By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Pioneering in Cuba - A Narrative of the Settlement of La Gloria, the First - American Colony in Cuba, and the Early Experiences of the - Pioneers
Author: Adams, James Meade, 1861-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Pioneering in Cuba - A Narrative of the Settlement of La Gloria, the First - American Colony in Cuba, and the Early Experiences of the - Pioneers" ***

... in Cuba




[Illustration: JAMES M. ADAMS.]








The Rumford Press


Copyright, 1901, by








My excuse for writing and publishing this book is a threefold one. For
some time I have strongly felt that the true story of the La Gloria
colony should be told, without bias and with an accurate, first-hand
knowledge of all the facts. My close relations with the colony and the
colonists, and an actual personal residence in La Gloria for nearly half
a year, have made me entirely familiar with the conditions there, and I
have endeavored to present them to the reader clearly, correctly, and
honestly. Secondly, I have been imbued with the belief that many of the
daily happenings in the colony, particularly those of the earlier
months, are of sufficient general interest to justify their narration;
and if I am wrong in this, I am quite sure that these incidents,
anecdotes, and recollections will find an attentive audience among the
colonists and their friends. It is one of the author's chief regrets
that the size and scope of this book does not admit of the mention by
name of all of the colonists who were prominent and active in the life
of the colony. Thirdly, while in La Gloria, in his capacity as a member
of the Pioneer Association, the author had the honor to be the chairman
of the committee on History of the Colony. This committee was not
officially or outwardly active, but in a quiet way its members stored up
history as fast as it was made. The author does not dignify the present
work by the name of history, but prefers to call it a narrative of the
first year of the colony. He believes, however, that it contains many
facts and incidents which will be found useful material to draw upon
when in later years a complete history of the first American colony in
Cuba may be written.

I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness to Mr. V. K. Van De Venter, a
professional photographer of Dundee, Michigan, for some of the best
pictures in the book. The other photographs were taken, and in several
cases kindly furnished gratuitously, by Robin H. Ford, John H. Rising,
L. E. Mayo, and W. G. Spiker. I am also under obligation to Mr. Spiker
for the loan of the cut of the lake on the Laguna Grande tract, and to
Dr. W. P. Peirce for the use of the cut of his pineapple garden in La
Gloria. All of the pictures in the book are scenes in the province of
Puerto Principe, and with two or three exceptions, in or around La

J. M. A.

_North Weare, N. H., December, 1900._]




A New Sight for Old Nuevitas--The _Yarmouth_ drops Anchor in the
Harbor--The Vanguard of the First American Colony Planted in Cuba--The
Beautiful Cuban Coast--Picturesque Appearance of Nuevitas--"Distance
Lends Enchantment to the View"--Character of the Colonists--Gen. Paul
Van der Voort--Nearly all the States Represented--"The Only Canuck on
Board"--The Voyage from New York                                      17



An Irritating Delay--Ashore at Nuevitas--Midnight Row at the
Pier--Convivial Colonists Clash With Cubans--Ex-Soldier Takes an
Involuntary Bath--The Cuban Police--Hon. Peter E. Park--The Start for La
Gloria--Some Intending Colonists Back Out--The Man With the Long, Red
Face--The Only Woman--The Fleet Anchors--"To-morrow, Four O'clock, Wind
Right, Go!"--An Uncomfortable Night--Cuban Captain Falls Overboard--Port
La Gloria Sighted                                                     32



Arrival at the Port--A Discouraging Scene--Mud, Water, and Sand
Flies--The Memorable Walk to La Gloria "City"--An Awful Road--Battle
With Water, Mud, Stumps, Roots, Logs, Briers and Branches--Lawyer Park
Leads the Strange Procession--La Gloria at Last--The Royal Palm--Women
in Masculine Garb--Col. Thos. H. Maginniss--First Night in La
Gloria--The Survey Corps--Chief Engineer Kelly--Experiences of the
Lowells and Spikers                                                   44



Isolation of La Gloria--The Camp at Night--Strange Sounds in the
Forest--The Colonists Happy--Their Excellent Health--Remarkable Cures
Effected by the Climate--The Agreeable Temperature--Prolonged Rainy
Season--The "Hotel"--The Log Foundation--A Favorite Joke--The Company's
Spring--Small Variety of Food--My First Supper in La Gloria--Eating
Flamingo and Aged Goat--A Commissary With Nothing to Sell--A Fluctuating
Population                                                            59



The Character of the Contracts--The Question of Subdivision--Some of the
Difficulties--Matter Placed in the Hands of a Committee of the
Colonists--Fair and Feasible Plan Adopted--Gen. Van der Voort's Arrival
in La Gloria--His Boat Nearly Wrecked--Delay in Getting
Baggage--Colonists Get Their Land Promptly--The Town as Laid Out--Site
Well Chosen--Woods Full of Colonists Hunting for Their
Plantations--Different Kinds of Soil                                  73



Population of Colony Slowly Increases--Arrival of Second
_Yarmouth_--Sensational and Ridiculous Reports--Consternation in Asbury
Park--Laughing Over Newspaper Stories--Excitement Over Sugar--Mass
Meeting to Air the Grievance--An Unexpected Turn of Affairs--Cable From
New York Brings Good News--Van der Voort Elected President of the
Company--Sugar Orators Remain Silent--A Noisy Celebration             86



The Women in the Camp--Mrs. Moller--Her Costume and Extraordinary
Adventures--How She Entered La Gloria--Roosts in a Tree all
Night--Builds the First House in La Gloria--Her Famous Cow and
Calf--Wonderful Bloomers--Ubiquitous Mrs. Horn--Weighed 250, but Waded
Into La Gloria--Not "Rattled" by a Brook Running Through Her Tent--A Pig
Hunt and Its Results--Surveyors Lost in the Woods                     94



Good People to "Get Along With"--Their Kindness and Courtesy--Harmony
and Good Feeling Between the Colonists and Cubans--Their Primitive Style
of Living--The Red Soil and Its Stains--Rural Homes--Prevalence of
Children, Chickens, and Dogs--Little Girl Dresses for Company With Only
a Slipper--Food and Drink of the Cubans--Few Amusements--An Indifferent
People--The Country Districts of the Province of Puerto Principe     104



Clearing and Planting--The Post-office--Col. John F. Early--The "Old
Señor"--La Gloria Police Force--Chief Matthews' Nightly Trip "Down the
Line"--No Liquor Sold, and Practically no Crime Committed--Watchman
Eugene Kezar--Religious Services and Ministers--La Gloria Pioneer
Association--Dr. W. P. Peirce--Mr. D. E. Lowell--Mr. R. G.
Barner--Important Work of the Association                            118



Worth of the Colonists--Gen. Van der Voort's New Cuban House--The
"Lookout Tree"--Its Part in the Cuban Wars--The General's
Garden--Marvelously Rapid Growth of Plants--First Birth in La
Gloria--Olaf El Gloria Olson--Given a Town Lot--Temperature
Figures--Perfection of Climate--The Maginniss Corduroy Road--First Well
Dug--Architect M. A. C. Neff                                         133



The Man With the Hoe--"Grandpa" Withee Able to Take Care of Himself--Not
Dead, but Very Much Alive--A Pugnacious Old Man--Mr. Withee Shoots
Chickens and Defies the Authorities--Big Jack McCauley and His
"Influence"--"Albany" and the Mosquitoes--Arrival of Third
_Yarmouth_--Arnold Mollenhauer--John A. Connell--S. W. Storm--The First
School and Its Teacher                                               143



Craving for Athletic Sports--Half Holiday Formally Proclaimed--A
Beautiful Day--The Colonists Photographed--Lieut. Evans and His Soldiers
of the Eighth U. S. Cavalry--Successful Sports--Baseball Game--An Event
not Down on the Program--Excited Colonists--Lawyer C. Hugo Drake of
Puerto Principe--His Scheme--Ordered Out of Camp--A Night in the
Woods--Lieutenant Cienfuente                                         155



Pink Orchids on the Trees--Vegetables Raised and Fruit Trees Set
Out--The Various Employments--Working on the Survey Corps--Chief
Kelly's Facetious Formula--An Official Kicker--B. F.Seibert--Improvements
at the Port--Fish, Alligators, and Flamingo--J. L. Ratekin--First Banquet
in La Gloria--Departure of Maginniss Party--First Death in the Colony--Only
One Death in Six Months--Lowell's Corduroy Road and Kelly's Permanent
Highway                                                              166



A Semi-Anniversary--Town Lots and Plantations Allotted in First Six
Months--A Grand Ball--French Dancing Master in Charge--Dan Goodman's
Pennsylvania Modesty--Organizing an Orchestra at Short Notice--The
Ballroom--Rev. Dr. Gill Lends His Tent Floor--Elaborate Decorations--A
Transformation Scene--Some Taking Specialties--A Fine Supper--Music in
Camp--An Aggravating Cornet Player--Singers in the Colony            177



Five Good Walkers--A Halt at Mercedes--Sparsely Settled Country--Cuban
Trails--A Night in the Woods--A Cripple From Sore Feet--A Pretty Country
Place--The Cubitas Mountains--Hunting for the Late Cuban Capital--A
Broad and Beautiful View--Seventeen Miles Without a House--Night on the
Plain--The City of Puerto Principe--Politeness of Its People--The
Journey Home--Sanchez' Sugar Plantation--Lost in the Forest--La Gloria
Once More                                                            186



Horses That May Have Committed Suicide--Colonel Maginniss "A Master Hand
in Sickness"--Sudden and Surprising Rise of Water--A Deluge of Frogs--A
Greedy Snake--Catching Fish in Central Avenue--D. Siefert's
Industry--Max Neuber--Mountain View--A Facetious Signboard--The
Sangjai--An Aggravating and Uncertain Channel                        203



The Saw Mill--The Pole Tramway to the Bay--A Tragedy in the
Colony--Death of Mr. Bosworth--The Summer Season--The Country Around La
Gloria--The Cuban Colonization Company--Guanaja--The Rural
Guard--Organizations in La Gloria--The March of Improvements--Construction
of Wooden Buildings--Colonists Delighted With Their New Home in the
Tropics                                                              212



James M. Adams                          Frontispiece.

Map of Cuba                                        16

City of Nuevitas, Cuba                             20

Gen. Paul Van der Voort                            26

An Involuntary Bath                                42

Port La Gloria                                     46

Author on Road to La Gloria                        48

Col. Thomas H. Maginniss                           52

"The Hotel"                                        64

The Spring                                         68

Robert C. Beausejour                               82

La Gloria, Cuba, Looking North                     88

First House in La Gloria                           97

Frank J. O'Reilly                                 110

First Women Colonists of La Gloria.               122

Dr. William P. Peirce                             126

Gen. Van der Voort's Cuban House                  134

La Gloria, Cuba, Looking South                    150

Group of Colonists                                158

The Survey Corps                                  168

Interior Gen. Van der Voort's House               182

Agramonte Plaza, Puerto Principe, Cuba            200

Dr. Peirce's Pineapple Patch                      208

Scene on Laguna Grande                            214

[Illustration: MAP OF CUBA., PROVINCES.

    2 HAVANA




Just after noon on January 4, 1900, the ancient city of Nuevitas, Cuba,
lazily basking in the midday sunshine, witnessed a sight which had not
been paralleled in the four hundred years of its existence. A steamer
was dropping anchor in the placid water of the harbor a mile off shore,
and her decks were thronged with a crowd of more than two hundred eager
and active Americans. They wore no uniforms, nor did they carry either
guns or swords; and yet they had come on an errand of conquest. They had
fared forth from their native land to attack the formidable forests and
to subdue the untamed soil of the province of Puerto Principe--a task
which required scarcely less courage and resolution than a feat of arms
might have demanded in that locality two years before. Well aware that
there was a hard fight before them, they were yet sanguine of success
and eager to begin active operations. It was the vanguard of the first
American colony planted in Cuba.

The vessel that lay at anchor in the beautiful land-locked harbor of
Nuevitas was the screw steamer _Yarmouth_, a steel ship which, if not as
fast and elegant as the ocean greyhounds that cross the Atlantic, was
large and fine enough to have easily commanded the unbounded admiration
and amazement of Christopher Columbus had he beheld her when he landed
from the _Santa Maria_ on the coast of Cuba near this point more than
four centuries ago. Great changes have been wrought since the days of
Columbus in the manner of craft that sail the seas, but less progress
has been made by the city of Nuevitas in those four hundred long years.
The _Yarmouth_, substantial if not handsome, and safe if not swift, had
brought the colonists to this port without mishap, thus redeeming one of
the many promises of the Cuban Land and Steamship Company. Since early
morning the vessel had been slowly steaming along the palm-fringed coast
of the "Pearl of the Antilles," daybreak having revealed the fact that
the boat was too far to the eastward, and late in the forenoon we
entered the picturesque bay of Nuevitas, took on a swarthy Cuban pilot,
and, gliding quietly past straggling palm-thatched native shacks and
tiny green-clad isles, came to anchor in plain view of the city that
Velasquez founded in 1514. We had passed two or three small circular
forts, any one of which would have been demolished by a single
well-directed shot from a thirteen-inch gun. These defenses were
unoccupied, and there was naught else to threaten the established peace.

[Illustration: CITY OF NUEVITAS, CUBA.]

The day was beautiful, freshened by a soft and balmy breeze, with the
delightful temperature of 75 degrees. Far back in the interior, through
the wonderfully transparent Cuban atmosphere, one could see the light
blue peaks of lofty mountains, standing singly instead of in groups, as
if each were the monarch of a small principality. Their outlines, as
seen at this distance, were graceful and symmetrical, rather than rugged
and overpowering like some of their brother chieftains of the North.
Near at hand the listless city of Nuevitas extended from the water's
edge backward up the hillside of a long, green ridge, the low, red-tiled
houses clinging to what seemed precarious positions along the rough,
water-worn streets that gashed the side of the hill. To the right a
green-covered promontory projected far into the bay, dotted with
occasional native shacks and planted in part with sisal hemp. The
colonists on shipboard, ignorant of the appearance of this tropical
product, at first took the hemp for pineapple plants, but soon learned
their mistake from one who had been in the tropics before. Viewed from
the harbor, Nuevitas looks pretty and picturesque, but once on shore the
illusion vanishes. Mud meets you at the threshold and sticks to you like
a brother. The streets, for the most part, are nothing more than
rain-furrowed lanes, filled with large, projecting stones and gullies of
no little depth. Sticky, yellow mud is everywhere, and once acquired is
as hard to get rid of as the rheumatism. The houses, in general, are
little better than hovels, and the gardens around them are neglected and
forlorn. When a spot more attractive than the others is found, Nature is
entitled to all the credit. The shops are poor and mean, and not over
well supplied with merchandise. The natives, while kindly disposed
toward the "Americanos," are, for the most part, unattractive in dress
and person. The few public buildings are ugly and there is not a
pleasant street in the town. And yet when seen from the harbor the city
looks pretty, mainly on account of its red-tiled houses, grassy hillside
slopes, and waving cocoanut palms. The author of the ancient saying that
"distance lends enchantment to the view," might well have gathered his
inspiration at Nuevitas.

If the inhabitants of Nuevitas have the quality of curiosity, they
clearly did not have it with them at the time of our arrival. Although
it is said on good authority, that the city had never before had more
than twelve or fifteen visitors at one time, save soldiers or sailors,
the natives betrayed no excitement and little interest in the advent of
two hundred American civilians. With the exception of a handful of
boatmen and a few fruit venders, not a person came to the piers to gaze
at the new arrivals, and in the town the people scarcely gave themselves
the trouble to look out of their open dwellings and shops at the
colonists. This may have been inherent courtesy--for the Cuban is
nothing if not courteous--but to us it seemed more like indifference.
The Cubans are certainly an indifferent people, and at this port they
appeared to have no object or interest in life. They dwelt in drowsy
content, smoking their cigarettes, and doing their little buying and
selling in a leisurely and heedless manner. The most of them pick up a
precarious living with but little labor. These easy-going habits impress
the close observer as being more the result of indifference than
downright indolence, for when the occasion demands it the Cuban often
exhibits surprising activity and industry. He does not, however, work
for the fun of it, and it never occurs to him that it is necessary to
lay up anything for the proverbial "rainy day." Accustomed to the
fairest skies in the world, he never anticipates cloudy weather.

It is quite possible that if we had been arrayed in brilliant uniforms,
resplendent of gold lace, brass buttons, and all the accompanying
trappings, we should have aroused more interest, for the Cuban loves
color, pageant, and martial show, but as a matter of fact, nothing could
have been plainer and uglier than the dress of most of the colonists. To
the superficial observer, there was nothing about the invaders to hold
attention, but to me, who had closely studied my companions and
fellow-colonists for nearly a week, they were full of interest and
inspiration. They were, to be sure, a motley crowd, representing many
states and territories, and several grades of social standing, but they
were obviously courageous, enterprising, and of good character. In point
of intelligence and manifest honesty and energy they averaged high--much
higher than one would expect of the pioneers in a project of this sort.
They were not reckless and unscrupulous adventurers, nor yet rolling
stones who sought an indolent life of ease, but serious-minded and
industrious home-seekers. They had counted the cost, and resolved to go
forward and achieve success, expecting obstacles, but not anticipating
defeat. A thoughtful person could not fail to be impressed by the
serious and resolute manner in which these voyagers entered upon the
work of establishing a new home for themselves in a tropical country.
Since the days when the Pilgrim Fathers landed upon the bleak shores of
New England, I doubt if a better aggregation of men had entered upon an
enterprise of this character.

The colonists sailed from New York on the _Yarmouth_ on Saturday,
December 30, 1899, a stinging cold day. It was the first excursion run
by the Cuban Land and Steamship Company, whose offices at 32 Broadway
had for several days been crowded with men from all parts of the country
eager to form a part of the first expedition to establish an American
colony at La Gloria, on the north coast of Cuba, about forty miles west
of Nuevitas. Every passenger on board the _Yarmouth_ was supposed to
have purchased or contracted for land at La Gloria, and practically all
had done so. The steamer was commanded by Capt. E. O. Smith, a popular
and efficient officer, and carried besides her complement of crew and
waiters, two hundred and eleven passengers, all men with one exception,
Mrs. Crandall, the wife of an employé of the company. The colonists
represented all sections of the country, from Maine to California, from
Minnesota to Florida. No less than thirty states sent their delegations,
two territories, Canada, Prince Edward's Island, and British Columbia.
All came to New York to make up this memorable excursion. The genial and
stalwart Gen. Paul Van der Voort of Nebraska, who was commander-in-chief
of the national G. A. R. in 1882-'83, had led on a party of over twenty
from the West, several of them his own neighbors in Omaha. The others
were from different parts of Nebraska, Kansas, and Iowa. General Van
der Voort was the assistant manager of the company, and a little later
became its president. He went to Cuba in the double capacity of an
officer of the company, to take charge of its business there, and a
colonist to make La Gloria his permanent residence. Honest, affable, and
humorous, a magnetic and convincing speaker, with a sunny nature
singularly free from affectation and ardently loyal to his friends,
General Van der Voort was a natural leader of men, well fitted to head a
colonizing expedition. One of his sons had been in La Gloria for some
time working as a surveyor in the employ of the company.

[Illustration: GEN. PAUL VAN DER VOORT.]

General Van der Voort's party, however, formed but a small fraction of
the Western representation. Twelve men came from Illinois, six from
Michigan, five from Minnesota, four from Wisconsin, four from Indiana,
four from Oklahoma--men who were "boomers" in the rush for land in that
territory--two from Missouri, two from Washington state, one from
Wyoming, one from South Dakota, and one from California. Ohio men,
usually so much in evidence, were hard to find, only one man on board
acknowledging that he hailed from that state. The South was not so
largely represented as the West, but there were two men from Maryland,
two from Virginia, two from Georgia, one from Florida, one from West
Virginia, and one from Washington, D. C. New York state led the entire
list with fifty-one. Pennsylvania and Massachusetts came next with
twenty-one each. From New Jersey there were fifteen. Among the New
England states, New Hampshire and Connecticut followed Massachusetts,
with five each. Rhode Island contributed four, Maine two, and Vermont
two. Two of the colonists hailed from British Columbia, one from Prince
Edward's Island, and one from Toronto, Canada. The latter, a tall,
good-looking Englishman by the name of Rutherford, cheerfully announced
himself as "the only Canuck on board." Those who were fortunate enough
to become intimately acquainted with this clear-headed and whole-hearted
gentleman were easily convinced that while he might call himself a
"Canuck" and become a Cuban by emigration, he would remain to the end of
his days an Englishman, and a very good specimen of his race. If
Rutherford had not taken part in the "sugar riot"--but that's "another

The colonists represented even more occupations than states. There were
four physicians, one clergyman, one lawyer, one editor, one patent
office employé, small merchants, clerks, bookkeepers, locomotive
engineers, carpenters, and other skilled mechanics, besides many
farmers. There were also a number of specialists. The embryo colony
included several veterans of the Spanish war, some of whom had been in
Cuba before. G. A. R. buttons were surprisingly numerous. The men,
generally speaking, appeared to be eminently practical and thoroughly
wide awake. They looked able to take hold of a business enterprise and
push it through to success, regardless of obstacles. Several of the
colonists showed their thrift by taking poultry with them, while an old
gentleman from Minnesota had brought along two colonies of Italian honey
bees. Another old man explained his presence by jocularly declaring that
he was going down to Cuba to search for the footprints of Columbus.
Accents representing all sections of the country were harmoniously and
curiously mingled, and the spirit of fraternity was marked. The one
colored man in the party, an intelligent representative of his race, had
as good standing as anybody.

The voyage down was uneventful. It occupied four days and a half, and
for thirty-six hours, in the neighborhood of Cape Hatteras, very rough
water was encountered. But few on board had ever known such a sea, and
sickness was universal. The discomfort was great, partly owing to the
crowded condition of the boat. Many a hardy colonist sighed for his
Western ranch or his comfortable house in the East. The superior
attractions of Cuba were forgotten for the moment, and there was intense
longing for the land that had been left behind. It is a fact hard to
believe that several on board had never before seen the ocean, to say
nothing of sailing upon its turbulent bosom. With the return of a smooth
sea a marvelous change came over the voyagers, and all began to look
eagerly forward to a sight of the famed "Pearl of the Antilles." We were
now sailing a calm tropical sea, with the fairest of skies above us and
a mild and genial temperature that was a great delight after the severe
cold of the Northern winter. The salubrious weather continued through
the remaining forty-eight hours of the voyage, and the colonists
resumed their interrupted intercourse, having but a single subject in
their eager discussions--always the prospects of the colony or something
bearing on their pioneer enterprise. The topic was far from being talked
out when we glided into the tranquil harbor of Nuevitas.




