WALSH RANCH AND SOUTH BEXAR COUNTY
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
BELOW IS THE GEORGE W. MUDD 320 ACRES deeded to
A..M. Pyron in 1882
District/Class: Bexar 3rd
File Number: 003280
Original Grantee: Mudd, George W
Patentee: Mudd, George W
Patent Date: 17 Oct 1859
Patent No: 136
Patent Vol: 28
Certificate: Pre 2
THIS IS THE GEORGE W. HAYDEN 320 ACRES, deeded
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
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
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,
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.
District/Class: Bexar 3rd
File Number: 003282
Original Grantee: Hayden, George W
Patentee: Hayden, George W
Patent Date: 24 Apr 1862
Patent No: 126
Patent Vol: 36
THIS IS THE FRANCISCO A. RUIZ GRANT, which the Paso de las Garzas
area, the Medina Somerset Road Crossing,
is carved from:
District/Class: Bexar 1st
File Number: 000267
Original Grantee: Ruiz, Francisco A
Patentee: Twohig, John
Patent Date: 31 Dec 1845
Patent No: 340
Patent Vol: 3
THIS IS THE FRANCISCO ROLEN GRANT, whose north boundary is
the Medina and may extend south to the Somerset area.
District/Class: Bexar 1st
File Number: 000021
Original Grantee: Rolen, Francisco
Patentee: Smith, E Jones and Smith, J W
Patent Date: 13 Aug 1844
Patent No: 185
Patent Vol: 2
Below: Walsh Ranch Gate Sign - Before Toyota Took It Down. Melvin Schupp, Photograper