The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937 Page: 61
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Mexican Land Grants in the Arkansas Valley
settlers. Liberal land grants might serve the purpose, and men
were not lacking to take advantage of Mexican liberality in this
In 1843 two Mexican land grants, aggregating about five million
acres, were located immediately south of the Arkansas, occupying
the basins of several of its tributaries, including the St. Charles
(San Carlos) on the west and extending eastward beyond the
Purgatoire (or Las Animas) River. These grants played a signifi-
cant r81e in the history of the region in question. It is the purpose
of this, article to present several aspects of that r81e. To what
extent did they serve the purpose of the Mexican Government?
How did they affect the operation of the public land laws of the
United States in this area? What influence did they exert upon
the progress of settlement? What was their significance with
respect to the economic development of this region? These are
questions which claim our attention.
The larger of these grants, embracing more than four million
acres, was made to Cornelio Vigil and Ceran St. Vrain and is
known as the Vigil-St. Vrain (or Las Animas) grant. Its original
boundaries were stated in the following terms:
Commencing on the line (north of the line of Beaubien and
Miranda) at one league east of Animas river, a mound was
erected; thence following in a direct line to the Arkansas river,
one league below the junction of the Animas and Arkansas, the
second mound was erected on the banks of said Arkansas river;
and following up the Arkansas to one and one-half leagues below
the junction of the San Carlos river, the third mound was erected;
thence following in a direct line to the south until it reaches the
foot of the first mountain two leagues and a half west of the H[uer-
fano river, the fourth mound was erected; and continuing in a
direct line to the top of the mountain to the source of the afore
mentioned Huerfano, the fifth mound was erected; and following
the summit of said mountain in an easterly direction until it inter-
sects the line of the lands of Miranda and Beaubien, the sixth
mound was erected; from thence, following the dividing line of the
lands of Miranda and Beaubien in an easterly direction, I came
to the first mound which was erected, closing here the boundaries
of this grant."
'House Report, No. 321 (36 Cong., 1 Sesa.), p. 324f, included in the
report of the Surveyor-General of New Mexico to the Commissioner of
the General Land Office, January 12, 1858.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937, periodical, 1937; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101099/m1/69/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.