Americans of Mexican Descent
The Americans of Mexican descent, or "Mexican
homesteaders" undaunted by the Apaches, began to avail themselves
of the benefits of the Homestead and Preemption Acts. They began
settlements in the San Pedro valley as early as 1872, based on Declaratory
Statements of Preemption (Box 264). Laguna Niguel, California.
(Exhibit 10.1 Macario Cordova Declaratory Statement)
Preemption entries gave settlers a prior right to purchase the land
or were eligible to commute (convert) to a Homestead Entry, documented
by Declarations of An Individual's Eligibility to Preempt (Box 265
A). Box 265 B. Applications to Make Cash Purchase Act of 1877 Commuting
a Declaratory Statement represented a first step in the Homestead
process. Homestead Lands were at no charge to the homesteader, whereas
pre-emption lands had to be purchased at Government set prices.
In both instances, there were small filing fees, paid by the homesteader.
The sobriquet "Mexican homesteaders" herein refers to
the native born citizens, some of whom were descendants of Arizonan
presidio families; some with ancestries from the 18th and 19th century.
Also included are later arrivals from Mexico. Aliens were eligible
to apply for homesteads provided they filed a "Declaration
of Intention" to become a citizen of the United States. Upon
filing a "Declaration of Intention" they became eligible
to make a homestead or Preemption entry.
American citizenship was a prerequisite in the homestead process
and to obtain the coveted Patent. Henceforth, the designation "Mexican
homesteaders" is used as a convenient term, to distinguish
the ethnicity of this group from all other homesteaders, and serve
the purpose of this paper. Use of the term further enhances the
dignity and stature of those brave, gallant and seasoned pioneers,
who dared the Apache, and an arid, hostile environment to settle,
cultivate crops, raise
livestock and families, and to become good, faithful and productive
A prime example of this pioneering resolve; the first valley school,
church, and cemetery Antonio Campa Soza, Jesus Moreno Soza, Manuel
Moreno Soza, Jose Maria Soza (infant), Francisca Moreno Soza Doy,
Refugia Moreno Lopez Mungia, Tomas Mungia, Robert Michael Soza,
Francisco Vijil (infant) buried with aunt Maria Montano, and unnamed
infant son of Carlos Moreno Soza and Herminia Valenzuela. were established
by Antonio Campa Soza at his San Antonio Ranch, Redington. The first
church, was the LA CAPILLA DE SAN ANTONIO DE PADUA DE LISBOA, named
in honor of Soza's patron saint. The Capilla was dedicated February
1903 by Bishop Henry R. Granjon, Tucson Diocese. Church and school
are no longer standing. It was a modest one room adobe structure,
as described by Benito Moreno Soza, whose parents were Antonio Soza
and Maria Jesus Moreno.
The extended Soza family is represented in the San Pedro River
valley homestead applications by Antonio Campa Soza, Nicolas Campa
Soza, Placido Campa Soza, Juan Soza, Rosaura Moreno Soza, Manuel
Moreno Soza, Manuel Moreno Soza, the son of Antonio Soza and Maria
Jesus Moreno was missing for two months, when his body was found
fatally shot. He was buried at the site, thus was founded the Soza
Cemetery 28-12S-19E. Leonides Montano, Ricardo Apodaca Jesus Mungia,
Tomas Mungia, and Juan Vijil. Through kinship, family ties also
extended to Leonardo Apodaca, Cleopa A. Apodaca, Manuel Apodaca,
Angel Arrandules, all of whom filed homesteads and left their mark
in the valley. U.S. Geological Survey map of Redington Quadrangle
N3215 1957, denotes Soza Ranch, Soza Cemetery, Soza Canyon and Soza
The Pacheco family was represented in valley homesteads by Ramon
Pacheco, Refugio Pacheco, Mateo Pacheco and Nabor Pacheco; a family
with historic roots dating from the 18th century at Tubac and Tucson.
