Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Chapter I - The Arrival of the...
 Chapter II - The Journey to Port...
 Chapter III - A Tough Tramp to...
 Chapter IV - First Days In the...
 Chapter V - The Allotment of the...
 Chapter VI - The Sugar Riot.
 Chapter VII - Adventures and...
 Chapter VIII - The Cubans.
 Chapter IX - Steps of Progress...
 Chapter X - Events Important and...
 Chapter XI - Self-Reliance of the...
 Chapter XII - The First Holiday...
 Chapter XIII - Industry of the...
 Chapter XIV - The First Ball in...
 Chapter XV - A Walking Trip to...
 Chapter XVI - In and Around La...
 Chapter XVII - The Colony at the...
 Back Matter
 Back Cover


Pioneering in Cuba : a narrative of the settlement of La Glorida, the first American colony in Cuba, and the early exper...
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/CA01200018/00001
 Material Information
Title: Pioneering in Cuba : a narrative of the settlement of La Glorida, the first American colony in Cuba, and the early experiences of the pioneers
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Adams, James Meade, 1862-?
Publisher: The Rumford Press
Publication Date: 1901
Subjects / Keywords: Caribbean
Americans -- Cuba
History -- Cuba -- 1899-1906
Spatial Coverage: Cuba -- Caribbean
Funding: Digitized with funding from the Digital Library of the Caribbean grant awarded by TICFIA.
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Central Florida Libraries ( SOBEK page | external link )
Holding Location: University of Central Florida ( SOBEK page | external link )
Rights Management: All rights to images are held by the respective holding institution. This image is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. For permission to reproduce images and/or for copyright information contact Special Collections & University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, Orlando, FL 32816 phone (407) 823-2576, email: speccoll@mail.ucf.edu
Resource Identifier: lc - F1787.A3 1901a
System ID: CA01200018:00001

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Front Matter
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Title Page
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Table of Contents
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    List of Illustrations
        Page 21
        Page 22
    Chapter I - The Arrival of the Colonists in Nuevitas Harbor
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    Chapter II - The Journey to Port La Gloria
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
    Chapter III - A Tough Tramp to La Gloria City.
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Chapter IV - First Days In the New Colony.
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
    Chapter V - The Allotment of the Land.
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
    Chapter VI - The Sugar Riot.
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
    Chapter VII - Adventures and Misadventures.
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
    Chapter VIII - The Cubans.
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
    Chapter IX - Steps of Progress.
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
    Chapter X - Events Important and Otherwise.
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
    Chapter XI - Self-Reliance of the Colonists.
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
    Chapter XII - The First Holiday in La Gloria.
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
    Chapter XIII - Industry of the Colonists.
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
    Chapter XIV - The First Ball in La Gloria.
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
    Chapter XV - A Walking Trip to Puerto Principe.
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
    Chapter XVI - In and Around La Gloria.
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
    Chapter XVII - The Colony at the End of the First Year.
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
    Back Matter
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
    Back Cover
        Page 233
        Page 234
Full Text


* '~'i


William L. Bryant


e^ .
WIVest Indies


West Indies

------------ <^ ^ x o ^^ ^ ^ ^

.__________ ~

II --------

1 111

i'a r



II l p

II rI I \ \ i.1'1'






Ube IRumtorb press

Copyright, 901o. by




THI BC-(-Ok 15I



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 pre-
sent them to the reader clearly, correctly, and hon-
estly. Secondly, I have been imbued with the be-
lief that many of the daily happenings in the colony,
particularly those of the earlier months, are of suffi-
cient 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 wa-, 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 narra-
tive 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 \V. 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. \. 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 Gloria.
j. NI. \.
.\','f'i\ lli\ Y. H D,-,-, ii fit~ o.


A New Sight l.:r Old Nueitas-TlIe I', n.'.th drops
Anchor in the Hartor-The \.ianguard of the
First American C.-lon\% Planted in Cuba-The
BeautilulCulan Coast-Picturesque Appearance
of Nutritas-- LDijtarnce Lends Enchantment to
the View "--Charictr .l the Colonists-Gen.
Paul Van der \'Vorr-Ntarly all the States Rep-
resented-. The Onl, Canuck ,:n Board "-The
:oyage Ironi Ne. 'lork 17


An Irriiating Delay--.\shore at Nut \llas-Midnight
Row at the Pier-Con'ivial Colonists Clash
With Cul[ans-E--Soidj,'r Take .in Intoluntary
Bath--The Cuban Police-Hon Peter E. Park
-The Start for La (Glorla-Some Intending
Colonists Back Out-The Man With the Long,
Red Face-The Onl \Woman-Thie Fleet An-
chors-** Tonmurow. Four T'clock, Wind Right,
Go' "-An Uncomnrnrtable Night-Cublan Cap-
tain Falls Overboard- Port La Gloria Sighted 32

8 Contents.

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 Mascuhne Garb-Col. Thos.
H. Maginniss- First Night in La Gloria-The
Survey Corps-Chief Engineer KelIl-Experi-
ences 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 Ef-
fected by the Climate-The .Aieeable Temper-
ature-Prolonged Rainy Season--The Hotel"
-The Log Foundation-A Fauvorie Joke-The
Conmpan\'s Spring-Small Variety of Food-
My First Supper in La Gloria-Eating Flamin-
go and Aged Goat-A Commissary With Noth-
ing to Sell-A FlutuLating 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 Col-


onists-Fair and Feasible Plan Adopted-Gen.
Van der Voort's Arrival in La Gloria-His Boat
S Nearly Wrecked-Delay in (letting Baggage-
Ii. Colonists Get Their Land Prllniptly-The
Town as Laid Out-Site Well Chosen--Wuods
Full of Colonists Hunting lor Their Plantations
-Different Kinds of Soil . .. "3

