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GILROY owners of record in town. One result of the settlement was to separate out those not holding legal title to property, and establish- ing clear legal ownership of those who did. Numerous attorneys, some from out of state, joined in the suit. Three men who owned lots along Monterey Street also joined in: William Hoover, Dr. F.S. Rogers, and James Zuck. Mr. P.F. Hoey, a teacher who had studied law, offered to defend cash-strapped town claimants at a group rate. To add to the confusion, a rash of pretenders flocked into town, eager for a piece of the action. As the partition suit dragged on, Judge Belden of the 20th District Court appointed three commissioners to research titles. After evidence was introduced to determine who was to be granted title, and in what proportion, an interlocutory decree was issued. Three referees surveyed and appraised the lots and subdivisions. Finally, the tenant paid the value of the lot into the court and thus gained title. Those not paying relinquished the lot, which was then sold at public auction. Although lengthy, the measures guaranteed that no one else other than the owner could claim the property. The partition suit was finally concluded in 1887. By then, citizens were assured that clear title to their land was confirmed. As a follow-up measure, three Trustees were appointed to continue over- sight of the rulings. In the end, the action itself had long- lasting effects in the state. Today, experts claim the Las Animas Partition Suit set the land title laws that are still used in the State of California. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 ENCARNACIÓN ORTEGA SANCHEZ gmhtoday.com 73