The genesis for this work can be found in an earlier book.
(Soza 1994:23). In that study, only a cursory examination was conducted of the Docket Book of Land Entries Contested by Individuals 1905-1918 and Docket of Land Entries Contested by the United States . That search was limited to Affidavits of Contest that may have occurred in the San Pedro River Valley, impacting hispanic or Mexican homesteaders.
In this manuscript, the search was expanded to include the records of the entire Arizona Territory from 1880 to 1908. Fifty two boxes of General Land Office correspondence Editor's note: Box 25 is labelled January to May 1897, but found that December 1896 correspondence is combined with Box 25. were examined. The effort was dedicated to the task of locating hispanic entries that were subjects of Affidavits of Contest. Inevitably, allied and germane material surfaced and became items of additional research interest. Where appropriate, these items became an integral part of this manuscript. Hopefully this inclusion will enhance and widen the reader's understanding of Arizona's territorial homestead history.
Irrespective of these slight digressions, the principal purpose of this study remained steadfast and undiminished; to ascertain the extent to which hispanic homesteaders were affected by Affidavits of Contest. Perusal of the United States General Land Office's vast collection of original Arizona correspondence 1880-1908, provided a rare and rich opportunity to capture the essence and flavor of the time. It provided this writer a better understanding of the rationale for some of the decisions that affected the lives of so many homesteaders.
This work is intended as a permanent tool for those that may become interested in Arizona homesteads, or for those that may follow, seeking familial, historical, genealogical connections to the past.
The spelling of some surnames, as well as some first names presented problems. It was decided to leave the names exactly as they appear in the official letters. In instances where the name is obviously incorrect, an insert (sic) follows the name. Some variations occurred, i.e. surname Aros appears as Arras, Aras, and Arros; Sosa, Soza appears as Soso; and Cypriano as Cipriano.
The correspondence cited carries the original nomenclature, including the division and sub divisional tract descriptions for the entries. Lastly, letters cited have been severely edited and condensed, but every effort was made to retain the gist and thrust of the subject. Where phrases or decisions are underlined , this was at the author's discretion; intention being to facilitate readers in retracing the progress of the entry.
The voluminous correspondence examined challenged the writer to maintain the integrity of the General Land Office correspondent, and render the final product into a faithful document, that will benefit lay readers and researchers alike.