Letter from W. H. Richey, 13 July 1890 [LE-12942]

Document Transcript

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OWNERS of 450,000 acres of land in one solid block. Now offer 40,000 acres choice farm land, under
irrigation, for sale cheap and on easy terms. Also choice Fruit Lands in Colorado for sale, which to-day
successfully compete with California. Positively without competition to-day as to price, quality and location.

C. B. NELSON, Gen. Agt.

Denver, Colorado,

President Woodruff,
Salt Lake

My Dear Sir

I would call your
attention to the Lands for sale by this
company. Comprising as the[y] do the very
finest body of land (in one body) offered
for sale in the cutiro west. At a Price and
on terms that are very easy. The quality
of the soil, abundance of water,
the location near town and on
rail road, the climate and great crops
that are raised, the high prices obtained
for all kinds of produce make them
a most desirable location for colonists.
Should you know of any colonies that
are seeking a location, will pleased
to give you such information as you
may desire. Or will visit you and

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place before you such facts as we may
have in regards to these Lands.

Hoping to hear from you

I have the honor to
remain very respectfully your's.

W. H. Richey,

[sideways text]
W. H. Richey
13 July, 1890.
[end of sideways text]

[sideways text]
This cut represents a true copy of a PHOTOGRAPH OF SAMPLES in my possession, raised
by Fort Garland in 1889. The highest Oats are 6 1/2 FEET HIGH. The Wheat was raised on
land broke in the Spring of the same year.

Nowhere does Honest Farming pay better than here, on
account of large and sure crops and high prices for all products.
[end of sideways text]

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January 7, 1890.

(Northern portion of the Sangre de Cristo Grant.)

The Sangre de Cristo Grant occupies most of the
eastern and southern portion of the San Luis Valley in
Southern Colorado, and extends a short distance into New
. Its title is perfect and a United States patent
has been issued therefor, as Grant No. 4, containing 998,780.
46 acres.

It is bounded on the northeast and east by the
crest of the Sangre de Cristo range of mountains, and its
western boundary consists chiefly of the Rio Grande. The
Grant between the mountains and river averages 30 miles
wide, and extends north and south some 50 or 60 miles.

Blanca Peak, in the Sangre de Cristo range, the
highest mountain in Colorado—and probably in the United
States—(14,483 feet high) is the most prominent landmark
on the northern boundary ogf the property. The Sangre de
de Cristo Grant was cut into two almost equal parts by the
owners several yeasrs ago, and the lower half of the Grant,
consisting of 500,000 acres, was sold. The division line
extends from a point north of the Culebra Peak on the east
due west to the Rio Grande, passing four miles north of the
Town of San Luis on the Rio Culebra. In disposing of the
southern portion of the original Grant the owners retained

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much the more valuable half of the property. Since the di-
vision the lower portion has been known as the Costilla Es-
tate and the upper portion as the Trinchera Estate.

The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad enters the Trin-
chera Estate at the summit of Veta Pass and traverses it in
a generally south-westerly direction for about thirty miles,
almost bisecting it. Fort Garland, the military post of
the San Luis Valley, is situated near the center of the Es-
tate, and now belongs to the owners of the Grant.

The accompanying map, which is an exact copy of the
official map accompanying the patent, shows better than any
description can do, the relative extent of mountains and val-
ley land; also the boundary line between the two proper-

For practical purposes the property may be divided
into irrigable and farming land, grazing land and the moun-
tainous portion.

The irrigable farming land is mostly situated along
the Trinchera and streams tributary thereto, and the finest
portions will be found above and below Fort Garland, extend-
ing in each direction several miles, watered by Ute Creek
and other tributaries of the Trinchera. There is also some
good irrigable land which can be covered by ditches taken
out of the Rio Grande, both above and below the mouth of the

The soil is mostly a rich sandy loam, and wherever
water is obtainable, yields abundance of fine nutritious hay,

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oats, wheat, potatoes and other garden vegetables. The cli-
mate is not adapted to the growth of Indian corn. The whole
country forms an excellent cattle range. The streams which
rise from the lofty mountains above referred to are so nume-
rous that the entire property is amply supplied with water
at convenient distances for stock purposes as well as for ir-
rigation where the lay of the land is suitable for that pur-
pose. Usually, during the summer months the cattle frequent
the open country lying between the foothills and the Rio
. In winter they retire from the open country and
are to be found grazing in the sheltered nooks of the hills
and throughout the broken ground which covers the eastern and
southeastern portions of the Estate. The foot hills and
mountains slopes in several localities are covered with good
timber for building purposes, which timber lands, unless
very inaccessible, are valuable throughout Colorado, at all
events wherever they occur within twenty miles of a railroad.
There is much good tie timber in many parts of the Estate.

Much of the land between the mountains and the open
plain is covered with cedar, from which vast quantities of
cedar posts can be obtained. Such posts are very valuable,
and yearly becoming more so.

The mountains which form the northeastern and east-
ern boundary of the property are mineral bearing in their
character, and form part of the extended range which reaches
beyond Aspen and Leadville on the north, and nearly to Santa
on the south, in which many prominent mines exist. Pros-

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pecting in the mountainous portion of the Grant has been
carried on to a very limited extent. Gold mines, however,
are worked on Placer Creek and Grey Back Gulch, and an iron
mine called "Placer Iron Mine", of great prospective value,
has been worked, for which a royalty of 25 cents per ton was
paid to the Grant owners by the Colorado Coal and Iron Com-
pany. 11,862 tons of iron ore have been mined. The fol-
lowing is an average analysis of this ore, which at once
shows it to be one of excellent quality.