Population of Colon, Sllil; Increases-Arrital of
:" Second );zr,:.Ih'I-Sensational and Ridiculous
Reports-ConstcrnaTio.n in Ashiur% Park-
Laughing Over Ner paper Stol i s-L citement
Over Sugar-Mass Mlc-tin, to Air rite Griev-
ance-An Unexpected Turn of Affains-Cable
From Ne,' York Bring- (Good Ne\,s-Van der
Voort Elected President of the Conpan --Sugar
Orarirs Remain Silent-A Nois\ Celebration 86

The \Women in the Camp-Mrs. Muller-Her Cos-
tume and Extraordinary Adventurc---How She
Entered La Gloria-Ro: sts in a Tree all Night
-BuIldll the First House in La Gloria--Her
Famous Cow and Calf-W-onderful Bloonmers-
Ubiquitous Mrs Horn--\\eigheld 250, but
Waded Into La Glori.-'-Not Rattled by a
Bruuk Kiinniitg Through Her Tent-A Pig
Hunt and Its Re'uli--Survelors Lost in the
W oods . o.


Good People to Get Along With"-Their Kind-
ness and Courtesy-Harmony and Good Feel-
ing 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 Indiffer-
ent People-The Country Districts of the Prov-
ince of Puerto Principe ... o104

Clearing and Planting-The Post-office-Col. John
F. Early-The "Old Seiior"-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 G ;loria-O-laf El Gluria Olson-G-C.en
a Town Lot- Tcmperature Figures-PerfeLtion
of Climate-The Maginni (.Lorlur,'% Road-
First \\ell Dug--Architect M. A. C. Ntff 33

SEI F- ELI S ;I.E i.1 THIi ColiIoN'Tl .

The Man \\;li the Hoe--- Grandlpa" \Vitlee Able
to Take Cire of Himllelf--Not Dead. but \'cr
Much Ah.li.-.\ 1'unaciu iit hld M-ian-Mi
W itler Sli.ots Clii kens arid I)eie- tie Authori-
tie,--Iic.: .lai:k MI:Caule) and His "" Intlucn._e "--
--All.,an '" and the Moquliito: .--Arrnal I0
Third Ja'p .",u//,,- Arni.,ld Mlolleriniaier- lohnr
A. Connell-S. \\ Storni-The Fir-t St.lhool
and Its Te. lie 143

T ti. FiR -i H .I. II.A'. IN L; IL ilt.

Cra ing for Athletic '~-prrt%--ilal Holida ForniallI
Proclaimed-.A Bleautiful D.)a-T-ihe Co'luonists
Phlotograplhed-Licut. Ltans aid His Soldier-
ol the -zlith U S. C.nairy--SulC.:c-ltul Sprit ts
-D-ast-l.ll i'.lmer--.\n L.tnt n..t LiD..n in the
Program-- L'.itled Col.:lnit--Lavr.\er C. Hugo
Drake ol Puerto Printipe-HiH S:hemc--Or-
dered Out i:if Camp-A Night in the \\ ood-
Lieiitet ant Cienlutrite .

INDIJ.i-IR' I-R l ile e -I .,*NIT' *.

Pink Orchids on the Treci,-\'regtahle-- Raised and
Fruit Trees Set Out-The Variou ELniploi-

12 Contents.

ments-Working on the Survey Corps-Chief
Kell's Facetious Formula-An Oticial Kicker
-B. F. Seiltert-lmprovements at the Port-
Fish, Alli,.ators. and Flamingo-J. L. Ratekin
-First Banquet in La Gloria-Departure or
Mblginniis Part- -First Death in the Colony--
Onl\ One Death in Si; Months- Lowell's Cor-
duroy Road and Kell's Permanent Highay 166

A Semi-Annivcrs.iry--Town Lot- and Plantaliouns
Allotted in Fuiht Six Mbluths-A Grand Ball-
French Dancing Master in Charge-Dan Good-
man's Pernns..lania Modeit -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 Ageravating Cornet Player--.ingers
in the Colony. . . 177

Five Good \'a Ilktrs-A Halt at Mercedes-Sparsely
Settled Country-Cuban Trails-A Night in
the Wood--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 Peo-

Contents. 13

pie-The Journey Honie-Sanchez' Sugar Plan-
tation-Lost in the Forest-La Gloria Once
M ore . .

Horses That May Have Committed Suicide-Colonel
Maginniss "A Master Hand in Sickness"-Sud-
den and Surprising Rie no Water-A Deluge
of Frogs-A Greedy Snake-Catching Fish in
Central Avenue-D. Siefert's Industrr-Max
Neuber-Mountain View-A Facetious Sign-
board-The Sangjai-An Aggraiating and
Uncertain Channel 20

The Saw Mill-The Pole Tramway to the Ha.-A.
Traged) in the Colon\ -Death of Mr. Bosworth
-The Summer Season-The Country Around
La Gloria-The Cuban Colonization Compan) -
Guainaja-The Rural Guard-Organizations in
La Gloria-The March of Improvements-
Construction of Wooden Buildings-Coloni.ts
Delighted With Their New Home in the Tropics 21z


James M. Adams Frontispiece.
Map of Cuba 16
City of Nucvitis, 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. Magiini-- 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 .
First Women Colonists of La Gloria 122
Dr. William P. Peirce 126
(en. Van der Voort's Cuban House 134
La Gloria, Cuba, Looking South 150
G roup of Colonists .158
The Survey Corps 168
Interior Gen. Van der Voort's House 182
.\gramonte Plaza, Puerto Principe, Cuba 200
Dr. Peirce's Pineapple Patch 208
Scene on LagunaGrande 214

; i

f: i

~' 3!Q

~ bzi.





