Teaching Module

Love & Authority in Argentina (19th c)

Ferreyra Sons v. Pedro Sueldo [Civil Lawsuit]

Annotation

After the Rosas regime ended in 1852, hundreds of families throughout Argentina hoped to make claims on property and wealth that had been taken away from them during the Rosas years. However, many heads of these families were elderly or deceased. This left the younger generation to continue their family's efforts. This restitution suit, first filed in Córdoba province in 1852, pitted the young sons of Vicente Ferreyra against Pedro Sueldo, an ex-judge who accused the Ferreyra family of being Unitarians during the early 1840s. Sueldo jailed many of the family's older male members, confiscated their lands and animals, and liquidated their assets.

In 1852, the Ferreyra sons faced numerous challenges in recovering their family's property. Legally, they were not adults and had very little standing in the civil actions. In addition, most of the witnesses that they brought forth could not remember important details of the case. They did the best they could under the circumstances to gather their documents and submit lists of property attesting to what and how much they owned, but the height of the political purges during the Rosas era was, by 1852, a distant memory. Nevertheless, their tenacity paid off. The judge presiding over the civil suit awarded damages to the Ferreyras, and Sueldo was ordered to pay restitution. Sueldo, however, filed endless appeals in an effort to take advantage of the Ferreyras' lack of experience.

Source

Archivo Histórico de la Provincia de Córdoba, Escribanía, Registro 3, 1854, Legajo 114, Expediente 22. Translated and annotated by Jesse Hingson.

Primary Source Text

Francisco Ferreyra versus Don Pedro Sueldo about reclaims. Córdoba, May 12th, 1853. In Villa de Rosario [Córdoba province] on May 17th, 1852, witnesses testified that Sueldo had escaped to Santa Fe [province] to avoid prosecution, and they did not know if the animals that he took belonged specifically to Vicente Ferreyra. Francisco Ferreyra on June 3rd, 1852 accused Sueldo of taking his family's estancia during the 1840s. He stated that the order came specifically from the government. One witness saw the Ferreyra family's brand mark on one cow. He also brought witnesses who worked for Sueldo.

For all of the declarations that have been brought, Señor Mayor, Sueldo disposed of our property as if he was the owner of all our property. . . The most serious measures were taken [against our family] for the security and tranquility of the province. . . [in the 1840s] Don Vicente Ferreyra found out somewhere that it was said that Colonel Salas would march to the province of Córdoba with force, but in fact, he had escaped with various soldiers at his command to Santa Fe, Don Ferreyra having been one among them. . . Ferreyra also drove toward Sante Fe, and he and others emigrated after being ordered to do so. . .

On July 29th, 1852, it is the order of this court, considering first that the estancia was taken with public authority without which had been proven and that [Sueldo] was given permission to its particular uses; second, that Sueldo had used the embargoed property in Calchín; third, that the same [Sueldo] took the [Ferreyras'] furniture; and fourth, that Sueldo took all of the animals out of the province for Santa Fe. . . Don Pedro Sueldo would be absolved of the first three charges; [however,] he is ordered to pay in money or value the attached appraisal of 27 sheep, 70 goats, 21 bushels of wheat, 15 milking cows, etc with more than 200 pesos multiplied by the private interest which accrued during the course of eleven years. . . Tomás Garzón.

[Pedro Sueldo was not satisfied with the verdict and appealed. Daniel, Francisco's brother, responded to one of Sueldo's appeal.]

In the name of the offended, justice commands silence to those, like Sueldo, who have the audacity to say that they served the Patria, [and] who invoke a reputation [and] a good name that they never had received [in the first place]. They talk about their services to the state! These [services] are evident in Villa [de Rosario], a place once full of respectable families before and now depopulated [and] in ruins. They refer to their work for the Patria, but those like [Sueldo] only served as instruments of tyranny to tie the hands and feet [of the Country], sending it to the monster that devours it!!! Oh! No, it is better that Sueldo remain silent. Daniel Ferreyra

How to Cite This Source

"Love & Authority in Argentina (19th c)," in Children and Youth in History, Item #60, http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/teaching-modules/60 (accessed November 22, 2014).