Ramirez Land Grant, New Mexico

In February, 1844, the governor of the Province of New Mexico granted to Jose Serafin Ramirez a tract of land in Santa Fe county, described as follows: "Bounded on the north by the Placer road that goes down by the yellow timber; on the south, the northern boundary of the San Pedro grant: on the east, the spring of the Canon del Agua; on the west, the summit of the mountain of the mine known as the property of your petitioner," This grant was afterward confirmed by Congress upon the approval of the surveyor-general of New Mexico.

The San Pedro and Cañon del Agua Company, in future litigation to determine its title to mining lands located within the limits of this grant, raised the contention that portions of the land were the rightful property of the United States government, as they contained valuable timber and mineral lands; that as early as 1842 there was, within the territory covered by the grant, a flourishing town, containing thousands of inhabitants, called "Real de San Francisco," which for many years had enjoyed such rights and privileges as excluded the Mexican government from making a grant within one league of the borders of the city; and that the mines on the grant had been worked for many years before the territory was ceded to the United States. The company sought to quiet its title to the mining lands it was operating, and the court in the first judicial district decided in its favor. The case was taken to the Supreme Court (the action being that of the, United States vs. The San Pedro and Canon del Agua Company),  which, in one of the most elaborate opinions ever accompanying a decision rendered by that body, found that the San Pedro and Canon del Agua Company was not an innocent purchaser, being fully cognizant of the definite character of the grant to Ramirez. But when the lands contained within the limits of this grant passed, by its cession, under the dominion of the United States government, the title to such mineral lands as were to be found on the grant became vested in the United States government. Ramirez had no claim to any more interest than he had obtained by virtue of the grant. It was only the right in the land which had passed to him by the terms of the grant. The Spanish and Mexican governments reserved the right to the minerals in their lands, unless otherwise stipulated, and no such express grant was made to Ramirez. Though this grant was confirmed by our Congress, upon favorable report of the surveyor-general of the Territory, the latter officer has never been empowered to convey the gold and silver mines belonging to the general government, or to recommend their conveyance. And the grant to Ramirez, as is the case in other grants, gave him the right to the surface of the land only. 


Source: History of New Mexico, Its Resources and People, Volume I, Pacific States Publishing Co., 1907.

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Created 1996 by Charles Barnum & 2016 by Judy White