Title: Interview with Ignacio Martinez Ybor, Jr. (March 28, 1975)
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00006490/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Ignacio Martinez Ybor, Jr. (March 28, 1975)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: March 28, 1975
Spatial Coverage: 12057
Hillsborough County (Fla.) -- History.
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00006490
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Hillsborough' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: HILL 13

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INTERVIEWEE: Ignacio Martinez Ybor, Jr.


March 28, 1975

Page 1.

W: ...testing now and later I'll have some more specific questions.

Y: O.K., that sounds fair enough.

W: The one question I wanted to ask you was about the name Ybor, Y-b-o-r,

and whether or not you know that that was at one time Bor?

Y: I have conjectured as much. However in Cuba most people have spelled

it Ibor. I know that my great-grandfather always spelled it Ybor.

Now whether there is any relationship I don't know. There is an

area in Spain called Castanales de Ibor in which the name Ibor is

used as a name.

W: As Ibor?

Y: As Ibor in the same way that it is spelled in, that it is spelled

in Spanish-speaking countries.

W: Right.

Y: Now this area I understand is near Valencia where my great-grandfather

originally came from. So it is quite possible that it was this way

from the start, in other words that the Ybor and Bor, it's not necessarily

as much logical imperative as it sounds but rather it can be traced

back to this particular region in Spain.

W: Then I'll have to do the geneology in that area, then trace it down

a.little more. But that, that clarifies one major issue, one thing


Page 2. dib

we've been arguing back and forth about. I understand that when people

say, "No, it's Bor," and they would try to trace the name Bor. There

was one person in Tallahassee who wrote a state history.

Y: Yes.

W: He claimed that he had information, of course information he never

divulged, that...

Y: Yes.

W: ...the name was Bor, and so he never calls it Ybor City. He calls

it Bor City. And he has no proof of it that I know of other than he

thinks it should have been that way.

Y: Well, good for him. Right?

W: But now I have other...

Y: Let him fiddle around with my name.

W: Now I have it on tape, thought..

Y; Of course.

W: ...with an Ybor saying its so, it's valid. One of the things, I ran

across the first Ybor factory by the way. It's changed quite a bit.

It's now in the hands of Trend Magazine, Trend Publications Incorporated.

Y: That's the one with the...

W: With the steps.

Y: ...the steps and the little canopy and...

W: Right.

Y: ....the red brick building.

W: Right. That, that now has been changed. It's owned by Trend Publications


Page 3. dib

and they have a crafts market there every Saturday and Sunday. They

just started this in the last few months. I put that building, the

hotel across from it, the el and the Cuban Club on the

National Register about two years ago. Then, no, three years ago.

(tape skipped)

Let's see, what else? Oh, just again, I don't know if he had any

children by her or not because I don't know what her name is, and

as I say there was rumors floating around that there was a diary.

The rumors -i the things we have to trace. Nine...

Y: Sure.

W: ...nine times out of ten they're non-existent things that have happened.

But this was, this was one thing we were able to uncover except for

the name of his mistress and unfortunately we can't find that. One

other thing that I wanted to ask you, if you recall. I can't get any

of the newspapers in Cuba from this 1850 to 1869 period when Ybor...

Y: ?

W: ...was in Cuba.

Y: Right.

W: And so therefore we know nothing about what the name of his factory

was or anything about his activities in Cuba before he went to Key

West. Could you perhaps enlighten me on anything there that


Y: O.K., I don't have the name of the factory. There's a possible way


Page 4. dib

that I can find that out through relatives that are in Cuba.

That I can do.

Later on you'll give me your address cNr eOeN/fn ...

W: Oh, fine. Fine.

Y: ...track this down. He was involved financially in a Cuban revolu-

tion in the, oh gee, I forgot the dates.

W: The revolution in 1869 and '79.

Y: Right.

W: '68 to '78.

Y: Right._

So he was, he financed something of that so things got hot for him

in Cuba and he literally had to get out of Cuba in a hurry.

W: So in other words he was, he was financing the revolutionaries.

Y: Right. Right.

W: O.K.

Y: Right.

W: So far so good.

Y: And he, that's why he had to leave for Key West. I'll have to sit

down and think or remember. I had an uncle who lived in Ithaca and

he at one time used to talk to me a lot about these things. He's

dead now. He died about four years ago. And this is why basically

I know these things, plus the stuff that I have learned from my

grandfather who died in Cuba and to some extent my father as well.

