67 U.S. 17 (1863), U.s. v. Castillero

Citation:67 U.S. 17, 17 L.Ed. 360
Case Date:March 10, 1863
Court:United States Supreme Court

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67 U.S. 17 (1863)

17 L.Ed. 360







United States Supreme Court.

March 10, 1863


These were cross appeals, severally taken by the United States, and by the claimants, from a decree of the District Court for the Northern District of California, in a claim of Andres Castillero, for land, under the Act of March 3, 1851.

Before the commencement of the proceeding, the claim had been divided, and most of the shares in it were held by other persons, who, with Castillero, occupied the lands under the

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name of the New Almaden Mining Company. But the petition to the Board of Land Commissioners was presented by the attorneys of the company in the name of Castillero alone, for his benefit, and the benefit of those holding under him.

The petition set forth that Castillero discovered a mine of cinnabar in 1845; that having formed a company to work it, he, on the 22d of November, and 3d of December, 1845, denounced it, and on the 30th of December received juridical possession in due form from the magistrate of that jurisdiction; that the record of his mining possession was afterwards submitted to the Junta de Fomento y Administracion de Mineria, who declared it to be legal, and recommended to the Executive not only that it be confirmed, but that two square leagues be granted him on the surface of his mining possession; that the grant of two square leagues was made on the 20th of May, 1846, and an order or patent of title issued to him on the 23d, with which he started to take possession, but was prevented by the war; that as soon as possible he got a survey made; that by virtue of these facts he acquired a perfect title, under which he and his grantees have held possession ever since 1845, expending immense sums of money upon it. The petition concludes with a prayer that the Land Commissioner will confirm to him 'the two square leagues of land, as embraced in his mining possession and grant as aforesaid.'

Along with the petition the claimants filed copies of the title documents under which they claimed the mine and lands. The mining title consisted of the following papers united together in the form of an expediente.

'Se)or alcalde of first nomination:

'Andres Castillero, captain of permanent cavalry and at present resident in this department, before your notorious justification makes representation: That having discovered a vein of silver, with a ley of gold, on the rancho pertaining to José Reyes Berreyesa, retired sergeant of the Presidio Company of San Francisco, and wishing to work it in company, I request that, in conformity with the ordinance on mining, you will be pleased to fix up notices in public places of the jurisdiction, in order to make sure of my right when the time

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of the juridical possession may arrive, according to the laws on the matter.

'I pray you to provide in conformity, in which I will receive favor and justice; admitting this on common paper, there being none of the corresponding stamp.

'Pueblo of San José Guadalupe, November twenty-second, eighteen hundred and forty-five.


'This is a copy of the original to which I refer, signing it with two assisting witnesses, in the Pueblo of San José Guadalupe, on the 13th of January, 1846.


'Assisting witnesses----


José Su)ol.'

'Se)or alcalde of first nomination:

'I, Andres Castillero, permanent captain of cavalry, before your well-known justification, appear and say: That on opening the mine which I previously denounced in this court, I have taken out, besides silver with a ley of gold, liquid quicksilver, in the presence of several bystanders, whom I may summon on the proper occasion.

'And considering it necessary for the security of my right so to do, I have to request of you, that uniting this representation to the denouncement, it may be placed on file, it not going on stamped paper, because there is none.

'I pray you to take measures to this effect, in which I will receive favor and grace,

'Santa Clara, December 3, 1845.


'This is a copy of the original to which I refer, signing it with the witnesses of my assistance, in the Pueblo of San José Guadalupe, on the 13th of January, 1846.


'Assisting witnesses:

P. Sansevain,

José Su)ol.'

