Wetherill Wetherill

A History of Discovery  

Tome Land Grand History


1739 125,000 acres granted to 30 Town of Tome families by the Spanish Crown

1848 The Town of Tome Land Grant was affirmed by the United States in the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The Treaty turned New Mexico over to the United States with a promise that land grants would remain intact.

1856 Claim was filed in Santa Fe, NM and a patent was issued.

1892 Valencia district court names 200 persons as rightful heirs to the grant.

Oct. 31, 1952 Town of Tome files "determination of heirship" suit in District Court. 270 persons established as heirs. Attorney Paul Larazolo was hired by the Tome Board of Trustees. Larazolo hired Tibo J. Chavez, then an attorney, to compile a list of the rightful owners of the grant.

Jul. 29, 1955 Conversion of the community grant to Tome Land and Improvement Corporation takes place. Land grant members became shareholders.

May 1, 1965 Special meeting called to consider sale of 47,000 acres. Restraining order halts meeting until July 3, 1965.

Jul. 3, 1965 Stockholders allow sale by vote of 119-95.

Jan 1, 1967 Battle continues to brew between "Progressive" and "Conservative" factions over whether to sell the land.

May 11, 1967 Progressives win a majority on board of directors clearing way for sale.

Jun 1, 1967 Corporation decides to advertise land for sale.

Jun 29, 1967 Stockholders agree to sell by vote of 175-18.

Jul. 6, 1968 Contract for sale of land to Horizon Corporation approved by board for $4.7 million. Calls for $712,000 down payment with approximate payment
of $22,000 monthly for 15 years plus interest. The land is now part of Horizon's Tierra del Sol (per Alb Journal 11/1/81), formerly known as Rio Communities. The President of Tome Land and Improvement Co. is Gillie
Sanchez. 256 stockholders were to receive an estimated $23,000 over a 15 year period.

Jul. 12, 1968 Group of 38 former stockholders, who had sold their shares to stockholders for as little as $45 and most for an average of $150 (Alb Journal 8/7/77), file $1.1 million suit for fraud claiming they were cheated out of their shares by board of directors.

Aug. 8, 1968 Group of about 125 claimants not issued shares in 1952 "determination of heirship" suit file to regain their rights.

Nov. 4, 1968 Sale of grant to Horizon completed.

Dec 7, 1968 Group of 77 dissidents, from the routes of the so called "Tome Protective Association" who were against the sale, file suit expressing dissatisfaction with the final terms of the sale. They press for one-time payment of at least $40,000 a share, not including
mineral rights. The dissidents were represented by attorney Ernest Romero. 1969 Supreme Court awards 38 former stockholders with about half the value of their former interests (about $9,000 each).

1969 Judge Garnett Burks disallows suit by 125 claimants saying their case barred by statute of limitations.

Aug. 25, 1971 Supreme Court (Supreme Court Justice, Dan Sosa) reverses Burks' decision and orders case of 125 to be reheard.

Feb. 2, 1972 Supreme Court awards an average of $15,000 one-time payments to the 77 dissidents, who had filed suit in 1968.

Feb. 5, 1973 Judge Edmund H. Kase begins deliberation of suit by 125 claimants.

Dec. 20, 1974 District Court allows First National Bank, as trustee, to impound payments in order to
pay unexpected tax liability to IRS.

April 1975 Payments resumed to stockholders with payment of $500,000 completed to IRS.

April 1975 Judge Kase rules against 125 claimants saying their case barred by statute of limitations.

April 1976 Payments interrupted again pending final Supreme Court decision on case of 125 claimants.

Jul. 17, 1977 Group of about 30 stockholders hold meeting protesting last interruption and to air grievances about history of land grant sale.

Jul. 17, 1977 Final briefs submitted by attorneys for both sides in case involving 125 claimants.

Mar. 4, 1978 NM Supreme Court rules in favor of 125 claimants, declaring 1952 determination of heirship suit set aside. The Supreme Court ruled, that:

- There was no statutory authority in the state legal code until 1961 for land grant boards to determine heirs
- It wasn't until 1967 that land grant boards were permitted by state law to convert to private corporations

The Court orders District Court to begin the process of determining heirs anew.

1978 New Mexico Supreme Court disbanded the Tome Land Improvement Co. (High Country News, December 4, 2000)

Jun. 29, 1979 More than 10,000 claimants file claims to heirship c(Alb Journal 7/14/79). Three special masters (one being, Vernon Salvador) appointed to review claims by District Judge Edmund Kase of Socorro. Court ruled that only persons who were 21 at the
time of the sale on November 4, 1968, and who could prove they were descendants
of the 200 original owners of the land grant, could be eligible.

May 1980 District Judge Edmund Kase ordered fees for attorneys and accountants representing plaintiffs, intervenors, and trustees in the 12 year battle for distribution of funds from the sale of the land grant be paid fees totaling more than $400,000.

Supreme Court ruled that proceedings in district court in 1953 to determine rightful owners of interest are void and invalid. The Supreme Court ordered the District court to make a determination of all the rightful heirs and to distribute the proceeds from the sale of the lands to them.

1981 Federal Trade Commission prosecutes Horizon Corporation.

Nov. 1, 1981 (Alb Journal) Judge Edmund Kase of Socorro appointed 3 special masters, in June 1981, to hear the claims of more than 10,000 persons. However, as the court's criteria

Early 1980's Valley Improvement Association (VIA) was formed promising to turn mess on Rio del Oro to gold, (High County News, December 4, 2000).

March 1982 About 280 former shareholders who voted for the sale and who received about $1.7 million ordered by the Supreme Court to reimburse the money.

Aug. 18, 1982 Final report describing who can share in disbursement of about $2 million from the 1968 sale should be completed within two weeks.

