Fascinating Archive of maps, showing the cartographic history of the Livermore Valley dating back to its original Mexican Land Grants in the 1830s.
This archive consists of a series of maps utilized in US v. Curtner, litigation between the United States Department of the Interior and certain local land owners in Northern California, whereby the United States sought to established title to certain land contiguous to the lines of the Western Pacific Railroad, which had been granted to the Railroad pursuant to Congressional Acts of July 1, 1862 and 1864, but had also thereafter inadvertently been granted to local landowners, seeking to perfect their claims under prior Mexican Land Grants.
In summary, because of survey inaccuracies and the delays in processing and perfecting land claims by General Land Office and the Surveyor General, certain land owners, including the parties this lawsuit, lost portions of their lands to the Department of the Interior (and therefore to the Western Pacific Railroad).
The 9 maps listed below, including an overview map (originally signed by Leland Stanford) and 8 local maps, including 2 disegno maps, were prepared in 1887 in connection with the above referenced litigation, which ultimately was resolved by the United States Supreme Court in Curtner v. United States, 149 U.S. 662 (1893).
The Supreme Court summarized the facts as follows:
On July 1, 1862, Congress passed an act by which the Union Pacific Railroad Company was incorporated for the purpose of constructing a railroad and telegraph line from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean. [The act] granted to the said company, for the purpose of aiding in the construction of said railroad, . . . every alternate section of public land, designated by odd numbers, to the amount of five alternate sections per mile on each side of said railroad, on the line thereof, and within the limits of ten miles on each side of said road, not sold, reserved, or otherwise disposed of by the United States, and to which a preemption or homestead claim may not have attached at the time the line of said road is definitely fixed. . . .
The . . . Western Pacific Railroad [ultimately held] the right to earn the land grant . . . provided [that] within two years [it would] file a map of its general route in the Department of the Interior, and thereupon the Secretary of that department should cause the lands within fifteen miles of such general route to be withdrawn from preemption, private entry, and sale.
That a map of the general route of the road was filed in the Department of the Interior on December 8, 1864, and that the Secretary of that department, on January 30, 1865, caused the lands within twenty-five miles of such general route to be withdrawn from preemption, private entry, and sale. That the land in controversy was within those limits. That on February 1, 1870, the map of the line of the road . . . was filed with the Secretary of the Interior, and on that day the line of the road was definitely fixed . . . and the Western Pacific Railroad Company was entitled to have and receive patents from the United States for the land in controversy . . .
The maps listed below illustrate the evolution of the mapping of California, from the Disegno styled maps of the 1830s, to the then modern methods used after the Civil War, as well as providing a case study in land transfer issues in California in the 19th Century.
Map 1 -- San Jose to Sacramento, 1873
The first map illustrated was originally constructed in February 1873 and signed by Leland Stanford, as President of the CPRR and Samuel S. Montague, its chief engineer. As noted in the certification:
The annexed map shows the Location of the line or route of the Western Pacific Railroad from the end of the first 20 miles section (from the City of San Jose) to the end of the 123 16/100 Mile . . . [Sacramento]
The map goes on to explain the placement of 11 Flags, reflecting segments of the railroad surveyed in 1868 by L.M. Clement, F. Lauteren, A.S. Bender, A.R. Guppy and John Doherty. The line in question passes through the following Ranchos:
- Aguas Caliente
- Valle de San Jose (Pleasanton)
- Las Polsitas (Livermore)
- El Pescador
- Campo de los Franceses (Stockton)
- San Juan de los Moquelumnes
Map 2--Disegno Map for Rancho Las Positas de la Valle
This map is a later 19th Century official copy of the original Mexican Land Grant Disegno map, showing Rancho Las Positas. Rancho Las Positas was a 8,880-acre Mexican land grant in present-day Alameda County, California given in 1839 by governor Juan Alvarado to Robert Livermore and Jose Noriega. The rancho included the present-day city of Livermore.
In 1834, Livermore and his business partner José Noriega were keeping livestock at Rancho Las Positas, where they also built an adobe. Livermore and his wife Josefa Higuera Molina, first settled in the Sunol Valley, but later moved to Rancho Las Positas, as Livermore was making regular trips there to manage his rancho. Initially an adobe structure built by Livermore and Amador served as their house on the rancho, shown on the map.
With the cession of California to the United States following the Mexican-American War, the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo provided that the land grants would be honored. As required by the Land Act of 1851, a claim for Rancho Las Positas was filed with the Public Land Commission in 1852, and the grant was patented to Livermore and Noriega in 1872.
Map 3 -- Disegno Map for Rancho Santa Rita
This map is a later 19th Century official copy of the original Mexican Land Grant Disegno map, showing Rancho Santa Rita. Rancho Santa Rita was a 8,894-acre Mexican land grant in the western Livermore Valley, in present day Alameda County, California.
