|Historic Past||Treaty and Purchase||U.S. Military, Wagon Road, Railroad||Homestead Act and Preemption|
|Earliest Homesteaders||Desert Lands Act||Application for Final Proof||Affidavits of Contest|
Americans of Mexican Descent
The Americans of Mexican descent, or "Mexican homesteaders"
undaunted by the Apaches, began to avail themselves of the benefits of the
Homestead and Preemption Acts. They began settlements in the San Pedro valley as
early as 1872, based on Declaratory Statements of Preemption (Box 264). Laguna
(Exhibit 10.1 Macario Cordova Declaratory Statement)
Preemption entries gave settlers a prior right to purchase the land or were eligible to commute (convert) to a Homestead Entry, documented by Declarations of An Individual's Eligibility to Preempt (Box 265 A). Box 265 B. Applications to Make Cash Purchase Act of 1877 Commuting a Declaratory Statement represented a first step in the Homestead process. Homestead Lands were at no charge to the homesteader, whereas pre-emption lands had to be purchased at Government set prices. In both instances, there were small filing fees, paid by the homesteader.
The sobriquet "Mexican homesteaders" herein refers to the native born citizens, some of whom were descendants of Arizonan presidio families; some with ancestries from the 18th and 19th century. Also included are later arrivals from Mexico. Aliens were eligible to apply for homesteads provided they filed a "Declaration of Intention" to become a citizen of the United States. Upon filing a "Declaration of Intention" they became eligible to make a homestead or Preemption entry.
American citizenship was a prerequisite in the homestead process and to obtain the coveted Patent. Henceforth, the designation "Mexican homesteaders" is used as a convenient term, to distinguish the ethnicity of this group from all other homesteaders, and serve the purpose of this paper. Use of the term further enhances the dignity and stature of those brave, gallant and seasoned pioneers, who dared the Apache, and an arid, hostile environment to settle, cultivate crops, raise livestock and families, and to become good, faithful and productive citizens.
A prime example of this pioneering resolve; the first valley school, church, and cemetery Antonio Campa Soza, Jesus Moreno Soza, Manuel Moreno Soza, Jose Maria Soza (infant), Francisca Moreno Soza Doy, Refugia Moreno Lopez Mungia, Tomas Mungia, Robert Michael Soza, Francisco Vijil (infant) buried with aunt Maria Montano, and unnamed infant son of Carlos Moreno Soza and Herminia Valenzuela. were established by Antonio Campa Soza at his San Antonio Ranch, Redington. The first church, was the LA CAPILLA DE SAN ANTONIO DE PADUA DE LISBOA, named in honor of Soza's patron saint. The Capilla was dedicated February 1903 by Bishop Henry R. Granjon, Tucson Diocese. Church and school are no longer standing. It was a modest one room adobe structure, as described by Benito Moreno Soza, whose parents were Antonio Soza and Maria Jesus Moreno.
The extended Soza family is represented in the San Pedro River valley homestead applications by Antonio Campa Soza, Nicolas Campa Soza, Placido Campa Soza, Juan Soza, Rosaura Moreno Soza, Manuel Moreno Soza, Manuel Moreno Soza, the son of Antonio Soza and Maria Jesus Moreno was missing for two months, when his body was found fatally shot. He was buried at the site, thus was founded the Soza Cemetery 28-12S-19E. Leonides Montano, Ricardo Apodaca Jesus Mungia, Tomas Mungia, and Juan Vijil. Through kinship, family ties also extended to Leonardo Apodaca, Cleopa A. Apodaca, Manuel Apodaca, Angel Arrandules, all of whom filed homesteads and left their mark in the valley. U.S. Geological Survey map of Redington Quadrangle N3215 1957, denotes Soza Ranch, Soza Cemetery, Soza Canyon and Soza Wash.
