Grazing Permits


Homesteaders were able to extend their cattle operation by using Grazing Permits from the Federal or State Governments. Recapitulation of the grazing permits held by Antonio is hampered by the fact that "actual application and documents have long since been destroyed."84

One grazing permit that was traced, was on the Coronado National Forest from 1910 to 1914. The permit ranged from 100 to 160 head of cattle on the Buehman Ranger District.85

Under the Homestead Act of May 20, 1862, "the 16th and 36th Section in every Township in Public Lands in States and Territories are reserved for school purposes".86 Each Section consists of 640 acres, which ostensibly was acreage that became available for grazing permits, absent school requirements for the same.

No documentation surfaced to support any School Lands grazing permits held by Antonio, but two permits were issued; one to his son, and one to his widow.

Permit 02822 School Land for 160 acres, was acquired on March 24, 1917 and held by Benito Soza until June 30, 1926. Another permit 20079-S for 160 acres was filed by his mother, Jesus Moreno de Soza on February 1, 1929, which lease remained in the family until a Probate Court approved sale was completed on December 30, 1946.87

Federal and State Grazing Permit enabled homesteaders to substantially extend their cattle operations. However, as impressive as the Soza family cattle operation on the San Pedro River valley may have been, it was minuscule when compared to the Aztec Land and Cattle Company which ranged 60,000 head of cattle, from Holbrook to the Tonto Basin during 1883-1900.88

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