Iron 54.34
Silica 11.28
Phosphorus .085
Sulphur .207
Lime 5.46
Alumina 2.66
Magnisia 1.15
Manganese .41

A spur from the D. & R. G. R'd. reaches the mine in
a distance of 2 1/10 miles. It is not at present in opera-
tion because the C. C. & I. Co. has acquired iron mines of
its own, and is not at present getting its supply from this

The gold placer grounds are situated in the north-
eastern portion of the property and are very similar to those
on the Maxwell Estate, which property adjoins the southern
portion of the Sangre de Cristo Grant on the east. These
placers would undoubtedly have been extensively worked had

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they not been private property; and until the owners of the
Grant took active control of the property a good deal of un-
authorized gold washing was carried on by little parties of
miners who, whilst they made no appreciable impression on
the placer ground as a whole, probably took many hundred
thousand dollars in gold from the Estate. The present Com-
pany has not thought fit to undertake any mining operations,
inasmuch as none of the parties interested are mining men.
No shafts have been sunk on the placer grounds by the Compa-
ny. No efforts have been made by the Company to define
their extent. Prospectors have been induced to find mine-
ral by the offer of a certain length of vein as a reqward for
its discovery; and on this basis the following mining deeds
have been issued by the Company: To six claims, 1,000 feet
long by 300 feet wide, situated in the west half of section
18, township 28, south of range 70, wetst and known as The
Star of the West, Last Chance, Sunnyside, Homestake, Magno-
lia and Hidden Treasure.

Application has been made for some mining leases in
the Sierra Blanca as a reward for the discovery of some
veins in that section, the Company having recently changed
its policy with respect to prospecting, now giving leases
instead of as heretofore offering a small section of the
discovered vein in fee simple. Some important discoveries
have undoubtedly been made this summer of gold and silver
bearing veins on the property, but the reports which have
come to the office cannot be verified until the snow has
left the ranges.

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The Trinchera Estate contains somewhat less than
450,000 acres. The exact acreage cannot be stated, because
small sales are constantly being made to settlers.

The nearest town of importance is Alamosa, situated
on the Rio Grande, about 12 miles north of the point where
the northwestern boundary of the property touches the river.
This town seems destined to become one of considerable size.
It is already a railway center, from which one branch of the
D. & R. G. R'd extends up the Rio Grande to Del Norte and
Wagon Wheel gap, another southward which divides shortly af-
ter leaving Alamosa, one branch running through the San Juan
country to Durango and Silverton, and the other continuing
directly south to Espanola, in New Mexico, and thence direct
to Santa Fe by a connecting line.

No difficulty is likely to arise with respect to
squatters on the property. There are four, or at most five,
farmers whose rights have been recognized by the owners of
the Grant to the extent of 160 acres each, because they set-
tled on the property at a very early date, and have rendered
various services to the owners. These parties have receiv-
ed deeds for their land upon paying the government price
therefor. A few miners have acquired clearly defined rights
under contract with the owners of the Grant, who offered in-
ducements to parties to prospect for mineral within the lim-
its of the Estate.

Much attention has lately been directed to the San
Luis Valley
, and large irrigating canals are in course of
contruction by the Colorado Loan and Trust Company and other

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Ditch Companies, for the purpose of irrigating large blocks
of land situated to the south and west of Alamosa, which the
last named Company has recently purchased from the State.
Such active development on a large scale cannot fail to in-
crease the value of the Trinchera Estate, which is contigu-
ous to those lands.

Following the example of the large ditch companies
operating on the western side of the San Luis Valley the
Trinchera Estate Company commenced surveys in 1887, covering
the greater portion of the Estate, and early in 1888 it con-
structed two main irrigating canals, one called Garland Ditch
and the other The Trinchera Ditch. The Garland Ditch is
take from the Sangre de Cristo stream about a mile east and
above Fort Garland. It extends some seven miles in a gene-
ral northwestern direction, taking in on its way the waters
of Ute Creek, and covering a magnificent body of farming
land. This canal, as required, can be extended for several
miles further. Its exact location is marked on the map.
The Trinchera Ditch is taken out of the stream of the same
name—a fine stream—just where it leaves the foot hills
and enters the plain, and runs in a southwesterly direction
to cover another body of fine land. It has been constructed
for a distance of five or sxx miles, that can be extended as
required. Reservoir sites have been selected for the stor-
age of water whenever it may be found necessary to do so.

About 16,000 acres of land have been sold to set-
tlers up to January 1st; for which the Company holds defer-
red payment notes amounting to about $34,000.

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In order to raise funds for surveys, canals and o-
ther improvements, a loan of $20,000 was effected, on mort-
gage of a small portion of the property not immediately re-
quired for colonization purposes. This money, together
with first payments on land sales, has all been judiciously
used for the advancement of the property; so that the Es-
tate is infinitely more valuable now than it was three years

Amongst the improvements the location of the new
Town of Fort Garland must not be overlooked. This new Town
is situated on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad immediate-
ly north of the old military post, and will probably become
the County seat next autumn. Town lots are being sold here
on the deferred payment plan.

In connection with the sale of agricultural lands
to settlers, water rights are also sold; and from these wa-
ter rights a large revenue will doubtless be obtained. At
present these water rights are sold at $3 an acre. The
ruling price, however, throughout the San Luis Valley is $5;
but inasmuch as the canals of the Company did not cost as
much as is usually the case, it was deemed best to commence
at a low figure and gradually increase the price.

The northwestern boundary of the property has been
substantially fenced with cedar posts and barbed wire for a-
bout thirty miles.

Herewith are the forms of water right and land con-
tracts in use.