But I know that there was a link between him and the revolutionaries


Page 5. dib

and I presume that it was a financial link. Also he may have known

some of the people and he may have protected some of the people.

But I know even that one of his, that he was in Havana and one of

his houses,that the Spanish Vowhl-1-ie came in and ransacked

the house, and so he had to get out of Cuba. As far as I know his

property in Cuba was still protected, but of course the factory

shut down. It's significant that in later years he did not establish

ever again a factory in Cuba, but he used one of his son-in-laws

stationed in Cuba for the brokerage business.

W: All right.

Y: And in fact when he saw that political things were getting bad around

1895,there would probably be another war, he actually had an extraor-

dinary load of tobacco leaf shipped by his brother-in-law to...

W: Do you recall his brother-in-law's name?

Y: Yes, CastAneda.

W: Castlneda?

Y: Castn-eda.

W: Is that his what?

Y: And not his brother-in-law, his son-in-law.

W: Son-in-law.

Y: I meant to say son-in-law. He was married to Jenny, who was his eldest

daughter of his second marriage. He was married twice.

W: This is Castaieda.

Y: No, this is Vce Pe .


Page 6. dib

W: Oh, O.K.

Y: He was married twice.

W: Right.

Y: And Casteieda was married to his eldest daughter of the second marriage.

W: Good luck typist.

Y: Well...C-a-s-t-e-n-e-d-a.

W: There you go. Very good. This poor girl is doing our typing and

going bananas on some of these tapes that are.... she has my greatest

sympathy for getting the information down.

Y: Well, praisebe typist, right.

W: Praise tape recorders.

Y: Roger is doing a book on so he's going to be...

W: Oh, see a lot of my work is...this is fascinating. My, my work tends

to be more critical with me sitting down with the plays

and trying to come up with my

Y: Things will come to my mind...

W: Yes.

Y: ...and then


Y: Going back to the name 'Ybor' there's a very famous Spanish psychiatrist

currently in Spain by the name of L'open Ibor. And again it's I-b-o-r.

W: Now in the Spanish paper, there's a paper called beg Avta, but they

always spell his name Ibor.

y: It is the Spanish, Spanish spelling. The Ybor happens in Tampa,


Page 7. dib

For.some reason it stuck. I mean it's like, I, for instance my

Cuban passport says I-b-o-r. When I became an American citizen

it was Ybor because I was always told to spell it, you know, by

my father to spell it Ybor. But I think that it was because of

Ybor City and it may have been that it was spelled Y-b-o-r to

get people to say(eebo) instead of wibor, I'm sorry, instead of


W: Right. Right.

Y: But the name Ibor in Spain right now exists and not with a 'y'

but with an 'i' and we have always assumed and this doctor, Lopen

Ibor, has always assumed that at some point in the back the thing

was touched because it is such an unusual name that they had to.

But we can't, we can't trace it that far back, meaning all the

bodies of that generation.

W: Right. Thank you...Let's see, is there anything other that you

can recall about Vitnetiev. when he was in Cuba, how he got

into business, how he got started in the business? Did he bring

money over from Spain or was this all wealth that he had accumulated


Y: It was wealth that he had accumulated himself. I don't know that

he had, that hehcame with a terrific amount of money. He came

with some sort of backing, somebody in Spain.

W: Ah.
KIh eAebr
Y: +14U, the backing was in the form of a letter of introduction to


Page 8. dib

somebody else I don't know and I can only speculate about it and even

that I don't even know how to speculate.

W: Right. Well, whatever, whatever you think may be facts I'll just

go ahead and accept them as such because no one will repute your

facts on any of this. There's so little written about that time

period that I'd....geng back to Mr. Ybor, though, whatever infor-

mation that you can recall on his activities in Cuba is something

that hasn't been recorded as of yet, unless it is in Cuba. Of course

it's a little hard to get down there these days.

Y: It's a shame because possibly the best source for that information

is one of the Casteneda people who are still in Cuba. Maybe you can

also get in touch with my cousin, Ralph, who is in New Orleans.

W: Oh, yes. I'd be willing to make a trip up to New Orleans for that

to talk with him, and I'll be sure to get his name and address a

little later. I wanted to check with you also on this bit about

your grandfather. Many families don't like to have skeletons drug

out of the closet and others could care less, and this bit about

his mistress is something I wanted to just mention to you...

Y: NJo- oLI t) this day and age.

