Walsh Ranch Takeover and Spanish Land Grants in South Bexar County, Texas

In 1794, Juan Ignacio Perez de Casanova, a Canary Islander in what is now San Antonio, received a Spanish Land Grant of about 4,428 acres of brush country land between Leon Creek and the Medina River. There he built "El Rancho Grande," or, as he called it, El Rancho de la Purisima Concepcion.

On Juan Ignacio's death in October of 1823, his son, Jose Ignacio Perez, took over the ranch.

The web site http://bexargenealogy.com/islanders/perez.html says that the Béxareños, or Canary Islander family of Perez, married into the Linn and then the Walsh family. "Jose Ignacio Perez, the son of Colonel Perez, was born in 1786 and

married Maria Josefa Cortinas in 1812. Their daughter, Maria Josefa Perez married Jacob Linn who arrived in Texas from Germany about 1833

and was orphaned shortly after his arrival. Their daughter Concepcion

Linn married Frank T. Walsh..."

The sign that stood at the gate to the Walsh Ranch until Toyota took in down says the ranch existed since 1794.  At the very bottom below, see the Walsh Ranch gate sign.


In the formula Range War western novel, an insider villain who plays the role
of a respected banker, rancher or business man steals lands belonging to others.
The insider-respected villain is in secret the head of a Yahoo Outlaw gang he
uses as enforcers. Henry Cisneros in the San Antonio and South Bexar County Range War Western
of 1990-91 stole a large part of the Walsh ranch. The city bureaucracy, and the Bexar
county courts and sheriff must have played the role of the Yahoo
Outlaw enforcers.

The web site

says "Just ask Elizabeth Small, whose grandfather was Edward Patrick Walsh.
The Walsh Ranch along the Medina River had been in the family since
the Spanish granted the land to them in 1794. Then in the late 1980s,
the City decided it wanted a large piece of Walsh property to build a
giant mosquito bog, the Applewhite Reservoir. Edward Walsh encountered
then-mayor Henry Cisneros in an elevator in a local hospital and was
told, "We're gonna get your ranch." Mrs Small is quoted in this article as saying

"In 1991, the condemnation was very rough on the family," says Small,
who grew up on the ranch. "We were told the only thing the land was
good for was for tire recycling or trailer parks. Then suddenly it was
too valuable to sell back to us, and they were using taxes to condemn
our property."

I am not sure yet
when Frank T. Walsh married Concepcion Linn. But whenever the

Walsh name was attached to the ranch, the 4,428 acres of the
Perez 1794 Spanish Land grant, or a large part of it, stayed intact in
the hands of this one family from 1794 until 1991 when Mayor Henry
Cesneros and the city of
San Antonio took a chunk from the ranch along the Medina River.

The large Walsh Ranch was in South Bexar county, the poor relative of San Antonio and the northwestern suburbs. Because the Walsh children did not attend school in Somerset, about eight miles southwest of the southwestern corner of the ranch, I did not know the Walsh family when I was growing up in the area. But William Pyron Kinney, known as Billy, my first cousin, hunted with one of the Walsh men.

On receiving a copy of my article "Coyote Hunters of the Quesenberry,"

my second cousin in Somerset, Patricia Kinney

Anderson, wrote me that "Daddy had dogs also, and when I married Webb

we had dogs for ten years. I cooked mush, corn meal and grease, for

them in a big black pot behind the house. We hunted with Luther James,

Mr. Bruce from Lytle and Cecil Walsh (whose family owned land where

Toyota is now.)"

"Daddy" is my first cousin, Billy Kinney, the oldest grandchild of A.M. and

Virginia Pyron. I am the youngest My grandparents came to South

Bexar county in 1882 from Lavaca county and bought a section adjoining

what became Somerset.. Webb, Patricia Kinney Anderson's former

husband, is the son of

John McCain, a regular in the group of coyote hunters I wrote about.

Cecil Walsh was a first cousin of Edward Patrick Walsh. His widow, Mary

Louise Walsh, now 96, told me on the phone in November of 2006 that Cecil

Walsh came to visit them once as a boy and wanted to live on the Walsh ranch

and did live there. She said that Cecil had a pack of coyote hounds and ran

them on the ranch. Once, she told, Cecil's dogs got on the trail of what she

called a "wild cat" near the Medina and they wouldn't have anything to

do with that

cat. It might have been a panther. There were panthers in the Quesenberry in

the late thirties. I remember hearing one scream when as a child I was on a

coyote hunt but in the back seat of our Model A.

