On June 30, 2006, former New Mexico State Historian Robert J. Torrez submitted a report, "State Owned Lands Within New Mexico's Community Land Grants", (click here to read) to the New Mexico State Legislature Land Grant Committee. As the title indicates, this report details a few of the 130 Spanish and Mexican community land grants in New Mexico, in respect to state owned land within those grants. The Town of Socorro Grant just so happens to be one of the community grants studied in the report.
On page 34 of the report, Torrez begins describing the history of the Town of Socorro Grant. This history is very similar to J.J. Bowden's history of the grant, and can be seen as a summary of the Bownden article. Torrez's report then identifies two tracts of land within the grant that are state owns. These two tracts, the Escondida Tract and McAllister Drain, occupy a total of 109.87 acres. Certain individuals are mentioned as previous owners of the tract. I will have to do some research on these names, although a few of them seem familiar to me already.
What I found of particular interest is that Torrez states that according to a 2004 GAO report, the Town of Socorro Grant does not currently have any community acreage. I searched for that report, and found it online. (Click here to read the GAO report.)
In June 2004, the Government Accountability Office issued the report "Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo: Findings and Possible Options Regarding Longstanding Community Land Grant Claims in New Mexico". New Mexico U.S. Senators Jeff Binghaman, Pete Dimenici, and U.S. Congressman Tom Udall, requested that the GAO research New Mexico land grants. According to the report's cover letter (page 1)
In response to your request, this report: (1) describes the confirmation procedures by which the United States implemented the property protection provisions of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo with respect to community land grants located in New Mexico, and the results produced by those procedures; (2) identifies and assesses concerns regarding these procedures as they pertain to the government’s confirmation of these grants from 1854 to 1904; (3) identifies and assesses concerns regarding acreage transferred voluntarily or involuntarily after the confirmation procedures were completed; and (4) identifies possible options that Congress may wish to consider in response to remaining community land grant concerns.
I have not had a chance to read the entire 221 page report, but I did find that the report does indicate that of the original 17,371.18 acres, the community no longer owns any acreage (page 148.) I would like to confirm that this is actually true, and find out when the last parcel of land was transferred. More research is needed.
The last article I found was by chance: "The History and Adjudication of the Antonio Chavez Grant" by Mark Schiller. This article was published in Volume 48, issue 4, of the Natural Resources Journal, and can be found on the UNM Law School website. The article takes a look at the legal process of the U.S. Court of Private Land Claims in respect to Mexican land claims. The author argues that the system of confirming (or denying) land claims was unjust, favoring American business and individual interests over the interests of the original Hispanic owners of the land. I will not go into detail here over his arguments, rather I would like to point out a few things that I found interesting in the article.
1. The article gives me insight on how possibly the U.S. Court of Private Land Claims unfairly adjudicated Spanish and Mexican land grants. This is important to the history of the Socorro Grant. Heirs of that grant were accused of forging a specific document which allowed the PLC to deny their claim. According to the Schiller, this accusation was made often against claimants and was trumped up in the press and in court. I have personally seen evidence of this in newspaper articles from the era.
2. The Antonio Chavez Grant was given title in 1825. When it was titled, certain boundaries were given - including boundaries that were shared with the Socorro Grant. By reviewing these boundaries, I can figure out the northern boundary of the Socorro Grant - at least as it was understood to be in 1825.
3. The alcalde (mayor) of Socorro, Juan Francisco Baca, verified the Antonio Chavez Grant title in 1825. In my article "Early Settlers of the Socorro Land Grant: An 1818 List, Part II," (New Mexico Genealogist, volume 51), I identified Juan Francisco Baca as one of the founders of Socorro. This gives me more detail about this man.
All of these articles not only give me specific information about the Socorro Grant, but also give me hints of where to do further research.
Robert J. C. Baca, "Early Settlers of the Socorro Land Grant: An 1818 List, Part II," New Mexico Genealogist, 51 (March 2012): p. 13.
J. J. Bowden, "Socorro Grant", New Mexico Office of State Historian website, http://dev.newmexicohistory.org/filedetails.php?fileID=24686, accessed 30 May 2015.
Government Accountability Office, "Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo: Findings and Possible Options Regarding Longstanding Community Land Grant Claims in New Mexico", GAO website, http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0459.pdf, accessed 30 May 2015.
Mark Schiller, "The History and Adjudication of the Antonio Chavez Grant," Natural Resources Journal, 48 (4), online journal (http://lawschool.unm.edu/nrj/volumes/48/4/9-schiller.pdf : accessed 30 May 2015), pp. 1057 - 1080.
Robert J. Torrez, "A Report: State Owned Lands Within New Mexico's Community Land Grants", New Mexico Office of State Historian website, http://admin.newmexicohistory.org/featured_projects/LandGrants/documents/TorrezReport.pdf, accessed 30 May 2015.