W: ...you'd be terribly upset. But yes, this day and age, and status

Oraj oef'
Y: Right. ia d all the dirt.

W: That, that'-s the only dirt. There's an eighty-seven year old lady...


Page 9. dib

Y: (tape skipped)

...the family also that used to know my great-grandfather, the newspaper

people, the McCary's, in town.

W: Yes.

Y: See, but old man McCary died and I believe his widow also died. But

their children, they also died, but they're pretty much my father's

contemporaries, so I don't know that, you know, how up really they

would be about tl ott fba backgrounds. As to the Cuba period there
was a link with the revolutionariesa) nd-the my great-grandfather,

from all that I've heard he seems to have been passive in this regard

meaning that he financed, he opened opportunities for other people,

but never himself was directly in the limelight. Sort of...

W: Under the covers.

Y: Yes, sort of a, oh, what's the biblical term forldisciples of Christ

who never really I out in the open? Well, one of those people who

just remained in the background. He setd ny had liberal sympathies,
^ \arta Cu0o0- iS CoNcm-e>ve-&
of eeuro,8 to thio coaz9. That is uncontroversial. That we all

know about. One of his daughters married one of the generals o4-the

War of Independence. The father of these people that I gave you

the names in Miami, the Garcia Aviles, there's an old American story

of a message to Garcia, something that Teddy-Roosevelt sent to.

General Garcia Well, that's the Garcias. It's that family.

In that sense our families were connected and our families...my family

has always had sort of a marginal or rie, interest in Cuban politics


Page 10. dib

without ever being, you know, wanting to have so and so as president

or something like that.

W: Right.

Y: I meangnot that absurd.

W: I thought that he was probably more or less on the liberal side, although

I had no se information on it.

Y: Mnmnmmum.

W: The reason I thought that was when Jose Marti had come to Tampa

where he allowed him to make his speech in front of the steps here

at the Ybor factory. The general had donated money to the interests

of liberation.

Y: Well, politically I'm sure he was a liberal, but of course economically

I think he was closer to libertarian and that may have accounted for

the fact that his factories were burned down during the Key West

strike of his workers so that though economically conservative, politi-

cally he was for Cuban independence.

W: So his ties weren't always that strongly with Spain but for a free


Y: Mmmmmmm.

W: What about his economic interests once he left the Key West? You

have mentioned that he had maintained his economic interests...

we're getting away from the microphone...

Y: Yes.

W: ...in that he had the direction. Someone excited him?


Page 11. dib

Y: No, I think what I said was that when he left Cuba the only economic,

actually when he left Cuba the only economic interest that I know

that he said remained behind, real estate property and stuff like

that but no, never a factory. And then later on he relied on his

son-in-law for the tobacco brokerage, meaning buying from the planters.

W: Do you recall what his son-in-law's name was?

Y: Yre7s read aCasteneda. All right, he was a attractive,

very honest, very shrewd businessman, Casteneda.

W: Do you recall his first name?

Y: I think it was Vorilorr Cr Lel_) IgnaciO, not like mine.


W: Oh, Ignacio.

Y: Right, Ignacio.

W: Once, once Ybor came to Cuba I think the story is, it goes that he

started off working as a clerk and then he starting investing some

money on a...

Y: Right.

W: ...home.

Y: He sort of, apparently he came with a letter of introduction to some-


W: Right.

Y: Then he started later on having like two or three workers do tobaccos,

roll tobaccos for him. I presume its important he may have started

in the brokerage business. He must have, he, the change when the,

off the boat to work or somebody, to buying and selling, to manufac-


Page 12. dib


W: When he left for Key West evidenta$ly he was able to take much of

his funds with him, so it wasn't a sudden and dramatic leave. It

was probably ...

Y: No, it was a sudden and dramatic economic leave, I'm sorry, physical

departure. It, from all that I remember and have been told to me,

1 it was sudden and dramatic personal exile.

W: He was D er taken out physically or...

Y: Yes, he, in other words, the volunteers came to his house and he

had to flee. Probably hid somewhere and eventually went off to

Key West, but see confiscation of personal property was very rare.

I mean the Spanish would never do that. He would retain his, what-

ever property he had in dte.-e He probably could have disposed of

that and re Is in Key West in due time.

W: While he had Cubans and Spaniards working for him in Key West, when

he came to Tampa he wanted to have only Cubans, no Spaniards.

Y: But he had Spaniards, though.