Francisco "Poncho" Pacheco, Tucson. Nabor Pacheco filed
DS 700 Box 264 Abstracts of Declaratory Statements 1873-1908 and
Antonio Soza filed DS748 Box 264 DS 748 Antonio Soza settled SE
1/4 32-12S-19E on September 5, 1879. DS 700 Nabor Pacheco settled
the same land on 4/1/1880. Per GLO letter "G" states that
Soza will make no effort to hold the covered by his DS 748. Soza's
entry was cancelled on account of conflict with DS 700. for the
same land. Nabor had filed a prior
claim, consequently Antonio relinquished claim on May 16, 1885,
and replaced it with Homestead Application 934. Boxes 259/263 Register
of Homestead Entries 1873-1908
(Exhibit 13.1 GLO Letter Antonio Soza/Nabor Pacheco)
Nabor Pacheco is best known as the popular and highly respected
Pima County Sheriff (1904). Refugio Pacheco was appointed to the
Pima County Board of Supervisors on April 12, 1873 but died in September.
Guadalupe Saenz de Pacheco filed DS 15 on Tucson land settled in
1873 Box 264 Abstracts of Declaratory Statements and later received
a patent on entry HDE 594 for land in Solomonville. The patent was
delivered to J. Knox Corbett on July 12, 1895. Boxes 228/229 Register
of Patents Delivered Guadalupe was the successor owner of the Diamond
Bell cattle brand, first granted to Ignacio Antonio Pacheco on June
10, 1818, and was being used as late as 1890 near Benson.
Another significant valley settler was Antonio Comaduran, the son
of the last commander of the garrison at Presidio de San Agustin
del Tucson. Antonio Comaduran was a witness at the wedding of Antonio
Campa Soza and Maria Jesus Moreno, celebrated at San Agustin Church,
Tucson. Comaduran filed DS 1299 in 1879 for 120 acres, which was
classed as double minimum land @ $2.50 per acres, land at 13-12S-18E,
commuted to HD 865 and received Final Certificate 192. The Comaduran
patent,issued on July 3, 1890, was delivered to Placido Verauelas
on October 4, 1890. Boxes 267/268 REgister of Final Homestead Certificates.
The Grijalba family is likewise well represented with Antonio, Crisanto,
and Francisco homesteading in the same area.
Similar portraits can be drawn for many homesteaders preempting,
homesteading or making a cash purchases, by accessing the several
Boxes enumerated. Laguna Niguel, California
The earliest Mexican Declaratory Statements (DS) were filed in
1872 and are shown in Box 264 as shown below:
There were seventy two (72) Mexican homestead entries pursuant
to the Preemption Act of September 4, 1841. The Act permitted the
filing of a "Declaratory Statement for Cases Where the Land
is not subject to Private Entry". The Statement gave the settler
a prior right to buy the land or commute to homestead the land.
The DS could be filed in person or mailed, while the Homestead application
had to be filed in person.
(Exhibit 14.1 Joseph Hoefler)
Although "Mexican homestead" valley settlements were
made as early as 1872, most settlements took place between 1879
and 1880, and between 1884 and 1885. Very likely these settlements
were induced and encouraged by the advent of the railroad at
Benson and the extensive mining activities at Tombstone and surrounding
mining areas. The Tucson population, the various military posts
and mining camps provided a ready market for the agricultural products
raised in the area.
The register of Declaration of an Individual's Eligibility to Preempt
Declaratory Statements records twenty one (21) Mexicans filing declarations
during 1884 to 1887; twelve (12) entries in 1885; then two (2) each
in 1884, 1886, 1887.
A Declaratory Statement was a step to initiating a preemption land
entry, which could be commuted (convert) from a preemption to a
homestead entry. Also, the preemptor could elect to buy his Preemption
acreage, not exceeding 160 acres, and subsequently file for another
160 acres under the Homestead Act 1862.