JL'ST alter noon on January 4, 1900, the
ancient city of Nuevitas, Cuba, lazily basking
in the midday sunshine, witnessed a iight
which had not been paralleled in the four
hundred years of its existence. A steamer
was dropping anchor in the placid -ater of
the harbor a mile off shore, and her decks
were thronged \ ith a crow d of more than two
hundred eager and active Americans. They
wore no uniforms, nor did they carry either
guns or swords; and yet the- had come on
an errand uf 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

S8 Pioneering in Cuba.

that there %was a hard tight 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 beau-
tiful land-locked harbor of Nuevitas was the
screw steamer airmouth/, a steel ship which,
if not as fast and elegant as the ocean grey-
hounds that cross the Atlantic, wa. large and
tine enough to have easily commanded the
unbounded admiration and amazement of
Christopher Columbus had he beheld her
when he landed from the Sanl .riiTa 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 o"f craft that sail the seas, but less
progress has been made by the city of Nue-
vitas in those lour hundred long years. The
afi,'ttoh., substantial if not handsome, and
sate if not s-wift. had brought the colonists to
this purt 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

The Arrival at Nuevitas. 19

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 demol-
ished 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.
The day was beautiful, freshened by a soft
and balmy breeze, with the delightlll temper-
ature of 75 degrees. Far back in the interior,
through the wonderfully transparent Cuban
atmosphere, one could see the light blue peaks
of lo'ty mountains, standing singly instead of
in groups, as i'feach 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
precariou-. positions along the rough, water-


I -I

The Arrival at Nuevitas. 21

worn streets that gashed the side of the
hill. To the right a green-covered promon-
tory projected far into the bay, dotted with
occasional native -.hacks 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, tilled with
large, projecting stones and gullies of no little
depth. Stick', 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 "'America-
nos," are, for the most part, unattractive in
dress and person. The few public buildings

22 Pioneering in Cuba.

are ugly and there is not a pleasant street in
the town. And vet when seen from the har-
bor the city looks pretty. mainly on account
of its red-tiled houses, grassy hillside slopes,
and waving cocoanut palms. The author of
the ancient sa ing that distancee lends en-
chantment to the view." might well have
gathered his inspiration at Nuevitas.
If the inhabitants ,of Nuevitas have the
quality of curiosiity. they clearly did not have
it w ith them at the time of our arrival. Al-
though it is said on good authority, that the
city had never before had more than twelve
or fliteen visitors at one time, save soldiers- or
sailors, the natives betrayed no excitement
and little interest in the advent of two hun-
dred American civilians. With the exception
of a handful of boatmen and a e\\ fruit \en-
ders, not a lperi-,n came to the piers to gaze
at the new arrivals, and in the town the peo-
ple scarcely gave themselve-, the trouble to
look out of their open dwellings and shops at
the colonist,. This may hale been inherent
courtesy-lor the Cuban is nothing it not
courteous-but to us it seemed more like
indifference. The Cubans are certainly an
indifferent people. and at this port they ap-
peared to have no object or interest in life.

The Arrival at Nuevitas. 23

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 indo-
lence, 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 pro-
verbial rain\ delay Accustomed to the
fairest skies in the world, he never anticipates
cloudy weather.
It is quite possible that if wve had been
arrayed in brilliant unilfrms, resplendent of
gold lace, brass buttons, and all the accom-
panying trappings, we should have aroused
more interest, for the Cuban loves color,
pageant, and martial shl..w, but a.s 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 noth-
ing about the invaders to hold attention, but
to me, who had closely studied my compan-
ions and fellow-colonists for nearly a week,
they %were full ot" interest and inspiration.

24 Pioneering in Cuba.

They were, to be sure, a motley crowd, rep-
resenting 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 aver-
aged 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 im-
pressed by the serious and resolute manner
in which these voyagers entered upon the
work of establishing a new home for them-
selves 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
'armouth on Saturday, December 30, 1899,
a stinging cold day. It was the first excur-
sion run by the Cuban Land and Steamship

The Arrival at Nuevitas., 25

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 Ameri-
can colony at La Gloria, on the north coast
of Cuba, about forty miles west of Nuevitas.
Every passenger on board the a;rmouth 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, t\\o hundred and eleven
passengers, all men with one exception, Mrs.
Crandall. the wile of an employee of the com-
pany. 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 terri-
tories. 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 \est,
several of them his own neighbors in Omaha.
The others were from cliferent parts of

G.IN\. PM~ I VAN f'ET X\.--RF.