W: Right.

Y: And there was apparently some dispute during the war.

W: Right, all the workers...

Y: ...

W: ...all the workers at the main factory threatened to go off

on strike and he didn't get rid of one of the friends of his who was


Page 13. dib

a Spaniard and I don't recall exactly how they solved that.

Y: I remember talking to my uncle about that and it was settled.

But it was more than one friend, though. It was a question

that there were Cubans in the factory and there were also

Spaniards in the factory. In other words the work force was

divided not necessarily evenly but at least there must have

been a nucleus of pro-Spain people and there was a nucleus of

pro-Cuban people in the factory. So it filtered down to the

workers themselves.

W: One of the things which I had come to New York for was there

were always inferences that Ybor would come to New York. His family

eventually was here at his death. Was this an investment that he

had here in New York or was it just a residence? What were the,

were there any business activities in the family?

Y: Oh, yes. We had an office on Worth Street.

W: And what type of office was this? To...

Y: Tobacco to distribute, distribute and also to buy and sell. Not

brokerage but to buy from brokerage.

W: Is there anything you could tell me about that that would...

Y: I don't know whether it was on Worth Street or Water Street. It

was run by his son, Edward, who, and this is an aside, it has

nothing to bear with...interestingly enough that's the one that I

was talking about that day. His son, Edward, was married to


Page 14. dib

which is an old established Cuban family, whose sister was married
lzdriw I A Rcltiw tic
to one of the Rsevi--e-r one of the ten Raci that in subsequent

years became related to the Kennedys through Jackie or w6atee-

That's, that's historical trivia.

W: Weren't there, wasn't it one of the older daughters who married

into a German family?

Y: Yes, the Schwabs.

W: Right.

Y: The Schwabs, right. But they remained in Cuba.

W: That was S-c-h-w-a-b?

Y: Right. Hugo was still a Nationalist.


Y: But they had an office here an my grandfather would come to New York

fairly often. I mean ntnecessarily fairly often, but occasionally.

And my grandfather and his brother both went to Columbia though

I don't think they ever completed. I think they were exiled for

hell-raising. But...and my great-grandfather apparently used to

vacation at Newport News in Virginia for some reason. There was,

there may have been, he, that leads me to believe that he may have

also done some buying in Virginia.

W: Buying tobacco?

Y: Tobacco in Virginia as well as Cuba. I guess why he picked Newport

News as a, you know as a place to vacation.and it!'s pretty wierd.


Page 15. dib

W: Right. This is something which is perhaps totally unrelated, but you

may have heard something about it, and that's the term 'buckeye'.
w eXC
There are little shops in Ybor City hat4-re called 'Buckeyes', inde-

pendent cigar rollers, and it's my contention and I don't have any

proof of it...if I can't find anything against it I'm going to publish

it as such, that this is, this name came from the Ohio tobacco which

was used as a filler. Had you ever heard anything about...

Y: No.

W: ...Buckeyes?

Y: No.

W: That's another of the trivias that I find and classify or not classify.

What about, anything else about the business here in New York? I've

checked through the business directories and did not find any informa-

tion, but I was going back too early. I was in the 1880 period.

Y: 1889 to 1890 and that could be under Ybor or it could be under their

brand name which was Prince of Wales Principaliales, and that was

named after,I believe it was after Edward, when Edward was Prince

of Wales.

W: Why did he name it after him? Did he have a contact with him, ad-

miration for him?

Y: I knew of a contact later with George, meaning Edward's son, because

one of Vincent's daughters and her husband were ambassadors to

Britain b6forN the coronation of King George and they, and I know

that George, there is a story in the family that there was this


Page 16. dib

flirtation between GeorgA and my aunt, my great-aunt, Amalia. The

only reason that I can think of is that Edward smoked cigars and

he may have smoked his cigars. But I don't know, and they may have

just supplied him with cigars.

W: That's something'I've never been able to

Y: 6e the marketing tool yes.

W: I thought perhaps they were friends or had contacts elsewhere.

Y: You know, the only thing that I can think of was that Edward did

smoke cigars and maybe he was supplied...

W: Right.

Y: ...with cigars. But I know that his, that in subsequent years as

I said, my aunt was in that, she and her husband were ambassadors

for the coronation. George...

W: From Cuba?

