J. P Munro-Fraser.

History of Solano County...and histories of its cities, towns...etc. .. online

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130 THE HISTORY OP SOLANO COUNTY.



MEXICAN GRANTS.



BY A. J. DOBBINS.



SUSCOL— SUISUN — TOLENAS — LOS PUTOS — RIO LOS PUTOS —

ULPINOS.

When California was acquired by the United States by treaty with the
Mexican Government, the larger portion of the five hundred and forty-five
thousand four hundred and forty acres included in the present boundary
lines of Solano county was covered by, and claimed under, six Mexican
grants, distributed as follows :

" The Suscol," lying in the southern and western portion of the county,
including the townships of Vallejo and Benicia, and containing about eighty-
four thousand acres.

The " Suisun," lying to the eastward of the Suscol, including within its
limits the whole of Suisun valley, together with the towns of Suisun and
Fairfield, and containing seventeen thousand seven hundred and fifty-two
acres.

The " Tolenas," or " Armijo," lying to the north and east of the Suisun,
and containino- thirteen thousand three hundred and fourteen acres.

The " Los Putos," or Vaca and Pena, lying to the northeast of the Armijo,
covering the town of Vacaville and the whole of Vaca valley, and contain-
ing forty-four thousand three hundred and eighty acres.

The " Eio Los Putos," or Wolfskill, lying to the northwest of the Los
Putos, and on both sides of Putah creek, in both Solano and Yolo counties.
That portion situated in Solano county, containing eight thousand eight
hundred and eighty acres.

The " Ulpinos," or Bidwell, located in the eastern portion of the county, at
the junction of the Sacramento river and Cache Slough, covering the town
of Rio Vista and the Montezuma hills, and containing seventeen thousand
seven hundred and fifty -two acres.

By the terms of the treaty of Guadaloupe Hidalgo, the United States,
upon proper showing of titles by grantees of the Mexican and Spanish
Governments, was found to confirm them, and not only were perfect titles
acquired by the inhabitants under Mexican domination agreed to be
respected, but also such equitable claims as had their origin in the action
of the Mexican Government, but were undeveloped and incomplete at the
date of the treaty ; and it was stipulated that such steps should be taken
as were necessary to protect the same. The rights of property of the
citizens of the ceded territory were to remain unchanged. By the law of



THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY. 131

nations those rights were sacred and inviolable, and the obligation passed
to the Government of the United States to protect and maintain them by
proper legislative action when the requisite protection could not be afforded
by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings in the established tribunals
or by existing legislation.

In many instances, however, the boundaries of the grants were indefinite,
and the titles to some being imperfect, for years the affairs of the county
were in an unsettled condition, consequent upon the frequent recurrence of
acts of violence and bloodshed growing out of the litigation of land titles.
Surveying parties were frequently forced to desist and driven off by armed
gangs of squatters, who destroyed and removed monuments and land-marks,
obstructed the officers of the law in the discharge of their official duties, and
who carried their lawlessness to such an extent that many bona fide pur-
chasers willingly disposed of their claims for a nominal sum and betook
themselves to some more quiet county, where the danger of loss of life or
limb was not a necessary concomitant upon the ownership of real estate.

The bitter and protracted controversy which arose out of the dispute as
to the location of the line between the Suisun and the Armijo Grants, pre-
sents a striking illustration of the indefinite and uncertain manner in which
these grants were located by the original grantees, at a time when the
question of a few hundred, or even thousand, acres was a matter of so little
importance as to be unworthy of attention. But, subsequently, as the years
rolled on, and the increase in values required the boundary lines to be
distinctly and permanently settled, the latitude which had formerly been
allowed to the original grantees in locating their grants, as necessity or
convenience dictated, proved a source of almost interminable annoyance
and vexation, as well as a heavy expense to those who purchased under
them.

On the 16th of January, 1837, Francisco Solano, the chief of the tribe of
Indians known as the Suisunes, presented to Commandant-General M. G.
Vallejo a petition for a grant of land in the following terms :

" To the Commandant-General :

" Francisco Solano, principal chief of the unconverted Indians and born
captain of the ' Suisun,' in due form before your Honor represents ;

" That, being a free man, and owner of a sufficient number of horses and
cattle to establish a rancho, he solicits from the strict justice and goodness
of your Honor, that you be pleased to grant him the land of the Suisun,
with its known appurtenances, which are a little more or less than four
square leagues from the ' Portzuela to the Salina de Sacha.' Said land
belongs to him by hereditary right from his ancestors, and he is actually in
possession of it, but he wishes to revalidate his rights in accordance with
the existing laws of our Republic and of the order of colonization recently
decreed by the Supreme Governement.



132 THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY.

" He, therefore, prays that your Honor be pleased to grant him the land
which he asks for, and procure for him, from the proper sources, the titles
which may be necessary for his security, and that you will also admit this
on common paper, there being none of the corresponding stamp in this
place.