The Arrival at Nuevitas. 27

Nebraska, Kansas. and Iowa. General Van
der Voort was the assistant manager of the
company, and a little later became its presi-
dent. He went to Cuba in the double capac-
ity of an officerr 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 oft 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
General Van der Voort's party, however,
formed but a small fraction of the Western
representation. Tuelve men came from
Illinois, six from Michigan, five from 1Minne-
sota. iour from Wisconsin. tour from Indi-
and, four from Oklahoma-men who were
** boomers" in the rush for land in that terri-
tory-tw o from Missouri, two from Wash-
ington 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 ac-

28 Pioneering in Cuba.

knowledging that he hailed from that state.
The South was not so largely represented as
the WVest, 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 Con-
necticut 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 Ruther-
ford, cheerfully announced himself as "the
only Canuck on board." Those who were
fortunate enough to become intimately ac-
quainted 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

The Arrival at Nuevitas. 29

in the "sugar riot"-but that's "another
The colonists represented even more occu-
pations than states. There \were four physi-
cians, one clergyman, one lawyer, one editor,
one patent ollice employ, small merchants.
clerks, bookkeepers, locomoti\ e engineers,
carpenters, and other skilled mechanics.
besides many farmers. There were also a
number of .-pecialists. The embr\o colony
included several veteranss of the Spanish war,
some of" whom had been in Cuba before.
G. A. R. buttons were surprisingly numer-
ous. The men, generally speaking, ap-
peared to be eminently practical and thor-
oughly wide aw" ke. They looked able to
take hold of a business enterprise and push
it through to succe .ds regardless of obstacles.
Several of the colonists showed their thrift by
taking poultry \ith them, while an old gen-
tleman from Minnesota had brought along
two colonies of Italian honey bees. Another
old man explained his presence by jocularly
declaring that he \\as going down to Cuba to
search Ior the footprints of Columbus. Ac-
cents representing all sections of the country
were harmoniously and curiously mingled.
and the spirit of fraternity was marked. The

30 Pioneering in Cuba.

one colored man in the party, an intelligent
representative of his race, had as good stand-
ing as anybody.
The voyage down was uneventful. It
occupied four days and a hall, and for thirty-
six hours, in the neighborhood of Cape Hat-
teras, 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 con-
dition of the boat. Many a hardy colonist
sighed tfr his Western ranch or his comforta-
ble house in the East. The superior attrac-
tion-. 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 sail-
ing upon its turbulent bosom. With the
return of a smooth sea a marvelous change
came over the %oyagers, and all began to
look eagerly forward to a sight of the famed
" Pearl of the Antilles." We were now sail-
ing a calm tropical sea, with the fairest of
skies above us and a mild and genial tein-
perature that \\as a great delight after the
severe cold of the Northern winter. The
salubrious weather continued through the

The Arrival at Nuevitas. 31

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
Spani..h word rmaiana still in high favor
at Nuevrita, though it was difficult to fix the
resp'nsibilityv Ir the irritating delays. The
Cubans and :he tli-iceri of the company alike
came in for a good deal of straight-from-the-
shoulder Yankee criticism. Some of this
was de.erlved. 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 suc-
cessfully as the colonis't had been lcd to
expect. It was leairnd that the town of La
Gloria was as Nvet onl\ a town in name, the
ICundation of it- tirst building. tlie hotel, hav-
ing just been laid. The lumber tor the ,truc-
ture lay on the docks at Nue\ita%. The com-
pany's portable sawmill machinery was rust-
ing in the open air at th ae same place... If the
colonists marveled at this, their wonder dis-
appeared when, a little later, they tramped
and waded the four miles of so-called road "

The Journey to Port La Gloria. 33

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, Jan-
uary 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 fre-
quent 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. Communications
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

Pioneering in Cuba.

to cnvey the colonists and their baggage.
This was no easy matter, as the business had
to be dune with Cubans, and Cubans are
never in any hurry about coining to terms.
Friday morning the passengers of the Yar-
mouth were permitted to go ashore and wake
up the inhabitants of the .leepy city, each
person paying some thrifty Cuban twenty-fivh
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 pine-
apple-, tiny fig bananas, and green orl-anges
at exorbitant prices. The fruit looked infe-
rior, but the flavor was good. Most of it
grew without care, and in a semi-wild condi-
tion. The colonists were eager to sample
any fruit of the country, as most of them
were intending to make fruit grw\\ing their
business. The "Americanos" succeeded in
waking up Nuii\ita.- in some degree, and at
night a few of them set out to "paint the town
red." Only a few, however; the great major-
ity behaved remairk:ably well. The day was
spent in quietly in .pecting the city and its
surrouLndings. Many of the visitors bought
needed supplies at the small stores.

The Journey to Port La Gloria. 35

Saturday ~ as passed in the same way as
Friday. the only incident of note being a
small-.-ized disturbance which took place at
the pier near midnight. Three belated Amer-
icans, who had done more than look upon
the c arguardiente," got into a quarrel with
a Cuban boatman in regard to their return to
the 1aImon Ath. The Americans were mainly
at fault. the boatman was obstinate, and a
\war of \onrd., was soon followed by blows.
The boatman was getting the worst of the
scrimmage \ hen several of the Cuban police
s\\wooped down upon the party. Two of the
Americans drew revolvers, but they were
quickly disarmed and overcome, one of the
trio. \\ho wore the uniform of the United
States army, which he had lately quitted,
calling over into the harbor in the scuttle.
This suddenn and unexpected ducking ended
the tight: the "Americanos" compromised
with the boatman, and were allowed to return
to the ',ruroiat. These intending colonists
did not remain long at La Gloria, although
,ne o" the three purposes to return. The
conduct of the Cuban police upon this occa-
sion, and upon all others which came under
my notice, \\as entirely creditable. They
dress neatly, are sober and inoffensive in