Y: Yes, from Cuba. Then one of the, and what they gave him as a gift

was a large, excuse me, a large supply of cigars. And that's about

all. I don't know of any-other, of any other touch. I'm sure,

though, that before they did that there must have been some sort

of contact because my great-grandfather would not just grab on the

name of a living person indiscriminately. I mean people at that time

were much more considerate than now.

W: Is there any other, I know I'm racking your brain, is there any other

clues or information you could give me that I could check out a little

bit more on the brokerage, the business there in New York? This is


Page 17. dib

a very cloudy point from our local history down in that area. Some

people said...

Y: Well...

W: ...that he owned factories here.

Y: No.

W: No probf of that.

Y: No, therewae-te factory here. All that it was was an outlet for

the business, which would be logical, and it was located at Worth

Street or Water Street.

W: Part of the time period of this _...

Y: About 1889, 1890.

W: Thank you, I'll check the business directories of that time period,

nothing more than get the address, then spread little, little foot-


Y: And he also had real estate interests here in New York that I'm

aware of and his, and the house was run by his son, Edward.

W: Is the house still surviving...

Y: No.

W: ...even today?

Y: No.,

W: Do you have any photographs of the house?

Y: No.

W: Do you have any photographs of any of, pictures of him at an early

age? The oldest photographs we have are the bald-headed...


Page 18. dib

U: Moustache.

W: Yes, there's...


W: The reason I asked, e- me interrupt for a moment, is I'm trying to

set up a displays in our, we have an Ybor Room, which is a conference

room at our Ybor campus. And what I'm trying to do is to get the

student government back A- historical, pictoral display

of Ybor and the history of Ybor City. Any photographs that we could

get and-we do have some of he and some other people.

Y: O.K., we had an oil in our home in Cuba that dated way back. He is,

he's pictured as a young man with a goatee, a full head of hair,

which looks like a picture out of the 1860s or so, or if not earlier

as I recall. When we left Cuba that, we passed that picture on to

the Castenedas who remained in Cuba. So that picture is in the

Casteneda home and it is, it is an oil.

W: Would there be any way that could be photographed?

Y: Only the Castenedas W do it where if somebody goes down there

there's a picture.

W: would you like ?

Y: No.


Y: No, thank you. Otherwise all the other photographs...

SW : W e l l w h a t h a p p e n s t h i s a c t i o n t a k e s o v e r a n d t h i s

action takes over?


Page 19. dib

Y: Well, photography doesn't begin its hayday until the 1890s or so.

W: Right.

Y: And by that time he was already an old man.

W: When you were, when you were Tampa in the fifties, did

you give a speech to the Optimist Club there?

Y: Well...

W: Did you go just to visit or ?

Y: No, what I did is...

Y: I was going to prep school at St. Leah College Prep with the growth

of the so we'd go to Tampa occasionally. Then I had

a sister who, I have a sister who went to for a while to Holy

W: Right.

Y: So that's how I happened to go to Tampa. My sister spoke to the,

to some group. I don't know whether it was the Ladies Club or a

junior assembly or something like that, but she did. Then she

was like fourteen or something that coincides to that at a

W: These are identical friends Ybors I have known.

Y:- I'm sure it wasn't any more than I'm so glad to be-here, you know.

W: Right.

Y: The usual garbage. But...

Y: No, I never remember speaking to anybody.
Y: No, I never remember speaking to anybody.


Page 20. dib

W: I was just curious because....

Y: O.K., my great-grandfather also operated a railroad that would

go from...can I have some coffee? Thank you.

U: You want coffee?

Y: Coffee? I'll take one. He operated a railroad that would run from

Ybor City proper to Tampa and...

V: A trolley car system and he needed every trolley car after the entrance

of the Spaniards.

Y: That's right. Right. Right.

V: There was the Louisa or whatever the names were.

Y: There was a Minfa and the, the Jenny and the Minta. Minta

was married to Willie Delmonte. They had a daughter that was married

to just about the top criminal lawyer in Cuba, one of the top

criminal lawyers in Cuba, and their son was killed in the Bay of


V: Is that right?

Y: Yes. Another, there were two Ybors that were killed there, but

they did not have the Ybor name. They were, I mean they were

through the female branch of the family. So that's, that's how

it happens. Anyway that doesn't bear on this, an interesting S fl- I L.

How about some matches?

W: Looks like I've been talking more than anyone else here_

Y: It's O.K. You're probably telling me more about my family than I

know. Certainly the thing about my great-grandpapa having a mistress


Page 21. dib

is something new. Thank you.