The Pacheco family was represented in valley homesteads by Ramon Pacheco, Refugio Pacheco, Mateo Pacheco and Nabor Pacheco; a family with historic roots dating from the 18th century at Tubac and Tucson. Francisco "Poncho" Pacheco, Tucson. Nabor Pacheco filed DS 700 Box 264 Abstracts of Declaratory Statements 1873-1908 and Antonio Soza filed DS748 Box 264 DS 748 Antonio Soza settled SE 1/4 32-12S-19E on September 5, 1879. DS 700 Nabor Pacheco settled the same land on 4/1/1880. Per GLO letter "G" states that Soza will make no effort to hold the covered by his DS 748. Soza's entry was cancelled on account of conflict with DS 700. for the same land. Nabor had filed a prior claim, consequently Antonio relinquished claim on May 16, 1885, and replaced it with Homestead Application 934. Boxes 259/263 Register of Homestead Entries 1873-1908 (Exhibit 13.1 GLO Letter Antonio Soza/Nabor Pacheco)
Nabor Pacheco is best known as the popular and highly respected Pima County Sheriff (1904). Refugio Pacheco was appointed to the Pima County Board of Supervisors on April 12, 1873 but died in September.
Guadalupe Saenz de Pacheco filed DS 15 on Tucson land settled in 1873 Box 264 Abstracts of Declaratory Statements and later received a patent on entry HDE 594 for land in Solomonville. The patent was delivered to J. Knox Corbett on July 12, 1895. Boxes 228/229 Register of Patents Delivered Guadalupe was the successor owner of the Diamond Bell cattle brand, first granted to Ignacio Antonio Pacheco on June 10, 1818, and was being used as late as 1890 near Benson.
Another significant valley settler was Antonio Comaduran, the son of the last commander of the garrison at Presidio de San Agustin del Tucson. Antonio Comaduran was a witness at the wedding of Antonio Campa Soza and Maria Jesus Moreno, celebrated at San Agustin Church, Tucson. Comaduran filed DS 1299 in 1879 for 120 acres, which was classed as double minimum land @ $2.50 per acres, land at 13-12S-18E, commuted to HD 865 and received Final Certificate 192. The Comaduran patent,issued on July 3, 1890, was delivered to Placido Verauelas on October 4, 1890. Boxes 267/268 REgister of Final Homestead Certificates. The Grijalba family is likewise well represented with Antonio, Crisanto, and Francisco homesteading in the same area.
Similar portraits can be drawn for many homesteaders preempting, homesteading or making a cash purchases, by accessing the several Boxes enumerated. Laguna Niguel, California
The earliest Mexican Declaratory Statements (DS) were filed in 1872 and are shown in Box 264 as shown below:
|Emilio Carrillo||3/1/1872||Leonardo Apodaca||3/21/1872|
|Calistro Zasin||1/1/1872||Gabriel Fimbres||1/1/1873|
|Francisco Bonillas||3/1/1872||Ygnacio Varela||1/1/1873|
There were seventy two (72) Mexican homestead entries pursuant to the
Preemption Act of September 4, 1841. The Act permitted the filing of a
"Declaratory Statement for Cases Where the Land is not subject to Private
Entry". The Statement gave the settler a prior right to buy the land or commute
to homestead the land. The DS could be filed in person or mailed, while the
Homestead application had to be filed in person.
(Exhibit 14.1 Joseph Hoefler)
Although "Mexican homestead" valley settlements were made as early as 1872,
most settlements took place between 1879 and 1880, and between 1884 and 1885.
Very likely these settlements were induced and encouraged by the advent of the
Benson and the extensive mining activities at Tombstone and surrounding mining areas. The Tucson population, the various military posts and mining camps provided a ready market for the agricultural products raised in the area.
The register of Declaration of an Individual's Eligibility to Preempt Declaratory Statements records twenty one (21) Mexicans filing declarations during 1884 to 1887; twelve (12) entries in 1885; then two (2) each in 1884, 1886, 1887.
A Declaratory Statement was a step to initiating a preemption land entry, which could be commuted (convert) from a preemption to a homestead entry. Also, the preemptor could elect to buy his Preemption acreage, not exceeding 160 acres, and subsequently file for another 160 acres under the Homestead Act 1862.
