History of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo
Travel Down the Mission Trail
Scholars' Bookshelf
Missions Bibliography
Ysleta Bibliography
Roster of El Paso Area Tribal Leaders
Native American Water Use Chronology
Tigua Military History
Early Accounts & Bibliography
Tigua Participation at Texas State Fair
Travel Links & More
Ysleta Land Grant Chronology
Acknowledgments / Resources

1800 July 4, 1800 "departure of men with wood for bridge near El Paso" (Twitchell 1914:II: Page 407, item 1495a).

Chacón, Fernando de. El Paso del Norte, Oct. 17, 1800 To Comandante-General Pedro de Nava: Reporting the completion of the bridge across the Rio Grande del Norte near El Paso del Norte; description, estimate of value, etc" (Twitchell 1914:II: 412, item 1512).

Aug. 30, 1800, "bridge construction" (Twitchell 1914:II: 409, item 1503).

1802 Chacón, Fernando de. Santa Fe, June 14, 1802. "To Comandante Joaquin Ugarte, San Eleceario: timber to repair the El Paso bridge, not entrusted to the alcalde del agua" (Twitchell 1914:II: 427, item 1607).

June 15, 1802, "Reporting sending pine beams for El Paso bridge; urging selection of more suitable person to superintend this work, etc" (Twitchell 1914:II: 428, item 1611).

July 14, 1802, "Reporting Receipt and placing of timbers for the El Paso bridge, recommending Teniente Pedro Bernadino Gonzales of San Buena Ventura to manage this work" (Twitchell 1914: II: 429, item 1613).

        Chacón, Fernando de, Santa Fe, Nov. 19, 1802. "Petition to Carlos IV, King of Spain, praying for relief from his present office and an appointment in Spain, in view of physical injuries, especially those suffered in a trip to El Paso to take charge of bridge construction and of the lack of medical facilities in New Mexico (Twitchell 1914:II: 432, item 1629a).

Abreá, Santiago, retired Alférez, Administrator of the Tobacco Company monopoly in New Mexico. Santa Fe, Jan. 7, 1802. Petition to Comandante-Feneral Pedro de Nava claiming exemption from certain contributions levied upon him y Governor Chacón towards supply of wood for bridge repairs in El Paso del Norte" (Twitchell 1914:II: 423, item 1584) .

1806 Royal Cédula ordered that land with running water could be assessed:

"...at no less than sixty pesos, and with a good well or spring at no less than thirty, and land lacking water at no less than ten. Land sales in the north indicate that for the most part the decree was enforced" (Meyer 1984:82).

1816 Montes, Rafael. El Paso del Norte, April 4, 1816. To Governor Interino Pedro Maria de Allande: Reporting completion of the bridge across the Rio Grande. (Twitchell 1914:II: 595, item 2658).

1819 Alvarez, Sebastian: Fray. Taos. May 8, 1819. To Governor interino Melgares: Asking that the Indians and other poor people of Taos jurisdiction be excused from furnishing oxen for hauling timber for the El Paso del Norte bridge at least until August, in order to work their crops. Memorandum on the margin approving the request and of orders to Alcalde Ortiz and Peña for suspension of hauling. (Twitchell 1914:II: 616, item 2814).

1828 Destructive flood in the El Paso region damages farm lands of settlers which creates pressure for farm land and colonization. “On July 3, 1840, the applicants submitted a new application for the same lands to José Morales, Prefect of El Paso del Norte. In this petition they stated that they direly needed the lands which they had requested, because they had been idle and without means for subsistence since 1828, when the river had flooded and ruined their lands at El Paso del Norte” (Bowden 1971:67). Thus, this flood exerted pressure for new lands and thus flood damage may probably was a factor that encouraged non-Indian encroachment on Indian lands.

Nov 28, 1828: Regulations for the Colonization of the Territories of the Republic. Bowden states that this law was never applicable in the State of Chihuahua (Bowden 1971:112).

1829 Flood completely destroyed Ysleta and Socorro Missions, and resulted in new sites for both (See Houser settlement study). The flood swept away the Socorro Mission and buildings (from 4 miles east of El Paso del Norte to below San Elizario). Burrus believes the flood caused the river to create a new main channel that placed the pueblos of San Elizario, Socorro and Ysleta on the south bank of the river (which would later be on American territory). The Téllez diary records this flood (Burrus 1984:147-148). (Note: see Timmons, Password article on Ysleta Mission).