Mary Louise Walsh is named as Executrix of the Estate of Edward Patrick Walsh

on the December 9, 1991 Condemnation Judgment issued by Judge Polly Jackson

Spencer, Bexar county, Texas Probate Court Number One.

The Walsh Ranch case got me interested in Texas Land Patents and then

in federal Land Patents. At least up until 30 or 40 years ago a federal Land

Patent could have stopped a government from taking land by Eminent Domain.

The federal courts had for many years consistently upheld Land Patents

as conveying absolute ownership of land, as opposed to the neo-feudal

land ownership we have today with the deed and title insurance.

The article below on federal Land Patents is at:


"The legislative acts, the Statutes at Large, enacted to divest the

United States of its land and to sell that land to the true sovereigns

of this republic, had very distinct intents. Congress recognized that

the average settler of this nation would have little money, therefore

Congress built into the patent, and its corresponding act, the

understanding that these lands were to be free from avarice and

cupidity, free from the speculators who preyed on the unsuspecting

nation, and forever under the control and ownership of the freeholder,

who by the sweat of his brow made the land produce."

This article is saying that the system of land ownership we have today

has replaced the federal Land Patent with deeds, abstracts of title and title

insurance which, in effect, allow the government to be the sovereign in land

ownership just as the English King was sovereign before the Revolutionary

War. Therefore, a city, county, state or federal government can take any land

the government wants to take by condemnation lawsuits in courts by use of

Eminent Domain.

Deeds, abstracts and title insurance are legally what historically has been

called "color of law." Its an appearance of law, but not real law. The deed

does not convey absolute ownership of land and title insurance only protects

the lender or the "owner" from claims by others. It does not protect land

ownership against taking of the land by government for any purpose the

government claims.

All land was originally passed into private hands by Land Patents. In Texas

the Republic of Texas passed down land ownership to individuals by

Texas Land Patents. When Texas became a state in 1845-46 it kept

ownership of its

public lands and continued to issue Texas Land Patents as it had done when it

was the Republic of Texas. But I have found no history of cases in the

Texas courts

using Texas Land Patents to stop foreclosure or taking of land by a government.

There are many such cases in the federal courts, but on the strict

issue of Texas Land Patents the federal courts have no jurisdiction.

As far as I know the Texas

legislature never put teeth into Texas Land Patents. Even in the 19th

century when

the value of land patents was known by the people and probably by the Texas

courts, the legislature apparently did not give strength to Texas Land

Patents. During the last half of the 20th century the Texas

Legislature was probably less

likely to have enacted legislation giving Texas Land Patents authority over

Eminent Domain because elite influence had gown in Texas by that time, and few

Texans knew what Land Patents were..

Although its very difficult now to get the federal courts to uphold the original

intent of federal land patents, the patents were uphold again and again in

earlier years, even in the 20th century. The Beggerly case is famous as a

case involving a federal land patent. Beggerly acquired ownership of about 700

acres on Horn island off the southeast coast of Mississippi in 1950 and in

1979 the feds decided they wanted the Beggerly land for a kind of park. They

told Beggerly his deed was worthless and just took the land. The

federal Bureau of

Land Management refused to accept the land patent Beggerly found in their

possession. he took the case to the lower federal court in southern


and lost. Then he appealed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals where he won.

The Appeals Court said the Bureau of Land Management wronged him by not

doing a better search for the land patent and the court over-ruled the statute

of limitations and treated the Beggerly appeal as a new case.

The Slick Willie regime appealed to the Supreme Court which should not have

heard the case. the Supreme Court did not rule on the issue of the power of

the land patent to protect against Eminent Domain. Instead, it ruled

on the issue

of the statute of limitations which had run out by the time Beggerly got to the

Appeals Court. In 1998 the Supreme Court threw the case back to a lower

federal court, and probably Beggerly never got any money from the feds and

lost his 700 acres.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals followed the intent of federal Land Patents

in legislation and in many federal court decisions upholding the power of

Land patents. the Supreme Court dealt a blow to this intent by use of

the statute of limitations.