Jun. 1, 1983 Supreme Court orders about 70 dissenters to the sale who settled out of court in 1972 to repay about $700,000.

Jul. 15, 1983 Kase scheduled an August 12, 1983 hearing to discuss the distribution of nearly $2.5 million.

Sep. 1983 Former shareholders preparing to go to court to fight court order to repay money previously distributed from sale of grant. Writ to be prepared by Attorney Thomas Esquibel.

Oct. 5, 1983 Kase set deadline of 4 p.m. on Friday for any additional claims of heirs, previous deadline was June 29, 1979.

Nov. 18, 1983 The Court has proposed the following discounts for "prompt repayment": 50% on amounts less than $5,000; 33-1/3% on amounts between $5,000-$16,000; and 20% on amounts greater than $16,000 (Alb Journal).

Nov. 23, 1983 Per newspaper article, heirs of:

- A-1 class: Persons who as of Nov. 4, 1968 were 21 years of age and either were owners and proprietors, or were persons of the class who were then eligible to become owners and proprietors by descent from the class of determined owners and proprietors at the time of the incorporation of the Town of Tome Land Grant.

- A-2 class: Persons who are heirs or successors of a person who, as of Nov. 4, 1968, was an owner or proprietor or a person of the class who was eligible on such date to become an owner or proprietor be descent from the class of determined owners at the time of that incorporation.

Dec. 12, 1983 Judge Kase ruled that approximately $2.5 million which was distributed to 350 shareholders must be paid back for reallocation to the heirs.

Dec. 1983 Disbursement of $1.6 million to 3500 heirs (approx. $500 each).

May 18, 1985 Approximately 40 former shareholders attended town meeting in Belen sponsored by U.S. Representative Bill Richardson to try and enlist his support in reaction to the 1982 court order for recollection of money disbursed in 1968.

Jun. 12, 1985 NM Supreme Court denied a petition to stop collection of $2.5 million from former shareholders of the Tome Land and Improvement Co. June 9th deadline
in order to qualify for discounts offered by the court expired with denial of the petition, per Peter Moughan Jr., a court appointed special collection officer. Earlier in the week NM congressional delegation said they would ask the IRS to refund $500,000 in taxes paid by former Tome Land Grant heirs, because they felt the taxes were an inequity.

Sep. 4, 1985 Per Albuquerque Journal article: Horizon Corporation has abandoned its plans to develop the 47,000 acre grant. Horizon corporation has divested itself of most of the grant lands. The grant has since been subdivided into more than 90,000 pieces of property with more than 30,000 owners, most absentee owners from other states. An accounting prepared by the state District Court in Valencia county shows that
funds received from the 1968 sale of the grant totaled $7.6 million. That includes the original $4.7 million sale price and almost $3 million in interest (including $1.4
million interest from Horizon Corporation. and $1.6 million to eligible claimants (approximately $500 each); about $1.2 million paid to attorneys; another $900,000 paid in state and federal taxes and bank service charges; approximately $1 million
remains in trust.

Dec. 1986 $60 distribution to heirs.

1999 Study is being conducted by the Federal General Accounting Office (GAO) on land grant claims in NM, requested by Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman. The GAO, which is the investigative arm of Congress, must issue a preliminary report by December with a final report to Congress, and the president, due by December 2002. Under a bill introduced in February by Bingaman and Domenici, if the report finds that the treaty was violated then the U.S. Justice Department is required to identify possible remedies.

Apr 20, 2000 $45 distribution to heirs.

Jul. 23, 2000 Heirs of the Tome Land Grant believe about 100,000 acres on the west face of the Manzanos, now federal forest land in the Cibola National Forest, belong to them. 100,000 acres on the west face of the Manzanos were lost when the boundary was drawn
incorrectly at the base of the mountains by the U.S. Surveyor General in 1871 during the administration of Ulysses S. Grant to verify the grant boundaries in accordance with the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Aug. 2000 $45 distribution.

Dec. 29, 2000 Per Albuquerque Journal: Heirs of the Tome Land Grant want a Judge Kase to tell them how he decided on rightful heirs and how $4.7 million was distributed. There are now over 6,000 heirs. Some received $500, some $23,000. Request for hearing filed
recently in state District Court in Los Lunas. The Town of Tome Land Grant Research Council contends mistakes were made when NM Supreme court ruled in 1978 that
incorporation in 1955 was null and void.

Mar. 1, 2001 New Mexico Land Grant Forum is asking community land grant heirs to form land grant boards so the government and other entities will have an official body to contact for land grant issues and events.

April 2001 During Tome Land Grant meeting an interim board of trustees was formed and officers were elected. President, Lawrence Sanchez; Vice-president, Leo Marquez; Secretary, Rita Padilla-Gutierrez; Treasurer, Donna Montano-Salas; board member, Ray Garcia.

May 25, 2001 $25 distribution.

Click here for a photo of one of the last checks issued. It was for $45.00 and was total payment for the sale of the the Tome Land Grant of $4.6 million.

Fall Colors Near Tome, New Mexico

Fall Colors near Tome, New Mexico


Tome Jail Built 1875

Tome Jail Built 1875

The 1875 Tome Jail with 2 foot thick Adobe and rock walls. National Register of Historic Places. (Building #77000932) Tome Plaza, Tome, New Mexico

Lentel over the jail door

Stone over the Tome Jail door.

Christians walking to the top of Tome Hill on a pilgrimage, Good Friday 2009.

Pilgrimage to the top of Tome Hill

Photos of Tome Hill including Petroglyphs

Top of Tome Hill


Photos around Tome including the 1875 jail and the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

The life size Santos stored in the church