The newly arrived colonists found the Spanish word "mañana" still in
high favor at Nuevitas, though it was difficult to fix the
responsibility for the irritating delays. The Cubans and the officers of
the company alike came in for a good deal of straight-from-the-shoulder
Yankee criticism. Some of this was deserved, but not all. The company's
officers had been handicapped in many ways, and for this and perhaps
other reasons, had not pushed things along as rapidly and successfully
as the colonists had been led to expect. It was learned that the town of
La Gloria was as yet only a town in name, the foundation of its first
building, the hotel, having just been laid. The lumber for the structure
lay on the docks at Nuevitas. The company's portable sawmill machinery
was rusting in the open air at the same place. If the colonists marveled
at this, their wonder disappeared when, a little later, they tramped and
waded the four miles of so-called "road" that lay between Port La
Gloria and La Gloria "city". Nothing daunted by these discouraging signs
and the many unfavorable reports, the most of the colonists determined
to push ahead.

Arriving at Nuevitas Thursday noon, January 4, the passengers of the
_Yarmouth_ were not allowed to leave the vessel that day or evening.
Many were desirous of exploring the ancient city of Nuevitas, but the
most frequent and anxious inquiry was, "When shall we be taken to La
Gloria?". It was a hard question to answer, and no one in authority
attempted to do so. There were several causes contributing to the delay,
one of which was the customs inspection and another the question of
transportation. Communication between Nuevitas and La Gloria was neither
easy nor regular. The overland route was the nearest, about forty miles,
but could only be utilized by a person on foot or horseback. At the time
of our arrival this way was entirely impracticable by any mode of
travel. The inside or shallow water route was about forty-eight miles
long, and the outside or deep water course, sixty miles. The officers of
the company decided upon the latter as the most feasible, and set out to
procure lighters to convey the colonists and their baggage. This was no
easy matter, as the business had to be done with Cubans, and Cubans are
never in any hurry about coming to terms.

Friday morning the passengers of the _Yarmouth_ were permitted to go
ashore and wake up the inhabitants of the sleepy city, each person
paying some thrifty Cuban twenty-five cents for transportation thither
in a sailboat. The Cuban boatmen coined money during our three days'
stay in Nuevitas harbor. So also did the fruit venders, who came out to
the steamer in small boats and sold us pineapples, tiny fig bananas, and
green oranges at exorbitant prices. The fruit looked inferior, but the
flavor was good. Most of it grew without care, and in a semi-wild
condition. The colonists were eager to sample any fruit of the country,
as most of them were intending to make fruit growing their business. The
"Americanos" succeeded in waking up Nuevitas in some degree, and at
night a few of them set out to "paint the town red". Only a few,
however; the great majority behaved remarkably well. The day was spent
in quietly inspecting the city and its surroundings. Many of the
visitors bought needed supplies at the small stores.

Saturday was passed in the same way as Friday, the only incident of note
being a small-sized disturbance which took place at the pier near
midnight. Three belated Americans, who had done more than look upon the
"aguardiente", got into a quarrel with a Cuban boatman in regard to
their return to the _Yarmouth_. The Americans were mainly at fault, the
boatman was obstinate, and a war of words was soon followed by blows.
The boatman was getting the worst of the scrimmage when several of the
Cuban police swooped down upon the party. Two of the Americans drew
revolvers, but they were quickly disarmed and overcome, one of the trio,
who wore the uniform of the United States army, which he had lately
quitted, falling over into the harbor in the scuffle. This sudden and
unexpected ducking ended the fight; the "Americanos" compromised with
the boatman, and were allowed to return to the _Yarmouth_. These
intending colonists did not remain long at La Gloria, although one of
the three purposes to return. The conduct of the Cuban police upon this
occasion, and upon all others which came under my notice, was entirely
creditable. They dress neatly, are sober and inoffensive in manner, and
appear to perform their duties conscientiously and well.

While we lay in Nuevitas harbor we received several visits from Gen. A.
L. Bresler and the Hon. Peter E. Park, president and resident manager,
respectively, of the Cuban Land and Steamship Company, both of whom had
been stopping in the city for some time. They had acquired the Cuban
dress and, to some extent, Cuban habits. Mr. Park decided to accompany
the colonists to La Gloria, and to share with them all the hardships
that they might encounter on the journey. It was no new thing for Mr.
Park to make the trip. He had made it slowly along the coast in a small
sailboat; he had made it in quicker time in a steam launch, and he had
sometimes gone overland on horseback, struggling through mud and water
and tangled vines, swimming swollen rivers and creeks, and fighting
swarms of aggressive mosquitoes in the dense woods. He knew exactly what
was before him; the colonists did not. General Bresler, strange to say,
had never been at La Gloria.

It was on Sunday afternoon, at a little past one o'clock, that the
colonists finally got away from Nuevitas and made the start for La
Gloria. The fleet consisted of three small schooners loaded with light
baggage, a little freight, and nearly two hundred passengers. Two of the
boats were Nuevitas lighters, with Cuban captains and crew, while the
third was a schooner from Lake Worth, Florida, carrying about twenty
colonists from that state. This boat, known as the _Emily B._, had
arrived at Nuevitas a day or two before the _Yarmouth_. Among her
passengers were four or five women. The heavy baggage of the _Yarmouth_
colonists was loaded upon yet another lighter, which was to follow

The colonists embarked upon the sailing craft from the decks of the
_Yarmouth_, leaving behind a score or more of their number whose
backbone had collapsed or who for some other reason had decided to
return home immediately. It is, I believe, a veritable fact that more
than one of the intending colonists went back on the same boat without
so much as setting foot on the soil of Cuba. Probably examples of the
"chocolate éclair" backbone are to be found everywhere. One of the
returning voyagers was a tall, thin man of middle age, wearing a long,
red, sorrowful face. It had been apparent from the very start that his
was an aggravated case of home-sickness. He had shown unmistakable
evidence of it before the _Yarmouth_ had even left North river, and he
did not improve as the vessel approached the coast of Cuba. He rarely
spoke to anybody, and could be seen hour after hour kneeling in a most
dejected attitude upon a cushioned seat in the main saloon, gazing
mournfully out of the window at the stern across the broad waters. His
was about the most striking example of sustained melancholy that ever
came under my observation, and could not seem other than ridiculous in
that company. When we slowly moved away from the _Yarmouth_, I was not
surprised to see this man standing silently upon the steamer's deck. The
look of unillumined dejection was still upon his face. A man whose face
does not light up under the subtle charm of the Cuban atmosphere is,
indeed, a hopeless case, and ought not to travel beyond the limits of
the county wherein lies his home. There were others who remained behind
on the _Yarmouth_ for better reasons. Mr. and Mrs. Crandall returned to
New York because the company's sawmill, which he was to operate, had not
been taken to La Gloria and was not likely to be for some time to come.
Mrs. Crandall was the only woman passenger on the voyage down and had
been fearfully seasick all the way. Orders had been given that no women
or children should be taken on this first excursion, but an exception
was made in the case of Mrs. Crandall because she was the wife of an
employé of the company.

The departing colonists waved their good-bys to the _Yarmouth_, and the
little fleet was towed out to the entrance of Nuevitas harbor, about ten
miles, when the schooners came to anchor and the tugboat returned to the
city. Although it was but little past three o'clock and the weather
fine, the passengers learned to their dismay that the boats had anchored
for the night. The furrowed-faced old captain would take no chances with
the open sea at night and so would proceed no farther. "To-morrow--four
o'clock--wind right--go!" he said, with a dramatic gesture and what
seemed to the colonists an unnecessarily explosive emphasis on the last

The boats were anchored in the narrow entrance to the harbor, where the
smooth-running tide closely resembled a river. On one bank, one hundred
yards away, were an old stone fort and a few Cuban shacks. Some of the
passengers were desirous of going ashore to see the fort and the houses,
but neither entreaties nor bribes could force the old Cuban captain to
allow the use of his small boats. The Cubans are fond of waiting and
cannot appreciate American restlessness. So we were obliged to sit
quietly and gaze wistfully at the green-clad shore. As night came on, it
was found that loaves of bread and large chunks of salt beef constituted
the larder. It was poor fare, but the colonists accepted the situation
cheerfully and broke bread and ate as much of the greasy meat as they

It was a radiant evening, with soft, caressing breezes and a star-lit
sky of incomparable beauty. Many of the voyagers saw the famed Southern
Cross for the first time and gazed at it long in silent contemplation,
overcome by that delicious feeling of dreamy content which takes
possession of one in the tropics. On one of the boats, religious
services were held, conducted by a Georgia clergyman, the Rev. A. E.
Seddon of Atlanta, one of the most enthusiastic and uncomplaining of the
colonists. The singing of hymns was joined in by many of the
eighty-seven passengers on the boat, and prayers were offered by no less
than four individuals. It was a singularly impressive scene, not
altogether unlike what took place on board the _Mayflower_ centuries

The peaceful evening was followed by a night of great discomfort. The
passengers were crowded together, and many slept, or attempted to sleep,
on boxes, barrels, or the lumber which formed a part of the cargo of the
schooner. I slept, at intervals, on the lumber designed for the hotel at
La Gloria. Often had I slept in hotels, but this was my first experience
in sleeping _on_ one. Some of the passengers on the schooners sat up all
night in preference to lying upon boxes and lumber. We were not,
however, without entertainment during that long, wearisome night. We had
a philosopher among us, in the person of quaint old Benjamin
Franklin--of Griffin's Corners, New York--who talked earnestly and
eloquently upon his appalling experiences in Confederate military
prisons many years before. The handful of soldiers of the Spanish war
were modestly silent in the presence of this gaunt old veteran of the
great civil strife. Judge Groesbeck, of Washington, D. C., quoted poetry
and told anecdotes and stories, while the Rev. Mr. Seddon, Dr. W. P.
Peirce of Hoopeston, Ill., and others, contributed their share to the
conversation. As we became drowsy, we could hear, now and again, some
one of our companions giving an imitation of the Cuban captain:
"To-morrow--four o'clock--wind right--go!".

[Illustration: AN INVOLUNTARY BATH.]

Early in the morning, true to his word, the captain set sail, and as the
wind was right good progress was made. One of the diverting incidents of
the morning was the fall of the captain overboard. In the crowded
condition of the boat, he lost his footing and went over backward into
the water. He scrambled back again in a hurry, with a look of deep
disgust upon his rather repulsive face, but the inconsiderate
"Americanos" greeted him with a roar of laughter. One enterprising
amateur photographer secured a snapshot of him as he emerged dripping
from his involuntary bath. A little later one of the Cubans caught a
handsome dolphin, about two feet and a half long. The crew cooked it and
served it up at ten cents a plate. As our schooner, drawing five feet of
water, entered the inlet about fifteen miles from the port of La Gloria,
she dragged roughly over the rocky bottom for some distance and came
perilously near suffering misfortune. The other schooners came in
collision at about this time and a panic ensued. No serious damage
resulted, however. It was between twelve and one o'clock that afternoon
that the port of La Gloria was sighted.



As the fleet of schooners drew near La Gloria port, a row of small tents
was discerned close to the shore. Elsewhere there was a heavy growth of
bushes to the water's edge--the mangroves and similar vegetation fairly
growing out into the sea. Between and around the tents was a wretched
slough of sticky, oozy mud nearly a foot deep, with streams of surface
water flowing over it in places into the bay. The colonists were filled
with excitement and mingled emotions as they approached the shore, but
their hearts sank when they surveyed this discouraging scene. They
landed on the rude pier, and after much difficulty succeeded in
depositing their light baggage in tents reserved for the purpose. Narrow
boards laid down to walk on were covered with slippery mud, and some
lost their footing and went over headforemost into the slough. One
jaunty, well-dressed young man from New Jersey, who had found the trip
vastly entertaining up to this point, was so disgusted at suffering a
"flop-over" into the mire that he turned immediately back and returned
to his home in Atlantic City. And so the sifting process went on among
the intending colonists.

The conditions at the port at that time were certainly most unpleasant.
Mud and water were on every hand, and sand flies were as thick as swarms
of bees, and nearly as ferocious; they allowed no one any peace. The
company had considerately provided coffee and bread for the landing
"immigrants", and something of the sort was certainly needed to fortify
them for what was to follow. Lunch over, such of the colonists as had
not decided to turn back started for the "city" of La Gloria, four miles
inland. We found that the electric cars were not running, that the 'bus
line was not in operation, and that we could not take a carriage to the
hotel; nor was there a volante, a wagon, a bullock cart, a horse, mule,
or pony in evidence. Neither was there a balloon or any other kind of
airship. We learned further that a rowboat could be used only a portion
of the way. Under the circumstances, we decided to walk.

[Illustration: PORT LA GLORIA.

_Photograph by V. K. Van De Venter, Jan. 25, 1900._]

The road, if such it may be called, led through an open savanna, with
occasional belts of timber. There had been heavy rains just before our
arrival, and the trail was one of the most wretched ever followed by a
human being. For about a quarter of a mile there was an apology for a
corduroy road, but the logs composing it were so irregular and uneven in
size, and had been so disarranged by surface water and so nearly covered
with debris that it all seemed to have been placed there to obstruct
travel rather than to facilitate it. After the corduroy, the trail was a
disheartening mixture of water, mud, stumps, roots, logs, briers, and
branches. Now we would be wading through shallow water and deep mud that
almost pulled our shoes off; then splashing through water and tall,
coarse grass; and again, carefully threading our precarious way among
ugly stumps, logs, and fallen limbs, in water above our knees. At times
the traveler found himself almost afloat in the forest. He was lucky,
indeed, if he did not fall down, a misfortune which was little less than
a tragedy. Before leaving the port we had been advised to remove our
stockings and roll our trousers above our knees. Few of us had on
anything better than ordinary shoes, and the sensation of tramping
through the mud and water with these was far from pleasant. Many had
rubber boots or leggings in their trunks, but the trunks were still at

[Illustration: AUTHOR ON ROAD TO LA GLORIA. (_Jan. 8, 1900._)]

Notwithstanding the bad road, one hundred and sixty stout-hearted
colonists set out for La Gloria between 1:30 and 3 o'clock. They
straggled along for miles, old men and young men, and even lame men;
some with valises, some with bundles, and many with overcoats. In the
lead was Peter E. Park, the Detroit lawyer who for months had been
acting as the Cuban manager for the company. His stalwart form was
encased in a suit of white duck, and he wore a broad, slouch hat and
high, leather boots. He looked quite picturesque as he strode through
the mud and water, apparently trying to impress the colonists with the
idea that the poor road was nothing to justify making a fuss. Inwardly,
no doubt, he was somewhat sensitive on the subject of the road; justly
or unjustly, the colonists blamed him for its condition.

It was hot and hard work, this four-mile walk under a tropical sun, but
the men bore it with a good deal of patience. I started with a pair of
rubbers on, but was compelled to abandon them before getting far,
leaving a large amount of rich Cuban soil in and on them. The scene
which presented itself was unique and interesting. All sorts of costumes
were worn, including some young fellows in soldiers' uniforms, and there
was no little variety in the luggage carried. Some staggered under very
heavy loads. Quite a number of cameras and kodaks were to be seen. The
trail led through a rich savanna, soil which is undoubtedly adapted to
the raising of sugar cane, rice, and cocoanuts. Many palmetto and palm
trees lined the way. One could not well view the scenery without
stopping, for fear of losing one's footing. Thorns were troublesome and
easily penetrated the wet shoes of the weary travelers. The colonists
all agreed that this road was the freest from dust of any they had ever

At last, after two hours of toil and discomfort, we came in sight of dry
land and the camp. We had crossed two small creeks and seen a few
unoccupied native shacks. No part of the land had been cultivated. Many
of us had seen for the first time close at hand the majestic royal palm,
which is deservedly the most distinguished tree in the island. It is a
tree without branches, crowned at the top of a perfectly straight shaft
with a bunch of long, graceful, dark green leaves. The royal palm rises
to a height of sixty, seventy, and even eighty feet, its symmetrical
shape and whitish color giving it the appearance of a marble column. It
bears no fruit, and affords little shade, but it is highly ornamental
and forms a striking feature of the landscape. The tree often lives to
be two hundred years old; it has twenty leaves, one of which is shed
about once a month. It has been stated that the seeds from a single
tree will support one good-sized hog.

As we approached our destination we passed two buxom women sitting on a
huge stump. They were clad in shirt waists, belted trousers and
leggings, and wore broad hats of a masculine type. We silently wondered
if this was the prevailing fashion among the women of La Gloria, but
soon found that it was not. Even the pair that we had first seen came
out a few days later in dainty skirts and feminine headgear. Indeed, we
found La Gloria, in some respects, more civilized than we had

It was late in the afternoon of Monday, January 8, 1900, that the one
hundred and sixty members of the first excursion to establish the first
American colony in Cuba, reached the camp which occupied the site of La
Gloria city of to-day. We found about a dozen tents, and as many more
native shacks occupied by Cubans who were at work for the company. The
Cubans numbered about fifty, and the American employés nearly as many
more. There were also a few Florida and other settlers who had reached
the spot early. Altogether, the population just before our arrival was
about one hundred, seven or eight of whom were women.

[Illustration: COL. THOMAS H. MAGINNISS.]

The white city grew rapidly after we appeared on the scene. The company
had tents, which we were obliged to put up for ourselves, and it was
several hours before we had opportunity to even partially dry our wet
feet and shoes. All that evening little groups of barefooted men could
be seen gathered around camp-fires, drying themselves and their
clothing. The distribution, location, and erection of the tents was
placed in charge of Col. Thomas H. Maginniss of Philadelphia, Pa., an
ex-officer of the United States regular army and a veteran of the Civil
War, who had come down among the colonists on the _Yarmouth_. Colonel
Maginniss was a handsome man of great stature, youthful in appearance,
mentally alert and physically active, with very prepossessing manners.
Although a little past fifty years of age, he looked to be hardly more
than forty. He was a favorite from the start, and aside from being a
picturesque personality, soon became an influential power among the
colonists. So efficiently did he perform his duties in supervising the
erection of the tent city, that a little later he was regularly given
the position of superintendent of camp, in the employ of the company.
He held this post until his return to the States, early in April.

Our first night in La Gloria was not one of sybaritic pleasure. We were
able to secure some poor cots and one thin blanket apiece. This was
insufficient, for the nights, or rather the early mornings, were quite
cold. Some of the men were obliged to sit up all night to gather warmth
from fires. The rotten cloth on the cots went to pieces, in most cases,
before the night was over, and, altogether, sleep was at a premium. Many
of the tents were crowded; in mine were eight persons, representing
nearly as many states. Fortunately, the insects gave us very little
trouble. The population of the camp that first night must have been
nearly three hundred, and the next day it increased to quite that

       *       *       *       *       *

While the colonists did not arrive at La Gloria in any considerable
numbers until January, 1900, the preliminary operations began there on
October 9, 1899, when Chief Engineer J. C. Kelly landed with a survey
corps from Texas. It was a splendid corps of bright, hardy, plucky,
indefatigable men, skilful in their work and under discipline as rigid
as that of an army. Chief Kelly was from Eagle Lake, Texas, in which
state he had become well known through the performance of a great deal
of important work. He was an exceedingly capable engineer, a strict but
just disciplinarian, a good financier, and at all times highly popular
with his men, whose devotion to him was as striking as that often shown
by soldiers to their colonel or their general. Mr. Kelly was an
interesting talker, and an athlete and amateur impersonator of no mean
pretensions. With him he brought, as assistant chief, Mr. H. O. Neville,
a well-educated, versatile, and agreeable young man. Among the others in
the Texas party were Sam M. Van der Voort, son of the general, and I. G.
Wirtz, both of whom later became instrument men. S. H. Packer, also of
Texas, was one of the corps. From New York came F. Kimble and J. A.
Messier, the latter familiarly known as "Albany", and from Havana, B. B.
Lindsley, all three serving later as instrument men more or less of the
time. All the men above mentioned were efficient surveyors and good
fellows, each something of a "character" in his way. Among other early
arrivals, most of whom were attached to the survey corps, were O. V. De
Long of Havana, H. L. Starker of Chicago, David Porter of Detroit,
Richard Head of Florida, J. A. McCauley of New York, Will Corlett, and
Jack Griffith.

The experiences of the members of the survey corps at La Gloria had been
a continued story of hardship, privation, and exposure. They came in
before the rainy season had ended, pushing their toilsome way through
tangled vines and thorny thickets, wading through mud and water, and
often being compelled to swim swollen creeks. Much of the time they
patiently worked knee deep or waist deep in water, covered with swarms
of mosquitoes or other pestiferous insects. Often they had little to eat
save cornmeal "mush" and boniatos (sweet potatoes); but for all this,
they were seldom ill and rarely made a complaint. Sleeping in their wet
clothes, which would not dry in the dampness of the night, they were up
early each morning ready for another day's attack upon the jungle. The
fact that they were not more often sick is the best testimonial to the
healthfulness of the climate of northeastern Cuba that has come under my
notice. It speaks volumes, especially when it is known that a little
later men from the Northern states, and even British Columbia, worked
on the survey corps under similar conditions and with like immunity from
serious illness. Occasionally, to be sure, they would be poisoned from
standing too long in water or coming in contact with the güao tree, or
shrub, but this affliction, while severe, was never fatal. The good work
faithfully and uncomplainingly performed by the survey corps in and
around La Gloria, under such trying circumstances, is worthy of as much
praise and admiration as a successful military campaign. It required
courage, skill, and patient endurance to move upon and tame this
tropical forest on the north coast of Cuba.

A handful of colonists followed the survey corps into La Gloria at
intervals, the first ladies coming in December. These were Mrs. D. E.
Lowell and Mrs. W. G. Spiker; they came with their husbands. Mr. Lowell
had been a prosperous orange and pineapple grower in Florida until the
great freeze came, and Mr. Spiker was a successful photographer in Ohio
before leaving his state to find him a new home in the tropics. The
Lowells and Spikers were intelligent and cultivated people who had been
accustomed to a good style of living, but who were now ready to
undertake a rough, pioneer life in the strong hope of a bright future.
The party landed at Palota, northwest of La Gloria, and came in with
horses and wagon of their own, following the roughest kind of trail for
the larger part of nine miles. It was a hard and perilous trip; only
with the greatest difficulty could the horses draw the load through the
heavy mud and over the deeply gullied road. More than once the team
seemed hopelessly stuck, but was extricated after a time and the
toilsome journey continued. At last the bedraggled party reached La
Gloria, and the first women colonists set foot on the soil of the future
Cuban-American city. When the _Yarmouth_ colonists arrived, the Lowells
and Spikers had been living at La Gloria for several weeks; they were
well and happy, and pleased with the climate and the country.