Pioneering in Cuba.

manner, and appear to perform their duties
conscientiously and well.
While we lay in Nuevitas harbor we re-
ceived several visits from Gen. A. L. Bres-
ler 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

The Journey to Port La Gloria. 37

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 later.
The colonists embarked upon the sailing
craft from the decks of the Yarmouth, leav-
ing 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 ot" Cuba. Probably
examples of the "'chocolate eclair" backbone
are to be found e\ eryNwhere. One of the re-
turning 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

Pioneering in Cuba.

homne-sickne.,s. He had shown unmistakable
evidence of' it before the 1.7 intuioh!/ had exen
left North river, and he did not improve as
the vessel approached the coast of Cuba. He
rarely spoke to anybody, and could he seen
hour after hour kneeling in a most dejected atti-
tude upon a cushioned seat in the mdain saloon,
gazing mournfully out of the window at the
stern across the broad waters. His was about
the most striking example of sustained melan-
choly that ever came under my observation,
and could not seem other than ridiculous in
that company. \VWhn we slowly m, ,\ed :~ ay
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 .uhtle 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 Journey to Port La Gloria. 39

the voyage down and had been fearfully sea-
sick all the way. Orders had been given that
no women or children should be taken on this
first excursion, hut an exception was made in
the case of Mrs. Crandall because she was
the wife of an employ f of the company.
The departing colonists \\ ward their good-bvs
to the Yarmouth, and the little fleet was towed
out to the entrance of Ntieritas 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
di.sm ay 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 unneces?.arlily explosive
emphasis on the last word.
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

40 Pioneering in Cuba.

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 wist-
fully 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 could.
It was a radiant evening, with soft, caress-
ing breezes and a starlit 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 en-
thusiastic 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 .IlTaylo: -r centuries before.

The Journey to Port La Gloria. 41

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-\\ho 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 Wash-
ington, 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 con-
versation. As we became drowsy, we could
hear, now and again, some one of our com-

Pioneering in Cuba.

panions giving an imitation oif the Cuban
captain : To-morrow-four o'cluck-wind
right -gin! "
Early in the morning, true to his wiird, the
captain set Lail. and as the wind was right


good progress was made. One of the divert-
ing incidents of the morning was the fall of
the captain overboard. In the crowded con-
dition 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

The Journey to Port La Gloria. 43

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 invol-
untary 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 o I
La Gloria, she dragged roughly over the
rocky bottom for some distance and came per-
ilously near -.utering misfortune. The other
schooners came in collision at about this time
and a panic ensued. No serious damage re-
sulted, however. It was between twelve and
one o'cl ock 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 dis-
cerned 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,

A Tough Tramp to La Gloria. 45

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 liftingg 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 fero-
cious; they allowed no one any peace. The
company had c,,nsiderately provided coffee
and bread for the landing "( immigrantss" 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 row-
boat could be used only a portion of the
way. Under the circumstances, we decided
to walk.
The road, if such it may be called, led




L: a

A Tough Tramp to La Gloria. 47

through an in open a anna. with occasional
belt, olf timber. There had been heavy rains
just bef;:re our arri'.al. and the trail w\ais one
o.I' tlie most wretched ever Iifllowed by a
Ihulmn being. Fur about a tqutarter of a mile
there \\'i a an apology tor .1 cordluro road,
but the logs cominposing it w\-re .. irregular
-alnd iune\ L n in i ize, anld had been so diar-
rianged by ,.url ace \\ater and -so Inet;rl co\-
e-red with debris that it all -eemed to have
been pl a ic-d there to obsttruct travel rather
than to facilitate it. Alter tih cordurov, the
trail \a: a disheartening mixture of water,
mudjt. stunplls, roots, lo briers, and branchte-.
No\w \e would be \lading through shallow
\water and deep mud that almost pulled our
shoes -i': then splashing through \water and
tall. coarse grass; and again, ca-refully
threading our precarious wav among ugly
.stumlps, logs, antd fallen limbs, in \water
ahloe our knees. At tines the traveler found
hinmsell anlml'st atloat in the toirest. He was
lucky-. indeed, it lie did not fall down, a mis-
fortune which \\3s little less than a tragedy.
3Betbre leading the port \we had been advised
to remove our stockings and roll our trousers
above our knees. Few of us had on any-
thing better than ordinary shoes, and the

48 Pioneering in Cuba.

sensation ot" tramping through the mud and
water with these was far from pleasant.
Many had rubber boots or legging.- in their
trunks, but the trunks were still at Nuevitas.

AUTHOR ON ROAD TO LA GLORIA. (fan. 8, o900.)
Notwithstanding the bad road, one hundred
and sixty stout-hearted colonists set out for
La Gloria between I :30 and 3 o'clock. They
straggled along for miles, old men and young
men, and even lame men; some with valises,

A Tough Tramp to La Gloria. 49

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 pic-
turesque as he strode through the mud and
water, apparently trying -to impress the col-
onists with the idea that the poor road was
noitliing to juitir\ 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 stag-
gered under very heavy loads. Quite a num-
ber of cameras and kodaks were to be seen.
The trail led through a rich savanna, soil

Pioneering in Cuba.

