San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History Page: 49
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THE UPPER LABOR DITCH.
All these decrees of the Baron are dated, "in the town of San Fernando &c.,
&c.," now comes one however dated "In the Royal Garrison of San Antonio de
Bexar, and city of San Fernando" on the 28th day of April 1777, in which the
Governor says, that he has been informed that the work has reached as far as La
Lomita de Vieja, and that the first distribution of Suertes could be made to
the twenty-five persons entitled to them and two for Foribio Fuentes, the Ex-
Acequiero. Twenty-six chances contain 25,233 varas of land, which are meas-
ured for irrigation into portions of different lengths lying between the River and
the Acequia. It is a pity to waste a season, and it is now April and the season
for planting corn is passing, so the Governor orders the drawing at once to be
made in the Court House of the town, giving admittance to all the persons inter-
ested, (a complete list of the shareholders follows) and to everybody wishing to
witness the operation. The twenty-six tickets are placed in one covered urn and
the names in another, two children draw these, the Governor reads the results.
Each shareholder draws his Suerte (literally his luck) of good rich acres of the
Labor de Nuestra Sefiora de los Dolores, and it is granted to them by the king
that they may take possession of it, and bequeath the titles to their children
or any other heirs, and no other person or persons shall at any time have any
claim or right in the said properties which have hitherto been considered as be-
longing to the Crown af Spain. The Governor forthwith directs Don Simon de
Arocha Lieutenant-General of the Province to give to those entitled, possession of
their lands thus drawn, upon the simple conditions mentioned in the introductory
to this subject. The second and final drawing was held on the 8th day of March
1778, the total being fifty-two Suertes distributed, thus; first drawing, twenty-five
among the shareholders; one extra to the ex-constructor who was also a share
holder; second drawing, twenty-one among the shareholders; one extra to Angel
Galin, constructor who was also a shareholder; and four to be cultivated in com-
mon, to cover some expenses; total fifty two Suertes. Perhaps it is a fact suffi-
ciently interesting to notice, that the family of Rodriguez still occupies the land
thus granted near the junction of this ditch and the San Pedro ditch. Every-
thing is not cleared up however with regard to construction until April 2nd
1781 when Angel Galin reporting that the ditch being newly cleaned, and the
water turned in, he desires to be released from further obligations. And still the
shareholders were not satisfied, and in 1784 the quarrels over the Upper Labor
ditch were waxing so hot, that the Governor by petition, used his influence to
keep the peace.
This ditch, the Upper Labor, taking its waters from the west side of the
head waters of the San Antonio river, takes the course of the Rock Quarry Road,
reaching around Tobin's Hill, across San Pedro avenue, joining the San Pedro
ditch at the Rodriguez property near the west extremity of Laurel street, and by
an overflow here really joins, across the narrow strip of land intervening, the San
Pedro creek. From a point soon after it leaves the Rock Quarry road, a branch
issues from it in a direction towards Madison Square, watering lands between that
point and the San Antonio river. It has another more important but quite mod-
ern branch in the Alazan ditch, this was constructed from plans made by Mr.
Giraud in 1872, and in reality carries the Upper Labor water north up San Pedro
Avenue and around the San Pedro Springs to the west, then taking a southerly
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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/m1/95/: accessed August 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.