I mentioned earlier this week that Juan Bautista Cordova, a possible great-great grandfather of mine, sold some land in the mountains north of Las Vegas to French immigrant Jean Pendaries nearly 140 years ago.
The 1875 land record itself is fascinating because it includes details such as the fact that the land was marked by ridges overlooking two streams from the Sapello River, where Juan Bautista and his son Antonio used to fish. A distant cousin who owns land in the tiny village of San Ignacio, sent me a copy of the record that he obtained from another cousin. Not long after that, I ran across the same record at the San Miguel County Clerk’s Office.
But the land sale was significant for another reason. Jean Pendaries had already made a name for himself as the owner and operator of the Plaza Hotel, which he built on the Las Vegas plaza in the 19th Century. Apparently he sold the hotel prior to 1875, and started buying property in the mountains north of Las Vegas, according to a history on a web site for the Pendaries resort and golf course that now sits on land near Rociada, on the other side of the mountain from Juan Bautista Cordova’s stomping grounds in San Ignacio.
As a side note, Tony DeTevis, my great-grandfather on my Grandma Rise’s side, also owned a home in San Ignacio. My Dad has told me how he used to go do work for his grandfather at that property during the summer.
Back to Jean Pendaries, he apparently used money from the sale of the Plaza Hotel to purchase several parcels of land near Rociada, which would eventually become the 5,000-acre Pendaries Ranch. He built a saw mill, a grist mill and a homestead on the ranch.
One of the parcels that Pendaries purchased was the land owned by Juan Bautista Cordova. He paid 500 pesos. It’s not clear how much land he bought from Juan Bautista, but the record, written in Spanish and translated to English by a friend of mine, describes the location as follows:
“…located where both of the Sapillo River's streams lie, west of the Plaza de Tecoloteña in said County and Territory, where Juan Bautista Cordova and his son Antonio fish and which was deeded to them by the Judge of Evidence of said County and Territory per the petition on various residents of said Plaza. This land parcel consists of 500 yards of width and its boundaries are, on the North and South ends, the ridges that are adjacent to said river and on the East and West, land parcels belonging to Juan Pendaries, (this part is illegible, but I believe it says as follows), including houses, corrals and everything in between the boundaries described which shall be granted and adjudicated to Juan Pendaries and his children and heirs in fee simple, so long as said Antonio Cordova and Maria de la Gracia Garcia have confirmed the actions of their parents over these premises and that they abide by everything provided for in this instrument, detailing everything as if they were the parties signing.”
For some context into the time period, the Pendaries land purchase was just five years before the railroad moved through the area, which ignited a lot of controversy in San Miguel County. The railroad and the jobs it created, also led to the migration of many residents from villages like San Ignacio and Sapello into Las Vegas.
According to Pendaries web site, “Jean’s daughter married into the Baca family, and they later became the patrons of the 5,000 acre ranch. Descendants of the ranch founder continued to operate into the twentieth century, as well as providing leadership roles in state government.”
Ironically, I’ve never been to Pendaries, but I hear the views are breathtaking. I hope to take the family up there before the end of summer, and maybe stop to see my cousin in nearby Watrous.