The first few days after our arrival we led a strange and what seemed to
many of us an unreal life. Shut into a small open space by a great
forest, with no elevation high enough for us to see even so much of the
outside world as hills, mountains, or the sea, it almost seemed as if we
had dropped off of the earth to some unknown planet. Day after day
passed without our seeing the horizon, or hearing a locomotive or
steamboat whistle. We had no houses, only tents, and there was not a
wooden building of any sort within a dozen miles. At night the camp was
dimly lighted by flickering fires and the starry sky, and through the
semi-darkness came the hollow, indistinct voices of men discussing the
outlook for the future. There were always some who talked the larger
part of the night, and others who invariably rose at three o'clock in
the morning; this was two hours before light. In the deep forest at
night were heard strange sounds, but high above them all, every night
and the whole of the night, the harsh, complaining note of a certain
bird who seemed to be eternally unreconciled to the departure of day. I
think it was a bird, but it may have been the wail of a lost soul.

It was lonesome there in the wilds of Cuba in those early days of the
new colony, and doubtless there was some home-sickness, but the reader
should not gain the impression that the pioneers were downcast and
unhappy. On the contrary, they were delighted with the climate and the
country, despite the difficulties encountered in entering it and the
deprivations which had to be put up with. From the first, the colonists,
generally speaking, were more than cheerful; they were happy and
contented. Buoyant in spirits, eager to explore and acquire information
concerning the surrounding country, they enjoyed the pioneer life with
the keenest relish. They laughed at the hardships and privations, made
friends with each other and with the Cubans, and tramped the woods and
trails with reckless disregard of mud and water and thorny underbrush.
The men were astonished to find themselves in such excellent health; the
more they exposed themselves, the more they seemed to thrive, until
nearly every man in the colony was ready to say that he was better
physically and mentally than when he left home. It was the same with the
women, whose improved health, entire cheerfulness, and evident
contentment were a revelation to the observer. There are many women who
take as readily to a pioneer life as do the men. This was notably the
case in La Gloria.

The colonists had not come to La Gloria in search of a health resort--at
least, the great majority had not--but that is what they found. Scarcely
had we set foot on the soil of Cuba when those of us who had
catarrh--and what Yankee has not?--found that we no longer suffered from
the affliction. This cure, which proved permanent, was something the
majority of us had not counted on. Nor had we counted on the entire
freedom from colds which we enjoyed in the island. But the cure of
catarrh was of small importance in comparison with the sudden and marked
improvement in those who suffered from nervous diseases. It is not too
much to say, that many found the soothing Cuban climate a specific for
such disease which they had not dreamt of in their philosophy. Those
with kidney ailments and rheumatism reported themselves improved, and
there was not wanting evidence that persons with consumptive tendencies
and other weaknesses would find the air salubrious and a residence in
this part of the island beneficial.

The temperature at this time was delightful, a close approach to
perfection, the thermometer ranging from 70° to 84° at noon, and rarely
falling below 60° at any time of day. It still rained frequently, an
unusual and remarkable prolongation of the rainy season, which
ordinarily ends in November, but the water fell in brief showers and
left the rest of the day bright and clear. Indeed, it was not until
February that the rain ceased altogether and the dry season fairly
began. The Cubans declared that they had never known the wet season to
continue so late.

The long continued rains were held responsible, perhaps justly so, for
many of the inconveniences and drawbacks which the colonists
encountered. The company stoutly declared that to these unusual
meteorological conditions was due the failure to build the road to the
port which had been promised, and that the absence of the road prevented
the transportation of the lumber for the construction of the hotel.
This latter assertion was true beyond all question. The "hotel" was a
subject of much comment and immoderate mirth. It existed on paper in
spacious and imposing elegance; it was a splendid structure of the
imagination. But let it not be thought for one moment that the hotel was
wholly a myth. Not so; the situation would not have been half so funny
if it had been. There stood the foundation for the immense building
squarely across Central avenue, about a quarter of a mile back from the
front line of the town. A large space had been cleared in the forest,
and the centre of this opening was the hotel site. The foundation
consisted of large logs of hard wood, sawed about four feet long and
stood upright. They were set in cement on stone that was sunk slightly
below the surface of the ground. How many of these logs there were I
cannot say, but there was a small army of them, aligned across Central
avenue and extending far to either side. Under the dim light of the
stars they looked like a regiment of dwarfs advancing to attack the
camp. Workmen were putting the finishing touches on this foundation when
we arrived, but the work was soon discontinued altogether, leaving the
wooden army to serve as an outpost of slowly advancing civilization. Of
course, we always directed new arrivals to the "hotel" as soon as they
came in over the "road" from the port! After a while we became so fond
of the hotel joke that I think we should have been sorry to see the
building completed.

[Illustration: "THE HOTEL."

_Photograph by V. K. Van De Venter, Jan. 23, 1900._]

The bad road to the port also cut off all chance of getting the sawmill
up to La Gloria, and it daily became more evident that we should
continue to dwell in tents for some time to come. We were destitute
enough during those first days in the colony. Our trunks had not come,
and did not for several weeks, and many of us were without change of
clothing or even a towel. We washed in a small creek which ran through
the Cuban camp, wiping our hands and faces on handkerchiefs. This and
other creeks served us well for drinking water, and there was also an
excellent spring on the company's reserve north of the town. Very little
freight could be brought up from the port, and hence it was that we were
not over-well supplied with provisions. There was usually enough in
quantity, but the quality was poor and there was a painful lack of
variety. The engineer corps' cook house was hastily enlarged into a
public restaurant upon our arrival, and did the best it could to feed
the hungry colonists. Some of the latter boarded themselves from the
start--purchasing what supplies they could get at the commissary--and
perhaps had a shade the best of it.

I shall never forget my first supper in La Gloria. It was at the
company's restaurant. We were crowded together on long, movable benches,
under a shelter tent. Before us were rough board tables innocent of
cloth. The jejines (gnats or sand flies) swarmed about us, disputing our
food and drink and even the air we breathed. The food was not served in
courses; it came on all at once, and the "all" consisted of cold bread
without butter, macaroni, and tea without milk. There were not even
toothpicks or glasses of water. Amid the struggling humanity, and
regardless of the inhumanity of the jejines (pronounced by the Cubans
"haheens"), my gentlemanly friend from Medfield, Mass., sat at my right
and calmly ate his supper with evident relish. He was fond of macaroni
and tea. Alas! I was not. At home he had been an employé in an insane
asylum. I, alas! had not enjoyed the advantages of such wholesome
discipline. Of that supper I remember three things most distinctly--the
jejines, my friend's fondness for macaroni and tea, and the saintly
patience and good-humor of our waiter, Al Noyes.

It was not long before there was an improvement in the fare, although no
great variety was obtainable. We usually had, however, the best there
was in camp. The staples were salt beef, bacon, beans, and sweet
potatoes or yams, and we sometimes had fresh pork (usually wild hog),
fried plantains, and thin, bottled honey. We often had oatmeal or corn
meal mush, and occasionally we rejoiced in a cook whose culinary talent
comprehended the ability to make fritters. The bread was apt to be good,
and we had Cuban coffee three times a day. We had no butter, and only
condensed milk. It was considerably later, when I ate at the chief
engineer's table, that we feasted on flamingo and increased our muscular
development by struggling with old goat. If it had been Chattey's goat,
no one would have complained, but unfortunately it was not. Chattey was
our cook, and he kept several goats, one of which had a pernicious habit
of hanging around the dining tent. One day, just before dinner, he was
discovered sitting on a pie in the middle of the table, greedily eating
soup out of a large dish. Chattey's goat was a British goat, and had no
respect for the Constitution of the United States or the table etiquette
which obtained in the first American colony in Cuba. The soup was
dripping from Billy's whiskers, which he had not even taken the trouble
to wipe. It is certain that British goats have no table manners.

[Illustration: THE SPRING.

_Photograph by V. K. Van De Venter, Jan. 23, 1900._]

But I am getting ahead of my story. The condition of the road to the
port was so bad for some time after our arrival that it was barely
possible to get up sufficient provisions to supply the daily needs of
the camp, to say nothing of other freight. We were in need of almost
everything to furnish our tents or to begin agricultural operations.
There was, to be sure, the "commissary," where the company had
confidently assured us in its advertising literature "every necessary
article from a plough to a knitting needle" would be on sale "at the
most reasonable prices." As a matter of fact, the commissary was almost
as bare as the famous cupboard of old Mother Hubbard, and of the
commodities that were stored there, very few seemed to be for sale to
the colonists. After several ineffectual attempts to get what I wanted,
I entered the commissary tent one day to make a test case. Of Mr.
Richardson, the man in charge, I blandly inquired:

"Can I get a tin pail?"

"No," with a gentle shake of the head.

"Can I get any kind of a pail?"

"No," with another shake.

"Can I get a tin pan or a wash basin?"

"No," with a shake.

"Can I get a tin dish or an earthen dish or a wooden dish?"

"No," with more shakes.

"Can I buy a tin cup or an earthen mug?"

"No," with a vigorous shake.

"Can I buy a knife, fork, or spoon?"

"No, no," with two quick shakes.

"Can I buy a piece of cloth of any kind?"

"No, sir," stiffly.

"Can I buy an empty box?"

"No, sir, you can't--need 'em all ourselves."

"Is there anything that you have got to sell?" I inquired meekly.

"Well, there is some mosquito netting over there."

I had mosquito netting--but mosquito netting did not make a very good
drinking utensil. I left the commissary without inquiring for a plough
or a knitting needle.

The population of La Gloria fluctuated greatly during the first week
after our advent. Our arrival and the additions of the following day had
brought the total population of the camp up to at least three hundred.
The wet and muddy trails, and the backwardness of all improvements,
increased enormously the feeling of distrust among the colonists, and
some began to loudly question the security of titles. This alarm, which
ultimately proved to be entirely unfounded, kept the camp in a ferment
for a day or two. Oceans of discussion were indulged in, Mr. Park was
closely and warmly questioned, and there was a general feeling of
uneasiness and unrest. The result was that when the last half of the
week had begun, La Gloria had suffered a loss of nearly one hundred of
its population. Discouraged and disgusted men made their way back to the
coast, hoping to get transportation to Nuevitas, and thence back to
their respective homes. There was a delay at Port La Gloria, and a few
remained there until they had made up their minds to return to the camp.
The others went on to Nuevitas, but were unable to secure
transportation at once to the States. The consequence was that nearly or
quite one half eventually returned to La Gloria, straggling in from time
to time.

As the week drew to a close the town quieted down, the restless spirits
having departed. Those of us who remained either had faith in the
ultimate success of the project, or were at least disposed to give the
enterprise a fair trial. We were not easily stampeded; and we placed
some reliance on Senator Park's positive assurance that the deeds would
be all right. We saw, of course, that the company's affairs had been
badly managed, and that promised improvements had not as yet
materialized, but, on the other hand, we had learned from personal
observation that the land was good, the timber valuable, the drinking
water pure and abundant, and the climate delightful beyond description.
The most of those who returned to the States with harrowing tales either
never got as far as La Gloria at all, or else spent less than
forty-eight hours in the camp. The majority of the colonists cheerfully
stuck by the colony, and laughed at the untruthful and exaggerated
newspaper stories as they were sent down to us from the frozen North.



The chief of the immediate problems which confronted the colonists and
the officers of the company was the allotment of the land. The company
had purchased it, or secured options on it, in large tracts, some of
these tracts containing over ten thousand acres each. The colonists had
contracted for it in small holdings, varying from a town lot, 25 x 100
feet in size, to a forty-acre tract of plantation land. No more than
forty acres were sold to any one on a single contract. The contracts
which could be made were, respectively, as follows: Town lots, three
sizes, 25 x 100 feet, 50 x 100, and 50 x 150; plantation land, 2-1/2
acres, 5 acres, 10 acres, 20 acres, and 40 acres. The purchaser paid in
full or on monthly instalments, as he preferred, being allowed a
discount of ten per cent. for cash. According to the terms of the
contracts, he did not purchase the land at all, but bought stock in a
coöperative company and the land was a gift to him. However, the
coöperative company feature was always in the background in the mind of
the colonist, and he felt that he was buying the land and almost
invariably so termed the transaction. It was the land he had his eye on,
and his present anxiety was to have a good piece promptly allotted to

At the company's headquarters in New York, no plan of subdivision had
been formulated further than a general promise in advertising circulars
to allot the land in the order of the numbers of the contracts. At first
glance, this seemed both fair and feasible, but once on the ground at La
Gloria, some very formidable difficulties loomed up. Of the four or five
thousand persons who had invested up to that time less than three
hundred were at La Gloria, and there was not in Cuba even a list of the
people who had made contracts with the company, to say nothing of their
respective holdings and the status of their payments. No such list could
be obtained from New York under several weeks or perhaps months, and
when obtained would be of little value for the reason that there could
not possibly be land enough surveyed by that time to allot one half of
the thousands of investors. Surveying in this dense tropical forest was
necessarily slow work, and progress had been impeded by the
long-continued rains.

It was manifestly impossible to make a general allotment of the land at
once, and yet it was essential that the colonists who had actually
arrived on the spot should be given their tracts promptly and permitted
to go to work upon them. The life of the colony seemed to hinge on
action of this sort. Quite early the company had stated that the
subdivision would be made about January 1, and when General Van der
Voort arrived in New York in the latter part of December, he assured the
colonists who were preparing to sail with him to Cuba that they should
have their land by January 15. This promise was carried out to the
letter, and was the only rational course of action that could be pursued
under the existing circumstances. It undoubtedly saved the colony at
what was a critical stage. During the voyage down, the colonists on
board the _Yarmouth_ were greatly exercised over the method of
allotment; that is to say, many of them were, while others declared that
they would be satisfied if they only got their land promptly. General
Van der Voort gave the subject much anxious consideration, seeking to
devise a plan which should be at once just and practical. He finally
decided that the fairest and best thing to do was to place the matter in
the hands of a committee of the colonists, giving them the power to
prescribe the method of allotment within certain limitations, subject to
the approval of the colonists on the ground. The general described this
as the "town-meeting" principle, and his decision gave entire
satisfaction to the pioneers.

General Van der Voort arrived in La Gloria Thursday, January 11, having
remained behind at Nuevitas to see the baggage of the colonists through
the custom house. This accomplished, he took passage for La Gloria on
board the lighter carrying the trunks, etc. The voyage was not a smooth
one. The boat came near being wrecked in the rough sea, and suffered the
loss of its rudder. Finally an anchorage was effected about a dozen
miles from the La Gloria shore, and General Van der Voort and others
were taken off in a small boat. The trunks and other baggage were not
landed until nearly a week later, and it was several weeks before much
of the luggage reached La Gloria city. The contents of many of the
trunks suffered serious damage from water and mould, although in some
cases the things came through entirely uninjured.

General Van der Voort rode from Port La Gloria to the camp on horseback,
a hard trip, for the road had not improved. The mud and water and debris
made it a slow and exhausting journey. He assumed charge of the
company's business in the colony at once. Arrangements were made for a
prompt allotment of the land, and a committee of nine colonists, with
Dr. W. P. Peirce of Hoopeston, Ill., as chairman, was chosen to devise a
plan of distribution. After several prolonged sessions, the committee
unanimously reported a scheme by which those present should select their
land from the official map in the order of the priority of their
purchases. After these, the investors having authorized representatives
on the ground, the latter holding powers of attorney, were to have their
chance. In this second class, also, priority of purchase governed the
order of selection. The report further provided that the investor should
be allowed a second choice if he found his land to be unsatisfactory.
This plan, which I believed then and believe now was the best that could
have been devised, was adopted by the colonists with but a single
dissenting vote.

On Saturday, January 13, the allotment began, in what was known as
headquarters tent. The committee which had formulated the plan of
distribution was in charge, assisted by Chief Engineer Kelly, Architect
Neff, and others. The town lots were given out first, and by night
nearly all who were entitled to make selections in these classes had
been served. The town lot distribution was completed Monday morning, the
15th. The town was one mile square, and had been laid out and surveyed
under the supervision of M. A. Custer Neff, civil engineer and
architect. It was traversed and counter-traversed by streets and
avenues, appropriately named. These were as yet, for the most part, only
surveyors' paths cut through the forest, but they were much used as
thoroughfares to reach town lots and the plantation lands beyond. They
were rough roads, filled with mud, water, stumps, stubble, and roots,
but with the advent of the dry season they became more easily passable.
The highway running through the centre of the town to and from the coast
was known as Central avenue, and the road passing through the centre at
right angles was called Dewey street. Around the intersecting point, the
exact centre of the town, space had been reserved for a large plaza.
Central avenue and Dewey street were each designed to be one hundred
feet wide, and were naturally the paths most used by the colonists. The
former actually extended from the rear line of the town northward to the
bay, five miles away, while the latter continued from the side lines of
the town out into the plantation lands to the east and west. The town
site was well chosen. It has a fair elevation above the sea, a firm,
hard soil, with steadily rising ground. The front line of the town is
about twenty feet above tidewater; the centre about one hundred feet,
and the rear line nearly or quite two hundred feet. Around the town was
a belt of land a quarter of a mile wide reserved by the company; then
came the plantations on every side.

When the committee finished the allotment of town lots on the morning of
January 15, it was found that nearly five hundred lots had been taken up
out of a total in all classes of about three thousand six hundred. The
colonists had not been slow in selecting corner lots, and the lots on
Central avenue and those facing the plaza on all sides were early
preëmpted. The colonists had faith that a real city would rise on the
chosen site. When the demand for town lots had been satisfied, the
committee began at once to give out the plantation land. The choice was
necessarily restricted to about eight or ten thousand acres to the west,
southwest, and northwest of the town, which was all that had been
surveyed up to that time. When this condition was discovered by the
colonists, the unsurveyed land to the north, south, and east began,
naturally enough, to appear far more desirable in the eyes of the
investors than that which had been surveyed to the westward, and some
refused to make a selection at all, preferring delay to a restricted
choice. The great majority, however, mindful that they were privileged
to change if the land was not satisfactory, went ahead and made their
selections. As a matter of fact, the surveyed tract to the westward was
probably as good as any, all of the land held by the company being rich
and highly productive.

The first man to choose his plantation was Dr. W. P. Peirce of
Hoopeston, Ill., who, it so chanced, was chairman of the committee on
allotment. Dr. Peirce's contract was No. 2, and it was dated in January,
1899. But few contracts were made before April of that year. Contract
No. 1 was not on the ground, and no one present knew who was the
holder. The allotment was well conducted, and went on quite rapidly. It
was eagerly watched by a large group of interested spectators,
impatiently awaiting their turn. Some tried to extract inside
information from the surveyors, who were supposed to know the relative
value of every square foot of the land, but the majority either made
their choice blindly, with knowledge of nothing save the proximity of
the tract to the town, or trusted to the meagre information they had
acquired regarding the character of the land in different localities
during their tramps in the few days since their arrival.

It was a strange scene. Men of all ages and occupations, coming from
nearly every one of the United States, and several other countries,
strangers until a few days before, were crowded together in a large
tent, each anxious to do the best possible for himself, and yet in few
instances discourteous to his neighbor. It was a good-natured,
well-behaved crowd, and there was no friction in the proceedings. The
colonists were satisfied that the plan of allotment was a fair one;
there was no complaint about anything except the restricted choice.
Monday night saw the allotment well advanced, and Tuesday it was
finished. Everybody then on the ground who wished to make a selection
for himself or those whom he represented had been accommodated, and the
committee's duties were at an end. Nearly seven thousand acres of
plantation land had been allotted.

[Illustration: ROBERT C. BEAUSEJOUR.

(_One of the Early Colonists._)]

As soon as they had selected their land from the map the colonists
scurried out into the surrounding country to find it. The woods were
full of men hunting their plantations. It was no easy matter to find
them, since there was nothing to go by but the numbered stakes of the
surveyors. These were anything but plain guides to the uninitiated, and
even the more understanding were sometimes baffled by reason of
indistinct figures or missing stakes. The result was that many viewed
other people's land for their own, while some, conscious of their
helplessness, gave up the search for the time being. The majority,
however, found their land with no more difficulty than was inevitable in
a long tramp through the rough and muddy paths of a jungle. The
mosquitoes kept us company, and the parrots scolded us from overhead,
but there were no wild beasts or venomous snakes to be dreaded. Probably
there are no tropical forests in the world so safe as those of Cuba;
one may sleep in them night after night without fear of death or
disease. This is true, at least, of the country within a radius of forty
miles from La Gloria, as I can testify from personal experience and

In most cases the colonists were pleased with their land when they found
it, and the changes were comparatively few. A little of the lowest land
was more or less under water, but even this was rarely given up, the
holders discovering that it was very rich, and realizing that it would
be all right in the dry season, and that it could be drained for the
wet. Some experienced men from Florida showed a decided preference for
this land, and later it developed that their judgment was good. This
lowest land was of black soil; that slightly higher was apt to be
yellow, and the highest red or chocolate. All these different colored
soils were embraced in the allotment which had been made, and they all
represented good land. The colonists could never agree as to which was
the best. Undoubtedly some were superior for certain purposes to others,
but all appeared to be fertile and gave promise of being very
productive. The black and yellow soils were almost entirely free from
stone, while the red and chocolate had some, but seldom enough to do any
harm. The colonists set to work with energy clearing their town lots,
and a few began work at once on their plantations. The colony was soon a
busy hive of industry.




After the middle of January and the beginning of the allotment of the
land, the population of La Gloria began to "pick up" somewhat. Colonists
who had been lingering at Nuevitas, and some new ones who had come down
from the States by the Munson line, would straggle in from time to time.
People were coming and going almost every day, but the balance was in
favor of the colony and the population slowly but surely increased.
Among the new arrivals were quite a number of women and children. About
January 20 the advance guard of the colonists who had come on the second
excursion of the _Yarmouth_ made its appearance. On this trip the
_Yarmouth_ brought about sixty passengers, the majority of whom finally
got up to La Gloria. More would have come if Nuevitas at that time had
not been a hotbed of misrepresentation regarding conditions in the new
colony. All the unfavorable features were grossly and ridiculously
exaggerated, while stories of starvation, sickness, and death were
poured into the ears of new arrivals until many an intending colonist
became convinced that it would be taking his life in his hand for him to
make even the briefest visit to La Gloria. Such is the tendency of human
nature to exaggerate, and to build a big sensation out of a small

People who had never seen La Gloria were the ones whose representations
seemed to be most credited in the States and by the new arrivals
therefrom. I saw a letter received by one of the company's officials at
La Gloria from a woman in Asbury Park, N. J., who was nearly crazed by
anxiety for her youngest son, who was then in the colony. She had heard
frequently from her oldest son, who had been in La Gloria with the
survey corps for several months, and he had always written very
favorably of the place, so she said, but she had lately seen an Asbury
Park man who had returned from Nuevitas and he had told a terrible story
of suffering and danger in the colony. The woman's letter showed clearly
that she discredited the accounts of her son and accepted those of the
man who had brought back a harrowing tale. Why she credited the story of
a man who never got further than Nuevitas in preference to that of her
own son, who had been at La Gloria for months, I never could understand,
especially as the latter was an intelligent and apparently perfectly
reliable young man. Doubtless mortals are predisposed to believe the
worst. I looked up the woman's youngest son, and found him well and
happy, and ready to join with his brother in speaking favorably of La


_Photograph by V. K. Van De Venter, Jan. 23, 1900._]

Meanwhile, we were living contentedly in La Gloria, enjoying excellent
health and suffering no serious discomfort, and laughing in uproarious
glee over the sensational articles which appeared in many of the
newspapers of the States. With no little surprise we learned from the
great newspapers of the United States that we were "marooned in a Cuban
swamp," suffering from "malaria and starvation," and "dying of yellow
fever and smallpox." As a matter of fact, at that time there had not
been a single death or one case of serious sickness. The health of the
colonists remained good through the winter, the spring, and even the
following summer.

