E. M. Brumback (left) and H. L. Oakes (right)
They founded the Geronimo Rifle Club in Grant County.
E. M. Brumback was David's grandfather.
(Photo taken in Silver City, N. M., in the late 1800's)

This page was last updated 07-20-2003

The following is taken from Leading Facts of New Mexican History, Vol. II
by Ralph Emerson Twitchell
Copyright, 1912 The Torch Press, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

David's note: Some of the language used in this text, and others written in that same period of history, reflect the attitudes and perceptions of that time. David does not endorse some of the language used but feels that readers should experience the writing of that period to better understand today. This particular section, dealing with the Indian Campaigns, is especially demonstrative of the negative attitude toward the Native American population in New Mexico and else and the harsh treatment of these people under deliberate policies promulgated byt the United State Federal Government. David truly regrets any hurt the reproduction of the writings copied here may cause.


The Spanish and Mexico Land Grants

President Cleveland, shortly after his inauguration in 1885, appointed George W. Julian surveyor-general for New Mexico and William Andrew Jackson Sparks, commissioner of the general land office. These men, steeped in prejudice against New Mexico, its people, and their property rights, sought to establish in the public mind that, by the acts of former officials charged with the administration of public land affairs in New Mexico, the government had been despoiled of millions of acres of land, instituted and prosecuted a policy of investigation relative to the former disposition of the public domain which, in the final outcome, proved a complete failure, owing to its virulence and partisan political character. By instructions from Commissioner Sparks, July 23, 1885, the surveyor-general reexamined thirty-five of the claims originally approved by his predecessors, disapproving twenty-three of them. Not content with officially passing upon the matters coming regularly before him, this official, for strictly partisan political purposes, saw fit to use his name and office in a vain attempt to destroy the titles to land grants in New Mexico by contributing articles to influential periodicals in which he endeavored to besmirch the character of prominent citizens of the territory and to impeach the integrity of every official who had held office in New Mexico during the thirty years preceding his incumbency. The pernicious influence of this political mountebank was far reaching in the eastern states of the Union; but it awakened the people of New Mexico to a fuller sense of the necessity for a speedy determination of the titles to Spanish and Mexican land grants by congressional action. In his annual address to the members of the New Mexican Bar Association, in 1890, the retiring president of the association outlined a policy and course of procedure which, in part at least, was embodied in the act of congress establishing the court of private land claims.

Differences in opinion between the senate and house of representatives as to methods of procedure in the disposition of the private land claims in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado, prevented the adoption of any practical system. The people of New Mexico, although pronounced in their beliefs as to the best manner of disposition of these maters, were willing to adopt almost any system, provided it would afford relief.

In his annual message, December 1, 1889, President Benjamin Harrison called the attention of congress to the matter, saying: "The unsettled state of the title to large bodies of land in the Territories of New Mexico and Arizona, has greatly retarded the development of these Territories. Provision should be made by law for the prompt trial and final adjustment, before a judicial tribunal or commission, of all claims based upon Mexican grants. It is not just to an intelligent and enterprising people that their peace should be disturbed and their prosperity retarded by these old contentions. I express the hope that the differences of opinion as to the methods may yield to the urgency of the case."

Those readers who would like a bit of Silver City, New Mexico history might wish to visit Bob Ingraham's site.

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