which is undoubtedly adapted to the raising
of sugar cane, rice. and cocoanuts. Many
palmetto and palm trees lined the way. One
could not %\ell vie\\ the scenery without stop-
ping. for fear of losing one's footing. Thorns-
were troublesome and easily penetrated the
\wet shoes of the weary travelers. The col-
onists all agreed that this road was the freest
from dust of any they had ever trod.
At last, after two hours of toil and discom-
fort. we came in sight of dry land and the
camp. \'e had crossed two small creeks and
seen a Iew\ unoccupied native s-hack,. 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

A Tough Tramp to La Gloria. 51

once a month. It has been stated that the
seeds fioro 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 won-
dered 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 tirst
seen came out a few days later in dainty
skirts and feminine headgear. Indeed. \we
found La Gloria, in some respects, more civ-
ilized than we had anticipated.
It \\as late in the afternoon of Monday, Jan-
uary 8. 1900oo 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. \e found about a dozen
tents, and as many more native shacks occu-
pied by Cubans who were at work for the
company. The Cubans numbered about
til'.y and the American emnployts nearly as
many more. There were also a few Florida
and other settlers who had reached the spot
early. Altogether, the population just before


. .


A Tough Tramp to La Gloria. 53

quur arrival was about one hundred, seven or
eight of whom were women.
The white city grew rapidly after we ap-
peared on the scene. The company had
tentI, which we were obliged to put up for
ouIrsel\v, and it was several hours before we
had opportunity to even partially dry our wet
leet and shoes. All that evening little groups
ol 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 Yar-
mouth. 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
-tart, and aside from being a picturesque.per-
sonality, 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 regu-
larly given the position of superintendent of

Pioneering in Cuba.

camp. in the employ of the company. lie
held this post until his return to the States,
early' in April.
Our first night in La Gloria xwas not i.ne of
sybaritic pleasure. \e \\ere able i( secure
some poor cots and one thin blanket apiece.
This was insufficient, tor the nights, or rather
the early mornings. were quite cold. Snme
of the men were obliged t.- -,it up all night to
gather warmth from tiret-. The rotten cloth
on the cots went to pieces, in most cases, be-
fore the night was over, and, altogether, sleep
was at a premium. Many of the tents were
crowded; in mine were eight persons, repre-
senting nearly as many states. Fortunately,
the insects gave us very little trouble. The
population of the camp that first night nmut
have been nearly three hundred. and the next
day it increased to quite that number.

While the colonists did not arrive at La
Gloria in any considerable numbers until Jan-
ilary, 1900oo the preliminary operations began
there on October 9, 1899. when Chief Engi-
neer J. C. Kelly landed with a survey corps
from Texas. It was a splendid corps of
bright, hardy, plucky, indefatigable men.
skilful in their \ork and under discipline as

A Tough Tramp to La G!oria. 55

rigid as that of an armv. Chief Kelly was
from Eagle Lake. Texas, in which state he
had become well know n through the perform-
ance 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 imperson-
ator 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 o' 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 serv-
ing 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.

56 Pioneering in Cuba.

De Long of Havana. H. L. Starker of Chi-
cago, David Porter of Detroit, Richard Head
of Florida, J. A. MlcCaulev of New York,
Will Corlett, and Jack Griffith.
The experiences of the members of the
survey corps at La Gloria had been a con-
tinued story of hardship, privation, and ex-
posure. They came in before the rainy sea-
son 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 mos,,quitoe- 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 testi-
monial 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

A Tough Tramp to La Gloria. 57

Northern states, and even British Columbia,
worked on the survey corps under similar
conditions and with like immunity from seri-
ous illness. Occaisiinally, to be sure, they
would be poisoned from landing too 1ing in
water or coming in contact with the giiao
tree, or shrub, but this affliction, while severe,
was never fatal. The good work faithfully
and uncomplainingly performed by the sur-
vey corps in and around La Gloria, under
such trying circumstances, is worthy of as
much praise and admiration as a sLucces.ifll
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
Mr.-. D. E. Lowell and Mrs. W. G. Spiker;
they came with their husbands. Mr. Lowell
had been a prosperous orange and pineapple
grow\ er 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 Lo\\ells and
Spikers were intelligent and cultivated people
who had been accustomed to a good style of

Pioneering in Cuba.

living, but who were inow ready' to undertake
a rouIgh. pioneer life in the strong hope ol a
bright Iuture. The p.irty landed at Palmoa.
northwest of La Gloria. and came in with
horses and wagon of their ow\n. Follow ing the
roughest kind of trail for the larger part ot
nine miles. It was a hardd and perilou 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 e\tricatc-d after a time and the toilsome
journey continued. At last the bedraggled
party reached La Gloria. and the firvt women
colonists set fiot on the soil of the future
Cuban-\merican city. When the 2,r'oll'tl/
colonists arrived, the Lowells and Spikers
had been living at La Gloria for several
week.-; 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 .mall open space by
a great ore'est. with no elevation high enough
for u- to see e\en so much of the outside
world as hill., mountains, or the sea. it
almost seemed as ifl we had dropped off of
the earth to some unknown planet. Day
after day passed without our seeing the hori-
zon, or hearing a locomotive or steamboat
whistle. \e had no houses, only tents, and
there \\as not a wooden building of any sort
within a dozen miles. At night the camp
\\as dimly lighted by flickering tires 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 \\ho invariably rose
at three o'clock in the morning ; this wa-s two
hours before light. In the deep forest at
night were heard strange sounds. but high

Pioneering in Cuba.