Indeed, the colonists had but few grievances, so few that they would
sometimes manufacture them out of trifles. Of such was the "sugar riot"
with its laughable and harmonious ending. One day in the latter part of
January, when the arrival of provisions was barely keeping pace with the
arrival of colonists, a small invoice of sugar was brought into La
Gloria over the bad road from the port. Scarcely had it been unloaded at
the commissary when the head of the engineer corps took possession of
about half of it for the surveyors and the boarders at their table, and
gave orders that the other half should be turned over to the Cuban
workmen of the company. The carrying out of this order aroused great
indignation among the colonists who were boarding themselves and had run
out of sugar, as most of them had. This action of the amateur "sugar
trust" caused certain of the colonists to sour, so to speak, on all of
the officers and chief employés of the company, for the time being, at
least, and mutterings, "not loud but deep," were heard all about the
camp. Not that there was danger of a sanguinary conflict, but a war of
words seemed imminent. The "era of good feeling" was threatened.

A day or two later, on the evening of Saturday, January 27, a meeting of
the colonists was held preparatory to the organization of a pioneer
association, and it was arranged among some of the leading spirits in
the sugar agitation that at the close of this session the saccharine
grievance should be publicly aired. The gathering was held around a
camp-fire in the open air, in front of headquarters tent. The regularly
called meeting adjourned early, with a feeling of excited expectancy in
the air. Something was about to happen. The officers of the company on
the ground, it was understood, were to be raked over the coals for
favoring the Cubans and thus perpetrating an outrage on the colonists.
The colonists whose tempers had been kept sweet by a sufficiency of
sugar lingered around in the pleasant anticipation of witnessing an
_opera bouffe_.

But it was the unexpected that happened. Just as the sugar orators were
preparing to orate, a man with muddy boots pushed through the crowd and
entered headquarters tent. A moment later the stalwart form of Colonel
Maginniss emerged from the tent, and in his hand he bore a slip of
paper. It was a cablegram from New York, which had just been brought in
from Nuevitas, announcing the election of General Van der Voort as
president of the Cuban Land and Steamship Company. When the dispatch
had been read to the crowd, there was silence for an instant, and then
the air was rent with cheers. There had never been any question about
General Van der Voort's popularity. The colonists had full faith in his
honesty and devotion to the colony, and hence looked upon his election
to the presidency of the company as the best possible security for the
success of the enterprise. They had been distrustful of the management
of the company; the choice for the new president inspired them with
renewed hope and confidence. It was the unanimous opinion that it was
the best thing that could have happened. He was the right man in the
right place; he was in La Gloria to stay, and reckoned himself as a
colonist among them.

The sugar agitators forgot that their coffee had not been sweetened for
forty-eight hours, and joined heartily in the cheering. In fact, all who
had "come to scoff remained to pray," so to speak. It was voted to send
a cablegram to the New York office announcing the deep satisfaction of
the colonists in the choice made for president. General Van der Voort
responded to calls and made an excellent speech.

A little later in the evening there was a big demonstration in honor of
the significant event. More than anything else it resembled a Fourth of
July celebration. Bonfires were lighted and salutes fired, and the air
of La Gloria resounded with cheers. The Cubans came over from their
camp, and after the Americans had got through, started in for a
celebration of their own. This was partly because of their fondness for
General Van der Voort and partly on account of their childish love of
noise and display. The colonists became convinced that night that if the
Cubans ever become American citizens they will be equal to all of the
Fourth of July requirements. The noise they made double discounted that
made by the colonists. They cheered and shouted and fired salutes by the
hundred. They marched up and down the main street, singing and laughing
and blowing conch shells. They freed Cuba over again, and had a rattling
good time in doing it. It seemed as if the racket would never end, but
about midnight they went jabbering back to their camp. It was the
noisiest night in the history of La Gloria. But the "sugar riot" was
averted, and never took place.



Among the dozen women in the camp, the most striking figure was Mrs.
Moller, a Danish widow, who came from one of the states, Pennsylvania, I
believe. I cannot say exactly when she reached La Gloria, but she was
one of the earliest of her sex to arrive, and achieved the distinction
of building the first house in the "city." Speaking of sex, it was not
easy to determine that of Mrs. Moller upon a casual acquaintance. Slight
of figure, with bronzed face and close-cut hair, she wore a boy's cap,
blouse, trousers, a very short skirt, and rubber boots, while her belt
fairly bristled with revolvers and knives. She was a quiet,
imperturbable person, however, and it was difficult to get her to relate
her adventures, which had been somewhat extraordinary.

She first came into La Gloria from Palota, where she landed from a boat
with no other company than her trunk. There was not a living person at
or near Palota, so, deserting her baggage, she started out afoot and
alone, and attempted to make her way along the muddy and difficult trail
nine miles to La Gloria. It was a hard road to travel, with scarcely a
habitation along the way. Late in the afternoon she reached an inhabited
shack, and the Cubans invited her to spend the night. Although weary,
she declined the invitation, and pressed on. Darkness soon overtook her,
but still she kept on through the dense woods. The trail was exceedingly
rough, and she stumbled along among stumps, roots, and muddy gullies.
Every few steps she fell down, and finally becoming exhausted, she was
compelled to spend the night in the heart of the forest. She had no
shelter whatever, and no means of making a fire. She sat in the woods
all night, not being able to go to sleep, her only company being the
mosquitoes. In the morning she found she had lost her way, but at last
struck a Cuban trail, and was overtaken by a native horseman. He kindly
gave her a place in front of him on his pony, and thus she entered the
youthful city of La Gloria.

Nor was this Mrs. Moller's last adventure. She had an extraordinary
faculty for getting into trouble. Her trunk, which she had abandoned at
Palota, was rifled by some one, probably a wandering Cuban, and she
spent much time in traveling about the country seeking to get the
authorities to hunt up the offender and recover the stolen goods. On one
occasion she started in the early evening to walk into La Gloria from
the port. When she had got about half way darkness came on and she lost
the indistinct trail across the savanna. Not daring to go further, she
roosted in a tree all night. Her idea in taking to the tree was that the
mosquitoes would be less numerous at such an elevation, but she did not
escape them altogether. Nothing serious happened and she turned up in
camp all right the next morning. Mrs. Moller had no better luck when she
rode than when she walked. At one time, while driving from Las Minas to
Nuevitas in a wagon with another colonist, the team went over an
embankment in the darkness and was so badly damaged that she and her
companion were obliged to walk into Nuevitas, twelve or fifteen miles
distant, along the railroad track. The journey was neither easy nor


But Mrs. Moller had both pluck and enterprise. She it was who built the
first house in La Gloria, a log cabin far up in the woods on Central
avenue. It was put up in the latter part of January. She employed an
American and a Cuban to construct it, and had it covered with a canvas
roof. She personally supervised the erection of the house, and when it
was done planted sunflowers, banana trees, pineapples, etc., around it.
She lived here alone for some time before she had any near neighbors.
Mrs. Moller also enjoyed the distinction of owning the first cow, the
first calf, and the first goat in La Gloria. As these animals roamed at
large much of the time and were noisy, disorderly beasts, they were
anything but popular in the colony. They were so destructive to planted
things, that the threats to plant the cow and her unhappy offspring were
numerous and oft-repeated, and the subject was discussed in more than
one meeting of the Pioneer Association. It was said that Mrs. Moller had
come to La Gloria with the idea of starting a dairy business, and it was
further reported that she had taken the first prize for dairy butter at
the World's Fair in Chicago. But the dairy did not materialize, and La
Gloria long went butterless.

It was a standing wonder with us that the Rural Guards did not disarm
Mrs. Moller. They frequently met her as she traveled about the country,
and must have seen that she carried deadly weapons. They did not relieve
her of them, however, but the American authorities at La Gloria finally
forbade her to wear her revolvers about the camp. It must not be thought
that Mrs. Moller always dressed as I have described her. On state
occasions, such as Sunday services and the regular Saturday night
meetings of the Pioneer Association, she doffed her blue blouse and
rubber boots, and came out with a jacket and the most immaculate
starched and stiff bloomers, gorgeous in light and bright colors. At
such times she was a wonder to behold. Mrs. Moller spoke broken English,
and was not greatly given to talking except when she had business on

But if Mrs. Moller was the most striking figure in camp, the most
ubiquitous and irrepressible person was Mrs. Horn of South Bend,
Indiana. She was one of the earliest arrivals in La Gloria, coming in
with two sons and a daughter, but without her husband. Mrs. Horn was a
loud-voiced, good-natured woman, who would have tipped the scales at
about two hundred and fifty pounds, provided there had been any scales
in La Gloria to be tipped. She reached La Gloria before the _Yarmouth_
colonists, but how is something of a mystery. It is known, however, that
she waded in through miles of mud and water, and was nothing daunted by
the experience. Never for a moment did she think of turning back, and
when she had pitched her tent, she announced in a high, shrill voice
that penetrated the entire camp, that she was in the colony to stay.
She had lived in South Bend, Ind., and thought she could stand anything
that might come to her in La Gloria.

Mrs. Horn claimed to be able to do anything and go anywhere that a man
could, and no one was inclined to dispute the assertion. She had the
temperament which never gets "rattled," and when she woke up one night
and found a brook four inches deep and a foot wide running through her
tent she was not in the least disconcerted. In the morning she used it
to wash her dishes in. She continued to make use of it until it dried up
a day or two later. One of Mrs. Horn's distinctions was that she was the
first woman to take a sea bath at Port La Gloria, walking the round trip
of eight miles to do so. She was both a good walker and a good swimmer.
She was delighted with La Gloria and Cuba. Her sons were nearly
man-grown, and her daughter was about twelve years of age. It was one of
the diversions of the camp to hear Mrs. Horn call Edna at a distance of
a quarter of a mile or more. Mrs. Horn may unhesitatingly be set down as
a good colonist. Though at times too voluble, perhaps, she was
energetic, patient, kind-hearted, and generous.

When the colonists who came on the _Yarmouth_ first arrived in La Gloria
many of them were eager for hunting and fishing, but the sport of
hunting wild hogs very soon received a setback. An Englishman by the
name of Curtis and two or three others went out to hunt for big game.
After a rough and weary tramp of many miles, they suddenly came in sight
of a whole drove of hogs. They had traveled so far without seeing any
game, that they could scarcely believe their eyes, but they recovered
themselves and blazed away. The result was that they trudged into camp
some hours later triumphantly shouldering the carcasses of three young
pigs. The triumph of the hunters was short-lived, however. The next
morning an indignant Cuban rode into camp with fire in his eye and a
keen edge on his machete. He was in search of the "Americanos" who shot
his pigs. He soon found them and could not be mollified until he was
paid eight dollars in good American money. The next day the same Cuban
rode into camp with a dead pig on his horse in front of him. This was
larger than the others, and the man wanted seventeen dollars for it.
Curtis, _et al._, did not know whether they shot the animal or not, but
they paid the "hombre" twelve dollars. The following day the Cuban again
appeared bringing another deceased porker. This was a full grown hog,
and its owner fixed its value at twenty dollars. Again he got his money,
and the carcass as well. How much longer the Cuban would have continued
to bring in dead pigs, had he not been made to understand that he would
get no more money, cannot be stated. To this day, Curtis and his friends
do not know whether they actually killed all those pigs. What they are
sure of is that there is small difference in the appearance of wild hogs
and those which the Cubans domesticate. And this is why the hunting of
wild hogs became an unpopular sport in La Gloria.

The colony had its mild excitements now and again. One evening there was
long continued firing of guns and blowing of conch shells in that corner
of the camp where the surveyors had their tents. Inquiring the cause, we
learned that three surveyors were lost in the woods and that the noise
was being made to inform them of the location of the camp. The men, who
had come to Cuba as colonists, had separated from the surveying party
just before dark and attempted to make a short cut back to the camp.
They had been at work in a low, wet section two or three miles northwest
of the town, and their progress homeward was necessarily slow. They had
not proceeded far when it became perfectly dark and it was borne in upon
them that "cutting across lots" in a Cuban forest was quite a different
matter from doing it in some of the States. They were obliged to suspend
travel and hold up for the night. Although they could faintly hear the
reports of the guns in the camp they were unable to make their way in
through the thick woods. The men were without food or anything for
shelter. Having an axe with them, they chopped down a tree, to keep them
from the wet ground, and attempted to sleep upon its branches. The hard
bed and the numerous mosquitoes were not conducive to sleep, but the
tired fellows finally succumbed. When they awoke in the morning, one of
them found that he had slipped down and was lying with his legs in the
water. Not long after daylight they came into camp wet, tired, and
hungry. It was no uncommon thing for surveyors to get lost, but nothing
serious ever resulted.



I am often asked, "How did you get along with the Cubans?" very much as
inquiry might be made as to how we got along with the Apaches, or with
the Modocs; and one man said, decidedly, "I think I might like Cuba, but
I could never stand those Cubans." He had never seen a Cuban, I believe.

We got along with the Cubans very well indeed, much better than with
some of our neighbors in the States. Judging from our experience with
the inhabitants of the province of Puerto Principe, there are no better
people on the face of the earth to "get along with" than the Cubans. We
found them, almost without exception, courteous, social, kind,
hospitable, and honest. Indeed, it sometimes seemed as if there was
nothing they would not do for us that lay within their power. They
appeared to appreciate kind and fair treatment, and to be eager to
return the same to us. Those we came in contact with were mainly of the
humbler classes, but we saw nothing to indicate that those higher in
the social scale were less friendly and considerate. The Cubans we met
seemed to like the Americans, and the colonists certainly reciprocated
the feeling. After a residence of nearly a year among them, Hon. Peter
E. Park emphatically declared that there was as little meanness in the
Cubans as in any class of people he had ever fallen in with, and many
other Americans in La Gloria echoed this sentiment.

I can easily conceive that under abuse the Cubans would exhibit some
very disagreeable and dangerous qualities, but what people of spirit
does not under such circumstances? Self-control is not a marked
characteristic of the Cuban, and he is apt to revenge himself upon his
enemy in any way he can at the earliest opportunity. But with kind and
just treatment, he is your friend, and very good friends we found these
Cubans--we of the colony at La Gloria. Among themselves they are an
easy-going, good-natured, talkative people, and they display these same
qualities to foreigners who approach them rightly. Rude they never are,
but they sometimes show a childish sullenness when offended. Strong in
their likes and dislikes, they often exhibit no little devotion to
those whom they esteem or respect, and I believe them to be quite as
reliable and trustworthy as the average among the inhabitants of the
tropics. I have heard it said that the Cubans of some of the other
provinces do not compare favorably with those of Puerto Principe, which
may be true; yet I cannot help thinking that the race as a whole has
been much maligned. Under a strong, just government I believe they would
prove to be excellent citizens, but I do not expect that they will soon
develop much administrative ability.

Some writers and travelers have done the Cubans justice, but many
obviously have not. The soldiers of the United States army have an
unconcealed dislike for them, which the Cubans, naturally enough,
ardently reciprocate. Perhaps the soldiers expect too much homage from a
people upon whom they feel they conferred the priceless boon of liberty.
At all events, in many cases where there has been bad blood between the
two, it is easy to believe that the soldiers were the most to blame, for
the Cubans as we met them were anything but aggressive. Many a Yankee
could take lessons of them in the noble art of minding one's own

So much for the character of the Cubans. Less can be said for their
style of living, which in the rural districts and some parts of the
cities is primitive to the verge of squalor. In the country around La
Gloria it was no uncommon thing to find a Cuban who owned hundreds or
thousands of acres of land--most of it uncultivated, to be sure--living
in a small, palm-thatched hut with no other floor than the hard red
soil. The house would be furnished in the scantiest way, a rude wooden
table, a few chairs, and perhaps a rough bench or two. Often there would
be no beds other than hammocks, no stoves, and sometimes not even a
fireplace of any description. The meals, such as they were, would be
cooked in the open front of the shack over a fire usually built on the
ground. Occasionally the enclosed room which formed the rear of the
shack would have an uneven board floor, but there were never any carpets
or rugs, or even a matting of any sort. Of course there was no paint or
varnish, and very little color about the place save the brown of the dry
thatch on the roof and the brick-red grime from the soil which colored,
or discolored, everything it came in contact with like a pigment. This
red stain was astonishingly in evidence everywhere. It was to be seen
upon the poles which supported the hut, on all of the furniture, upon
the clothing of the inmates, and even upon their persons. It looked like
red paint, and evidently was about as hard to get off. The huge wheels
of the bullock carts seemed to be painted with it, and the mahogany and
cedar logs hauled out of the forest took on the color. In a walking trip
to the city of Puerto Principe I passed through a region about twenty
miles from La Gloria where nearly all the trees along the road were
colored as evenly for about two feet from the ground as if their trunks
had been carefully painted red. My companions and I pondered over this
matter for some time and finally arrived at the opinion that wild hogs,
or possibly a large drove of domesticated swine, had rolled in the red
dust of the highway and then rubbed up against the neighboring trees.
They were colored to about the height of a hog's back. This seemed to be
the only reasonable explanation, and is undoubtedly the true one. This
region was close to the Cubitas mountains, where the Cuban insurgents
long had their capital and kept their cattle to supply the army in the
field; it may be that they had also large droves of hogs which roamed
through the near-by country.

The Cuban homes as I found them in the rural districts around La Gloria
were not ornamented with books and pictures. Sometimes, to be sure,
there would be a few lithographs tacked up, and I had reason to believe
that the houses were not wholly destitute of books, but they were never
in evidence. The things that were always in evidence were children,
chickens, and dogs, and often pigs and goats. There was a democracy
about the domestic economy of the household that must have been highly
flattering to the chickens, dogs, pigs, etc. They always had all the
rights and privileges that the children or even the adults had. I have
seen a two-year-old child and a cat eating contentedly out of the same

[Illustration: FRANK J. O'REILLY.

(_One of the Early Colonists._)]

But if the children were always in evidence, their clothing oftentimes
was not. Nothing is more common in Cuba than to see young children in
unabashed nakedness. Their nudity is complete, and their unconsciousness
absolute. In nature's garb they toddle along some of the streets of the
cities, and in the rural districts they may be seen in the same
condition in and around their humble homes. Naked babies lie kicking in
hammocks or more quietly in their mothers' arms, and naked children
run about at play. I once stopped at a shack to get coffee, and while
waiting in the open front of the "casa" for its preparation, was
surrounded by a bevy of bright little children who had neglected to put
on their clothes. At last it seemed to occur to a pretty four-year-old
girl that she was not properly attired for company, so she sat down on
the dirt floor and pulled on a slipper! She appeared somewhat disturbed
at not being able to find its mate, and hunted quite a while for it, but
finally gave up the search and accepted the situation, evidently
concluding that a single shoe was clothing enough in which to receive
even such distinguished guests as "Americanos." With the adult members
of the family, also, this nakedness of the children passes as a matter
of course. The climate is so mild that clothing is not demanded, but I
caught myself wondering if insects never bite Cubans.

The Cubans are rather an abstemious people. They care little for their
food and are not given to excessive drinking. Those in the country
around La Gloria lived chiefly on pork, stewed beans, rice, and boniatos
(sweet potatoes). It is a mistaken idea that they do not eat much meat;
they eat a great deal of pork in all forms, and seem to be equally fond
of wild hog and the domesticated animal. As a matter of fact, there is
small difference between the two. Both are "razor backs", and have
practically no fat on them. The flesh tastes about as much like beef as
it does like the fatted pork of New England swine. The Cubans keep a
good deal of poultry, but from personal observation I cannot say that
they eat much of it. The hens and the eggs are small, but the former
sell for one dollar apiece and the latter for about forty cents a dozen.
The Cubans in the rural parts of the province of Puerto Principe eat
very little beef, but this may be because it is not easy to get it,
while lamb and mutton are unheard of. The Cubans make excellent coffee
of their own raising, which they invariably drink without milk. Coffee
alone forms the early breakfast, the substantial breakfast being at ten
o'clock, and the dinner (la comida) at three or four o'clock. There is
nothing to eat after this, but there may be coffee in the evening. In
fact, the Cubans are liable to drink coffee at any hour of the day, and
they always wind up their two regular meals with it. They are fond of
sweets, particularly a sort of preserved orange (dulce naranja). It may
be that they eat fresh fruit, but when I do not know, for I never saw a
Cuban eating an orange, a banana, or a pineapple. These they sold to us
at rather excessive prices. The Cubans nearly all drink, but very little
at a time, and rarely get drunk. Their favorite drinks are wine, rum,
and brandy (aguardiente). In a holiday week in the city of Puerto
Principe, the only two men I saw intoxicated were Americans. One was a
soldier, the other a camp follower.

The Cubans of the rural districts did not appear to be religious,
although there was apt to be a rude wooden cross fixed in the ground in
front of their dwellings, possibly with a superstitious idea of thus
averting evil. These crosses were nothing more than a slender pole,
eight or ten feet high, stripped of its bark, with a cross piece near
the top. They were dry and weather beaten, and looked more like a roost
for birds than a religious emblem. Smaller wooden crosses were to be
found in the little graveyards that we occasionally came upon. These
seldom contained more than two or three graves, which were unmarked by
any visible name or inscription. In the villages there were, of course,
larger cemeteries, but the country I am writing of was very sparsely
settled, averaging scarcely more than one or two families to the square

The natives appeared to have very few amusements. They hunted somewhat,
and in the villages and cities had occasional dances of rather a weird
character. They had cock fights, too, I suppose, but these did not seem
to be a feature of the country life about us. The rural Cuban spends
much of his time in riding about the country on his patient and
intelligent pony, buying supplies and disposing of his small produce.
When they till their land is a mystery, for they never seem to be at
work upon it. In fact, very little was tilled at all in the region about
La Gloria. It was no uncommon thing to find a man owning hundreds of
acres, with less than one acre under cultivation. This condition was
usually explained by the statement that everything had been killed out
during the Ten Years' War, and that the natives were too poor to again
put their land under cultivation. This was a half-truth, at least, but
Cuban indifference must have had something to do with it. One of the La
Gloria colonists once asked an intelligent and good-appearing elderly
Cuban why he did not cultivate more of his land. "What is the use?" was
the reply. "When I need money I pick off some bananas and sell them. I
get for them twenty or twenty-five dollars, which lasts me a long time.
When I need more money, I pick more bananas." This is the common Cuban
view. His natural indifference, combined with the exactions of Spanish
government, has kept his mind free from any thought of making provision
for the future.