W: You like that one. When I talked to you on the phone I said, "Oh my

God, should I tell him about his grandfather or should I just not

ever bring it up?" It's one of those things that some people would

laugh and say, "Fantastic," and others would say, "You publish that

and you'll have a lawsuit."

U: I have a great story about, about two...

Y: Well, I can't talk for the rest of my family, but I don't think they

would really, most of them would chuckle.

U: I have one great-grandfather who_

Y: Well, there was French President Foret who had a luncheon with....

Miss Novern directly on my mother's side, I had a relative, a

cousin of my mothers who had a clinic there at Preooes by name.

W: P-r-e-y-e-s?

Y: No, P-r-e-o-o-e-s. He's dead now. He had a clinic there and he

lives on Bayliss Island. You know, you'd go there for your work,

for this medical work but had to live in the anglo community.
Pl 5 ,
W: Right. Right. There's a gentleman named Sonny Russe whosIs an

Italian, who next to myself has done more research on Ybor City.

Y: The name rings a bell.

W: He wrote a book called, Tampa Town. A very, very-pleasant and kind

gentleman. One of the real nice guys of Tampa. I'm very delighted

to have worked with him. But he has one of the paintings of your


Page 22. dib

great-great-grandfather in his study. If he knew I was up here talking

to you he'd probably fly in a plane and come and talk also. He's

so interested in this local history.

Y: I just wish I had my information, more information. You know,

all this is family hearsay.

W: Right. What you have said already is double the amount of material

that I've been able to acquire in three years, so...

Y: O.K.

W: This has been fantastic for me as an historian to get the information

which you've given already, as an example that he was a liberal and

this is one of the reasons why he left Cuba. I assumed this, but

I didn't have any...

Y: Yes.

W: ...validity on this.

Y: No, that, that was true and the fact that the Spanish voluntaries

were not, they were not Spanish regulars. They were not members

of the regular troops but rather they were voluntary troops that

would come to Cuba to fight against the Creoles and to serve Cuba

for the Spanish lpit-- im-part. They, they were the ones

who physically broke into the home. I wish I could remember the

specific incident as to why they broke into the home. It was

tied in with the revolution, but it must have been tied in with

one specific incident or one specific person that he protected

or something that happened but tiet I don't remember.


Page 23 dib

W: So he was protecting revolutionaries in his house.

Y: Whether, I'm not absolutely certain of that, but whether he was

doing that or whether he was channeling money, probably both.

If you do one you're likely to do the other.

W: Right.

Y: And I, I don't know and I...

W: What were you going to say?

Y: The Agaramunde family was very i with the Cuban revolutionary

movement and one of his sons was married to an Agaramunde girl.

Now whether this in fact, whether he was extending protection to his

in-laws I don't know. But there are certainly grounds for speculation

right there.

W: Ah, thank you.

Y: That would give it a more personal dimension.

W: Right, right.

Y: Although I....The Casteneda people are, they're an older generation,

like they are my father's first cousins but they are older than my

father. So they may have more information, but they're in Cuba so

there is no access to them.

W: Well, hopefully within a year or so--did this thing stop?

;: No.

W: Oh. Hopefully within a year or so I'll be able to...

Y:. Ov woN J CO o p& v at ,


Page 24. dib

W: ...go to Key West.

Y: Right.

W: I would think....

Y: That's right.

W: I'm not much of a cigar smoker I'm afraid. Am I interrupting your


Y: No, no, not at all. I was just making sure that

W: There's so many other things I'd like to just think about and talk

with you about, We've more or less covered, I think, the information

on the Cuban period, when he was in Cuba. He was not married while

he was Cuba, was he?

Y: Yes, he was. In fact when he left Cuba I think he was already

married to his second wife.

W: This, this I'm rusty on because I haven't looked it over...

Y: Right.

W: ...in quite a while.

Y: Um, a little bit.

W: Fine, thank you.

Y: Um, yes, I think he left already, he left Cuba already married to

his second, to his second wife.

W: He must have been quite a brilliant business mind to have come over

from Spain in a period of what, twenty-five years or so? Developed

quite a fortune for himself.

Y: Right. Right. He, the impression that I've had is that he was shrewd


Page 25. dib

and honorable within the confines of business.

W: Right.

