San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History Page: 43
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representative the Governor, to the settlement of the neighbors' real or fancied
prior water rights, to the election or appointment of the Acequiero or Acequiador
(the constructor of acequias), to the actual construction, and finally to that
interesting operation of the drawing of lots among the shareholders of the
company for the " suertes " of land which the King will grant to them upon the
simple conditions of cultivating the lands thus granted, of keeping the channels
clear and clean, the locks, water gates, sluices, fences, aqueducts, troughs, etc.,
of the ditches in proper repair, and one horse, and arms and ammunition in read-
iness to meet enemies in the protection of the colony. On this line, from how
they learned to grasp the natural water advantages of the valley, may be traced
the true inwardness of the life and growth of the town in the eighteenth century,
say from 1729 to 1793, of its population gradually increased by soldiery, settlers,
special immigrants as those from the Canary Islands, camp followers, adventurers
and Indian converts.
The main or madre acequias shall be herein described in as near chronolog-
ical order as it is possible to make out.
The Pajalache or Concepcion Ditch.
This is the oldest of all the Acequias. The exact date of its construction is
doubtful, but it was begun early in the last century. In evidence in a lawsuit-
Rhodes v. Whitehead-this date was given as 1729 (see Calendar of San Antonio,
October, 22d, 1858). It is perhaps more probable that it was completed a few
years later than this. It was finally abandoned in 1869, thus serving its purpose
nearly 140 years. It was abandoned on account of the dam which provided it
with water proving too great an obstruction to the river's current and a nuisance
to the city during flood times. This dam was built across the river a short dis-
tance above the town ford, and above the present dam of the old Lewis Mill,
about on a line with Presa street. It was very high-some two or three feet
higher than the Lewis dam. From this high level, through a deep cutting, the
Pajalache ditch took its waters, and striking Garden street almost immediately,
it followed the direct line of that street to the Concepcion Mission, and
thence on to join the River below, irrigating lands on its way by laterals. At
the intersection of Mill and Garden streets, the Alamo Madre ditch, coming
from Water street a few years later, met it, and the waters of this ditch were
taken across on a substantial arched stone aqueduct, which exists now, only the
arches have remained buried since the disuse of the Pajalache. Before or upon
the abandonment of the Pajalache, in order that the compromise between the
citizens and the holders of water rights might be as peaceably effected as possi-
ble, part of the waters of the Alamo Madre were taken at this same intersection
into a new ditch down Garden street, to the left of and on a higher level than
the Pajalache, but joining the old Pajalache channel below, and so on to Concep-
cion Mission. This was a small enough ditch in comparison to the old one, but
was better than no water at all. The main water of the Alamo Madre still
crossed on the aqueduct and continued down Mill street, crossing this street
some distance down, turning to the left and on to join the River below.
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Corner, William. San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History, book, 1890; San Antonio, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143549/m1/87/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.