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Tomas Tapia Grant

by J. J. Bowden

Tomas Tapia appeared before Governor Gaspar Domingo Mendoza and registered a tract of vacant farm land situated on the south side and down river from Santa Fe in order to grow enough food to “maintain those who depended upon him.” In his petition soliciting the grant; Tapia described the tract as being bounded:

 On the north, by an arroyo and the ruins of a house; on the east, by the lands of Felipe Pacheco; on the south by the road to Alamo; and on the west, by some tall cedars and an arroyo.

On June 2, 1742 Mendoza granted to land to Tapia and directed the Alcalde of Santa Fe to place him “in possession of the piece of land designated in the grant that I made to Felipe Tafoya.” Notwithstanding the instructions contained in the granting decree, Alcalde Antonio Ulibarri placed Tapia in possession of a tract described as being bounded:

 On the north, by a very ancient acequia madre; on the east, by the lands of Felipe Tafoya; on the south, by the Camino de los Carros; and on the west, by a large crooked cedar tree.[1]

Juan de Dios Tapia, who claimed an interest in the grant by inheritance and purchase from the heirs of the original grantee, instituted a suit in the Court of Private Land Claims on March 2, 1893, in which he prayed for the confirmation of the grant.[2] He asserted that the grant covered a 500 acre tract of land embraced within the boundaries set forth in Tapia’s petition to Mendoza. Of course, the grant could be complete and perfect only in the event the senior grant which had been made to Felipe Tafoya was revoked on June 2, 1742, the same day on which possession had been delivered to Tafoya. Since there was no direct evidence of such a revocation and the grant was located wholly within the Santa Fe League, the plaintiff’s claim was tenuous at best. Therefore, when the case came up for trial on February 3, 1898 he announced that he no longer wished to prosecute his claim. The court promptly entered an order dismissing the suit and rejecting the grant.[3]

[1] Archive No. 961 (Mss., Records of the A.N.M.).

[2] Tapia v United States, No. 189 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).          

[3] 3 Journal 340 (Mss., Records of the Ct. Pvt. L. Cl.).