The reader should bear in mind that I have been describing the people of
the province of Puerto Principe, and mainly of the rural portions
thereof. I am well aware that in the more thickly settled and more
prosperous provinces fine country houses are sometimes to be found, and
the people generally may live somewhat differently and perhaps better,
but I believe I have faithfully pictured the typical Cuban as he exists
to-day in the country districts of Puerto Principe, the fertile and
unfortunate province which has probably suffered more from the ravages
of war in the last thirty years than any other province in the island.
It was completely despoiled during the Ten Years' War, and has never
recovered. Its deserted plantations are now being reclaimed, largely by
Americans, and ere long will blossom forth with luscious fruits and
other valuable products.

The slight acquaintance which I had with the Cubans of the cities of
Puerto Principe and Nuevitas led me to the belief that they did not
differ greatly from the more intelligent inhabitants of the country
sections. Among the half hundred Cubans who worked for the company and
occupied a camp at La Gloria, were many from the cities of the province,
the others coming from small towns and villages. Most of them had served
in the Cuban army--the "Army of Liberation", as it was called. Though
these men had but few comforts, they appeared to be happy and contented;
they were almost invariably peaceable and good-humored. The Americans
liked these "Cú-bi-ans"--as some of the colonists persisted in calling
them--and entire harmony prevailed. It was amusing to me when we first
arrived to hear some of the Western colonists inadvertently speak of
them as "the Indians", owing, I suppose, to their primitive mode of
living. Columbus called them by the same name when, on the 28th of
October, 1492, he landed on the island at a point not twenty miles from
what is now Port La Gloria,--but within the last four hundred years the
appellation of "Cuban" has become well known throughout the world. The
Cubans must work out their own destiny, but I am satisfied that they
will steadily progress in the scale of civilization.




The opening of the month of February found the colonists in excellent
health and good spirits, and hard at work on their land or for the
company. The La Gloria post-office had been established, church services
were held regularly in a large tent, and the La Gloria Pioneer
Association had been organized and held its regular meeting on Saturday
evening of each week. Town lots were being cleared, gardens planted, and
pineapple plants set out as fast as the land could be prepared and the
"suckers" obtained.

Through the active efforts of General Van der Voort, a United States
post-office was established immediately after his arrival. The general
held the commission as postmaster, and selected for his assistant, Col.
John. F. Early of Wilber, Nebraska, who had been postmaster of his town
before coming to Cuba. The general being otherwise engaged, most of the
actual work of the office fell upon Colonel Early, who was well
qualified to perform it. Some months later, Van der Voort resigned the
postmastership, and Early was promoted to the head of the office. The
post-office first occupied a small space in headquarters tent, but was
soon moved to a tent by itself near at hand. Here it remained until the
fall of 1900, when it was moved into a new wooden building constructed
for it on Central avenue. From the first the office did considerable
business, which steadily increased. The colonists wrote and received
many letters, but were loud in their complaints of the irregularity and
infrequency of the mails. In a measure, this faultfinding was justified,
but the philosophical were more patient and felt that the colony was
lucky to have a post-office at all. The remedy was slow in coming, but
the mail facilities gradually improved. At first the letters were
collected at the office in a wooden box, but before many weeks had
passed a regulation metallic receptacle, painted red and marked "U. S.
Mail," was placed in front of the tent. I well remember the shout that
went up from the assembled colonists when this reminder of home and
civilization was brought in on horseback from the port by the mail
carrier. It seemed almost like having a glimpse of the old home.

The regular sworn mail carrier between Port La Gloria and the
post-office was Señor Ciriaco Rivas, familiarly known as "the old señor"
among the colonists, by whom he was much beloved. He was a true-hearted
gentleman and a brave soldier, being a veteran of the Ten Years' War and
the later conflict. He was one of the best friends that the colonists
had, and was their guest and companion on many occasions, and sometimes
their host. Señor Rivas owned a large tract of land in the neighborhood,
but lived with his family in the Cuban camp at La Gloria. While scorning
to take pay from individuals for his services, he assisted the colonists
in manifold ways. In the summer of 1900 he was named by the government
as alcalde (magistrate) of La Gloria and the country for five miles
around, but on the 15th day of the following September he died at
Nuevitas, lamented alike by Cubans and Americans.

Besides attending to his post-office duties, Colonel Early represented
large land interests in the colony and gave much time to work in
connection therewith. He was one of the most enthusiastic of the
colonists, being delighted with the country and its prospects. Fond of
hunting and fishing, a lover of birds, trees, and flowers, versatile in
his tastes and accomplishments, Colonel Early found Cuba much to his
liking, and complained of nothing save the "hell-hens," as he
irreverently called the despised jejines (sand flies). He was a veteran
of the Civil War, and had been something of a politician in his Nebraska


        Mrs. Spiker.  Mrs. Horn.  Mrs. Morrison.  Mrs. Matthews.
    Miss Boston.                     Mrs. Hovora Mrs. Lowell.
        Mrs. McElman.  Edna Horn.
        Mrs. Smith.        Mrs. Neff.

Unlike the mining camps of our great West, La Gloria was a moral and
orderly town. This was largely due to the fact that General Van der
Voort insisted that no liquor should be sold, a prohibition which was
rigidly enforced. The result was that there was peace and quiet, and no
crime save a few small thefts. Very little policing was necessary. At
the beginning the police force consisted of Mr. George H. Matthews of
Asbury Park, N. J., whose only duty appeared to be a daily tour of the
camp in the early evening. Chief of Police Matthews lived in a tent at
the upper end of the camp. When darkness came on he would light his
little lantern and "go down the line," as he called his nightly trip
down the main street and back. The whole operation, including lighting
the lantern, occupied about twenty minutes. Mr. Matthews also plied the
trade of a barber, charging twenty-five cents for a shave. It was
finally decided that if anybody was robbing the colonists, he was the
man and the police force was abolished altogether. Soon after Mr.
Matthews and his wife returned to their home in Asbury Park. They were
well liked, and their departure was regretted. A little later there were
some actual thefts, generally attributed to negroes who lurked about the
camp, and Eugene Kezar, from Barre, Vermont, was put on as night
watchman. He performed this duty faithfully, as he did every duty which
devolved upon him, and the thefts soon ceased. Much of the time Kezar
was in the employ of the company in the daytime about the camp,
supervising the erection of tents, taking care of property, and
performing manifold duties in the interest of the company and the

The first church service in La Gloria was held on January 14, conducted
by the Rev. A. E. Seddon of Atlanta, Ga., a minister of the Christian
church, who was one of the colonists who came on the first _Yarmouth_.
It was attended by a large proportion of the colonists. Mr. Seddon was a
good preacher and a cultivated man, but did not long remain at La
Gloria. Becoming interested in another proposed colony, he took his
departure from La Gloria soon after the allotment of the land. Next the
Rev. J. W. Harris of Vermont preached for one Sunday, but he also took
an early departure. At about this time the venerable Dr. William I. Gill
of Asbury Park, N. J., joined the colony, and conducted church services
for some weeks. His health not being good, he was forced to give up
regular preaching. For a time the congregation was without an
officiating clergyman, but sermons were read each Sunday by some layman,
and a Sabbath school was regularly held. With the spring came two
ministers together, the Rev. James G. Stuart of London, Canada, and the
Rev. W. A. Nicholas of Huntington, West Virginia. Mr. Stuart's stay at
this time was temporary, but he preached one Sunday to the edification
of a good-sized audience. When his leave of absence expired he returned
to his far away home in Canada, but before sailing he expressed himself
as being greatly pleased with La Gloria, and made known his intention
to make it his residence at some future time. He left money to have a
large tract of land cleared and cultivated. Mr. Stuart had been the
owner of an orange grove in California, and was satisfied that the fruit
would do finely in the soil around La Gloria. He was highly enthusiastic
in his praise of the country. Mr. Nicholas, a minister of the Baptist
church, succeeded Mr. Stuart in the La Gloria pulpit, and preached
several weeks. He then returned to West Virginia for the purpose of
bringing his family to Cuba to establish a permanent home. In June he
brought his wife and children to La Gloria and resumed his religious
teaching. He has since preached regularly, and is held in high respect
by the colonists. Mrs. Nicholas is also very popular in the colony. Mr.
Nicholas is delighted with Cuba, and is enjoying greatly improved
health. Besides the preaching and Sunday-school, weekly prayer-meetings,
teachers' meetings, and choir meetings have been held in the colony from
its earliest days.

[Illustration: DR. WILLIAM P. PEIRCE.]

The first organization of the colonists, and the force which had most to
do with shaping the course of affairs in the early life of the colony,
was the La Gloria Pioneer Association. At a mass meeting in front of
headquarters tent on the 18th of January, Dr. W. P. Peirce of Hoopeston,
Ill., was made temporary chairman, and R. C. Bourdette of Dexter,
Kansas, temporary secretary. James M. Adams, D. E. Lowell, and R. C.
Bourdette were appointed a committee to draft a constitution and
by-laws. At a meeting January 27 the committee reported a constitution
and by-laws, which were adopted, and the following officers were elected
for a term of six months: Dr. W. P. Peirce, president; D. E. Lowell,
vice-president; R. G. Barner, secretary; Col. Thomas H. Maginniss,
treasurer; E. B. Newsom, W. G. Spiker, J. A. Florence, W. M. Carson, and
Rev. William I. Gill, executive board. The president, vice-president,
secretary, and treasurer were members of the executive board

Dr. Peirce, the president, was one of the ablest of the colonists, a man
of consequence in his state, and possessed of both mental and financial
resources. Genial, kindly, and humorous, he was much liked by his
fellow-colonists, and made an admirable presiding officer for the
association. He had entire faith in the ultimate success of the colony,
and did much to advance its welfare. Mr. Lowell, the vice-president,
had been a successful fruit grower in Florida and a leading citizen in
that section of the state where he resided. He was one of the first of
the colonists to reach La Gloria, coming in with his wife before the
first _Yarmouth_ party arrived. He was a substantial and practical man,
and a valuable prop to the colony, wherein he was popular and
influential. Mr. Barner, the secretary, was a young man from
Philadelphia, and was one of the colonists who came on the first
_Yarmouth_. He was an expert stenographer and typewriter, and a man of
good judgment and untiring industry. For a time he worked upon the land,
but was soon taken into the president's office, where he proved to be a
faithful and efficient clerk and secretary. Well liked among his brother
and sister colonists, he was given numerous responsible positions as new
organizations were formed. Colonel Maginniss, the treasurer, was also
from Philadelphia, and has been before alluded to as the superintendent
of the camp. His duties as treasurer of the association were not
arduous, but he performed good service as chairman of the committee on
transportation. The other members of the executive board were leading
colonists, and intelligent and practical men.

The executive board appointed the following committees: Transportation,
Col. Thomas H. Maginniss (chairman), J. A. Florence, S. L. Benham, W. P.
Hartzell, Thomas R. Geer--the latter resigning, he was replaced by James
M. Adams; supplies, E. B. Newsom (chr.), D. E. Lowell, W. G. Spiker, E.
F. Rutherford, M. T. Holman; sanitation, Dr. W. P. Peirce (chr.), G. A.
Libby, M. T. Jones, W. S. Dunbar, G. H. Matthews; manufactures, D. L.
Carleton (chr.), W. L. Yard, J. A. Anderson, J. C. Kelly, W. H. Gruver;
history of the colony, James M. Adams (chr.), A. E. Seddon, Rev. William
I. Gill, M. A. C. Neff, F. X. Hovora; legal affairs, Gen. Paul Van der
Voort (chr.), Col. Thomas H. Maginniss, Capt. Joseph Chace, W. M.
Carson, J. F. Early; education and religious observance, Mrs. Andrews
(chr.), Mrs. D. E. Lowell, Mrs. W. G. Spiker, Mrs. William I. Gill, Mrs.
M. A. C. Neff; village improvements, M. A. C. Neff (chr.), D. E. Lowell,
B. F. Seibert, E. B. Newsom, J. C. Florence, Peter Larsen, H. E. Mosher,
S. M. Van der Voort, James Peirce, Mrs. Clara Broome, Mrs. J. A. Horn,
Mrs. G. H. Matthews. Mrs. Andrews did not remain in La Gloria, and hence
never served on the committee on education and religious observance;
Mrs. D. E. Lowell acted as chairman and directed the work of the
committee with zeal and intelligence. As time went on, numerous other
vacancies occurred in the several committees, but these were filled and
the work was not retarded. Most of the committees were more or less
active and accomplished as much as could reasonably be expected
considering the many obstacles encountered. If the net results
accomplished by the association at this early stage seem small, it
should be remembered that it was no slight task to hold the colony
together in the face of natural obstructions, irritating delays, and
disheartening disappointments. All these things the colonists had to
encounter, and the Pioneer Association performed a great work in banding
the settlers together, staying their courage and preventing a stampede
in the darkest hours, and in keeping things moving, slowly though it may
have been, in the right direction. Indeed, it is impossible to conceive
what the colonists would have done at the beginning without the
coöperative aid afforded by this organization. Practically the whole
colony belonged to it during the first few months of its existence.

The meetings were held every Saturday night and were always well
attended. They were valued not only for utilitarian purposes, but as
almost the sole amusement enjoyed by the colonists during the week.
These meetings supplied the place of the theatre, the lyceum, and social
festivities, and some of the women were heard to say that they looked
forward the whole week to this regular gathering. Subjects of absorbing
interest always came up, the speaking was quite good and never tedious,
and humorous and witty remarks were very often heard and fully
appreciated. The ludicrous always appealed to the audience keenly. Many
of the colonists participated in the speaking, and the discussions were
invariably good-natured. The speakers were sure of close attention and
generous treatment from their auditors, even from those who might
disagree with them. The brotherly feeling which pervaded the colony was
always manifest at these gatherings. Some of the Cubans would often
attend, and more than once a Spaniard was in the audience. It was a
strange sight, one of these meetings. In the dim light of two or three
lanterns, the colonists would be grouped together under a shelter tent,
some sitting on rude wooden benches and others standing. Those on the
outskirts were as often under the stars as under the tent. Both the
audience and the surroundings were picturesque, albeit the whole effect
was suggestive of a primitive life which few of the colonists had before
experienced. The scene is one that is not likely ever to be forgotten by
those who participated in it.

In July, 1900, the Pioneer Association elected new officers, as follows:
President, D. E. Lowell; vice-president, John Latham; secretary, William
M. Carson; treasurer, J. R. P. de les Derniers. By this time new and
more wieldy organizations had sprung up which took much of the practical
work from the association, the latter becoming more of a reminiscence
than a potent force. It is still, however, a factor in the social life
of La Gloria.



On the last day of January I became private secretary to President Van
der Voort, serving in that capacity until my return to the States nearly
four months later. This position brought me into close and intimate
contact with all of the colonists, and to no small extent I shared their
joys and woes. I was made the recipient of their confidences, and was
sometimes able, I believe, to make somewhat smoother the rather thorny
paths they had to travel. When I was unable to do this, it was never
from lack of full sympathy with their trials and hardships. I cannot be
too emphatic in saying that never in my life have I met an aggregation
of men and women who were more honest, good-natured, patient, and
reasonable. To me, personally, they invariably extended the kindest
consideration, and so, for that matter, did the officers of the company.
The nucleus for the first American colony in Cuba was beyond all
question a good and substantial one.


About the middle of February Gen. Van der Voort moved into his new Cuban
house, which had been constructed for him by Cuban workmen in an open
space ninety or one hundred yards back from the main street of the camp.
The house and most of the tents constituting the camp were on the
company's reservation just north of the front line of the town. As fast
as the colonists got their town lots cleared they moved on to them, but
their places in the reservation camp were often taken by new-comers.

The general's palm house, or shack, was an ingenious and interesting
piece of work. The Cubans exercised all their marvelous skill in its
construction, with highly creditable results. When completed it was
water tight, and cool, comfortable, and picturesque. The house contained
two good-sized rooms, an enclosed bedroom at the back and an open
apartment at the front used for an office and reception-room. Until a
conventional board floor was laid by an "Americano" carpenter, there was
not a nail in the entire structure. The upright poles, cross pieces, the
ridgepole, and the rafters and cross rafters, were securely fastened
together with tough bark and vines, while the roof was carefully
thatched with palm leaves. The latter were broad, fan-shaped leaves,
several feet across at the widest part. Each had a stout stem two or
three feet long. The leaves were laid upon the roof, beginning at the
eaves, stems pointing to the ridgepole. The leaves were carefully lapped
like shingles, and tightly lashed by the stems to the rafters and cross
rafters. If a leak was discovered it was easy to close it by binding on
another leaf. The leaves used came from what is commonly known as the
dwarf or cabbage palm. Royal palm bark was used along the ridgepole. The
back and sides of the house were of palm leaves, as was the front of the
rear room, a door being cut through it. The front of the outer apartment
was entirely open. The original floor was of wood cut from the royal
palm, the rough and heavy boards, or planks, being fastened to cross
logs by wooden pins. Not proving entirely satisfactory, this floor,
after a short time, was replaced by a more even one laid by a Yankee
carpenter. This was the only change made by General Van der Voort in his
Cuban house, with which he was greatly delighted. When new the
prevailing color, inside and out, was a beautiful green, which soon
turned to a yellowish brown. The change did not add to its beauty, but
it still remained comfortable and picturesque. The cost of such a house
in La Gloria was about fifty dollars. The general's house was
wonderfully cool, as I can testify from personal experience, having
occupied it daily for three months.

Within a dozen yards of the general's house stood a historic landmark
known as the "Lookout Tree," a gigantic tree used by the Cubans during
the Ten Years' War and the late insurrection to watch for Spanish
gun-boats that patroled the coast and for filibusters bringing arms and
ammunition. It was at or very near Port La Gloria--known to the Cubans
as Viaro--that the celebrated _Gussie_ landed her arms and ammunition
for the Cubans, just after the intervention of the United States. Up
through the "Lookout Tree" grow what appear to be two small and very
straight trees, about three feet apart; actually, they are the downward
shooting branches of a parasitic growth, taking root in the ground. The
Cubans have utilized these for a ladder, cutting notches into them and
fastening cross-pieces, or rungs, very securely with barbed wire. One
may climb high into the big tree by this curious ladder, and from the
top a good view of the coast is obtained. After our arrival the tree was
sometimes brought into requisition in watching for the boat from
Nuevitas, and the good climbers among the colonists often made the
ascent merely for the satisfaction of performing the feat, which was not
such an easy one as might appear, since the ladder did not reach to the
top by fifteen or twenty feet.

A space of about half an acre, chiefly in front of the house, General
Van der Voort had plowed and planted for a garden. Vegetables were sown
in February and a little later a good number of pineapple plants,
banana, orange and coffee trees, etc., were set out. The vegetables
began to come on in April, and the fruit trees and pineapples exhibited
a thrifty growth from month to month. Small palm trees were also set out
along the path leading from the house across the garden to Central
avenue. The company had another and larger garden near by which was
planted in the latter part of January. Some of its products were ready
for the table in March, and radishes even earlier. The soil of these
gardens was not of the richest, being red and containing oxide of iron;
but, for all that, seeds came up marvelously quick and plants grew
well. I have known beans which were planted Saturday morning to be up on
the following Monday. The soil of practically all of the plantations and
many of the town lots is very rich.

On February 21, the day before Washington's birthday, occurred the first
birth in La Gloria, a lusty son being born to Mr. and Mrs. Olaf Olson.
Mr. Olson was one of the most prosperous and progressive of the
colonists, and his wife was a true pioneer. At the time of the birth the
Olsons were living in a tent on their town lot on Market street, not far
from Central avenue. Dr. Peirce was the officiating physician, and the
infant developed as rapidly, in proportion, as plants in that tropical
clime. It proved to be a remarkably healthy child. It was promptly named
Olaf El Gloria Olson, and on the request of the Pioneer Association, the
company generously made it a present of a town lot. Soon after the birth
of the child, Mr. Olson moved into a house of his own construction.

The weather at this time was good and the temperature very comfortable.
Ordinarily the thermometer registered throughout the day from 70 to 84
degrees of heat. The lowest temperature for January was 55°; the
highest, 91°. The lowest for February was 56°; the highest, 91°. The
extremes of heat are nearly as great in winter as in summer, but there
is much more variation. In summer the temperature ordinarily runs from
about 78° to 90°, but occasionally touches 94°, which is the highest I
have ever known it to be in La Gloria. Even at this figure the heat is
not oppressive. There is such a refreshing breeze night and day in Cuba
that one does not suffer from the heat either in summer or winter. The
climate is so fine at all seasons of the year, that to a New Englander
it seems absolutely perfect. The colonists worked hard every day under
the rays of the sun and suffered no ill effects. They came to the
conclusion that getting acclimated was a "cinch" in comparison with
enduring the changing weather of the Northern states.

During the first week in February the colonists, such of them as were
not otherwise employed, began the construction of a corduroy road over
the worst places on the trail from La Gloria to the port. The work was
under the supervision of Colonel Maginniss, and from twenty to thirty
men labored daily for some time. While not of a permanent character,
this work made the road more passable for pedestrians and animals, and
was of material aid in the hauling up of provisions and belated baggage.
By the end of February most of us had got our trunks. The workers on the
road were employed by the company, with the understanding that their
wages should be credited upon their land payments, or upon the purchase
of new land. This was satisfactory to the colonists, and many took
advantage of the opportunity to acquire more town lots. Many other
employés of the company also turned in their time for the purchase of
plantation land or town lots.

On the 19th of February the first well in La Gloria was opened. It was
at the corner of Market street and Florida avenue, and was dug by a
syndicate of colonists who lived in that vicinity. Good water was struck
at a depth of about twelve feet. Many people used the water from this
well, and a little later it was made considerably deeper. The well was
square, and the ground was so hard at this point that it was found to be
unnecessary to stone it. Many other wells were dug soon after, in all of
which good water was found fifteen or twenty feet below the surface of
the ground.