Y: I know that he was trusted. I know that, something else that I know

is that in 1895 when it appeared that there was going to be war

between Cuba and Spain. He not only brought over the tobacco from

Cuba but he also bought tobacco for all the other manufacturers as

well. So he did not take advantage of the situation in a competitive

way, but rather he iaa C41 we're all in this together.

And he in fact was the CNAo I'_ for buying for all the others

through his son-in-law, Casteneda, and...

W: This was Ignacio Casteneda.

Y: Ignacio Casteneda. And all this was done strictly on a, on a very

personal way. In other words these deals were made strictly verbal.

There was no, no written doctrine or anything like that but, and it

involved large amounts of money. I mean two hundred thousand dollars,

three hundred thousand dollars, which at the time was a lot of money,

and it was basically done verbally between the other manufacturers

and himself and between himself and Casteneda, and Casteneda and the

growers in Cuba. That, I mean that does speak something about the

way he was regarded by his peers.

W: One of the things that impressed me, let me go back for a moment,

the patron image is something I wanted to elaborate on a little bit

more. In this relationship with his workers that he had was a very

personal-type basis that I think existed throughout the cigar industry


Page 26. dib

as it developed in Ybor City. By the way that personallr-i 0

that patron image is one of the reasons why the cigar industry declined,

because they were unwilling to bring in manufacturer, manufacturer


Y: Right.

W: ...that would replace the workers themselves.

Y: On this point, in the actual manufacturing process something that may

be significant is I remember a story of my uncle, that my uncle told

me. He went to visit the factory with my great-grandfather and he

was in his office, and some worker or foreman or whatever gave him

tobacco leaves and say, and kidded him, "O.K., roll a cigar," and

he couldn't. He didn't know how to roll a cigar, the inference, the

historical inference being is that when he came from Spain he must

have come with some sort of credentials that would immediately place

him in something other than the cigar factory status, factory worker

status. In other words he did not start the business from the very

bottom but maybe perhaps at some...

W: Intermediate area.

Y: ...intermediate level, simply because he couldn't, he did not know

how to roll cigars.

W: Right.

Y: But I don't know how important that is.

W: Well, it's a good point to bring up. Do you know anything about the

family in Spain that he came from?


Page 27. dib

Y: No.

W: This is something that_

Y: The, the only the best way possibly to

trace that perhaps would be through these Lopez-Ibor in Spain.

W: Right.

Y: Maybe they furnish their history. Then there's some sort of

connection that may be established because again all harking back

to the fact that it is an unusual name and that the name is used

this way in Spain and that it is used, and that there is this

region in Spain called Casten'ales-Ibor. Castenales is a field

in which they grow chestnuts and that is in some area in, I think

it's north of Valencia.

W: North of Valencia. Oh, yes, that's good.

It's not going to be one of my determining points in my research

but just a little bit of a focal point, because I was either going

to come out with a blatant statement that the name was Bor and the

'y' was added if I couldn't find any historic information...

Y: Right.

W: ...or I would then refute this statement that it was just Bor and

say that statement is wrong, that the name was Ybor. How it was

changed to Y-b-o-r instead of I-b-o-r, though, was a translation

from English,as you have very...

Y: Right.

W: ...very well mentioned that. So we'll be able to keep the name Ybor.


Page 28. dib

Y: Yes, I, I, again it's the sort of thing that all that I can tell you

is traditional. I don't have a document but I can pinpoint and

say it is so. But there is no reason why it would be and/or, and

To clarify the family relationship he's

not really my uncle. I refer to him, or he was not really my uncle,

I refer to him as uncle because he was so old. He was really my


W: What's his name?

Y: His name was Eduardo, Edward Martinez Ybor. He was the son of the

Edward who headed the New York office.

W: Ah. Ah.

Y: The family branch office here in New York. So in reality he is my

father's first cousin. But he was in his eighties, so I would

feel very peculiar calling him cousin. But rather he's, I just

refer to him as uncle. He died about three years ago, three or

four years ago. He used to live in Ithaca, New York. He lived

in Europe most of his life. Since, since his father was attached

or head of the New York branch, he really was not that involved

in the Tampa operation and he was very young when his father died.

He was like ten years old or eleven years old. So how much of

all this he remembers I don't know. Oh, something else to know

is that though my great-grandfather left Cuba I know that the

Ybors maintained a home in Cuba all this period. I'm talking even

in the 1880s, 18-, early 1890s. They maintained a home in Cuba.