The Homestead Act stated that an individual could commute his land
entry from a homestead to a preemption. The Act required some type
of improvement to be made on at least one acre and that the entryman
resided on the land for at least 6 months. Once on the land, the
entryman could not absent himself for more than six months, otherwise
be in default, and risked being challenged with abandonment. When
the right of preemption was exercised the entryman would pay $1.25
per acre (or $2.50 for double minimum land) and receive a patent
to the land". Gross abuses, prompted repeal of the Preemption
Act of 1841.
Early homesteaders such as Lasuro Borquez, Antonio Comaduran, Jesus
Moraga, Jesus Garcia, Mateo Pacheco, Feliz Ruelas, Jose Romero,
Jose Robles, Feliz Ruiz, Antonio Soto, and Nicolas Soza, filed Eligibility
Statements (Box 265 A) initiating their efforts to acquire public
lands. Homestead laws encouraged and generated interest for settlement
along the San Pedro river from Mammoth, Redington, Cascabel, Pomerene,
Tres Alamos, to Benson.
The Register of Entries, (Boxes 259 to 263) Box 263 Volume 5 January
1908 to June 1908 Phoenix contains the entries filed pursuant to
various homestead acts, National Archives Guide, copy in writer's
possession. showing homestead entries from January 1873 to June
1908. This procedure must have been changed as the twenty four different
sets of records examined were kept at the respective land offices
at Prescott and Florence, then later at Florence and Tucson and
finally only at Phoenix. Found are sixty three (63) Mexican families
long associated with valley farms and ranches such as Apodaca, Arrundules,
Bonillas, Borquez, Castaneda, Carrasco, Lopez, Montano, Mungia,
Pacheco, Saenz, Soza, Vijil and others, who left their imprint.
Soza Cemetery and Apodaca Cemetery
The Soza Cemetery, Redington, Arizona N3215-W11015/15, 157 with
eleven (11) graves, and the Apodaca Cemetery, are only two reminders
of the a historic past. The early homesteaders were clustered in
Townships South 5, 6, 8, 11 thru 17 and Ranges East 15 thru 20,
embracing Hayden, Winkleman, Redington, Benson to St. David.
The Act of June 15, 1880 enabled homesteaders, who had filed under
the Act of 1862, an opportunity to commute (convert) their Homestead
application to a Cash Purchase and eliminate the mandatory 5 year
residence period for homesteads.
Eighteen (18) valley homesteaders availed themselves of this Act
(Boxes 255 to 256), Phoenix November 1905 to February 1905 approximating
2,393 acres of which 1,320 acres were double minimum land. Up to
this point Homesteads (HD), Preemptions (DS) and Cash Purchases
(CE) have been mentioned. Perhaps a more definitive description
of each would be beneficial and helpful to the reader.
On a Homestead, the applicant receives the land free of charge,
after meeting and complying with all land laws and requirements.
On a Preemption, the preemptor is granted a "prior right"
to buy the land at the Government set price of $1.25 per acre minimum
price or double minimum price of $2.50 per acre. A preemptor was
allowed six months before making actual settlement on the land.
Homesteader were required to live on the land continuously from
date of filing. The preemptor could commute to a Homestead application,
meet all homestead law requirements, and received the land free.
The residence period, before commuting a Preemption was six months
( it was later changed to 14 months) compared to the five years
for a Homestead. Under the Preemption law, the preemptor was allowed
to buy 160 acres; and afterwards file for an additional 160 acres
under the Homestead law. The American Settler's Guide P/51 #3
Under a Cash Purchase, the settler buys the land at minimum or
double price per acre. As previously stated, land near rivers
roads, railroads, was generally priced at $2.50 (double minimum
price) and all other lands at $1.25 per acre (minimum price). Cash
Purchases were limited one time only purchase, for the allowable
Until 1891, a settler was able to acquire 160 acres each, under
Preemption, Homestead, and Cash Purchase laws. This was changed
when the Preemption Act of 1841 was repealed in 1891. Digest of
Public Land Laws.