Early in February, M. A. C. Neff, engineer and architect, who had been
in charge of the town site survey, was transferred to the work of
preparing real estate maps and books. Mr. Neff was a fine draughtsman,
and his colored maps were a delight to the eye. One of his maps was used
in the allotment of town lots, another was placed on file at Puerto
Principe in connection with the recording of deeds, while others were
sent to the New York office of the company or kept for use in La Gloria.
Much credit is due Mr. Neff for his part in the upbuilding of La Gloria.
He was enthusiastic in forwarding improvements of all kinds. Both he and
his admirable wife considered themselves colonists, and looked forward
with pleasant anticipations to a permanent home in La Gloria.



I was deeply impressed by the courage and self-reliance of the
colonists. From the start they showed a splendid ability to take care of
themselves. One day early in February a white-bearded old fellow past
seventy years of age, with blue overalls on and a hoe over his shoulder,
appeared at the door of General Van der Voort's tent.

"General," he said, "if a man owns a lot, has anybody else a right to
come on to it and pick fruit of any kind?"

"Not if the owner has a revolver and bowie knife," laughingly replied
Van der Voort.

"Well," said the man, "I just thought I'd ask ye. A couple o' fellers
(Cubans) came on to my lot to-day while I was at work there and began to
pick some o' these 'ere guavas. I told 'em to git out, but they didn't
go. Then I went for 'em with this hoe. One of 'em drawed his machete,
but I didn't care for that. I knew I could reach him with my hoe before
he could reach me with his knife. They went off."

General Van der Voort laughed heartily, and evidently was satisfied that
the man with the hoe was able to protect himself without the aid of the
La Gloria police force.

The old man's name, as I afterwards learned, was Joseph B. Withee. Some
of the colonists who had become intimately acquainted with him
familiarly called him "grandpa," although he was not the oldest man in
the colony. His age was seventy-one years, and he hailed from the state
of Maine. None of his family or friends had come to Cuba with him, but
he had grown children living in the Pine Tree state. Alone and
single-handed he began his pioneer life in La Gloria, but he was not
daunted by obstacles or fearful of the future. On the contrary, he was
most sanguine. He worked regularly every day clearing and planting his
plantation, and was one of the first of the colonists to take up his
residence on his own land. He soon had vegetables growing, and had set
out strawberry and pineapple plants, besides a number of banana, orange,
and lemon trees. It was his boast that he had the best spring of water
in the colony, and it certainly was a very good one. Mr. Withee
declared that his health was much improved since coming to Cuba, and
that he felt ten or fifteen years younger. Everybody in the colony could
bear witness that he was remarkably active and industrious. Once his
relatives in Maine, not hearing from him, became alarmed, and wrote to
the company asking if he were alive and in La Gloria. I went down to his
plantation with the letter, and asked him if he was alive. He thought he
was, and suspended work long enough to sniff at the idea that he was not
able to take care of himself.

Mr. Withee was wont to admit that before he came to Cuba he had a weak
back, but the only weakness we were ever able to detect in him was an
infirmity of temper which foreboded pugnacious action. Most assuredly he
had plenty of backbone, and his persistent pugnacity was highly amusing.
He was always wanting to "lick" somebody, and I know not what my fate
will be if we ever meet after he reads these lines, although we were
excellent friends in La Gloria. I can imagine that my friend Withee was
brought up in one of those country school "deestricts" where every boy
had to fight his way step by step to the respect of his associates, and
where it was the custom for the big scholars to attempt each winter to
thrash the teacher and throw him into a snowdrift. If so, I will warrant
that Withee was held in high respect.

Withee had a great idea of standing up for his rights, and for a long
time he was on the war-path, as he confided to me, in pursuit of a
surveyor who had cut down a small palm tree on his plantation. He didn't
know which individual of the survey corps it was who perpetrated the
"outrage," but if the old man found out, one of Chief Kelly's men was in
for a good licking. Of course, the surveyor was entirely innocent of any
intent to injure the property of Mr. Withee or anybody else, and cut the
tree while running a survey line. It was some months after this, in
September, that the spirit of Withee's revolutionary sires joined issue
with his fierce indignation, and produced fatal results--fatal to
several chickens that invaded his premises. A neighboring colonist, who
lived on the other side of the avenue, kept a large number of hens, and
allowed them free range. They developed a fondness for wandering across
the road, and feeding in Withee's well-stocked garden. They didn't know
Withee. The old man sputtered vehemently, and remonstrated with the
owner--but the chickens continued to come. Finally, Withee went to a
friendly colonist and borrowed his gun. Soon after his return home, one
of the detested hens wandered nonchalantly across the dead line, and
presently was minus a head. Another essayed the same feat, with the
result that there were two headless chickens in La Gloria. Withee's aim
was as good as when he used to shoot chipmunks in the Maine woods. The
owner of the hens heard the reports of the gun, and came over. He was
told to go home and pen up his poultry. Taking the two dead chicks, he
went to the Rural Guards and entered a complaint. While he was gone,
Withee reduced the poultry population of La Gloria by one more. The
owner of the hens returned, accompanied by Rural Guards, several
prominent Cubans, and a few colonists. They had come to take the gun
away from Withee. The old man stood the whole crowd off, and told them
to keep their feet clear of his place. They obeyed the order, but told
him he must kill no more chickens under penalty of arrest. He told them
to keep the chickens off his premises under penalty of their being
killed. The old man was left the master of the situation, and the hens
were restricted to a pen.

Speaking of courage and self-confidence reminds me of a remark of big
Jack McCauley. There was included in the company's property, about five
miles from La Gloria, a deserted plantation known as Mercedes. Upon it
was an old grove of orange trees, which, in the spring of 1900, bore a
fine crop. For a long time everybody was allowed to help himself at
will, and Cubans, colonists, and surveyors availed themselves of the
opportunity to lay in a supply of fruit. At length, as the oranges grew
riper, orders were given that no one should take more than he could eat
on the spot, but the oranges continued to disappear by the bagful.
Stalwart Jack McCauley was at that time employed about the camp by the
company, and it was decided to station him out at Mercedes, with a view
to stopping the raids on the orange grove. Before leaving to undertake
this duty, Jack quietly remarked: "I'll go out there and see if I've got
any influence, and if not, I'll create some!" Big Jack's "influence"
proved to be ample, and the balance of the orange crop was saved.

McCauley's close friend and "pardner" was J. A. Messier, familiarly
known as "Albany." Together they held a large tract of plantation land.
"Albany" worked as a flagman in one of the surveying parties. Once, when
the mosquitoes in the woods were more than ordinarily thick and
ferocious, he made a complaint, a rare thing in him or any other
surveyor. "They surround you," he said, "and you can't push them away
because there is nowhere to push them!" "Albany" was the leading big
snake killer in the colony, and was an adept at stretching and preparing
their skins. But perhaps his greatest distinction was that of being
floor manager of the first ball in La Gloria, a notable event which will
be described in a later chapter.

[Illustration: LA GLORIA, CUBA, LOOKING SOUTH. (_March, 1900._)]

On the afternoon of February 27, the colonists who came on the third and
last trip of the _Yarmouth_, about sixty in number, reached La Gloria.
Among them were Arnold Mollenhauer of New York, a representative of the
company; John A. Connell of East Weymouth, Mass., and S. W. Storm of
Nebraska. The party was brought up from Nuevitas on the snug little
steamer _Bay Shore_, and had a very comfortable passage. The _Bay Shore_
was bought by the company to ply between Nuevitas and Port La Gloria,
and was to have been used to transport the colonists who came to Cuba on
the first _Yarmouth_ excursion, but, unfortunately, she came into
collision with another boat at about that time, and was unfit for use
for several weeks. This was one of a singular chain of accidents and
annoyances which gave the colony a serious setback at the very start.
The _Bay Shore_ proved to be a very unlucky boat, and was laid up from
one cause or another most of the time. When the _Bay Shore_ was out of
commission, a sailboat had to be used between La Gloria and Nuevitas.

Mr. Mollenhauer did not remain long at La Gloria at this time, but
established his headquarters at Nuevitas, taking up the work that had
been in charge of Maj. P. S. Tunison. Young Mr. Mollenhauer proved to be
the right man in the right place. He was active and efficient in the
performance of his duties, and was very much liked by the colonists for
his gentlemanly bearing, accommodating spirit, and frank and upright
character. The affairs of the company and the colony took a new start
when he came to Cuba and assumed charge of the disbursement of the

John A. Connell was a prosperous business man of East Weymouth, Mass.,
and came to La Gloria to make it his permanent home. He was one of the
most enthusiastic and progressive of the colonists, and gave daily
expression to his liking for Cuba and his firm faith in the future of La
Gloria. He was a man of property and of decided ability. Physically, he
was a giant, being six feet four inches tall, and well proportioned. He
was fond of athletics and was himself a good athlete. A man of strong
intelligence, he appeared to good advantage as a speaker. Mr. Connell
built the first frame building in La Gloria, a modest board structure
with a roofing of tarred paper, and occupied it as a general store. It
was situated on Central avenue in the company's reserve. This was not,
however, the first store in La Gloria. Besides the company's commissary,
W. G. Spiker started a store in a tent several months earlier. George E.
Morrison opened a store in a tent on Central avenue just inside of the
town line at about the same time that Connell started, and did a good
business until he returned to the States several months later. Morrison
had lived in many places, including Chicago, Ill., and Central America.
In practical affairs he was one of the most versatile men in the colony.

S. W. Storm of Nebraska was a veteran of the Civil War, and a good type
of his class. Cheerful and buoyant, lively as a boy, he entered into the
pioneer life with a hearty relish, as, indeed, did all of the many old
soldiers who came to La Gloria. The renewal of camp life under agreeable
climatic conditions seemed to be a great joy to them. Mr. Storm was
never known to complain of anything, not even when he severely cut his
foot while chopping. He brought with him to La Gloria his young son Guy,
who was soon placed in school.

The first school in La Gloria was started and taught by Mrs. Whittle of
Albany, N. Y. It occupied a large shelter tent on the reserve, near
Central avenue. It was fitted up with a board floor, wooden benches,
tables, etc. The school opened February 26 with six scholars, and though
text-books were few in number, the pupils made good progress in their
studies. Mrs. Whittle was an attractive and cultivated lady, and an
inspiring and tactful teacher. Before the middle of March the school
had sixteen scholars, and a little later twenty-one. There was also at
the same time an evening school for men, in which Mrs. Whittle taught
grammar and spelling, and Mr. Max Neuber of Philadelphia, a prominent
colonist, gave lessons in Spanish. Tuition was free in both schools,
which were kept up until Mrs. Whittle and Mr. Neuber returned to the
States in April.




The first holiday in La Gloria was marked by incidents that will be long
remembered by the colonists. The credit for the inauguration of the
movement for such a day belongs to John A. Connell, whose warm Irish
blood craved athletic sport. Some of the rest of us were not far behind
him in this particular. Mr. Connell arranged a program of running,
jumping, wheelbarrow and potato races, etc., and after a conference of
those interested, it was decided to ask the president of the company to
declare a general half-holiday. I was delegated to bring the matter
before General Van der Voort, who entered heartily into the spirit of
the affair and readily granted our request. Accordingly, a formal
proclamation was drawn up setting aside Saturday afternoon, March 24, as
a holiday throughout the colony. The first draft was copied in the
elegant handwriting of Chief Engineer Kelly, duly signed by President
Van der Voort and attested by his secretary, and then conspicuously
posted on the flag-staff which graced Central avenue. Further
preparations were made for the red-letter day, and a baseball game added
to the program. I found in my trunk a baseball, which I had brought to
Cuba, I know not why, except, perhaps, with the American idea that a
baseball is always a good companion. Simultaneously, the indefatigable
J. L. Ratekin--one time a soldier in Col. William J. Bryan's Nebraska
regiment in the Spanish War--dragged out of his kit a good baseball bat.
Why Ratekin brought this bat to Cuba I cannot say, but I half suspect
that he thought he might have to use it in self-defence. I am glad to be
able to state, however, that it was put only to peaceful and legitimate
uses, and killed nothing save "in-shoots" and "drops."

Saturday, March 24, was a remarkably fine day even for sunny Cuba. A
cloudless sky of beautiful blue, a temperature of from 80 to 90 degrees,
and a soft, refreshing breeze combined to make it ideal weather for La
Gloria's initial holiday. I remember that several bicycles were brought
out and used on this day, one or two by young women. The muddy trails
had dried up in most places, so that wheels could be ridden for
considerable distances on the roads radiating from La Gloria. The dry
season was fairly on by March 1, and for some time thereafter mud was
practically eliminated from our list of annoyances.

At noon the several surveying parties tramped in from their distant work
in the woods, and soon after the colonists began to gather on Central
avenue from headquarters tent to Connell's store. The women proved that
they had not left all their finery in the States, while nearly every
child was in its best bib and tucker. The men appeared in a great
variety of costumes, but most of them had given more thought to comfort
than to elegance. It was at this time that the first large group picture
of the colonists was taken. The opportunity was too good to lose. We
were hastily grouped across Central avenue, and three amateur
photographers simultaneously took shots at us. The resulting photograph,
though on a small scale, is a faithful picture of about half the
colonists in La Gloria on March 24, 1900. One of the photographers was
Lieut. Evans of the Eighth U. S. Cavalry, who had arrived in La Gloria
the day before in command of a pack train consisting of about a dozen
men and twenty mules. The detachment came from the city of Puerto
Principe and was touring the country for practice and exercise. It may
easily be imagined that we were glad to see them, and they seemed
equally glad to see us. At our earnest solicitation they consented to
participate in our holiday sports.

[Illustration: GROUP OF COLONISTS. (_March 24, 1900._)]

The sports went off well. There were some good athletes among the
colonists, but a soldier named T. Brooks succeeded in winning a majority
of the events. He was a quiet little fellow, but his athletic prowess
was a credit to the United States army. A few Cubans took part in the
events, but did not distinguish themselves. The chief attraction of the
day was the baseball game, which began about the middle of the
afternoon. A diamond had been laid out in a large open space just east
of Central avenue, and the ground was remarkably level and hard. It was
a natural baseball field, and with but little work was ready for use.
The greater part of the colony, men, women, and children, gathered to
see the first exhibition of the American national game in La Gloria.
Among the spectators were President Van der Voort and Chief Engineer
Kelly. There were also a few Spaniards and many Cubans present. Few of
the latter, probably, had ever before seen a baseball game, although
the sport is a popular pastime among the American soldiers encamped near
Puerto Principe. This latter fact accounts for the proficiency of the
soldiers who came to La Gloria. They formed one nine, and the other was
made up of colonists. The latter played well, everything considered, but
the superior discipline and practice of Uncle Sam's boys made them the
winners in a close score. The game was umpired by M. T. Jones of
Williamsport, Pennsylvania, one of the colonists, who came on the first
_Yarmouth_ and the capable assistant of Superintendent Maginniss about
the camp. The game ended an hour or two before sundown and closed the
outdoor sports of a very successful and enjoyable day.

But there was one notable event on that first holiday not down on the
program, and one which few of the colonists knew anything about at the
time and of which not many had subsequent knowledge. As I wended my way
in the direction of my tent near General Van der Voort's house, under
the mellow rays of the declining sun, three excited colonists
intercepted me. They were Chief Engineer Kelly, John A. Connell, and D.
E. Lowell. Drawing me aside from the thoroughfare, they hastily
informed me that a lawyer by the name of C. Hugo Drake, of Puerto
Principe, had just come into La Gloria with Lieutenant Cienfuente, the
owner of the Viaro tract, with the intention of dispossessing the
colonists of their land. They had ridden in on horseback from Puerto
Principe, forty-five miles away. Lieutenant Cienfuente was an elderly
Spaniard who had been an officer in the Spanish army, and Drake claimed
to have charge, in part, of his business affairs. We had heard from
Drake before, and knew perfectly well that he had induced the
landholding Spaniard to come with him to La Gloria. Drake was an
American, having come to Cuba from Mississippi just after the war with
Spain and set up as a lawyer and restaurant keeper in Puerto Principe.
He was a young man of a prominent family, but was reputed to be somewhat
dissipated. He has since persistently claimed that his errand to La
Gloria was not to dispossess the colonists, but in reality was in their
interest. This explanation cannot be accepted, however, except upon the
hypothesis that the colonists were bound to lose their lands under the
contracts which they held. This, as the event proved, was a groundless
fear; their holdings were perfectly secure.

In order to make the situation clear to the reader a little explanation
is necessary. The Viaro tract, which was the one in question, included
about two thirds of the town site and a little over ten thousand acres
of plantation land adjoining. The greater part of this land had been
allotted to colonists, but no deeds had then been given. The company had
made a first payment on the tract, and was paying the balance in
instalments. One of these instalments was overdue when Drake came to La
Gloria with Lieutenant Cienfuente, who had owned the land, and set up
the claim that the contract had lapsed. Lieutenant Cienfuente was
willing to wait a reasonable length of time for his pay, but had become
suspicious that he was not going to get it at all, and hence was more or
less under the influence of Drake, who appears to have been a
self-appointed attorney for the Spaniard. Drake had a great scheme,
which was to make a new contract directly with the colonists, or newly
chosen representatives, at an advanced price for the tract. This advance
was to be divided between Cienfuente and himself, and Drake's share
would have amounted to $25,000 or $30,000. Of course, in Drake's scheme,
the only alternative for the colonists was dispossession. Yielding to
the young lawyer's insinuating representations, Lieutenant Cienfuente
had agreed to the plan, but he was by no means an aggressive factor in
it. Meanwhile, the company's officers in New York were concluding
arrangements to make the overdue payment, which was done a few weeks
later. With but little hesitation, Lieutenant Cienfuente accepted the
money from Messrs. Park and Mollenhauer, and Drake's little scheme
collapsed like a toy balloon.

A part of the above facts only were known to us when Messrs. Kelly,
Connell, Lowell, and myself had our hurried conference late in the
afternoon of our first holiday. Mr. Lowell was particularly excited, and
seriously disturbed by the apprehension that he might have his land
taken away from him. It was quickly agreed that it was for the mutual
interest of Drake and the colony that he should not be permitted to
spend the night in La Gloria. We went over to the house of General Van
der Voort, and discussed the situation with him. He mingled his
indignation with ours, and dictated a peremptory order that Drake
should leave the camp at once. I was commissioned to deliver the
message, and Messrs. Kelly, Connell, and Lowell volunteered to accompany
me. After a little search we found Drake near the "old señor's" shack.
He seemed to divine our errand and came forward to meet us, pale and
trembling, perhaps from excitement, possibly from fear. Indeed, we must
have looked somewhat formidable if not belligerent. We were all large
men, and Kelly was the only one of the four who was not six feet or more
in height. I gave Drake the paper from the general. Scarcely glancing at
it, he said, apologetically, in a low tone, "It's all a mistake,
gentlemen, I meant no harm to anybody." We assured him that we thought
he would be safer elsewhere than in La Gloria. He did not stop to argue
the matter, but turning went directly to the shack and saddled his
horse. We had intended to give him an hour; he was out of La Gloria in
ten minutes. He was obliged to spend the night in the dense woods.

The treatment of Mr. Drake was not hospitable, but the colonists looked
upon him as an interloper whose machinations might bring upon them a
great deal of trouble. I do not think he had any wish to injure the
colonists, but he certainly had an itching palm for the large stake
which he thought he saw within his reach. I saw him a week or two later
in Puerto Principe, and he was amicable enough. He still believed his
scheme would go through, but it was not long before his hopes were
dashed. He told me he was heavily armed when in La Gloria, and could
have "dropped" all four of us, but that he had promised Lieutenant
Cienfuente not to make any trouble. He surely did not, as it turned out.
Mr. Drake had the manners of a gentleman, and extended many courtesies
to me during my stay in Puerto Principe. His resentment on account of
the La Gloria episode was mainly directed toward General Van der Voort,
and he emphatically declared that he had already taken steps to summon
the general into court for the insult.

Lieutenant Cienfuente remained in La Gloria as our special guest. He was
entertained at the officers' table, was the guest of honor at the
meeting of the Pioneer Association that evening, and every effort was
made to make him feel at home. On the following Monday he left for his
home in Puerto Principe in high good humor.



The opening of spring did not bring any material change in weather that
the colonists could detect, save that the occasional rainfall had
ceased. The temperature for March was about the same as for January and
February, the lowest recorded by the thermometer being 53°, and the
highest 92°. The weather was delightful and comfortable. There was more
blossoming of flowers in the woods and the openings, and many a big tree
became a veritable flower garden, with great clusters of pink orchids
clinging to its huge trunk and massive limbs. There were several trees
thus ornamented in close proximity to my tent.

The colonists were now progressing with their work and displaying the
greatest industry. Considerable clearing had been done, and some
planting. Gardens were growing well, and the colonists were eating
potatoes, beans, peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc., of their own raising.
Many thousands of pineapple plants had been set out, and banana and
orange trees were being put into the ground as fast as they could be
obtained. Many of the colonists were employed more or less by the
company in one capacity or another. Some worked on the road, some about
the camp, a few in the gardens, and still others in the cook-house. A
number had been employed in the survey corps almost from the time of
their arrival, while others worked "off and on," according to their
convenience and disposition. The work of the surveyors was hard and
exposing, and the fare usually poor and meagre, but for all that the men
generally liked the employment and there was a constant stream of
applicants for vacant places. In most cases the applicant knew what was
before him and hence could appreciate the grim humor of Chief Kelly's
unvarying formula. After questioning the applicant to ascertain if he
really wanted to work, the chief would say, facetiously: "All you have
to do is to follow a painted pole and eat three meals a day." Following
a "painted pole" through the mud, water, and underbrush of a Cuban
jungle, especially with an axe in one's hand to wield constantly, is no
sinecure, but the men did not have to work very hard at their meals! My
admiration of the pluck and patience of the "boys" on the survey corps
was unbounded, and, I believe, fully justified. At their table the chief
had designated an official kicker, and no one else was supposed to utter
a complaint, and it was seldom that they did. The discipline was like
that of an army. When a man was ordered to do a thing, two courses lay
open to him--do it or quit. Usually the orders were carried out.

