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Compromise leads to oldest land grant in Texas


On this day in 1758, Luís Antonio Menchaca and Andrés Hernández resolved a title dispute involving Menchaca's San Francisco ranch. Their compromise resulted in the oldest recorded private land grant in Texas. The grant, recorded in the General Land Office, consisted of a total of fifteen leagues and seven labores in present-day Karnes and Wilson counties, of which eleven leagues and two labores went to Menchaca and four leagues and five labores to Hernández. More is known of Menchaca's life than of Hernández's. Menchaca was born in 1713, the son of a career soldier, and died in 1793. He was a captain in the Spanish military and also served as justicia mayor of the villa of San Fernando. The census of 1779 showed him to be the richest man in the province of Texas. The dates of Hernández's birth and death are unknown, but he was for many years a soldier at San Antonio de Béxar Presidio. At the time of the grant, he made sworn statements to the effect that he had been living on the site for more than five years by virtue of a grant of four sitios and eight caballerías of land which had been made to his deceased father more than twenty-two years previously. It is possible that this was the site of the first ranch in Texas. Hernández's ranch headquarters was in the same locale as Fuerte de Santa Cruz del Cíbolo.

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