1830 Perkins 1914 study stated that by 1830 Ysleta, Socorro and San Elizario canals were all one long ditch, which began at the heading at Hart's Mills and ran through the disagua of the San Elizario Ditch below the Town of San Elizario. "The ditch still maintains its own heading in the river. Many of the former users, however, now take water from the Franklin Canal" (Perkins 1914:26; photocopy in file).

1835 March 24, 1835: adjustment of water in the El Paso District (Campbell 1950:24-24, re: "Plans for better irrigation facilities"; also better roads, all to be done in scientific manner with assistance of engineers for better efficiency).

1841 Ysleta and Senecú boundary conflict: Ysleta population - 456 Hispanics and 275 Indians (Hendricks 1993a: 51). Unlike the survey of 1825, Leading Indians from each pueblo participate in settlement.

1847 Bowden stated that by 1847, the growing population of El Paso del Norte had allocated and distributed all the irrigable lands south of the Rio Grande. "As a result, the Ayuntamiento of El Paso del Norte permitted a number of the more ambitious landless citizens of that town to establish a new colony on the terrenos valdíos which were located on the Texas side of the river northeast of El Paso del Norte. The settlement was known as the Colony of Aguapa, and Tomás Yrigoyen was the appointed Commissioner of Emigration" (Bowden 1971:110; Chapter on the Rafael Ruelas Grant). (Note: see Susan Shelby Magoffin, reference to irrigation in the El Paso area, crossing the irrigation ditches).

1848 Memoir of a Tour To Northern Mexico Connected with Col. Doniphan’s Expedition in 1846 & 1847. United States Government, Senate, 30th Congress, 1st Session, Misc., No. 26, Washington, D. C., Tippin & Streeper. (Research note: Photocopy in file, pp. 38-42 concerning El Paso region. August 7 – “In the afternoon we started again; and travelling through the night, we made 28 miles more, and halted near the ‘upper crossing of the Rio del Norte’ [Houser believes this location to the future site of Frontera]. The road was very good, in the latter part descending; on both sides of the river rose mountains, which converge above el [sic] Paso, and confine the river for several miles to a narrow pass, hemmed in by precipitous rocks” (page 40). August 8 – “El Paso del Norte lies about six miles from the upper crossing, and two roads lead to it. One road crosses here the river, and leads over hills, covered with deep sand, to the plain, on which the town lies. The other continues on the left side of the river, ascends over a rocky, broken country to a considerable elevation, and descends from here to the valley of el [sic] Paso, crossing the river below, at the town. We selected the first road, and crossed the river, therefore, at once. The water was very low, and we passed it without any difficulty. --- After some rest on the right bank of the river, we started for the sandy hills, but the sand was far deeper, and our animals more exhausted, than we had anticipated; and seeing the impossibility of getting through on this road without fresh animals, we retraced our way to the river, crossed again, and took the other road, which was rough, broken and rocky, but without sand. To our right was the river, running through a cañon; to our left rose high, steep walls of mountains; the road always ascending from hill to hill, till we grained at last the highest point and perceived the charming valley of el [sic] Paso del Norte spread out before us. The Rio del Norte, having escaped the mountain pass, runs here into an open, fertile plain, at the beginning of which el [sic] Paso is situated. The town is principally built on the right bank of the river; but few houses are on the left. Stretched out along the river to the length of many miles, all the houses surrounded by gardens, orchards, and vineyards, and rich settlements, with cornfields, as far as the eye can trace the stream, lining its green bank – such a scenery will always be attractive; but to a traveller [sic], who has passed over the lonesome plains and through the dreary Jornada del Muerto, it appears like an oasis in the desert. Descending from the hills in the valley, we crossed the river on the lower ford opposite the town, and were soon in the middle of it, on the “plaza”. [Research note – Agricultural description follows, see page 41]: “But besides all those advantages, the valley of el [sic] Paso is the most fertile country that we have seen along the river. Besides maize and wheat, they raise a large quantity of fruits, as apples, pears, figs, quinces, peaches, & etc., but especially an excellent grape, from which they prepare the celebrated ‘el [sic] Paso wine,’ and a liquor called by the Americans ‘Pass whiskey.’ The grape, which they cultivate extensively, is of Spanish origin; blue, very sweet and juicy, and produces a strong, sweet, southern wine of straw-color. For want of barrels they preserve it generally in large earthen jars, or in leather bags of ox-skins. The wine contains a great deal of body; when improved by age, it tastes like Malaga wine. Besides the blue grape, they raise sometimes also a white one, tasting like Muscadine grapes, but I have not seen any wine made of it. Their manner of cultivating the grapes is very simple, they cover them with earth in the winter, keep the vineyards clear from weeds, hoe and prune them at the right season, but do not stake them. The soil and climate seems to be so favorable, that less labor is wanted than in most other countries. A great deal, if not most of the fertility in the valley must be ascribed to the ingenious system of irrigation, which they have introduced by a dam constructed in the river above Paso, and turning a considerable quantity of water into a canal. This canal, spreading into numerous branches and reuniting again, provides all the cultivate land with a sufficient of water. Wine and fruits are the principal articles of exportation from here; they are, carried to the north and south, and enrich the people of el [sic] Paso, some of whom are very wealthy”.