[Illustration: THE SURVEY CORPS. (_March 24, 1900._)]

One of the most capable and industrious of the colonists was B. F.
Seibert of Omaha, Nebraska. He was a man of taste and refinement, and at
the same time eminently practical. He was a veteran of the Civil War and
a prominent citizen in the Western city whence he came. He had lived at
one time in California, and there had gained special knowledge of the
cultivation of fruits, flowers, and ornamental shrubbery. A few days
after his arrival in La Gloria in January, Mr. Seibert was placed in
charge of the port, and at once set to work to bring order out of chaos.
He took care of the large amount of baggage and freight that had been
dumped in the mud on the shore, placing it under temporary shelter, and
a little later constructed an ample warehouse connecting with the pier.
He removed the bushes and debris from the beach, thoroughly drained the
locality, leveled the ground, cleared the accumulated sea-weed from the
sand of the shore, extended and improved the pier, and put everything in
first-class order, until one of the roughest and most forbidding of
spots became positively attractive. I have rarely seen so complete and
pleasing a transformation. The Port La Gloria of to-day is a delightful
place, neat and well kept, swept by balmy breezes from the sea, and
commanding an entrancing view across the vari-colored waters of the
beautiful bay to the island of Guajaba, with its picturesque mountains,
and the other keys along the coast. There is good sea-bathing here, and
excellent fishing not far away. A few miles down the coast the mouth of
the Maximo river is reached, where one may shoot alligators to his
heart's content, while along the shore of Guajaba Key the resplendent
flamingo may be brought down by a hunter who is clever enough to get
within range of the timid bird. Assistant Chief Engineer Neville was a
good flamingo hunter, and we occasionally dined off the big bird at the
officers' table.

One of the hardest workers in the colony was Jason L. Ratekin, who came
from Omaha, Nebraska. He was a man of marked individuality, and though
not overburdened with capital, was fertile in resources and full of
energy and determination. At first he performed arduous work for the
company in the transportation of baggage and freight from the port with
the bullock team, and later went into business for himself as a
contractor for the clearing and planting of land. He was enthusiastic
and progressive. Among all the colonists there was none more
public-spirited, and he demonstrated his kindness of heart on many
occasions. Once when the bullock team was bringing in a sick woman and
several small children, and the rough and wearisome journey was
prolonged into the darkness of the night, he distinguished himself by
carrying the ten-months-old baby nearly all the way in his arms and by
breaking into a consignment of condensed milk to save it from
starvation. Ratekin was a rough-looking fellow, but a more generous and
kindly nature is seldom met with.

The first banquet in La Gloria was held on the evening of March 26, in
honor of the fifty-second birthday of Col. Thomas H. Maginniss,
superintendent of camp, who was about to return to his wife and eleven
children in Philadelphia. M. T. Jones of Williamsport, Pa., was master
of ceremonies, and the occasion was highly enjoyable. The banquet was
served in a tent restaurant on Central avenue, and the guests numbered
about twenty, several of whom were ladies. The table presented a very
attractive appearance, and the menu included salads, sardines, salt
beef, smoked herrings, fresh fish, bread, cake and _lime_-o-nade. Among
the after-dinner speakers were Colonel Maginniss, General Van der Voort,
S. N. Ware of Wyoming, Jesse B. Kimes, Rev. Dr. Gill, D. E. Lowell, M.
A. C. Neff, H. O. Neville, John A. Connell, and James M. Adams. The
banquet was voted a success by all present.

On Sunday, April 1, Colonel Maginniss and about twenty of the colonists
left La Gloria for Nuevitas preparatory to sailing for the States. This
was the largest number of colonists that had departed at one time since
mid-winter, and their leaving caused some depression throughout the
colony. This was quickly over, however, and new arrivals soon made up
for the numerical loss. The Maginniss party included M. T. Jones of
Pennsylvania and H. E. Mosher of New York state, who had been his
assistants in the work of the camp, and Mrs. Whittle of Albany, N. Y.,
and Max Neuber of Philadelphia, Pa., who had been the teachers of the
day and evening schools. Mr. Neuber and some of the others expressed the
intention of returning to La Gloria later in the year.

The departure of the score of colonists at this time was marked by a
most melancholy incident, which was speedily followed by the first death
in La Gloria. John F. Maxfield of Providence, R. I., a man past middle
age, who had come to La Gloria on the first _Yarmouth_ excursion, had
been ill for several weeks with a complication of ailments. Although he
had the watchful care and companionship of a friend from the same city,
Capt. Joseph Chace, he became very much depressed and sadly homesick.
When the Maginniss party was made up to return to the States, he
believed himself sufficiently improved to accompany it, and braced up
wonderfully for the effort. When the day arrived, he announced his
intention of walking to the port, and set out to do so, but was quickly
picked up and taken down in a wagon. At the pier he was overcome by
exhaustion, and exhibited so much weakness that it was deemed unsafe to
place him on board of either of the small and crowded sail-boats. It was
feared he would not survive the hardships and exposure of the journey
to Nuevitas. The decision to leave him behind, although kindly meant,
was a great blow to him, and was believed by some to have hastened his
death, which took place the next morning. However this may be, it is
improbable that he would have lived to reach his home in the States.
Heart failure was the final cause of his death. He had good care at the
port, but his extreme weakness could not be overcome. Mr. Maxfield was a
quiet, unobtrusive man, and was held in high esteem throughout the
colony. He was buried in a pleasant spot in the company's reserve, and
his funeral was attended by almost the entire colony and some of the
Cubans. The services were held out of doors in a beautiful glade, and
were conducted by the Rev. Dr. Gill. It was a most impressive scene.
This was the only death in La Gloria during the six months succeeding
the arrival of the first colonists. This low rate of mortality was the
more remarkable from the fact that a number of invalids came or were
brought into the colony during the winter. One day there came in from
the port a wagon bringing a woman who had been a paralytic for years,
and her sick husband, who had been unable to sit up for a long time.
They were from Kansas, and were accompanied by grown children and
friends. The colonists expected there would very soon be two deaths in
La Gloria, but the sick man, who was a mere skeleton, improved steadily
and in a few weeks was able to walk about the camp, while his paralytic
wife was no worse and was considered by the family to be slightly
better. Considering that the invalids were living in tents without
expert care, the man's recovery was hardly less than marvelous.

On April 2, work on the corduroy road to the port, which had been
suspended, was resumed under the capable supervision of D. E. Lowell.
Mr. Lowell proved to be the best roadmaker who had taken a hand at the
game up to that time, and, considering the little he had to do with,
accomplished a great deal. His workmen were from among the colonists and
he rarely had more than ten or twelve at a time, and usually less, but
in five or six weeks he had done much for the betterment of the highway.
No one realized better than Mr. Lowell that this was only a temporary
road, but it was the best to be had at the time. Later in the year, a
fine, permanent highway to the port was begun by Chief Engineer Kelly,
and when completed La Gloria's great drawback will be removed. Kelly's
is a substantial, rock-ballasted road, twelve feet wide, and graded two
feet above high-water mark. It will make La Gloria easy of access from
the coast.




Meanwhile, the sale and allotment of plantations and town lots steadily
continued, until on April 9, six months from the day the surveyors began
their operations, about twelve thousand or fifteen thousand acres of
land had been allotted, besides nine hundred and thirty-three city lots.
Many of the lots had been cleared, and parts of some of the plantations.
Quite an amount of planting, in the aggregate, had been done.

The survey corps and the colonists agreed that the semi-anniversary of
the coming of the surveyors to La Gloria should be marked by a
celebration, and the bold project of a grand ball was set on foot. When
I first heard of it, I thought it was a joke, but when I saw a long list
of committees conspicuously posted on Central avenue, and had been
requested by "Albany" to announce the coming event at the regular
meeting of the Pioneer Association, I realized that the talk had been
serious and that Terpsichore had actually gained a footing in La
Gloria. I was authorized to announce that the ball would be in charge of
a French dancing master, which was the fact, for Floor Manager Messier
("Albany") was a Frenchman by birth. The ball and the accompanying
supper were free to all, but the women of the colony had been requested
to contribute food--and most nobly they responded--while the men,
particularly the surveyors, hustled for fruit, sugar, etc. It was a
cheering sight when big Jack McCauley drove in from Mercedes with the
mule team, bringing a whole barrel of oranges. These were some of the
oranges which had been saved by Jack's "influence."

It was no small task to make the necessary preparations for the ball,
and some of the committees were kept very busy. I was on the committee
on music, and learned to my dismay, a few hours before the ball was to
open, that Dan Goodman, the fiddler, had been attacked by stage fright
and had declared that if he was to be the whole orchestra he would "hang
up the fiddle and the bow." I interviewed Dan,--who was just as good a
fellow as his name implies,--and found that he was really suffering from
Pennsylvania modesty. Accordingly it devolved on me to build up an
orchestra with Dan as a nucleus. I succeeded beyond my expectations. In
a short time I had secured the musical services of Ed. Ford, Mr. and
Mrs. Spiker, and others. The evening came, and like Jerry Rusk, they
"seen their duty and done it." And it may further be said that they
"done it" very well.

It was decided to hold the ball in a large canvas-covered structure
which had formerly been used as a restaurant kitchen and store-house.
There was only a dirt floor, and hence the matter of a temporary
flooring became a problem. Boards were almost an unknown luxury in La
Gloria at that time, but a few were picked up about the camp, and the
Rev. Dr. Gill kindly loaned the flooring of his tent for the evening.
Even then, only so much of the ballroom floor was boarded as was
actually used for dancing. It is not too much to say that the ballroom
was elaborately decorated. High overhead were fastened graceful and
beautiful palm leaves, a dozen feet or more in length, and there were
green wreathes and initial letters flecked with flowers and bright red
berries. Men, women, and children joined efforts to make the interior of
the tent a bower of tropical beauty. The effect was most pleasing. Such
decorations in the Northern states would doubtless have cost a large sum
of money. Here they cost only a little time and labor. I wish I could
say that the ballroom was brilliantly lighted, but the gas and electric
light plants were as yet unplanted, and we had to depend on kerosene
lanterns suspended from the roof. However, as most of us had been using
only candles for illumination, the lantern light seemed very good. No
one thought of complaining that it was dark.

I shall not be able to describe the Grand Ball in all its wondrous
details, but only to make brief mention of a few of the features which
particularly impressed me. I remember that as the people gathered
together we had great difficulty in recognizing each other. We had
thought we were all well acquainted, but that was before the men and
women had gone down into the bottom of their trunks and fished out their
good clothes. The transformation, particularly in some of the men, was
paralyzing, and after we had identified the individuals inside of the
clothes, many of us forgot our company manners and opened our mouths
wide in astonishment. Men who had been accustomed to wear, seven days
in each week, a careless outing costume, or old, cheap clothes of
cotton or woolen material, or mayhap nothing more than shirt and
overalls, had suddenly blossomed out in well-fitting black suits, set
off by cuffs, high collars, and silk ties. It was a dazzling sight for
La Gloria. The men had been very negligent of their dress; scarcely one
had brought his valet with him to Cuba! There may even have been a few
dress suits at the ball, and I will not make oath that some of the women
were not in décolleté gowns; to be entirely safe, however, I will not
swear that they were. The women looked very well and so did the men; all
were a credit to an American colony.

Mr. J. A. Messier ("Albany"), the floor manager and master of
ceremonies, was attired in neat and conventional dress, and performed
his duties gracefully and well. The grand march was led by General Van
der Voort and Mrs. Dan Goodman, followed by Chief Engineer Kelly with a
daughter of Señor Rivas. I do not find among my possessions a dance
order, and hence can give no description of it; and I apprehend that the
others present would have no better success. But there was dancing, and
a lot of it.

[Illustration: INTERIOR GEN. VAN DER VOORT'S HOUSE. (_April, 1900._)]

Furthermore, it was much enjoyed, both by the participants and the
spectators. About the middle of the evening some specialties were
introduced. Chief Engineer Kelly performed a clog dance successfully,
turning a handspring at the end, and Architect Neff executed an
eccentric French dance with a skill and activity that brought down the
house. There was also good clog dancing by some of the younger men.

The ball was attended by nearly the entire colony. This was made
manifest when we lined up for supper, which was served across the
street. The procession to the tables numbered one hundred and forty
persons by actual count. The tables were set under shelter tents, and
were beautifully decorated and loaded with food. There were meats, fish,
salads, puddings, cakes, and a wonderful variety of pies, in which the
guava was conspicuous. Coffee and fruits were also much in evidence.
Never before had La Gloria seen such a spread. On this occasion the
women of the colony achieved a well-merited reputation for culinary
skill and resourcefulness. Except for a few enthusiasts, who went back
to the ballroom for more dancing, the supper wound up the evening's
festivities. The semi-anniversary had been properly celebrated, and the
first ball in La Gloria had proved successful beyond anticipation. April
9, 1900, may be set down as a red letter day in the history of the

Speaking of the ball and its orchestra calls to mind the music in the
camp in the early days of the colony. There was not much. Occasionally a
violin was heard; and more often, perhaps, a guitar or mandolin. But the
most persistent musician was a cornet player, who for a time was heard
regularly every night from one end of the camp. His wind was good, but
his repertoire small. He knew "Home, Sweet Home" from attic to cellar,
and his chief object in life seemed to be to make others as familiar
with it as himself. He played little else, and the melting notes of John
Howard Payne's masterpiece floated through the quiet camp hour after
hour, night after night. Finally, the colonists visited him and told him
gently but firmly that he must stop playing that piece so much; it was
making them all homesick. Not long after the cornet player disappeared.
I think there was no foul play. Probably he had simply betaken himself
to home, sweet home.

There were many good singers in camp. Some of them met regularly once or
twice a week and sang gospel hymns. These formed the choir at the Sunday
services. There was another group of vocalists, equally excellent in its
way, which confined itself to rendering popular songs. Some of the
latter, who dwelt and had their "sings" near my tent, would have done
credit to the vaudeville stage. They were known as the "Kansas crowd."
It gave me, a native of the Granite state, great satisfaction to hear
these Kansas people singing with spirit and good expression "My Old New
Hampshire Home." I was pleased to regard it as a Western tribute to New
Hampshire as the place of the ideal home.



It was on the day after the Grand Ball, Tuesday, April 10, that a party
of us started on a walking trip to the city of Puerto Principe,
forty-five miles away. My companions, who, like myself, were all
colonists, were Jeff D. Franklin of Florida, David Murphy of New Jersey,
A. H. Carpenter of Massachusetts, and a Mr. Crosby of Tennessee. Mr.
Crosby was a man of middle age; the rest of us were younger, Carpenter
being a mere youth of perhaps eighteen. All were good walkers. The start
was made at about 8:30 in the morning. The day was pleasant and balmy,
but not excessively warm. The trail was now in good condition, and the
walking would have been altogether agreeable had it not been for the
packs upon our shoulders. We carried hammocks, blankets, and such food
as bread, crackers, sardines, bacon, and coffee. One of the party had a
frying-pan slung across his back. Our loads were not actually heavy,
but they seemed so after we had walked a few miles.

Our course lay to the southwest, through the deserted plantation of
Mercedes, where we stopped an hour to eat oranges and chat with the
colonists at work there. Resuming our march, we soon passed an inhabited
Cuban shack near an abandoned sugar mill, stopping a few minutes to
investigate a small banana patch near the road. We had been here before
and knew the owner. A mile further on we reached another occupied shack,
and called to get a drink of agua (water). We were hospitably received
in the open front of the casa (house) and given heavy, straight-backed,
leather-bottomed chairs of an antique pattern. The agua furnished was
rain water which had been stored in a cistern, and had at least the
virtue of being wet. There were at home an old man, a very fleshy
elderly woman, and two rather good-looking girls, the appearance and
dress of one of whom indicated that she was a visitor. This was about
the only shack we saw where there were no young children in evidence. We
tarried but a few minutes. After making inquiries about the road, as we
did at almost every house, we continued on our way.

For the next three or four miles we had a good hard trail through the
woods, but saw neither habitation nor opening. Shortly after noon we
emerged from the woods into an open space, where, on slightly elevated
ground, stood two shacks. We had been here before and knew the man who
occupied one of them. There was no land under cultivation in sight, and
the only fruit a custard apple tree and a few mangoes. There were a good
many pigs roaming about, and the shack we entered contained several
small children. Our Cuban friend seemed glad to see us; his wife brought
us water to drink, and we were invited to sit down. Our social call
would have been more satisfactory if we had known more Spanish, or our
host had spoken English. We made but a brief stay, and on departing
asked the Cuban to point out to us the road to Puerto Principe. Since
leaving the woods we had seen no road or trail of any sort. He took us
around his house and accompanied us for some distance, finally pointing
out an indistinct trail across high savanna land which he said was the
right one. This path, which could hardly be seen, was the "road" from
the coast to the third largest city in Cuba, only about thirty miles
away! Such are Cuban roads. At times you can only guess whether you are
in a road or out of it.

What lay before us was now entirely unfamiliar. At about one o'clock we
halted by the side of the trail for a midday rest and lunch. We were a
dozen miles from La Gloria, and about an equal distance from the Cubitas
mountains, through which we were to pass. An hour later we took up the
march again. We soon entered the woods and found a smooth, firm trail
over the red earth. We passed through miles of timber, of a fine,
straight growth. In the thick woods but few royal palms were seen, but
in the more open country we saw some magnificent groves of them. During
the afternoon we passed only two or three shacks, but as we approached
the Cubitas mountains the few habitations and their surroundings
improved in character. The houses continued to be palm-thatched, but
they were more commodious and surrounded by gardens in which were a few
orange and banana trees, and other fruits and vegetables. Some of the
places were quite pretty. Occasionally we would see cleared land that
had once been cultivated, but no growing crops of any amount. This part
of the country had been agriculturally dead since the Ten Years' War.
How the natives live, I know not, but it is safe to say that they do not
live well. They raise boniatos and cassava, a little fruit, and keep a
few pigs. Often their chief supply of meat is derived from the wild hogs
which they shoot. And yet these Cubans were living on some of the best
land in the world.

Late in the afternoon, after walking for a mile or more along a good
road bordered by the ornamental but worthless jack-pineapple plant, we
came to a wide gateway opening into an avenue lined with cocoanut palms
and leading up to a couple of well-made Cuban shacks. The houses stood
at the front of quite a large garden of fruit trees. We called at one of
the shacks, which proved to be well populated. An elderly man, large for
a Cuban and well-built, came forward to greet us and was inclined to be
sociable. His shirt appeared to be in the wash, but this fact did not
seem to embarrass him any; he still had his trousers. Of a younger man
we bought a few pounds of boniatos (sweet potatoes) and after some
urging persuaded him to go out and get some green cocoanuts for us from
the trees. He sent his little boy of about twelve years of age up the
tree to hack off a bunch of the nuts with his machete. We drank the
copious supply of milk with great satisfaction; there is no more
refreshing drink in all Cuba. As the boy had done all the work, we
designedly withheld our silver until he had come down the tree and we
could place it in his hands. We wondered if he would be allowed to keep
it. Climbing the smooth trunk of a cocoanut tree is no easy task.

We camped that night among the trees by the side of the road a quarter
of a mile further on. We had made twenty miles for the day, and were now
on high ground near the base of the Cubitas mountains. The rise had been
so very gradual that we had not noticed that we were ascending. The
trunks of all the trees around us were stained for a short distance from
the ground with the red of the soil, caused, as we believed, by the wild
hogs rubbing up against them. Our supper of fried boniatos and bacon was
skilfully cooked by Jeff Franklin, who used the hollow trunk of a royal
palm, which had fallen and been split, for an oven. For drink we had
cocoanut milk. By the vigorous use of Dave Murphy's machete we cleared
away the underbrush so that we could swing our hammocks among the small
trees. Franklin had no hammock, but slept under a blanket on a rubber
coat spread on the ground. The night was comfortably warm and
brilliantly clear. It was delightful to lie in our hammocks and gaze up
through the trees at the beautiful star-lit sky. There were mosquitoes,
of course, but they did not trouble us much, and we all slept well.

We were up early the next morning, a perfect day, and after eating a
substantial breakfast proceeded on our journey. We felt little
exhaustion from the long walk of the preceding day, but I was a sad
cripple from sore feet. I had on a pair of Cuban shoes which were a
little too short for me (although they were No. 40) and my toes were
fearfully blistered and bruised. There was nothing to do, however, but
go forward as best I could, so I limped painfully along behind my
companions, keenly conscious that Josh Billings was a true philosopher
when he said that "tite boots" made a man forget all his other troubles.

A fraction of a mile beyond our camping place we discovered a well-kept
shack ensconced in cosy grounds amid palms, fruit trees, and flowering
shrubs. It was one of the prettiest scenes we saw. We called for water,
politely greeted the woman who served us with our best pronunciation of
"buenos dias," and, murmuring our "gracias," went our way with some
regrets at leaving so pleasant a spot. A mile or two further on we came
to a distinct fork in the road. One way lay nearly straight ahead, the
other bore off to the right. While we were debating which trail to take,
a horseman fortunately came along, the first person we had seen on the
road that day and the second since leaving Mercedes on the preceding
forenoon. He told us to go to the right, and we were soon in the
foothills of the mountains.

It was here that we found a deserted shack behind which was a cleared
space in the woods of several acres. On this little plantation grew
bananas, cocoanuts, cassava, boniatos, and other vegetables. As it was
in the Cubitas mountains near this spot that the Cuban insurrectionists
had what they called their independent civil government for some time
prior to the intervention of the United States, and secreted their
cattle and raised fruit and vegetables to supply food for the "Army of
Liberation," we guessed that this might be one of the places then put
under cultivation. It certainly had had very little recent care.

After journeying past some chalk-white cliffs, which we examined with
interest, we entered the mountain pass which we supposed would take us
through the town or village of Cubitas, the one-time Cuban capital. The
way was somewhat rough and rugged, but not very steep. The mountains
were covered with trees and we had no extended view in any direction.
All at once, at about 10:30 a.m., we suddenly and unexpectedly emerged
from the pass, when the shut-in forest view changed to a broad and
sweeping prospect into the interior of Cuba. What we looked down upon
was an immense savanna, stretching twenty miles to the front, and
perhaps more on either hand, broken in the distance on all sides by
hills and lofty mountains. It was a beautiful sight, particularly for us
who had been shut in by the forest most of the time for months. The
savanna was dry, but in places showed bright green stretches that were
restful to the eye. It was dotted with thousands of small palm trees,
which were highly ornamental. We could not see Puerto Principe, nor did
we catch sight of it until within three miles of the city. There was no
town or village in sight, and not even a shack, occupied or unoccupied.
The view embraced one vast plain, formerly used for grazing purposes,
but now wholly neglected and deserted. We did not then know that we were
to walk seventeen miles across this savanna before seeing a single
habitation of any sort.

We had seen nothing of the village of Cubitas, and concluded that we had
taken the wrong pass. We were afterwards told that Cubitas consisted of
a single shack which had been used as a canteen. Whether the Cuban
government occupied this canteen, or one of the caves which are said to
exist in these mountains, I cannot say. The revolutionary government,
being always a movable affair, was never easy to locate. It was,
however, secure from harm in these mountains. We noticed later that the
natives seemed to regard all the scattered houses within a radius of
half a dozen miles from this part of the mountains as forming Cubitas.
The post-office must have been up a tree.

