The Hallett Decrees

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What are the Hallett
Decrees, and do they
matter to you?
Will Davidson, Julia Guarino, Peter Nichols, Allan
Beezley
3rd Annual Congreso de Acequias
October 10, 2014
Goals of This Presentation
1. To provide a brief history of the Hallett Decrees
2. To update the community on the work we are
doing on this issue
3. To invite you to share any historical
information you have about the Hallett
Decrees
What are the Hallett Decrees?
• A set of settlement agreements
• Between parciantes on 16 Rio Culebra
acequias and Freehold Land and
Emigration Company
• Entered in federal court by Judge Moses
Hallett on July 17, 1900
• A source of confusion since then!
The 16 Acequias
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
San Luis People’s
San Pedro
Montez
Vallejos
San Acacio
Cerro
Francisco Sanchez
Mestas
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
San Francisco
Little Rock
Torcido
Abundo Martin
Guadalupe Vigil
J. M. J. Maez
Pando
Guadalupe
Sanchez
The Sangre de Cristo Land Grant
• 1844: Mexican government gives Sangre de
Cristo Grant to Carlos Beaubein of Taos.
• Early 1850s: Settlers in the San Luis area begin
irrigating with acequias.
• Early 1860s: Beaubien grants vara strips to some
of the early settlers of the San Luis area.
• 1870: The United States Freehold Land and
Emigration Company purchases the remaining
un-occupied land in the Costilla Estate - the
southern part of the Sangre de Cristo Grant.
1889: The First State Water
Rights Adjudication on Rio
Culebra
• Decree issued June 14, 1889
• Most acequias were awarded 1 cfs of water
per 40 acres based on historic use of the
water
• Freehold only appeared as one of the
claimants on the Montez Ditch
Name of Acequia
1889 Decreed Water Right
Acreage irrigated by acequia
Acres per 1 cfs
San Luis People’s
23.00
900
39.13
San Pedro
19.50
780
40
Montez
1.00
12
12
Vallejos
17.00
670
39.41
San Acacio
46.00
1,850
40.21
Cerro
40.00
1,586
39.65
Francisco Sanchez
12.50
490
38.4
Mestas
4.50
170
37.78
San Francisco
16.00
637
39.81
Little Rock
1.00
21
21
Torcido
1.00
33
33
Abundo Martin
3.50
138
39.43
Guadalupe Vigil
4.00
167
41.75
J. M. J. Maez
1.50
60
40
Pando
1.25
50
40
Guadalupe Sanchez
5.25
207
39.43
The Hallett Decrees
• After the 1889 decrees were finalized in state
water court, Freehold filed a lawsuit in federal
court against the acequias claiming that they
owned the water because they had purchased
the unoccupied parts of the Costilla Estate
(Spanish Land Grant) along the Rio Culebra.
• After ten years fighting in court, Freehold and
the acequias settled, and the federal court
approved the Hallett decrees.
Name of Acequia
Water awarded by
1889 decree (cfs)
Water retained by
parciantes (cfs)
Water awarded to
Freehold (cfs)
Acres per 1 cfs of
water retained by
acequia (based on
Hallett “decrees”)
San Luis Peoples
23.00
13.50
9.5
80
San Pedro
19.50
10.50
9.00
80
Montez
1.00
.25
.75
48
Vallejos
17.00
8.50
8.50
80
San Acacio
46.00
23.25
22.75
80
Cerro
40.00
22.50
17.50
80
Francisco Sanchez
12.50
6.25
6.25
80
Mestas
4.50
2.25
2.25
80
San Francisco
16.00
10.00
6.00
80
Little Rock
1.00
.25
.75
84
Torcido
1.00
.50
.50
80
Abundo Martin
3.50
1.75
1.75
80
Guadalupe Vigil
4.00
2.50
1.50
80
J. M. J. Maez
1.50
.75
.75
80
Pando
1.25
.65
.60
76.92
Guadalupe Sanchez
5.25
2.5
2.75
80
Vigil v. Swanson (1917)
• A group of parciantes sued the State Engineer to
prevent him from enforcing the Hallett Decrees
• The local state court judge found:
1. That the Hallett Decrees were binding
between the parties (like a sale of water
rights)
2. BUT 1889 Decree governs the use of the
water
What does Vigil v. Swanson
mean for the Freehold Hallett
Decree rights?
• We’re working on that figuring out!
• It depends on…
• what has happened since then,
• and who owns the water now.
Who owns the Freehold Hallett
Decree rights?
• 1900 - 1902: Freehold Land & Emigration Co.
• 1902 - 1908: Costilla Land Investment Co.
• 1908 - 1909: Costilla Estate Development Co.
• 1909 - 1956: San Luis Power & Water
• 1956 - present: we’re working on figuring
that out
What’s next?
• We are working on figuring it out, and
we are determined to get to the
bottom of it!
• Do you have any historical
information you want to share with
us? We would love to talk to you.
Contact me:
• Julia Guarino
• 203-246-6481
• [email protected]
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