above them all. every night and the whole of
the night. the harsh, complaining note of a
certain bird \\ho 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 homesickness. 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 diffi-
cultie:. encountered in entering it and the
deprivation., which had to be put up with.
From the first, the colonists. generally speak-
ing. were more than cheerful; they were
happy and contented. Buoyant in spirits,
eager to explore and acquire information con-
cerning the surrounding country, they enjoyed
the pioneer life with the keenest relish.
They laughed at the hardships and priva-
tionis, 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

First Days in the New Colony. 61

themelekes, the more they seemed to thrive.
until nearly every man in the colony wa,
trei:t~ to say that he was better phy. ically
;ind mentally than when he left home. It
w.i\ til same with the \\oinmer, \hlos1e im-
proved health, entire chelciuln!.s,. and evi-
dent contentment were a ri.cilatiln to tht-
ihirrt.'r. There are many women who take
;s ieadily to a pioneer life as do the men.
Thick %%as notably the case in La 1il<,i,,.
The colonists had not come to La Glori:i
in -.t:.lch of a health resort-at least, the
lea:r majority had not-but that is what they
iouind. Scarcely had we set foot on the soil
iO' C'uba when those of us who had catarrh-
and \\lat Yankee has not?-found that we
no longer tul'ifer-d from the attlictinri. Thi.
cuie. which proved permanent, was -umc-
thing the mIaji.ity of us had not counted on.
Nor had we counted on the entire ireelim
from clds which we enjoyed in the island.
But the cure of catarrh was of small import-
ance in comparison with the sudden and
marked improvement in those t ho -.uffercd
from nervous dii.ease-. 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

62 Pioneering in Cuba.

with kidney ailments and rheumatism re-
ported themselves improved, and there was
not wanting evidence that persons with con-
sumptive 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 delight-
ful, a close approach to perfection, the ther-
mometer ranging from 70-' to 840' at noon,
and rarely falling below 6o'0 at any time of
day. It still rained frequently, an unusual
and remarkable prolongation of the rainy
.eason. 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 respon-
sible, perhaps justly so, for many of the in-
conveniences and drawbacks which the col-
onists 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 con-

First Days in the New Colony. 63

struction of the hotel. This latter assertion
was true beyond all question. The hotel "
was a subject of much comment and immod-
erate mirth. It existed on paper in spacious
and imposing elegance; it was a splendid
structure of the imagination. But let it not
be thought Ior one moment that the hotel was
wholl a. m\yth. Not so; the situation would
not have been hall 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 Iojr 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. Work-
men were putting the finishing touches on
this foundation when we arrived, but the
work was soon discontinued altogether, leav-




First Days in the New Colony. 65

ing 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
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 com-
pany'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-n ell
supplied with provisions. There was usually
enough in quantity, but the quality was poor
and there was a painful lack of variety. The

Pioneering in Cuba.

engineer corps' cook house was hastily en-
larged 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 restau-
rant. We were crowded together on long,
movable benches, under a shelter tent. Be-
fore 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 with-
out 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
Medrield, 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 employed in an
insane asylum. I, alas! had not enjoyed

First Days in the New Colony. 67

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 saintlv patience
and good-humor of our waiter, Al Noyes.
It was not long before there was an im-
provement in the fare, although no great
variety was obtainable. We u-uallv had,
however, the best there was in camp. The
staples were salt beef, bacon, beant, 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 occa-
sionally we rejoiced in a cook whose culinary
talent comprehended the ability to make frit-
ters. 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 devel-
opment 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
goat-, one of which had a pernicious habit of
hanging around the dining tent. One day,







First Days in the New Colony. 69

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 cer-
tain that British goats have no table manners.
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 com-
pany had confidently assured us in its adver-
tising 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

70 Pioneering in Cuba.

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 our-
Is there anything that you have got to
sell? I inquired meekly.
Well, there is some mosquito netting over
I had mosquito netting-but mosquito net-
ting did not make a very good drinking

First Days in the New Colony. 71

utensil. I left the commissary without in-
quiring for a plough or a knitting needle.
The population of La Gloria fluctuated
greatly during the first week after our ad-
vent. Our arrival and the additions of the
following day had brought the total popula-
tion of the camp up to at least three hundred.
The wet and muddy trails, and the back-
wardness 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 ulti-
mately 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, hop-
ing 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

72 Pioneering in Cuba.

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 de-
parted. Those of us who remained either
had faith in the ultimate success of the proj-
ect, 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 improve-
ments had not as yet materialized, but, on the
other hand, we had learned from personal
observation that the land was good, the tim-
ber valuable, the drinking water pure and
abundant, and the climate delightful beyond
description. The most of those wh6 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 offi-
cers 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 1oo 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 100oo feet, 50 x Ioo, and 50 x 150;
plantation land, 2j acres, 5 acres, o1 acres,
20 acres, and 40 acres. The purchaser paid
in full or on monthly instalments, as he pre-
ferred, 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 cooperative company
and the land was a gift to him. How\eve\r,

74 Pioneering in Cuba.

the cooperative 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 him.
At the company's headquarters in New
York, no plan of subdivision had been formu-
lated further than a general promise in adver-
tising 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 formida-
ble 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 \\ith
the company, to say nothing of their respec-
tive holdings and the status of their pa yments.
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. Sur-
\ eying in this dense tropical forest was neces-

The Allotment of the Land.

sarily slow work, and progre.s- had been im-
peded 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 subdi-
vision would be made about January i, 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 pur-
sued 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, mian 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 con-
sideration, seeking to devise a plan which

Pioneering in Cuba.