Rancho Santa Rita was granted in 1839 to Pueblo de San José alcalde Jose Dolores Pacheco by Governor Juan Alvarado. It extended east from present day Foothill Road, with the Rancho Las Positas adjacent in the eastern Livermore Valley, Rancho San Ramon on the north and the Rancho Valle de San Jose on the south, Pacheco was an absentee landowner, but had a small adobe built in 1844. In 1854, Francisco Alviso, the son Pacheco's majordomo (ranch manager), Francisco Solano Alviso, built the adobe ranch house that still stands on Foothill Road overlooking Livermore Valley.
A claim for Rancho Santa Rita was filed with the Public Land Commission in 1852, and the grant was patented to John Yountz, administrator of the estate of José Dolores Pacheco in 1865. In 1853, Rancho Santa Rita was sold to Augustin Alviso, grantee of Rancho Potrero de los Cerritos, by the heirs of Jose Delores Pacheco, Juana Pacheco and Salvio Pacheco. In 1854, Samuel B. Martin and West J. Martin purchased Rancho Santa Rita. They sold the ranch in 1865.
In 1865 William M. Mendenhall came to the valley, and in 1868 purchased 650 acres of the Rancho Santa Rita grant. During the period of the railroad boom in the late 1860s, Rancho Santa Rita was sub divided into fifteen farms. The farms were "small" tracts of about 300 acres to 3,750 acres.
In 1869 J.W. Kottinger and J.A. Neal each laid out and plotted a subdivision for a new town called Alisal, situated about five miles south of Dublin. By 187,8 the village was an unincorporated town of about 500 people, later renamed Pleasanton. Like Livermore, Pleasanton attained its size and importance with coming of the Union Pacific Railroad.
Map 4--Initial Survey Map of Rancho de las Positas Claimed by Robert Livermore
This map is a later 19th Century copy of the survey map drawn by Wm. J. Lewis, US Deputy Surveyor pursuant to an order from the Surveyor General dated April 5, 1854, in connection with the confirmation of Rober Livermore's claims
This survey reflects the first recorded "American" survey of Rancho de las Positas, after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and would have been the base survey for confirmation of Livermore's claims to the Rancho.
Map 5 Township No. 3 North, South Range No. 8 East (Mount Diablo Meridian)
This map shows the township which includes the Part of Rancho Las Positas which was the subject of the underlying litigation. The map is a later copy of the original map prepared by the US Surveyor General's Office in December 1855.
At the bottom, a table shows the 5 prior surveys utilized to compile the map, including surveys by R.W. Norris in 1852 and 1853 (3) and Surveys by Jasper S. Whitney in 1855.
Map 6 -- General Land Office Confirmation Map For Rancho Las Positas
This map is a later 19th Century copy of the Official Surveys of Rancho Las Positas, as confirmed to its owners by the General Land Office. The map identifies the result of surveys undertaken by US Deputy Surveyors as follows:
- Wm. J. Lewis -- May 1854
- E.H. Dyer -- October 1865
- E.H. Dyer -- March 1869
Map #7 Township No. 3, South Range No. 3 East (Mount Diablo Meridian)
This map shows the township which includes the Part of Rancho Las Positas which was the subject of the underlying litigation. The map is a later copy of the original map prepared by the US Surveyor General's Office in December 1865.
At the bottom, a table shows the 4 prior surveys utilized to compile the map, including surveys by Sherman Day in January 1853 and Surveys by E.H. Dyer in 1861 (2) and 1865.
The map locates a number of topographical features, along with the road from the San Jose Mission to Stockton, which was the subject of the underlying litigation.'
Map 8 Township No. 3 South, South Range No. 3 East (Mount Diablo Meridian)
This map shows the township which includes the Part of Rancho Las Positas which was the subject of the underlying litigation. The map is a later copy of the original map prepared by the US Surveyor General's Office in December 1862.
At the bottom, a table shows the 4 prior surveys utilized to compile the map, including surveys by Sherman Day in January 1853 and Surveys by E.H. Dyer in 1861 (2) and 1869.
The map locates a number of topographical features, along with the road from the San Jose Mission to Stockton, which was the subject of the underlying litigation.
This map is very similar to the preceding map.
Map 9 - "Hopkins Exhibit"
While this map is not specifically identified, it looks to be a composite map of the area, probably prepared in 1887. At the bottom is a legend noting"
Compiled Surveys of Rancho Las Positas
- Dwyer Survey Shaded Red
- Lewis Survey Shaded Green
- Final Survey Shaded Yellow
- Lands in litigation Marked Blue