Alfred A. Benitz Page last modified:

Mistolar & Los Palmares
Calchaquí, Santa Fé
(ages 32-40 years old)

To download page images in PDF files, see below on this page.
To view a Transcription, select a YEAR, click:

Historical Setting


No cover.

No fly.

This estancia day-book is a record of the activities at Los Palmares during the years 1891-1899.  It was kept by Alfred, and in his absence by whoever he left in charge, usually Herman (he died 31 Jan., 1893) or Donkin.  Like the other day-books, it is a record of their daily activities, their hunts, and their visitors.  And like the others, they were not maintained particularly well (if at all) when Alfred was absent.

On April 8, 1889, assisted by Boutell (commission agent?), Alfred rented 8 leagues from the Santa Fé Land Co. in the “Mistolar” — the narrow triangle north of where the Rio Calchaquí joins the Rio Salado .  In Alfred’s terms, it was on the far side (“outside” - west) of the Rio Calchaquí and south-western shores of Laguna Calchaquí (a.k.a. las Aves).  It became his estancia “Los Palmares”.  He stocked it with the cattle from Laguna Yacaré, herding them over during the last days of 1889. 

This day-book covers eight years, the last days of October, 1891, through October, 1899.  We are missing the day-book for 1890 and the first 9 months of 1891, if one ever existed.  It was a crucial period for it is when Alfred established himself at “Los Palmares”, building its infrastructure — houses, corrales, etc.  The mangrullo (watch-tower) was added later, in December, 1896.

During the decade of the 1890s, Benitz Hermanos expanded their operations to include more camps.  In May, 1892, Alfred signed a 5-year rental contract with the Santa Fé Land Co. for “Los Palmares” (8 leagues), and obtained permission to fence it.  In October, 1895, he proposed buying it, but apparently was voted down by his brothers.  Instead, in June, 1896, Johnnie purchased “Los Algarrobos” (3¾ old leagues, or 10,125 has. metric) near Monte Buey, Córdoba; and Alfred negociated a new 5-year rental contract for “Los Palmares”.  He also began renting other camps, one near Alejandra, and another east of La Guampita (see 1895). 

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“In the northern part of the of the lands Mr Benitz, who is a tenant of the company, has a large estancia with 8,000 head of cattle, between the Calchaqui and the Salado”  —  p. 388 Handbook of the River Plate, M.G. y E.T. Mulhall, 6ta ed., Standard, Buenos Aires, 1892 [The company mentioned is the: Santa Fe Land Company, later known as: La Forestal.]

“...pd rent into London & River Plate bank for camp (8 leagues) from June 1st 1 yr. in advance. $600 gold, less 500 paper at 330% pd. 151.50 gold pd. before in last yrs rent. = 448.50 gold at 1393.82 paper.”  —  July 2, 1892, Alfred’s day-book at “Los Palmares”. [The “$600 gold” is most likely the Argentine peso that was set at 1.42 pesos per gram of gold; that is approx. 6,800 USD-2000, per the US-CPI.  See our reference pages (below) for conversion rates.]

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Background: The photo is of Alfred taken by Johnnie at “Los Palmares” on 24 April, 1902.  (From Auntie Olga’s album, kindly lent to us by Susan Horner).

Reference Pages:  Written in English by Alfred, Herman, Donkin, & others, the day-book is full of Spanglish terms as well as many other terms unfamiliar to us today.  To assist with names (people & places), maps, measures, currencies, and Spanglish terminology, we have created a set of Reference pages.  The reference pages open in a separate tab / window making them available in parallel to the diary (i.e. this window).

Page images in PDF files:

Click the title of each to download the image file for the period:

1891 - Q4
Front Cover, entries, & inserts for end of 1891 (October - December).  (file size: 3.2 mb.)
1892 - Q.1
Entries & inserts for January, February, & March, 1892.  (file size: 3.4 mb.)
1892 - Q.2
Entries & inserts for April, May, & June, 1892.  (file size: 2.5 mb.)
1892 - Q.3
Entries & inserts for July, August, & September, 1892.  (file size: 3.8 mb.)
1892 - Q.4
Entries & inserts for October, November, & December, 1892.  (file size: 1.8 mb.)
1893 - January to April
Entries & inserts for first 4 months of 1893 (January - April).  (file size: 4.3 mb.)
(Alfred was absent, visiting Europe(?) and the U.S. between April-1893 and April-1894.)
1894 - April to December + March-April’95
Entries & inserts for 9 months of 1894 (April - December), & March/April’95 in brief list format.  (file size: 4.2 mb.)
1895 - Q2
Entries & inserts for April, May, & June, 1895.  (file size: 3.3 mb.)
1895 - July & August
Entries & inserts for July & August, 1895.  (file size: 2.0 mb.)
1895 - September
Entries & inserts for September, 1895.  (file size: 3.2 mb.)
Sept.2: Indians raided Los Palmares; Alfred took notes during the chase (4-27 Sep.) to recover the horses.  He later copied the notes into the day-book.  Click to view the second page of his original notes, the first page is missing.
1895 - Q4
Entries & inserts for October, November, & December, 1895.  (file size: 2.4 mb.)
1896 - Q1
Entries & inserts for February & March, 1896.  (file size: 1.5 mb.)
1896 - Q2
Entries & inserts for April, May, & June, 1896.  (file size: 3.7 mb.)
1896 - Q3
Entries & inserts for July, August, & September, 1896.  (file size: 2.3 mb.)
1896 - Q4
Entries & inserts for October, November, & December, 1896.  (file size: 2.8 mb.)
1897 - Q1
Entries & inserts for February & March, 1897.  (file size: 1.5 mb.)
1897 - Q2
Entries & inserts for April, May, & June, 1897.  (file size: 3.7 mb.)
1897 - Q3
Entries & inserts for July, August, & September, 1897.  (file size: 2.3 mb.)
1897 - Q4
Entries & inserts for October, November, & December, 1897.  (file size: 2.8 mb.)
1898 - March to June
Entries & inserts for March, April, May, & June, 1898.  (file size: 3.8 mb.)
1898 - July to October
Entries & inserts for July, August, September, & October, 1898.  (file size: 3.3 mb.)
1898 - November & December
Entries & inserts for November & December, 1898.  (file size: 3.3 mb.)
1899 - March to June
Entries & inserts for March, April, May, & June, 1899.  (file size: 4 mb.)
1899 - Q3
Entries & inserts for July, August, & September, 1899.  (file size: 3.3 mb.)
1899 - October
Entries & inserts for October, 1899.  (file size: 1.7 mb.)
November & December, 1899, are in the next day-book.


© Peter Benitz (Benitz Family)