Manitos Community Memory

San Joaquin Del rio de Chama Land Grant/Merced



San Joaquin Del rio de Chama Land Grant/Merced


San Joaquin Del Rio de Chama Land Grant/Merced


The San Joaquín del Río de Chama Land Grant was granted to our ancestors in August of 1806 by Spanish Governor Joaquín del Real Alencaster. By 1860 there were several distinct communities settled on the land grant-merced with total combined population well over 800 residents. The narrow strips of land lying within the river valleys were cultivated, our livestock were pastured and natural resources were gathered from the surrounding communal lands. In 1861, our ancestors filed a petition to the Surveyor General seeking the confirmation of the grant. An 1878 survey revealed that the grant encompassed 472,736.95 acres. In 1886, Surveyor General George Julian claimed that our ancestors failed to establish legal title to the grant and only held individual allotments totaling 166 acres within the Cañón del Río de Chama. In 1894, the Court of Private Land Claims deemed the grant valid, but limited it to farm tracts in the Cañón del Río de Chama. The plaintiffs, which included land speculator Thomas D. Burns and the Rio Arriba Land and Cattle Company, appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the CPLC decision that the unallotted grant lands belonged to the government (U.S. v. Rio Arriba Land and Cattle Company (1897), U.S. v. Sandoval (1897)). A resurvey of the grant reduced it to 1,422 acres along the Rio Chama. To add further injury, the 1905 patent was issued to the Rio Arriba Land and Cattle Company, not our ancestors and Burns set about removing all of the families residing on 1,422 patented acres, which the federal government later acquired. This resulted in the U.S. Forest Service for many years denying our families access to the community cemetery located in the Cañón de Chama where our grandparents were buried. In 2013 we gained access to the cemetery through an easement from the U.S. Forest Service after almost a decade of pressure.


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Date Created

May 13, 2018

Date Modified



San Joaquín Del Río de Chama Land Grant/Merced


Spanish, English


Leonard Tómas Martínez de Lucero de Góy



San Joaquin Del Rio de Chama Land Grant/Merced