After a brief rest on the south slope of the mountains, we resumed our
march, a wearisome one for all of us and exceedingly painful to me with
my disabled feet. They seemed even sorer after a halt. My ankles were
now very lame from unnaturally favoring my pinched toes. The midday sun
was hot, and we suffered a good deal from thirst. There were no longer
any houses where we could procure water. We had not seen a stream of any
sort in the last twenty miles. I staggered along as best I could, a
straggler behind my companions. A little after noon we came suddenly
upon two or three little water holes directly in our path. It seemed
like an oasis in the desert. We could not see where the water came from
nor where it went, but it was clear and good, and we were duly thankful.
We ate dinner here under a small palm tree, and enjoyed a siesta for an

In the afternoon we met only one person, a Cuban produce pedler on
horseback. He treated those who cared for liquor out of a big black
bottle. That afternoon's tramp will linger long in our memories. I
thought we should never get across that seemingly endless savanna. At
last, when it was near six o'clock, we reached an old deserted open
shack which stood on the plain not far from the trail. Here we spent the
night, cooking our supper and procuring in a near-by well tolerably
good water, notwithstanding the dirty scum on top of it. We were within
four miles of Puerto Principe, and my ears were delighted that evening
with a sound which I had not heard in more than three months--the
whistle of a locomotive. Our night was somewhat disturbed by rats,
fleas, and mosquitoes, but we were too tired not to sleep a good part of
it. The breeze across the savanna was gentle and soothing.

The next morning we walked into the time-scarred city of Puerto
Principe--that is, the others walked and I hobbled. If possible, my feet
were worse than ever. In the outskirts, our party divided, Franklin,
Murphy, and Carpenter branching off to the left to go to the camp of the
Eighth U. S. Cavalry two miles east of the city near the railroad track,
and Crosby and I going directly into the heart of the town in search of
a hotel. We had a long walk through the narrow and roughly paved streets
before we found one. There is no denying that we were a tough-looking
pair of tramps. We were unshaven and none too clean. Our clothes were
worn and frayed, and soiled with mud and dust. We were bent with the
packs upon our shoulders, and walked with very pronounced limps.
Everywhere we were recognized as "Americanos," although it seemed to me
we looked more like Italian organ-grinders. To the day of my death I
shall never cease to be grateful to the people of Puerto Principe for
the admirable courtesy and good manners exhibited to us. They did not
stone nor jeer us; they did not even openly stare at the odd spectacle
we presented. Even the children did not laugh at us, and the dogs kindly
refrained from barking at our heels. At all times during our stay of
several days we were treated with perfect courtesy and a respectful
consideration which our personal appearance scarcely warranted and
certainly did not invite. The Spaniards and Cubans seem to associate
even the roughest dressed American with money and good-nature. The
humbler children would gather about us, pleading, "Americano, gimme a
centavo!" while little tots of four years would say in good English and
the sweetest of voices, "Good-by, my frien'!" It was the soldiers who
had taught them this. Their parents rarely spoke any English whatever.

We stayed at the Gran Hotel, said by some to be the best in the city.
It was none too good, but not bad as Cuban hotels run. The terms were
moderate, $1.50 per day, for two meals and lodging. A third meal could
not be obtained for love nor money. I bought mine at street stands or in
a café. Not a word of English was spoken at this hotel.

I cannot describe Puerto Principe at any length. It is an old Spanish
city in architecture and customs, and might well have been transplanted
from mediæval Spain. As a matter of fact, it was moved here centuries
ago from the north coast of Cuba, near the present site of Nuevitas, the
change being made to escape the incursions of pirates. It has a
population of about forty-seven thousand, and is the third largest city
in Cuba, and the most populous inland town. Many of the residents are
wealthy and aristocratic, and the people, generally speaking, are
fine-looking and very well dressed. I several times visited the chief
plaza, which had lately taken the new name of Agramonte, and watched
with interest the handsome men and beautiful señoritas who promenaded
there. I was told that late in the afternoon and early in the evening
the young people of the best families in the city walked in the plaza.
They were certainly elegantly dressed and most decorous in behavior. The
plaza was very pretty, with its royal palms and ornamental flower beds.
It was flanked by one of the several ancient Catholic churches in the
city. While in Puerto Principe I was in receipt of unexpected courtesies
from Mr. C. Hugo Drake, the American lawyer alluded to in an earlier
chapter of this book.


_Photograph by V. K. Van de Venter, Jan. 28, 1900._]

After spending four delightful days in Puerto Principe, I took the train
to Las Minas, twenty miles to the eastward. There I joined my
companions, who had preceded me by twenty-four hours. Here we boarded
the private cane train of Bernabe Sanchez and rode to Señor Sanchez'
great sugar mill at Senado, six miles away. Señor Sanchez has a pleasant
residence here, surrounded by fruit trees and shrubs. We saw ripe
strawberries growing in his garden. Scores of Cuban shacks in the
vicinity house his workmen and their families. We went all over his
immense, well-appointed sugar mill, then in operation, and in the early
afternoon rode on the flat cars of the cane train through his extensive
plantation for nine miles, the land on either side of the track for all
this distance being utilized for the growing of sugar cane.

The end of the track left us about eighteen miles from La Gloria. We set
out to walk home, but late in the afternoon the party accidentally
divided and both divisions got lost. Murphy and I spent an uncomfortable
night in the thick, damp woods, and taking up the tramp early the next
morning, found ourselves, two or three hours later, at the exact point
near the end of Sanchez' plantation where we had begun our walk the
afternoon before. We had walked about fifteen miles and got back to our
starting point without realizing that we had deviated from the main
trail. Stranger yet, the other division of the party had done exactly
the same thing, but had reached this spot late the night before and was
now half way to La Gloria.

Murphy and I made a new start, and after getting off the track once or
twice, finally reached the Maximo river, crossed it on a tree, and got
into La Gloria at 5:30 that afternoon, nearly worn out and looking like
wild men. I had had nothing to eat for forty-eight hours save two
cookies, one cracker, and half a sweet potato.



A very good Book that I wot of contains an Apocrypha. This will have no
Apocrypha, but I will here relate an incident which did not come under
my personal observation, but which was told of by my ordinarily
veracious friend, Colonel Maginniss. At one time during the winter,
Colonel Maginniss and his assistants had for three days, been searching
for a company horse that was lost, when a man named Ramsden came to the
colonel's tent and reported that there was a horse hanging in the woods
not far away. The colonel and Mr. Jones went to the spot and found a
large white horse, that had weighed twelve hundred pounds, dead in the
thicket, hanging by the neck. No formal inquest was held, but it was the
colonel's theory that this American-born horse could not live on Cuban
grass, and had deliberately hanged himself. A somewhat similar case I
was personally cognizant of. A sick horse was reported drowning in a
shallow pond near the camp. Colonel Maginniss went to the scene on a
Cuban pony, with a dozen colonists, and after a hard struggle the horse
was dragged one hundred yards away from the mud and water, and left on
dry land. Early the next morning it was discovered that the horse had
worked his way back into the pond and drowned himself. Was this a case
of animal suicide? It may be said that none of the colonists ever
resorted to this desperate expedient, even when the sugar gave out.

Colonel Maginniss was "a master hand in sickness." An English woman who
came to the colony was very ill, and blood poisoning set in. The
colonel's experience as a family man was now of service. He had the
woman removed to a large tent, attended her personally and looked after
the children, calling four or five times daily, and administering such
remedies as he had. The woman recovered, and gratefully expressed the
belief that the colonel had saved her life.

Near the end of April there was a sudden and surprising rise of water
along Central avenue between La Gloria and the port. One afternoon Mr.
Lowell and his men at work upon the road noticed that the water was
rising in the creeks and ditches along the way. This was a surprising
discovery, inasmuch as there had been no rain of any account. The water
continued to rise rapidly, and when the men left off work late in the
afternoon it was several feet higher than it had been at noon. It came
up steadily through the night, so that pedestrians to the port the next
morning found the water even with the new road all along and over it
where the creeks came in. Further down toward the port, the savanna was
flooded in places to a depth of one or two feet. Among the pedestrians
that morning were several colonists who were on their way home to the
States, and who, singularly enough, were obliged to walk out of La
Gloria through mud and water very much as they had walked in several
months before, although between the two periods there had been for a
long time a good dry road.

It was that morning that we, in the camp, heard a peculiar rushing sound
which we at first mistook for water sweeping through the woods. On going
down the road to investigate, however, we found that the noise was the
deafening chorus of millions of little frogs--some contended that they
were tree toads--which had come in with the flood or with the rain
which fell in the night. Never before had I seen such a sight. The frogs
were everywhere, on logs, stumps, in the water, and along the road; bits
of earth jutting out of the water would be covered with them. They were
all of one color--as yellow as sulphur--and appeared to be very unhappy.
I saw large stumps so covered with these frogs, or toads, as to become
pyramids of yellow. Whether frogs or toads, they seemed averse to
getting wet and were all seeking dry places. I saw a snake about two
feet long, who had filled himself up with them from head to tail,
floating lazily on the surface of the water. No less than five of the
yellowbacks had climbed up on his head and neck, and he had only energy
enough left to clasp his jaws loosely upon one of them and then let go.
The snake seemed nearly dead from over-eating. The frogs disappeared in
a day or two as suddenly as they had come.

At the time of this small-sized flood, a party of surveyors were camped
upon the savanna near Central avenue and about a mile from the port.
Their camp was high enough to escape the water, but they were pretty
well surrounded by it. One of the men, finding deep water running in the
road, went a-fishing there and boasted that he had caught fish in
Central avenue! The water soon subsided, and the generally accepted
explanation of the sudden flood was that it had been caused by the
overflow of the Maximo, and that there had been heavy rains, or a
cloudburst, twelve or fifteen miles away.

April was a warm month, but by no means an uncomfortable one. The lowest
temperature recorded was 67°; the highest, 94°. The weather was
delightful; the breezes were fresh and fragrant; flowers were blossoming
everywhere; and the honey bees of this incomparable bee country were
happy and industrious. So, too, were the colonists. The work of the
latter was well advanced by the first of May, or, at least, that of some
of them. As an example of industry, D. Siefert is worthy of mention. Mr.
Siefert hailed from British Columbia and came to La Gloria on the first
_Yarmouth_. On the voyage down he was somewhat disturbed over the
question of getting his deed, but once in La Gloria, he put his
apprehensions behind him, secured his allotment of a five-acre
plantation, indulged in no more vain questionings and waited for no
further developments, but each morning shouldered his axe and attacked
the trees on his land. He kept up the battle for months, rarely
missing a day's work. The result was that by May 1, Mr. Siefert, alone
and unaided, had cleared his five acres of timber land, burned it over,
and was ready for planting. Other colonists worked hard and effectually
in the forest, but this was the best single-handed performance that came
under my notice.


Another enterprising and highly intelligent colonist was Max Neuber of
Philadelphia, who has been before alluded to as one of the teachers in
the evening school. Mr. Neuber pushed the work upon his land, doing much
of it himself. Early and late his friends would find him chopping,
digging, and planting. When he left for the States in April he had five
boxes packed with the products of his plantation, such as lemons, limes,
potatoes, and specimens of mahogany and other valuable woods.

A group of industrious workers, most of whom had earlier been attached
to the survey corps, were in May located and well settled in a place
which they called Mountain View. This was a partially open tract four or
five miles west of La Gloria and about a mile from Mercedes. Here the
young men pitched their tents and swung their hammocks, confidently
claiming that they had the best spot in all the country round. From here
the Cubitas mountains could be plainly seen; hence the name of Mountain
View. A person following the rough trail from La Gloria to Mercedes
might have seen on a tree at the left, shortly before reaching the
latter place, a shingle bearing the inscription, "Change Cars for
Mountain View." If he should choose to take the narrow, rough, and
crooked trail to the left through the woods, he would ere long come out
into the open and probably see Smith Everett, formerly of Lenawee
county, Michigan, lying-in his hammock watching his banana trees grow.

I have before mentioned the irregularity and infrequency of the mails.
The remedy was slow in coming. The chief cause of the irregularity was
The Sangjai, which, though designed to be an aid to navigation, was
often a great hindrance to it. The Sangjai was a very narrow and very
shallow channel, partly natural and partly artificial, through what had
once been the Sabinal peninsula. The artificial and difficult part of
the channel known as The Sangjai was about half way between La Gloria
and Nuevitas. It had to be used in following the short or "inside"
water course. This was the route over which went our mail in a small
sailboat. The Sangjai at one point was so shallow that it contained only
a few inches of water at low tide and less than two feet when the tide
was high. It was a hard place to get through at best, and many a
passenger on craft which went this way had to get out and walk, and help
push the boat besides! Boats always had to be pushed or poled through
The Sangjai. If the winds permitted the sailboat to reach this
aggravating channel at the right time, there was no great delay; but
otherwise, the boat would be held up for ten or twelve hours. This was
altogether unpleasant, especially as the mosquitoes and jejines claimed
The Sangjai (pronounced Sanghi, or corruptly, Shanghi) for their own.
The mail, like everything else, had to await the will of the waters, or,
perhaps I should say, the convenience of the moon. The Sangjai played a
very important part in the early history of La Gloria.



My pen must glide rapidly over the events of the summer and early fall.
The sawmill, which had been so long delayed and so often promised as to
become a standing joke in the colony, finally reached La Gloria from
Nuevitas, via the port, on May 30. Nothing was more needed; its
non-arrival had delayed both building operations and the clearing of
land. A few weeks later the mill was in operation, to the great joy of
the colonists. In June the construction of a pole tramway from La Gloria
to a point on the bay between the port and the Palota landing was begun.
This was completed on August 14, and transportation operations were at
once inaugurated. The new landing place was named Newport. On July 16
the building of a substantial and permanent highway from La Gloria to
the port was commenced under the supervision of Chief Engineer Kelly,
and before October 1 the work was well advanced. The chosen route was
along Central avenue.

The colonists celebrated the Fourth of July with an appropriate
entertainment. On July 3 the colony witnessed a tragedy in the killing
of a youth named Eugene Head by a stone thrown by a young Spanish boy.
The coroner's jury decided that young Head's death was accidental. Both
boys were residents of La Gloria. The fifth of July was marked by the
death of a valued colonist, Mr. F. H. Bosworth, a veteran of the Civil
War. Mr. Bosworth was seventy-one years old, and had not been in rugged
health for a long time. He was an enterprising colonist, and performed a
great deal of work for a man of his years and enfeebled physical
condition. His wife, also a resident of La Gloria, survived him. The
general health of the colony through the summer was excellent. There was
but little rain, and the weather was delightful beyond all expectation.
The temperature ordinarily ranged from about 78° to 90°, and never
exceeded 94°. The colonists came to believe that the summer season was
even more agreeable than the winter. It was heartily voted that Cuba was
a good all-the-year-round country.


The end of the first year of the colony--reckoning from October 9, 1899,
when the surveyors began operations--saw much progress toward
extensive colonization, not in La Gloria alone, but also in the
surrounding country. The Cuban Colonization Company, organized with Dr.
W. P. Peirce of Hoopeston, Ill., as president and treasurer, and W. G.
Spiker of Cleveland, Ohio, as vice-president and general manager, had
acquired two excellent tracts of land, known as Laguna Grande and Rincon
Grande, to the eastward of the La Gloria property. These are being
subdivided and sold to colonists in small holdings. In the Rincon Grande
tract, on the bay front, the city of Columbia is being laid out, and
doubtless will soon be settled by thrifty and progressive colonists from
the United States. It is claimed that this is the exact spot where
Columbus landed in 1492, and it certainly does answer well the
historical description. Other colonists had purchased the Canasi tract,
southwest of La Gloria and adjoining the Caridad property, and Hon.
Peter E. Park was said to have secured an option on the Palota tract. It
is understood that these two tracts are to be divided up and sold to
colonists. The Caridad tract, adjoining La Gloria on the south, had
passed into the hands of Mr. O. N. Lumbert of New York, and still other
tracts in the neighborhood were being negotiated for by Americans.
Judging from the progress of this first year in colonization, there will
soon be more Americans in this region than Cubans.

The nearest Cuban village to La Gloria is Guanaja (pronounced Wan-ah-ha)
twelve miles to the northwest, and six or seven miles from Mercedes.
Before the Ten Years' War Guanaja was a port of some importance, and the
village is said to have embraced one hundred and eighty houses. But the
town and surrounding country suffered severely in the long war, and
somewhat in the later conflict. Now Guanaja consists of one rude wooden
building, used as a store, and a dozen shacks stretched along the bay
front close to the water, with a few scattered palm houses further back
from the shore. The situation is rather picturesque, commanding a
beautiful view across the brilliant-hued water to Cayo Romano, and the
surrounding country is pleasant and might be made highly productive. The
La Gloria colonists sometimes patronized the Guanaja store, and found
the proprietor accommodating and reasonable in his prices. In the
country between La Gloria and Guanaja we would often meet members of
the Rural Guard, in groups of two or three. They were fine-looking
mounted Cubans, selected by the American military government from among
the best of the late followers of Gomez, Garcia, and Maceo to patrol the
country and preserve the peace. They frequently visited us at La Gloria,
and made a favorable impression.

The La Gloria colony at the close of its first year had several newly
formed organizations in a flourishing condition. Prominent among these
was the La Gloria Colony Transportation Company, which owned and
operated the pole tramway to the bay. Its officers were: J. C. Kelly,
president; D. E. Lowell, first vice-president and general manager; W. A.
Merrow, second vice-president; M. A. Custer Neff, chief engineer; R. G.
Earner, secretary; William I. Gill, treasurer; H. W. O. Margary,
counsel; and John Latham, E. F. Rutherford, D. W. Clifton, R. H. Ford,
W. M. Carson, J. A. Messier, directors. The La Gloria Colony Telephone
Company, organized to construct and operate a telephone line to the bay,
was officered as follows: J. C. Kelly, president; F. E. Kezar,
vice-president and general manager; J. R. P. de les Derniers,
secretary; S. M. Van der Voort, chief engineer and director; J. A.
Connell, director. The La Gloria Colony Cemetery Association had the
following officers: J. C. Kelly, M. A. C. Neff, D. E. Lowell, trustees;
J. C. Kelly, president; H. W. O. Margary, vice-president; E. L. Ellis,
treasurer; A. B. Chambers, secretary; Rev. W. A. Nicholas, general
manager; F. E. Kezar, J. C. Francis, S. L. Benham, Mrs. W. A. Nicholas,
Mrs. John Lind, directors. The Cuban Land and Steamship Company donated
ten acres of land for a cemetery. The La Gloria Horticultural Society
had about thirty members, with officers as follows: H. W. O. Margary,
president; A. W. Provo, vice-president; R. G. Barner, secretary; Smith
Everett, treasurer. The La Prima Literary Society also had something
like thirty members, and these officers: H. W. O. Margary, chairman; A.
W. Provo, vice-chairman; R. H. Ford, secretary; Smith Everett,
treasurer. The two last named societies jointly purchased a town lot,
and propose to erect at some future time a building for a hall,
reading-room, etc.

The colony's first anniversary found improvements marching steadily, if
not rapidly, on. The sawmill, already alluded to, was busily at work;
Olson's shingle mill was completed; the two-story frame building on
Central avenue to be used as post-office; dwelling, etc., was done, as
were numerous other wooden houses occupied as stores or residences;
there were half a dozen well-stocked stores doing business, and several
restaurants and bakeries. Many buildings were in process of
construction, and much clearing and planting going on. Choice fruit
trees were being imported, as well as cattle, mules, swine, and poultry.
The colonists were subsisting in part upon vegetables and pineapples of
their own raising, and looking confidently forward to exporting products
of this character in the near future.

Fruit growing was the most popular industry among the colonists, but
there were those who were looking into the subjects of sugar, coffee,
tobacco, cacao, rubber, lumber, cattle raising, etc. The outlook for all
such enterprises seemed highly promising. Urgent needs of La Gloria are
a canning factory and an establishment for the manufacture of furniture;
these industries should flourish from the start.

The enthusiasm of the colonists was unbounded; they were filled and
thrilled with delight over their new home in the tropics. The climate
was glorious, the air refreshing and soothing, the country picturesque
and healthful, the soil fertile and productive. Not for a moment did
they doubt that, after a few short years of slight hardship and trifling
deprivations, a life of luxurious comfort lay before them. A fortune or
a competence seemed certain to come to every man who would work and wait
for it, and in all La Gloria there was hardly a person to be found who
would willingly blot from his memory his interesting experiences while


Fortunes in Cuba



The Cuban Colonization Company

Owns and holds deeds for two large tracts of the best land in Cuba,
situated on the north coast in the Province of Puerto Principe, the most
fertile and healthful portion of the island. This region is being
rapidly colonized by enterprising Americans, who own and are developing
thousands of plantations in the immediate vicinity of our holdings. We
are selling this valuable land in small tracts, from five to forty acres
each, at a low price, payable in monthly installments. It has been
practically demonstrated that this soil will produce abundantly all
kinds of tropical fruits, sugar cane, coffee, tobacco, cocoanuts, etc.

The purchaser of land from us will have no taxes to pay for the first
three years, and can have a warranty deed as soon as his land is paid

A discount of 10 pet cent. allowed from regular prices when full payment
is made at time o£ purchase.

An Insurance Policy.

In case of the death of any purchaser we will issue a warranty deed to
his or her estate without further payment.

REMEMBER--That a 10-acre Orange Grove in Cuba, four years old, is worth
ten thousand dollars, and will net you from three to six thousand
dollars annually.

REMEMBER--That in Cuba you can have fruits ripening every month in the

REMEMBER--That what you would pay for winter clothing and fuel to keep
you warm in the United States will keep up a home in Cuba, where the
winter months are perpetual June.

REMEMBER--That in our location are combined a delightful and healthful
climate, pure and abundant water, and a rich and productive soil.

Send for illustrated booklet and leaflets, giving information concerning
prices, etc.


               MAIN OFFICE,




    DR. W. P. PEIRCE, President and Treasurer.
         W. G. SPIKER, Vice-President and General Manager.
               G. W. HANCHETT, Assistant Manager.
                    W. P. PEIRCE, JR., Secretary.
                           JAMES PEIRCE, Assistant Secretary.

Pioneering in Cuba.



One of the Original Colonists.

In one volume, 16mo., Illustrated with scenes in La Gloria.

PRICE: Bound in Cloth, $1.00; Bound in Paper, 50 Cents.

The book will be sent postpaid on receipt of price by the author, at
North Weare, N. H., or by the Rumford Printing Co., Concord, N. H.


Address the author.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Pioneering in Cuba - A Narrative of the Settlement of La Gloria, the First - American Colony in Cuba, and the Early Experiences of the - Pioneers" ***

Copyright 2023 LibraryBlog. All rights reserved.