(Signed) " Francisco Solano.

" Sonoma, January 16, 1837."

To this petition the Commandant-General responded by issuing a decree,
in which he granted to Solano, temporarily and provisionally, the use of
the land petitioned for, to the amount of four square leagues, at the same
time instructing the grantee to ask from the governmental of the State the
usual titles, in order to make valid his rights in conformity with the order
of colonization.

Accordingly, on the 15th of January, 1842, Solano presented a petition to
Governor Juan B. Alvarado, accompanying it with the above petition to the
Commandant-General, together with the temporary grant made by that
officer, and asked for a permanent and perpetual grant of the premises.

In answer to this petition, Governor Alvarado, on the 21st of January,
1842, issued a grant in due form, of which the following is a copy :

[seal.] " Juan. B. Alvarado,

" Constitutional Governor of the Department of the Californias.
" Whereas, The aboriginal, Francisco Solano, for his own personal benefit
and that of his family, has aske*d for the land known by the name of Suisun,
of which place he is a native, and chief of the tribes of the frontier of Sono-
ma, and being worthy of reward for the quietness which he caused to be
maintained by that unchristianized people ; the proper proceedings and
examinations having previously been made as required by the laws and
regulations, using the powers conferred on me in the name of the Mexican
nation, I have granted to him the above mentioned land, adjudicating to
him the ownership of it, by these presents, being subject to the approbation
of the most excellent Departmental Junta, and to the following conditions,
to- wit :

1. " That he may inclose it, without prejudice to the crossings, roads, and
servitudes, and enjoy it freely and exclusively, making such use and culti-
vation of it as he may see fit ; but within one year he shall build a house
and it shall be inhabited.

2. " He shall ask the magistrate of the place to give him Juridical posses-
sion of it, in virtue of this order, by whom the boundaries shall be marked
out ; and he shall place in them, besides the land-marks, some fruit or forest
trees of some utility.

3. " The land herein mentioned is to the extent of four ' sitios de ganado
mayor,' (four square leagues) with the limits, as shown on the map, accom-
panying the respective expediente. The magistrate who gives the possession



THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY. 133

will have it measured according to ordinance, leaving the excess, that may
result, to the nation for its convenient uses.

4. " If he contravene these conditions he shall lose his right to the land
and it may be denounced by another.

" In consequence, I order that these presents be held firm and valid ; that
a register be taken of it in the proper book, and that it be given to the
party interested, for his voucher and other purposes.

" Given this twenty-first day of January, one thousand eight hundred
and forty-two, at Monterey.

(Signed) "Juan B. Alvarado.

(Signed) " Manuel Jimeno, Secretary."

In September, 1845, the Committee on Vacant Lands submitted to the
Departmental Assembly a report in which the approval of the grant was
recommended ; and, thereupon, in the following month, that body issued
the following order :

"Angeles, Oct. 3, 1845.
" In session of this day. the proposition of the foregoing report was
approved by the most excellent Departmental Assembly, ordering the
original expediente to be returned to His Excellency, the Governor, for
suitable purposes.

(Signed) " Pio Pico, President.

(Signed) " Augustin Olona, Secretary."

A copy of the order of approval was issued to Solano on the same day.
The first application of Armijo for his grant was made some two years
subsequent to that of Solano, and was in the following language :

" Senor Commandant- General :

" Jose Francisco Armijo, by birth a Mexican, before your Honor, in the
manner which may be best for me in the law, say : That having four
sons, natives of the same country, without owning any lands to cultivate,
finding myself owner of about one hundred head of cattle, the product of
which I annually lose, supplicate that your Honor will be pleased to con-
cede to me the place known to ine by the name of Tolenas. That in
company with my son, Antonio Maria, I dedicate myself to the cultivation
of my own land and the breeding of cattle, with the understanding that the
land which I solicit is from the place already mentioned to Ololatos creek,
containing about three leagues of land, more or less, and it joins with the
Suisun rancho.

" For this I pray that you will be pleased to decree as 1 have petitioned,
for which I respectfully forward, herewith, the map.

" This favor I shall perpetuate on my memory.

[Does not know how to sign.]
" Sonoma, Nov. 22d, 1839."



134 THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY.

Immediately upon the receipt of the petition the Commandant-General
made an order upon its margin, in which permission was given to Armijo
to occupy the premises described therein upon condition that he should not
in any manner molest or disturb the wild Indians who lived upon it ; but,
on the contrary, he should endeavor to inspire them with confidence in the
whites ; and should any act of rebellion occur among them he should imme-
diately communicate the same to Solano, the chief of the " Suisunes," with
whom, by reason of his proximity with both parties, it would be convenient
to advise as to whatever might conduce to the lives and tranquility of the
settlers. Armijo, upon this order, entered into the possession of the land,