August, 1847. Description of the irrigation system in El Paso Valely by Dr. A. Wislizenus: “A great deal, if not most of the fertility in the valley must be ascribed to the ingenious system of irrigation, which they have introduced by a dam constructed in the river above El Paso, and turning a considerable quantity of water into a canal. This canal, spreading into numerous branches and reuniting again, provides all the cultivated land with a sufficiency of water (US Gov. 1848, Senate Executive Document, 30th Congress. 1st Session Misc., No. 26, A. Wislilzenus, Dr., Memoir of a Tour to Northern Mexico Connected with Col. Doniphan’s Expedition in 1846 & 1847, Washington, Tippin & Streeper.

1848 1848, Jan 26: Rafael Ruelas was placed in legal possession of the land (Rafael Ruelas Grant), one caballería, by Judge Francisco Robles on January 26, 1848 (Bowden 1971:111).

Albino Márquez, grantor, who is the native cacique of Ysleta, conveys to Mariano Borunda, grantee, for the consideration of $25 a tract of land in a place called the Desauga of Socorro Acequia (The Drain for the Socorro Acequia) "...which I acquired through the right I have a cacique and owner of the land of said town". The instrument date was January 10, 1848. This deed was never filed (Commonwealth Title, typed translation with statement by Albino Márquez, Box #16; photocopy in file).

1849 Jan. 12, 1849: massive flood created a westward shift of the main channel of the Rio Grande. "As a result Ysleta and Socorro, along with much of their land; some of the land belonging to Senecú; and the presidio of San Elizario wound up on the east bank of the river, hence in the United States (Hendricks 1993a: 57; citation: Timmons, El Paso, 105-106).

Journal of William Henry Chase Whiting, 1849, edited by Ralph P. Bieber and Averam B. Bender. In: Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846-1854, The Arthur H. Clark Co., Gendale, California (Research note: see US 1849 for the original William H.C. Whiting report. Irrigation reference for El Paso area see page 315 “About a mile above Ponce’s Ranch the Mexicans have made a rude dam by piling stones in the water; and by this an irrigating canal is watered, and supplies moisture to the whole Mexican side for a long distance and drinking water to the town itself. A well-built American structure at that point would amply irrigate the whole of the American side and greatly improve the beautiful valley below ”. This source has other references to water resources).

April 24, 1949: C.D. Gibbes’ Journal of the Thomas Gilbert Party, 1849, In: West Texas Historical Association Year Book, Vol. XIX, Pages 153-166 (Research note: Gibbes describes what is obviously the island known as La Isla which was surrounded by the old and new channels: April 24, 1849 – “Start by sunrise; at seven or eight miles struck a large waggon [sic] road coming from the south east. It was impossible to describe our feelings at that most pleasing sight after leading the party such a distance without a road, and from the conduct of those who left us, saying that we could not find the way to the pass; we were amply paid for all the fatigue both of body and mind; following the road a few miles we descended from what we had taken to be a valley; into the valley of the Rio Grande; and beheld the river at a distance on the opposite side, apparently full to the bank and a small stream about three quarters of a mile from the hills; we could see several houses between the two streams, and some cattle feeding. We encamped on the first stream about eleven o’clock having come about fifteen miles; we had fine range, and a grove of cotton wood and willow; had only eaten one meal since day before yesterday morning. We commenced cooking and in a short time forgot our past suffering for the moment; a Mexican boy rode up and told us that the pass was about nine miles above; this ranche [sic] contains about eight hundred inhabitants, and is called El Letta [Ysleta]; Carpenter has not overtaken us yet”).

