SF Call 1895 Dec 13 3:5 Martina Castro suits
DECEMBER 13, 1895. NEWS OF SANTA CRUZ Large and Valuable Tracts of Land Placed in Litigation. HUNDREDS OF OWNERS. Estate of Martina de Peaux Files Suits Against the Present Holders. MANY THOUSANDS OF ACRES. Augmentation, Soquel and San Andreas Ranchos Involved in the Suits. SANTA CRUZ, Cal., Dec. 12.— Three papers of very startling import were filed to-day in the office of County Recorder Martin. The three papers are three complaints, the first entitled M. Elizabeth Peck, special administrix of estate of Martina de Peaux, deceased, vs. E. F. Adams et al. The second ard third complaints are by the same plaintiff, but are against H. Agnew et ai. and H. A. Burnside et al., respectively. In these complaints plaintiff alleges that one Martina de Peaux died intestate in this county in December of 1890, and that at the time of her decease she was owner in fee simple of all the lands of the Soquel Augmentation rancho, the Soquel rancho and one-thirieenth of Rancho San Andreas, and that the hundreds of fruitmen, farmers and timber men who now hold these lands have no right or title to them. They have all been made parties to one or the other of these three separate suits. The complaints recite merely enough to constitute a cause of action; there is a nieagerness of detail and tacts. In 1844, when the Mexican Government was bestowing immense grants of land upon all who would take them and endeavor to colonize them to a reasonable extent, Michel Lorenzo, the then Governor of Northern California, granted to Martina Castro, who died, and Martina de Peaux the 32,702 acres of land that comprised the Soquel Augmentation ranchos. This was in addition to a prior grant in 1833 by Governor Figueroa of the Soquel and San Andreas ranchos, comprised of 10,579 acres. In 1858 the United States Government, in accordance with the act of 1851, concerning the settlement of Mexican grants, ordered a resurvey of all acquired lands, and a year later granted Martina Castro, or De Peaux, letters patent to her holdings by the previous grant. From that time to the time of her death the grantee resided in this county and from time to time transferred portions of her acres to those who wanted them. The Mexicans of the early days were lax in their business methods, and much of Senora de Peaux's land was transferred without any record being kept of the transfers. In fact, in some cases fraud has been alleged. These suits are brought to quiet the title of every landholder upon the vast territory involved. The complaints pray that in each case the alleged owner be compelled to prove in open court his right and title to his holding. The Soquel Augmentation rancho is the most fruitful and valuable portion of the county. The rich orchards and vineyards of Skyland and Highland, the heavily, timbered valleys of Soquel creek and its many tributaries, the almost inexhaustible forests of Loma Prieta, all go to make up the broad acres of the rancho. The Soquel rancho takes in the popular summer resort, Capitola, the village of Soquel, and many valuable farms besides. Nearly all of the Soquel rancho and Soquel Augmentation rancho was acquired by the Hihn Company of this county. They now own all of Capitola and in late years have made vast improvements there. The timber of the Augmentation is nearly wholly theirs as are tfte most valuable portions of both the grants. It would seem that the suit is directed most pointedly in their direction and it is quite certain that they will be the. hardest lighters.