Page 29. dib

And after the Cuban War of Independence they retained their home

in Cuba and that's why they all went back to Cuba. Now the one

thing that I'm not certain is whether this home in Cuba, I'm sorry

it got so noisy all of a sudden, one thing that I don't know for

a fact is that the home in Cuba came through the, my great-grand-

mother's family or my great-grandfather's family retaining it. Her

family itself was a fairly prestigious family, so there is a good

chance that it may have been through her and that it was in a sense

her family's home that kept, that was kept in Cuba. I don't know.

That I don't know. Do you know her name?

W: No, not off-hand. Not right now.

Y: It's gersedes de las Farias.

W: O.K. Yes, I'll remember it now that you mentioned it. When I

eventually, I'll send you, as I say, all the information I've...

Y: Right.

W: ...collected. One thing I do have is the copy of

1896 bring in the house there I

don't recall, but if you don't have a copy of that I'll...

Y: I don't.

W: ...send you that. I'll be giving you so much material on your family


Y: I'm, I'm, it's good for me in a very personal way. I....

W: O.K.

Y: ...really appreciate that.


Page 30. dib

W: Well, I appreciate you talking about this and it's a delight for

me to be able to turn this over to someone who would appreciate


Y: Good. I will also pass it on to my father whom I'm sure will be

very interested. My father is not in America. He is in San Salvador

in Central America.

W: Ah.

Y: So he's not all that easily accessible.

W: What's your father's name?

Y: Same as mine, Ignacio Martinez Ybor.

W: And he was the son of...

Y: A son of Vincente. He was the grandson of...I am fourth generation

and he is third. His father was Salvador.

W: Salvador.

Y: Martinez Ybor.

W: Martinez Ybor.

Y: Y de las 4F___ 5

W: I may be in Salvador, El Salvador. I travel a little

hit. I may be down that way near, so I may get to stop.

Y: O.K., fine.

W: All right, so approximately after I've written my dissertation

Y: O.K. I'm sure that he would enjoy talking to you.

W: Let me turn this off here for a minute.

Y: Yes. I think that, where do you live in New York? You don't have to


Page 31. dib

report this.
W: O.K. What I'd like to do is to ask the basics, your date of birth,

your full name...

Y: O.K.

W: This sort of thing. I usually get it at the beginning of the tape.

We can go ahead and do it now. Then I'll have that on here at


Y: O.K., my full name is Ignacio Martinez Ybor y Montero.

W: Spell that.

Y: M-o-n-t-e-r-o. That is my mother's maiden name.

W: O.K.

Y: I better start again. My full Christian given name in Cuba was

Ignacio Forler Ramon de Jesus Martinez Ybor y Montero. When I

became an American citizen it changed to Ignacio Martinez Ybor, Jr.

I dropped all the other names. My date of birth was September 13,


W: Where were you born?

Y: In Havana, Cuba.

W: And how long were you in Cuba? You came to the United States.

Y: Well, I was in prep school in the United States for a while but

eventually moved down to, moved back to Cuba. I mean I always

lived in Cuba through July 23, 1960 where we had, when we had to

leave because of the political situation, which I went to Florida.

Then I eventually went to the University of Miami, then to the

University of Wisconsin, and eventually moved to New York where

I now reside and my degree is in Economics.

W: From the University of Wisconsin.


Page 32. dib

Y: From the University of Miami. Wisconsin was basically ri_0_o

studies. (tape skipped?) I have heard that Mondrada did have a

hand in the management of the firm and of his sons Edward, who

was the eldest, head of the New York branch, of the family

business, and so to that extent it is, it is true. However I

have also heard that Vicente would go to the office almost every

day. It wasn't he, he literally didn't turn it over. He always

supervised and it's always been remarked that he always knew what

was going on, so that he may not....

(tape skipped?)

W: What was it, what was it called? Was it called the Ybor Clearinghouse

or do you recall?

Y: I don't know. I don't know. It would have to be under Ybor or it

would have to be under Prince of Wales.

W: And this was about what time? 1890s?

Y: 1890s. 1880. Late 1880s, 1890s.

W: O.K. I'll check the directory.

Y: Yes.

W: The business directory____

Y: I'm certain it was in the 1890s, that it was at least here.. Whether

the New York branch was here while he was in Key West I don't know.

It could very well have


Page 33. dib

W: I may have read that it was around...

Y: Yes.

W: Just from what I've

Y: Right, I was just speculating, but the New York branch certainly was

here about 1893. It was definitely here.

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