Map of F.B.E. Brown clearly shows Ysleta, Socorro and San Elizario on the island. In fact, Browne wrote on the map near the island "These 3 towns belong to Texas" (Browne 1944: #143).

“The whole valley is irrigated by means of an acquiduct [sic] which leads from the falls of the River one mile above town…” (Martin 1925:131, from the Cox Diary, 1849; description of El Paso area, also mentions agricultural, viticulture, fruit, and old mission of El Paso del Norte).

“First E.P. Industry Was Flour Mill Established in 1849 by Simeon Hart” (title). “Social Life Centered at Miller’s Home” (subtitle). (Note: includes two photos – one of the Hart family in 1873 and the other of Hart’s mill. W.W. Mills wrote in 1858 that the mill was the chief industrial enterprise in the valley. The business in mills declined when the railroad arrived. In 1895 it ceased operations. During the great depression it was used as a home by the federal government for transients). El Paso Herald-Post, April 28, 1956, Section F, page two (Note: original with 75th anniversary edition in newspaper file) (Houser note: The mills of the missions and Rancho Tuburcios probably predated the Hart and Ponce de Leon mills. Local mills, after the arrival of the railroad probably could not compete with large-scale industrial mills in other regions of the country).

1850 Report by S.G. French, Captain and Assistant Quartermaster, Oct. 7, 1850, In: US Government, 1850, Dec. 2, 31st Congress, 2nd Session, Senate, Exec. Doc. No. I, Part II, from: Message from the President of the United States, to the Two Houses of Congress, Washington, D.C. Part 1, Page 311 (“Through the spurs of these mountains the Rio Grande forces its way, and this is ‘El Paso’ (the pass) of the river. A few miles below this point, and nearer the town, the river has a fall of some twelve feet: the water from this elevation is conveyed in large ‘zequias’ [sic. acequias] or ditches for the purpose of irrigation”).

1851 Prolonged drought in El Paso region: Winfrey, Dorman H. and James M. Days, 1966. The Indian Papers of Texas and the Southwest 1825-1916. Vol. III. The Pemberton Press, Austin (prolonged drought in El Paso region, Sept. 3, 1851, Letter from J.A. Rogers to P.H. Bell. San Antonio, Texas. (Research note: James Buchanan is mention in these papers).

1852 Before 1852 the river ran far to the north (east) in the area of Ysleta, Socorro and San Elizario (US Gov. 1903:I: 103; from testimony of Juan Pablo Avila).

"An Act concerning Irrigation Property." "...County Courts be, and they are hereby authorized to order, regulate and control the time, mode and manner of erecting, repairing, cleaning, guarding and protecting the dams, ditches, roads and bridges belong to any irrigation farms and property, and the fences or other like protection in and around such farms; provided that such farms, dams, ditches and fences be owned conjointly by two or more different persons; and further provided, that the same situated outside of a corporation having jurisdiction thereof." (Sect. 1 p. 80: Texas Legislature, Chapter LXXIV, approved Feb. 10, 1852, pages 80 (958) - 82 (960). Also provided policing powers and taxation over irrigated farms and property and to collect fines (Sec. 2). Control of distribution of water and forbade running of stock at large on the common far.” Sec. 3 That if any owner of a suerte or subdivision lot in said farm shall fail or refuse to do or pay his or her proportion of labor and expense in and on such dam, ditches, fences, bridges and other needful appurtenances to such irrigation farms, the said County Court may, and they are hereby empowered to fine such person, or to lease said suerte: provided, that such leasing shall be at public outcry, often ten or more days of due public notice..." (page 80).

1853 Ysleta Petition - Petition to Señor Obispo de Durango, Jan. 27, 1853, from the people of Ysleta concerning the sacrileges and abuses committed by the Americanos on the populace (original remains in private collection; photocopy in file.

1854 "An Act to relinquish to the Inhabitants of Ysleta, in El Paso county, a certain tract of land adjoining the town tract now held and owned by said inhabitants", January 31, 1854, Chapter XXX, pp. 42-43, Austin (photocopy in file).

"An Act for the relief on the inhabitants of the town of Ysleta, in the county of El Paso", February 1, 1854, Chapter XXXVII,