The Homestead Act stated that an individual could commute his land entry from a homestead to a preemption. The Act required some type of improvement to be made on at least one acre and that the entryman resided on the land for at least 6 months. Once on the land, the entryman could not absent himself for more than six months, otherwise be in default, and risked being challenged with abandonment. When the right of preemption was exercised the entryman would pay $1.25 per acre (or $2.50 for double minimum land) and receive a patent to the land". Gross abuses, prompted repeal of the Preemption Act of 1841. Early homesteaders such as Lasuro Borquez, Antonio Comaduran, Jesus Moraga, Jesus Garcia, Mateo Pacheco, Feliz Ruelas, Jose Romero, Jose Robles, Feliz Ruiz, Antonio Soto, and Nicolas Soza, filed Eligibility Statements (Box 265 A) initiating their efforts to acquire public lands. Homestead laws encouraged and generated interest for settlement along the San Pedro river from Mammoth, Redington, Cascabel, Pomerene, Tres Alamos, to Benson.
The Register of Entries, (Boxes 259 to 263) Box 263 Volume 5 January 1908 to June 1908 Phoenix contains the entries filed pursuant to various homestead acts, National Archives Guide, copy in writer's possession. showing homestead entries from January 1873 to June 1908. This procedure must have been changed as the twenty four different sets of records examined were kept at the respective land offices at Prescott and Florence, then later at Florence and Tucson and finally only at Phoenix. Found are sixty three (63) Mexican families long associated with valley farms and ranches such as Apodaca, Arrundules, Bonillas, Borquez, Castaneda, Carrasco, Lopez, Montano, Mungia, Pacheco, Saenz, Soza, Vijil and others, who left their imprint. Soza Cemetery and Apodaca Cemetery
The Soza Cemetery, Redington, Arizona N3215-W11015/15, 157 with eleven (11) graves, and the Apodaca Cemetery, are only two reminders of the a historic past. The early homesteaders were clustered in Townships South 5, 6, 8, 11 thru 17 and Ranges East 15 thru 20, embracing Hayden, Winkleman, Redington, Benson to St. David.
The Act of June 15, 1880 enabled homesteaders, who had filed under the Act of
1862, an opportunity to commute (convert) their Homestead application to a Cash
Purchase and eliminate the mandatory 5 year residence period for homesteads.
Eighteen (18) valley homesteaders availed themselves of this Act (Boxes 255 to 256), Phoenix November 1905 to February 1905 approximating 2,393 acres of which 1,320 acres were double minimum land. Up to this point Homesteads (HD), Preemptions (DS) and Cash Purchases (CE) have been mentioned. Perhaps a more definitive description of each would be beneficial and helpful to the reader.
On a Homestead, the applicant receives the land free of charge, after meeting and complying with all land laws and requirements. On a Preemption, the preemptor is granted a "prior right" to buy the land at the Government set price of $1.25 per acre minimum price or double minimum price of $2.50 per acre. A preemptor was allowed six months before making actual settlement on the land. Homesteader were required to live on the land continuously from date of filing. The preemptor could commute to a Homestead application, meet all homestead law requirements, and received the land free. The residence period, before commuting a Preemption was six months ( it was later changed to 14 months) compared to the five years for a Homestead. Under the Preemption law, the preemptor was allowed to buy 160 acres; and afterwards file for an additional 160 acres under the Homestead law. The American Settler's Guide P/51 #3
Under a Cash Purchase, the settler buys the land at minimum or double price per acre. As previously stated, land near rivers roads, railroads, was generally priced at $2.50 (double minimum price) and all other lands at $1.25 per acre (minimum price). Cash Purchases were limited one time only purchase, for the allowable 160 acres.
Until 1891, a settler was able to acquire 160 acres each, under Preemption, Homestead, and Cash Purchase laws. This was changed when the Preemption Act of 1841 was repealed in 1891. Digest of Public Land Laws.