I found one case of a 19th century trial in a Texas court involving a

Texas Land Patent which said that the state of Texas granted Land

Patents to holders

of Spanish Land Grants. But this case was about a boundary dispute and not about

a government in Texas taking private land for its purposes.

Nevertherless, it appears that Texas did grant Texas Land Patents to

holders of Spanish Land Grants or to their heirs or assigns.

The Texas General Land Office in Austin has an online serivice that

enables one to find the grantee of a Texas Land Patent if he has the

abstract number of the land.

I saw a list of Bexar county land certificates which included the Ignacio

Perez Spanish Land grant of about 4,400 acres in 1794 between the Medina

River and the leon Creek. Its abstract numer 13, and the same number, 13,

appears on the land description in the condemnation document of the Bexar

county probate court in 1991 taking that part of the Walsh Ranch along the

Medina for the city of San Antonio.

But - the Texas General Land Office online search did not come up

with the Texas land patent when I typed in number 13.

For several other pieces of Bexar county land, the online search did

come up with the Texas Land Patent, as follows:



A..M. Pyron in 1882


County: Bexar

Abstract Number:


District/Class: Bexar 3rd

File Number: 003280

Original Grantee: Mudd, George W

Patentee: Mudd, George W

Title Date:

Patent Date: 17 Oct 1859

Patent No: 136

Patent Vol: 28

Certificate: Pre 2

Part Section:


Acres: 320



to A.M. Pyron in 1882. Another 320 acres of the A.M. Pyron 640

acres is out of the George W. Mudd survey, which has a different

abstract number.

The November 24, 1934 deed from Virginia Pyron, widow of A.M. Pyron, to my

father Blake B. Pyron for 63 acres lists, both the Mudd Survey Number

273 and the Hayden Survey Number 274. A January 17, 1948 deed from

Blake B. and Mabel Pyron to W.P. Kinney - for the same 63 acres -

lists only the G. W. Mudd

Survey Number 273. The deed also says that this 63 acres, known as

tract six, is part of a 349.2 acre tract of the A.M. Pyron lands.

A.M. Pyron owned 349 acres at his death in 1932 out of his original

640 acres.

At some time when W. P. Kinney died, the 63 acres was inherited by William

Pyron Kinney, (Billy Kinney), and at his death in the nineties,

his daughter

Patricia Kinney Anderson inherited the 63 acres along with the 63 acres that had

belonged to her grandmother, my aunt, Jessie Pyron Kinney. So a good part of

the original A.M. Pyron lands acquired in 1882 has stayed in one

family. Apparently, the Texas land patent for this land is the 1859

George W. Mudd patent.

County: Bexar

Abstract Number:


District/Class: Bexar 3rd

File Number: 003282

Original Grantee: Hayden, George W

Patentee: Hayden, George W

Title Date:

Patent Date: 24 Apr 1862

Patent No: 126

Patent Vol: 36

Certificate: 980

Part Section:


Acres: 320

Adj County:


THIS IS THE FRANCISCO A. RUIZ GRANT, which the Paso de las Garzas

area, the Medina Somerset Road Crossing,

is carved from:

County: Bexar

Abstract Number:


District/Class: Bexar 1st

File Number: 000267

Original Grantee: Ruiz, Francisco A

Patentee: Twohig, John

Title Date:

Patent Date: 31 Dec 1845

Patent No: 340

Patent Vol: 3

Certificate: 42

Part Section:


Acres: 795.25


THIS IS THE FRANCISCO ROLEN GRANT, whose north boundary is

the Medina and may extend south to the Somerset area.

County: Bexar

Abstract Number:


District/Class: Bexar 1st

File Number: 000021

Original Grantee: Rolen, Francisco

Patentee: Smith, E Jones and Smith, J W

Title Date:

Patent Date: 13 Aug 1844

Patent No: 185

Patent Vol: 2

Certificate: 13

Part Section:


Acres: 4605.50


 Below:  Walsh Ranch Gate Sign - Before Toyota Took It Down.  Melvin Schupp, Photograper