Our Historic Cultural Heritage

The other Side of the History

By Gilbert Quintana

Spain and Mexico granted concessions of lands to individuals, groups, Indian communities/hunting areas and various settlements, in order to populate what is now New Mexico. Once independence from Spain in 1821, was achieved Mexico continued to adhere to many laws of Spain and granting new concessions, in order to encourage settlements in the unoccupied areas and prevent the usurpations of the United States. The war between Mexico and the United States began in 1846 and officially ended when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (TGH) was signed in 1848

Before Territory and County

Colonized by Spain, the land that is now New Mexico became U.S. territory as part of the Mexican American War, the Treaty (TGH), a small portion through the Gadsen Purchase of 1853, and then statehood for New Mexico which did not become a U.S. state until 1912. Counties did not come on line until around 1920 with property deeds, birth certificates and so forth. Remember what happened here in Mora with the burning of the courthouse and the Catholic church, all those documents destroyed and lost.

The United States government promised by the TGH to protect the property and civil rights of former Mexican citizens who were now US citizens. They did little to honor the provisions of the TGH for New Mexicans until 1854. In that year Congress established the position of Surveyor General of New Mexico to investigate the validity of all land claims both Spanish and Mexican land grants. Thereafter for over fifty (50) years it began a method for “Thievery and Chicanery” to occur on theft of lands of the original heirs and their descendants. The infamous Santa Fe Ring and others stripped these lands from the people. Do not forget that Fort Union and Timber Reserves was established on the Mora Land Grant in 1851. How coincidently of the U.S. government to build at that time the biggest military fort in the country here.

The seventy-six paisanos who occupied the Lo de Mora around the year 1818 were isolated, faced hardship, and because of the distance and difficulties of travel lacked religious sacraments. They requested permission of the authorities to build a church in the valley. These determined people slowly brought change to the landscape and culture of the valley. Following law and protocol the residents were able to eventually receive an official grant of land from the Mexican government in 1835.

 This worked hand in hand with the Native people who were in this valley already, primarily the Jicarilla Apache. They in turn brought blood from the surrounding pueblos as wives, thus many of the people have Grandmothers these surrounding pueblos. Then the intermarriage occurred among the Mexican and Native descendants which lead to the mixing of bloods, genizaros or mestizos as they are referred to today.

Bounderys of La Merced de Santa Gertrudis de Lo de Mora (Mora Land Grant)

La Merced de Santa Gertrudis de lo de Mora, was bounded on the north by the Rio Ocate, on the south by the confluence of the Rio Sapello and de Agua Negra, on the east by the Aguaje de la Yegua, and on the west by the Estillero. The Mora Land Grant was established before there were counties in New Mexico thus the Mora Land Grant was located in Mora, San Miguel, Colfax and Taos counties, prior to county boundaries.

The plat of Mora Grant, finally confirmed by the Congress in 1860, under contract with the surveyor General of New Mexico contains 827,621.01 acres. Do the math of 1/76 heirs and you can see how much land each initial heir had?

Who We Are?

We are heirs of the seventy six descendants.

Board of Trustees

Gilbert R. Quintana

Anita LaRan

Jonh Olivas

Ricardo Fresquez