Our History
The San Joaquín del Río de Chama Land Grant was granted to our ancestors in August of 1806 by Spanish Governor Joaquín del Real Alencaster. By 1860 there were several distinct communities settled on the land grant-merced with total combined population well over 800 residents. The narrow strips of land lying within the river valleys were cultivated, our livestock were pastured and natural resources were gathered from the surrounding communal lands. In 1861, our ancestors filed a petition to the Surveyor General seeking the confirmation of the grant. An 1878 survey revealed that the grant encompassed 472,736.95 acres. In 1886, Surveyor General George Julian claimed that our ancestors failed to establish legal title to the grant and only held individual allotments totaling 166 acres within the Cañón del Río de Chama. In 1894, the Court of Private Land Claims deemed the grant valid, but limited it to farm tracts in the Cañón del Río de Chama. The plaintiffs, which included land speculator Thomas D. Burns and the Rio Arriba Land and Cattle Company, appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the CPLC decision that the unallotted grant lands belonged to the government (U.S. v. Rio Arriba Land and Cattle Company (1897), U.S. v. Sandoval (1897)). A resurvey of the grant reduced it to 1,422 acres along the Rio Chama. To add further injury, the 1905 patent was issued to the Rio Arriba Land and Cattle Company, not our ancestors and Burns set about removing all of the families residing on 1,422 patented acres, which the federal government later acquired. This resulted in the U.S. Forest Service for many years denying our families access to the community cemetery located in the Cañón de Chama where our grandparents were buried. In 2013 we gained access to the cemetery through an easement from the U.S. Forest Service after almost a decade of pressure.
1806 Original Grantees
Beita, Andres
Beita, Jose Miguel
Castillo, Luz del
Chacón, José Antonio
Chávez, Francisco Antonio
Chávez, Jose Maria
Durán, Diego
Durán, Juan Pedro
Durán, Diego Antonio
Durán, José Antonio
Garsilla, Maeo
Gonzales, Felipe
Lucero, Gaspar
Luján, Manuel
Madril, Blas
Madril, Antonio
Madril, Cristobal
Martín, Antonio José
Martín, José Antonio
Martín, Domingo
Martín, Cristobal
Martínez, José Miguel
Martín, Patrocinia
Martín, Miguel Antonio
Martín, Pablo
Molina, Antonio
Moya, Juan Antonio
Olivas, Gabriel
Olivas, Juan de
Perea, Maria Manuela
Salazar, Francisco
Salazar, Santiago
Salazar, Manuel (El Chato)
Salazar, Salvador
Salazar, Jose Pablo
Salazar, Francisco Antonio
Salazar, Manuel
Salazar, Salvador
Salazar, Francisco
Trujillo, Jose
Trujillo, Antonio Jose
Valdez, Juan Antonio
Velarde, José Manuel
Velarde, José Miguel


On-Going Projects

  • Organized as a political subdivision in accordance with New Mexico Statutes Chapter 49 – Land Grants
  • Purchased and refurbished Capulin Headquarters (Sala) and Community Center
  • Obtained access to Cemetery on the original land grant
  • Obtained and installed garage at Sala
  • Representation at the Land Grant Consejo
  • Representation at the Land Grant Council
  • On-going efforts related to Irrigation Project in Cañon
  • On-going efforts related to Piedra de Lumbre Visitor Center
  • Community Wood Program
  • Community Garden

Future Projects

  • Re-acquire all former common lands
  • Create Economic development through the re- acquiring of the Piedra Lumbre Vistor Center with other land grants. 
  • Work on creating a conservation management plan focused on agricultural and conservation benefits for San Joaquin Del Rio de Chama.
  • Community development and historic preservation of the following village sites, Gallina, Capulin and Cebolla.