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 ap-
proval of the colonists on the ground. The
general described this as the "town-meet-
ing principle, and his decision gave entire
satisfaction to the pioneers.
General Van der Voort arrived in La
Gloria Thursday, January in, having re-
mained behind at Nuevitas to see the bag-
gage 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

The Allotment of the Land.

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 allot-
ment of the land, and a committee of nine
colonists, with Dr. W. P. Peirce of Hoopes-
ton, 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 repre-
sentatives 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 be-
lieved then and believe now was the best that
could have been devised, was adopted by the
colonists with but a single dissenting vote.

78 Pioneering in Cuba.

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, as-
sisted 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 archi-
tect. 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 be-
yond. 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,

The Allotment of the Land. 79

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 ele-
vation 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 col-
onists had not been slow in selecting corner
lots, and the lots on Central avenue and those
facing the plaza on all sides were early pre-
empted. The colonists had faith that a real
city would rise on the chosen site. When the

Pioneering in Cuba.

demand for town lots had been satisfied, the
committee began at once to give out the plan-
tation land. The choice was necessarily re-
stricted 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, natu-
rally 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 ma-
jority, however, mindful that they were priv-
ileged to change if the land was not satisfac-
tory, 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. i was not on the ground,

The Allotment of the Land. 81

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, impa-
tiently awaiting their turn. Some tried to
extract inside intirm.linti,,n from the surveyors,
who were supposed to know the relative value
of every square foot of the land, but the ma-
jority either made their choice blindly, with
knowledge of nothing save the proximity of
the tract to the town, or trusted to the meag-re
information they had acquired r-igarding the
character of the land in different localities
during their tramps in the few days since their
It was a strange scene. Men of all .gy-,
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 neigh-
bor. It was a good-natured, well-behaved
crowd, and there was no friction in the pro-
ceedings. 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

(One of the Early Colonists.)


? X '' '': ;:


The Allotment of the Land.

allotment well ad\v'nced, and Tur-_day it was
finished. Everybody then on the ground who
wished to make a selection for himself or
those whom he represented had been accom-
modated, and the committee's duties were at
an end. Nearly seven thousand acres of
plantation land had been allotted.
As soon as they h;d s-elected 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 mi-sing
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, iouind their land with no more diffi-
culty than was inevitable in a long tramp
through the rough and muddy path ot' a jun-
gle. The mosquit,.es kept us company, and
the parrots scolded us from overhead, hut
there were no wild beasts or enormouss
snakes to be dreaded. Probably there are no

Pioneering in Cuba.

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 observation.
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 repre-
sented 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

The Allotment of the Land. 85

from stone, while the red and chocolate had
some, but seldom enough to do any harm.
The colonists set to work with energy clear-
ing 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 be-
ginning of the allotment of the land, the
population of La Gloria began to pick up"
somewhat. Colonists who had been linger-
ing at Nuevitas, and some new ones who had
come down from the States by the Munson
line, would stiaggle in from time to time.
People were coming and going almost every
day, but the balance was in favor of the col-
ony 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 excur-
sion 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 Nu-evitas 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.

The Sugar Riot. 87

while stories of starvation, sickness, and
death were poured into the ears of new
arrivals until many an intending colonist be-
came 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 ten-
dency of human nature to exaggerate. and to
build a big sensation out of a small nucleus.
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 young-
est 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 Nuexita. and he
had told a terrible story of surffl-ing and
danger in the colony. The woman's letter
showed clearly that she discredited the ac-
counts of her son and accepted those of the
man who had brought back a lhairowing tale.
Why she credited the story of a man who




- Cl

* .:I.'

The Sugar Riot. 89

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 young-
est son, and found him well and happy, and
ready to join with his brother in speaking
favorably of La Gloria.
Meanwhile, we were living contentedly in
La Gloria, enjoying excellent health and suf-
fering 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 colo-
nists remained good through the winter, the
spring, and even the following summer.
Indeed, the colonists had but few griev-
ances, so few that they would sometimes
manufacture them out of trifles. Of such was

Pioneering in Cuba.

.the -' sugar riot" with its laughable and har-
monious 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 un-
loaded 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
employs 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 colo-
nists was held preparatory to the organization

The Sugar Riot.

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 head-
quarters 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 colo-
nists. The colonists whose tempers had been
kept sweet by a sufficiency of sugar lingered
around in the pleasant anticipation of witness-
ing an opera boufe.
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, announc-
ing the election of General Van der Voort as
president of the Cuban Land and Steamship

Pioneering in Cuba.

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 tor the
success of the enterprise. They had been
distrustful of the management of the com-
pany ; the choice for the new president in-
spired them with renewed hope and confi-
dence. 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 him-
self as a colonist among them.
The sugar agitators forgot that their coffee
had not been sweetened for i, ri. -cight 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 announc-
ing the deep satisfaction of the colonists in
the choice made for president. General
Van der Voort responded to calls and made
an excellent speech.

The Sugar Riot.

A little later in the evening there was a
big demonstration in honor of the significant
event. M[.re than anything else it resem-
bled 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 colo-
nists became convinced that night that if the
Cubans ever become American citizens thev
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 blow-
ing 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 build-
ing the first house in the city." Speaking
of sex, it was not easy to determine that of
Mrs. Miill-r upon a casual acquaintance.
Slight of figure, with bronzed face and close-
cut hair, she wore a boy's cap, blouse, trous-
ers, 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