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Ex-Mission of Santa Catarina Legal File
MSS 0124  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights
  • Historical Background
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Related Materials
  • Digital Content
  • Processing Information

  • Descriptive Summary

    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla 92093-0175
    Title: Ex-Mission of Santa Catarina Legal File
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0124
    Physical Description: 0.4 Linear feet (3 volumes in 1 archives box)
    Date (inclusive): 1856 - 1916
    Abstract: Correspondence, legal documents, expense statements, and sales agreements compiled to demonstrate rightful ownership of the lands deriving from the Ex-Mission of Santa Catarina, a large tract of land in northern Baja California originally the possession of the Catholic Church.
    Languages: English .

    Acquisition Information

    Not Available

    Preferred Citation

    Ex-Mission of Santa Catarina Legal File. MSS 124. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Publication Rights

    Digital copies of this material are intended to support research, teaching, and private study. This work may be used without prior permission. The original manuscripts for this collection are held by Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego Library.

    Historical Background

    The lands of the Ex-Mission of Santa Catarina are located in northern Baja California, about 70 miles south of San Diego. The lands comprise ca. 1.5 million acres. Prior to the Mexican Revolution, the lands belonged to the Catholic Church and were used for religious purposes. After the Revolution, the lands were appropriated by the Mexican government.
    In 1855, the Mexican government granted ownership of the lands of the ex-mission of Santa Catarina to General Ricardo Palacio for his services to the Government during the Revolution. The grant was made with three conditions. The first condition was that he was to take possession of the land and have it surveyed within three years of the grant. The second condition was that six houses were to be constructed on the property. The last condition was that the land was to be passed on only to a native or naturalized Mexican citizen.
    Beginning in 1861 or 1862, Gen. Palacio passed title of some portion of the land to Manuel Castro, who then sold it to William Denton. Denton, in turn, sold the land to Robert McKay, and McKay sold it to William McCrindle. Meanwhile, the Mexican government claimed to have annulled the original grant to Gen. Palacio because "of lack of compliance with condition of grant and also because the original survey was not filed but only what purported to be a copy. Also because the grant was for 341 leagues, this being contrary to law of 18th August,1824; also because Palacio had sold part of land to Morner who was a foreigner not naturalized, and further because Palacio had not surveyed and settled land by the 20th of June, 1865" (Vol. 3, p. 6). In 1898, the Mexican government reasserted the nullity of the Palacio grant, and it was suggested by one of the investigating attorneys, Y. Sepulveda, "it would be futile to attempt to obtain...benefit from the Palacio Grant" (Vol. 3, p. 6-7). As of 1916, ownership of the land was still being contested, the claim having passed to Antonio Milatovich.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Three bound volumes containing legal documents, correspondence, and other materials pertaining to the dispute of ownership to the lands of the Ex-Mission of Santa Catarina, a large tract of land in northern Baja California originally the possession of the Catholic Church.

    Related Materials

    Letter of Ricardo Palacio to General Blancarte, 1856. MSS 255. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
    Antonio Milatovich. Documents relating to land transactions in Baja California, 1841-1886. The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley.

    Digital Content

    This collection has been digitized.

    Processing Information

    This collection was digitized in 2016 for inclusion in the Adam Matthew subscription database Frontier Life: borderlands, settlement & colonial encounters.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Missions -- Mexico -- Baja California (Peninsula) -- History
    Santa Catarina (Baja California, Mexico)
    Land titles -- Mexico -- Baja California (Peninsula)
    Baja California (Mexico : Peninsula) -- History -- Sources
    Land tenure -- Mexico -- Santa Catarina (Baja California)
    Maps -- Mexico -- Baja California -- 19th century
    Palacio, Ricardo
    Denton, William, 1828-1907
    Palacio, Adolfo
    Misión Santa Catalina Virgen y Mártir (Baja California, Mexico)
    Milatovich, Antonio
    McKay, Robert
    McCrindle, William