'There being no deputation on mining in the Department of California, and this being the only time since the settlement of Upper California, that a mine has been worked in conformity with the laws--and there being no Juez de Letras (Professional Judge) in the Second

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District, I, the Alcalde of first Nomination, citizen Antonia Maris Pico, accompanied by two assisting witnesses, have resolved to act in virtue of my office for want of a Notary Public, there being none, for the purpose of giving juridical possession of the mine known by the name of Santa Clara, in this jurisdiction, situated on the Rancho of the retired sergeant José Reyes Berreyesa, for the time having expired, which is designated in the ordinance of mining, for citizen Don Andres Castillero to show his right, and also for others to allege a better right, between the time of denouncement and this date, and the mine being found with abundance of metals discovered, the shaft made according to the rules of art, and the working of the mine producing a large quantity of liquid quicksilver, as shown by the specimens which this court has; and as the laws now in force so strongly recommended the protection of an article so necessary for the amalgamation of gold and silver in the Republic, I have granted three thousand varas of land in all directions, subject to what the general ordinance of mines may direct, it being worked in company, to which I certify, the witnesses signing with me; this act of possession being attached to the rest of the expediente, deposited in the Archives under my charge. This not going on stamped paper, because there is none, as prescribed by law.

'Jazgado of San José Guadalupe, December 30, 1845.


'Assisting witnesses:

Antonio Su)ol,

José Noriega.'

'I have received of Don Andres Castillero the sum of twenty-five dollars, on account of the fees for the possession of the quicksilver, mine, which is in this jurisdiction, under my charge, named Santa Clara.

'Court House of San José Guadalupe, December 30, 1845.



'Writing of partnership executed by Don Andres Castillero, captain of permanent cavalry, with the commanding general, Den José Castro, and the Senores Secundino Robles and Teodoro Robles, and a voluntary grant which the partners make perpetually to the Rev. Father Fria, José Maria del Refugio Suarez del Real, of a mine of silver, gold, and quicksilver, in the Rancho of Don José Reyes Berreyesa, in the jurisdiction of the Pueblo of San José Guadalupe.

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'Art. 1. Don Andres Castillero, conforming in all respects to the ordinance of mining, forms a regular perpetual partnership with the said persons in this form: The half of the mine, which is that of which he can dispose, will be divided in three parts, in this manner; four shares to Don José Castro; four shares to Senores Secundino and Teodoro Robles; and the other four shares to the Rev. Father José Ma. R. S. del Real, as a perpetual donation.

'Art. 2. Neither of the partners can sell or alienate any of his shares, so that he who may do so shall lose his right, which shall revert to the other partners.

'Art. 3. The expenses shall be borne in proportion to the shares, a formal account being kept by an accountant, who will be paid from the common fund.

'Art. 4. That prescribed by the ordinance of mining being complied with in every thing, whatever difference may arise will be decided by the partners themselves.

'Art. 5. Don Andres Castillero will direct the labors, expenses, and works, and in his absence the Rev. Father Friar José Maria R. S. del Real.

'Art. 6. Of the products, no larger quantities will be taken out than are necessary for the arrangement of the negotiation until the works may be regulated, and whatever the quantity may be, it must be with the consent of all the partners until the negotiation may be arranged.

'Art. 7. These agreements will be authenticated by the prefect of the second district, Don Manuel Castro, the original document being deposited in the archives of the district, (partido,) a copy certified by his honor being left with the persons interested.

'Mission of Santa Clara, November 2d, one thousand eight hundred and forty-five.


'For the comd'g general, Don José Castro,



'For the Senores Secundino Robles and Teodoro Robles.


'It is a copy of the original, to which I refer.

'Santa Clara, December 8, 1845.


'Antonio M. Pico.'

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To this expediente was appended the following certificate by James W. Weekes, who was then acting as Alcalde of San José.


'San José Guadalupe, Upper California.

'I certify in due form that the foregoing is a faithful copy made to the letter from its original, the 'expediente' of the mine of Santa Clara or New Almaden, which exists in the archives under my charge, to which I refer. And in testimony thereof, I have signed it this twentieth day of January, one thousand eight hundred and forty-eight.


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