Research (CSWR), Zimmerman Library, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico.  

[6]      Fray Angélico Chávez, Origins of New Mexico Families: A Genealogy of the Spanish Colonial Period (Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, Rev. Ed, 1992): 193. “Index, “ Grolet-Gurulé: Los Frances de Nuevo Mexico,http://www.gurulefamily.org/ancestry/index.shtml.

[7]      “Santiago Gurulé,” Grolet-Gurulé: Los Frances de Nuevo Mexico,http://www.gurulefamily.org/ancestry/santiago.shtml. See also José A Esquibel and John B. Colligan, The Spanish Recolonization of New Mexico: An Account of the Families Recruited at Mexico City in 1693 (Albuquerque: Hispanic Genealogical Research Center, 1999).   See also “Gallegos” in Origins of New Mexico Families

[8]      Fragmentary documents, signed by Felix Martines and others. The original Spanish documents are microfilmed under CPLC 51, Reel 38, frames 768-772; Spanish transcription (frames 773-774; 778-780; 788-789); typed English translation (frames 775-776; 781-784; 786-787).   See also Claimants' petition, CPLC 51, Reel 38, frame 806-810.

[9]      “Elena Gallegos,” New Mexico Wildlife, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/publications/documents/elena_gallegos.pdf

[10]   On women and property in nineteenth century New Mexico, see Deena Gonzalez, Refusing the Favor: The Spanish-Mexican Women of Santa Fe, 1820-1880 (Oxford University Press, 1999).

[11]    CPLC 51, Reel 38, frames 768-772, (typed transcription 773-774) (typed translation 775-6).

[12]    Elena Gallegos will, CPLC 51, Reel 38, 762-766.