on Probate #3722 of the Estate of Antonio C. Soza, Deceased, has
been reconstructed entirely from Court records on file with the
Superior Court, Pima County, State of Arizona. Personal interviews
with family members were not conducted nor sought. The Court records
speak for themselves as to sequence of events during Court proceedings.
Out of deference
to and sensitive to the feelings of any living person(s) that may
have been close to these probate events, critical editorial comments
on Court records are avoided.
intestate, on June 13, 1915 and his probate was opened on November
14, 1925. It is unclear from Court records what causes triggered
the probate, ten years after Antonio's demise.
and based strictly on actions taken by Antonio C. Soza and his wife
Jesus M. de Soza ten years earlier, there probably would not have
been an estate to probate in 1915 nor in 1925.
have come to light: On December 2, 1914, Antonio sold all his range
and other animals bearing brand AS and all brands under his control,
to his wife, as her sole and separate property; and secondly on
January 4, 1915, Antonio C. Soza and Jesus M. Soza sold their ranch
assets to Severin Rambaud for $3,500.00.105 Four days later, on January 8, 1915, Severin
Rambaud and Refugio Rambaud, his wife, resold the same exact property
to Jesus M. Soza for $3,500.00.
Jesus now owned all the personal and real property at the San Antonio
Ranch on the San Pedro River. It is not clear whether this was the
total ranch property holdings at the time of Antonio's death. One
piece of oral history that may not have validity, is that Antonio
had apportioned ranch property to Antonio, Francisco and Jose, his
sons from his marriage to Mercedes Federico. Without an expensive
title search, this could not be validated at this writing.
the question of the remaining real property assets belonging to
Antonio in 1915. Based on the estate planning carried out by Antonio
and Jesus there would not have been an estate to probate. Additionally,
prior to 1925, no probate record has surfaced to support the notion
that Jesus M. de Soza had claimed a "Widow's Exemption" for her
husband's remaining estate.
In Probate #7491
Estate of Jesus M. de Soza, dated January 27, 1939, a "Widow's Exemption"
is claimed to have been operative since Antonio's death in 1915.
The exact rationale
for the opening of Antonio's Probate #3722 ten years after Antonio's
death may have been a Tucson vacant lot. In 1925, the lot was in
the path of downtown Tucson business district expansion and development.106
The property, later claimed as "community property", had been previously
purchased by Antonio's widow, on July 26, 1899 from Mercedes Tapia
for Four Hundred ($400.00) Dollars.107
On March 7,
1902, the Pima County Tax Collector assessed the property at $190.00
to Unknown Owners, being liable for $2.73 due on December 1889."
Ownership was eventually cleared by the Board of Supervisors, Pima
County. In consideration of the sum of Ten ($10.00) Dollars, title
was legally conferred on Jesus M. de Soza on March 10, 1902.108
In the absence
of documentation, it can only be surmised that the need to finance
development of the vacant lot, may have prompted a title search.
That search may have set into motion Probate #3722, as it would
have been necessary to clear the title to that portion of "community
property" belonging to Antonio C. Soza, Deceased.
14, 1925, Jesus M. de Soza filed a Petition for Letters of Administration
for the estate of Antonio C. Soza, Deceased. The value and character
of the estate was listed as: Lot Five (5), Block Sixty Eight (68),
Tucson, value about Ten Thousand ($10,000.00) Dollars.109
On March 17,
1926 Carlos Moreno Soza and his wife Herminia V. Soza signed a Quit-Claim
Deed in favor of Jesus M. de Soza, conveying all rights, title,
interest and claim in Lot Five (5) in Block Sixty Eight (68).
On March 26,
1926, Administratrix Jesus M. de Soza filed for authorization "to
mortgage the vacant and unimproved" property , located between 6th
& 7th Streets on North Fourth Avenue, Tucson business district,
for $12,300. Proceeds would be used for the construction of a two
story brick building, with two store rooms on the first, and four
apartments on the second floor. Estimated cost was $15,000.00. Construction
cost over-run and unfurnished apartment vacancies prompted another
request of the Court for authorization for a second mortgage of
On August 20,
1926 a Petition for Distribution of Estate was filed by Jesus M.
de Soza, to wit: One Half (1/2) to Jesus M. de Soza, 1/24th (each)
to eleven sons and daughters, and 1/48th each to two grand daughters.110
13, 1926, the Court rules that "for the benefit and advantage of
the estate", authorization is granted to secure another mortgage
of $2,500.00 on the North Fourth Avenue property described as Lot
5 Block 68.
On January 14,
1929 Probate proceedings received a Petition For The Removal of
Administratrix, amended on February 1, 1929,111 which the Court subsequently denied and
dismissed. During the hearings Jesus M. de Soza was suspended as
Administratrix. When she was re-instated, her bond was increased
to $5,000.00 from $500.00
On March 20,
1933, Jesus filed her Resignation of Administratrix, stating "that
she was old and unable to care for said Estate, ... that I stand
ready to settle my accounts .... Jesus was now at age seventy eight.
In resigning, she nominated and appointed her son, Albert M. Soza
to succeed her.
Closure of Probate
#3722 Antonio C. Soza, Deceased, finally came when Administrator
Albert M. Soza petitioned the Court on March 30, 1937, for an Order
Setting Aside Estate to Surviving Spouse of Deceased. The Petition
was approved by Judge William G. Hall, Superior Court, Pima County.
This 1937 Court
record indicates that the estate consisted of 760 acres in sections
30 and 32 in Township 12 South Range 19 East, and any interest in
Lot sixteen (16) Block Four (4) in the Walker Addition, Benson.
The reader can
make an independent probate assessment by reading the full Court
transcript of Probate #3722 Antonio
C. Soza, Deceased filed November 14, 1925, or peruse the abbreviated
chronology commencing on page 87 [in the print edition].
with: 20th Century -- Jesus Moreno de Soza