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The Santa Fe Canon Grant

by J. J. Bowden

Jose Maria Nieto filed suit[1] in the Court of Private Land Claims on March 2, 1893, seeking the confirmation of the Santa Fe Cañon Grant, which he estimated contained 6,000 acres of land. He alleged that the grant had been made to Jose Manuel Giltome by Governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdez sometime prior to the year 1707, and covered a tract of land bounded:

On the north, by the brow of the mountains, on the east, by the lands of Salvador Archuleta; on the south, by the brow of the mountains and on the west, by the lands of Luis Maese.

He connected himself with the original grantee by showing that he was a lineal descendant of Simon Nieto to whom Giltome had conveyed the grant on December 5, 1707.[2] He also called attention to the fact that Santiago Ramirez in his petition for a grant in the Santa Fe Cañon, described the requested tract as being bounded on the west by the lands of Simon Nieto. The government filed a general answer putting in issue the allegations contained in the plaintiff’s petition.

Since it was a well established doctrine[3] that the record of the title must be shown or its absence accounted for before a grant could be confirmed, the plaintiff failed to appear to prosecute his case when it came up for trial on February 16, 1898. Therefore, the court rejected the grant and dismissed Nieto’s petition.[4]

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[1] Nieto v. United States, No. 199 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).
[2] Archive No. 639 (Mss., Records of the A.N.M.).
[3] United States v. Teschmaker, 63 U.S. 392 (1859).
[4] 3 Journal 369 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.)