Alfred A. Benitz Page last modified:

Mistolar & Los Palmares

Calchaquν, Santa Fι — 1891
(age: 32 years old)

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We are missing all of 1890 and the first 9 months of 1891, if it was ever recorded.  It was a crucial period for it is when Alfred established himself at “Los Palmares”, building its infrastructure (houses, puestos, corrales, etc.), sowing alfalfa, planting trees & a vegetable garden.

It is evident that during the last quarter of 1891 (October 26 through December 31), “Los Palmares” was not yet fully stocked.  Alfred mentions only three rodeos (herds): Palmar, Salado, and Puesto.  On December 13 he sent off a tropa (herd) of 432 steers to “La California”.  During November and December he castrated about 550 calves.

Per an inserted note, indians had stolen some horses at the beginning of the year. However, the indian chief Antonio and his people appear to have been on friendly terms, making Alfred a gift of a lance.

On December 13, Alfred paid a photogropher $20 for photos taken at “Los Palmares”.  Where are those photos!?.


Transcription Notes: The day-book has been transcribed as written, without corrections to spelling or grammar; however, when in doubt we chose the most correct.  We standardised the date format, adding the month where missing (abbreviated to 3 letters).  Anything else we added or corrected is enclosed within [square brackets, with our comments in italics.]  (Transcribed by: Michael Mohr-Bell, July 2011.)

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).

1891 - Qtr.4

[Click to download page images (3 mb PDF file)]

October, 1891

[Likely author: Alfred]

No images

Horses taken
from the indians


Day Book..  1891


October 26/

Butchered a novillo. Rained a bit this morning early, so the men worked around place. Soto began work. Fixed arkones, filled up pantanos, & cut alfa. Alfredo recorrered way north west. Fine weather, cleared up.

– 27 Oct. –

Soto and Peicho brought 10 long palms from Palmar for cumbreras etc. Nicolas cutting alfa. H. & A. were at puesto. Fine day N-east wind

– 28 Oct. –

Put on Palmar rodeo and capared 23 bulls making 445 bulls capared so far. Horses missing again at puesto. Soto and Peicho bro’t 11 long palms again today. Nicolas bro’t in big load of alfa, and covered up rest as looks rainy again. Mosquitos bad tonight.

– 29 Oct. –

Soto & Peicho bro’t load of wood. Set up the 12 arkones for galpon. Bro’t in rest of alfa. Milch cow died; some lung disease. Heavy weather, looks rainy, mosquitos.

– 30 Oct. –

Put up cumbreras on galpon etc. Windy dry day.

– 31 Oct. –

Peicho and Soto bro’t load of long (9) palms. Capared 39 bulls on Salado rodeo. Nailed on some tiles on galpon roof. Warm day. Indian tracks seen in monte near puesto. Butchered old milk cow.

November, 1891

[Likely author: Alfred]

Nov. 1

Sunday. Nothing going on. Hot sweatty day.

– 2 Nov. –

Nicolas left. Old Juan and family gone on paseo to Calchaqui in trap.

Peicho & Soto bro’t load of long palms. Drizzly murky day.

– 3 Nov. –

Had rain at madrugada, and a temporal all day. Cut up hide to make conjuntas and dorzida.

– 4 Nov. –

Butchered cow that had lost its calf. Mr. Sinn from Landa came with Pilz Litzman & Hauser and stop a few days on a hunt. Old Juan came back from Calchaqui bro’t nails mail etc. Soto & Peicho sobando cojuntas etc. Fine cool day strong south wind.

[no entry for 5 Nov.]

– 6 Nov. –

Yesterday – Alfred Herman Sinn Pilz Hauser and Litzman went on a hunt on other side of Palmar river and slept up at Estero Tejas where cart had gone to hunt up tiles and came back this evening. Bagged 3 lions and one live tiger cub and one which got killed. Cart bro’t 101 tiles. Yesterday capared 25 bulls at puesto. Fine weather.

– 7 Nov. –

Had on Palmar rodeo and capared 29 bulls, making 538 capared so far. Pilz Litzman & Hauser left at noon for Calchaqui. Rained a bit this afternoon. Peicho cut rest of alfa.

– 8 Nov. –

Sunday. Drizzly forenoon. Cool weather.

– 9 Nov. –

Sent cart to bring rest of tiles to be found. Herman and Sinn hunting in mente [monte]. Butchered novillo. Fine day.

– 10 Nov. –

Cart came back bringing over 100 tiles. Working on roof of galpon etc. Elia came back from Espin. Encargared the indio Elia to take care of mares, counted them were 114. Fine warm day. Elia bro’t matches & cigarrillos

[no entries Nov. 11 & 12]

– 13 Nov. –

Alfredo, Herman, Sinn & Pedrito came back from up costa Salado where had gone day before yesterday, beastly trip on a/c of heat and strong north wind  got as far as Pencal, and only killed one venado. Cart made two trips to bring palms for trascorral. Capared bulls yesterday on Salado rodeo.– Awful hot wind regular sirocco.

– 14 Nov. –

Had a heavy storm towards daybreak, and a tremendous rain, guess will make Calchaqui rise. No work.

– 15 Nov. –

Sunday. Fine day. Nicolas came back from Costa, bro’t news of ciclon in Calchaqui, smashed hotel & killed Pilz. Zacharria also came. _ _ _ Lots of water in camp.

– 16 Nov. –

Cart made another trip to get palmas. Herbert & A. nailing tiles on new galpon. Fine day.

– 17 Nov. –

Nicolas and wife left for Tostado. Soto sick. Dispatched Chamorra (lazy). Worked on galpon all day. Warm weather.

– 18 Nov. –

Hacintha began to fix cart;– x he had worked about one day to cut the timber. Soto sick. Peicho worked on wall of galpon. Hot day.

– 19 Nov. –

Sent Pepita to Calchaqui to bring out Sinn’s things with pack mule. Sinn also went. Went as far as paso (which is crecida) with him. Hot day. Hacintha & Peicho reforzando cumbreras of galpon. Very hot day.

Nov 20 / 91

Awful hot day with fine rain at noon. Josι worked at house, also Hacintha, Pepita and Sinn came back at noon bringing Sinn’s luggage, & some sugar etc.

– 21 Nov. –

Another very hot day. Put up back wall of house & caballeta. Juan (indio) turned up.

–– 22 –Nov. –

Sunday. Madrugared to hunt in the monte but mosquitos drove us back. Hot day.

– 23 Nov. –

Peicho, Soto, H. & A. worked at corral of galpon. Sent Soto to puesto for plow. Sinn hired Juan (indio) to hunt for him. Tormentaish day.

– 24 Nov. –

Sent Pedro to Espin for the mellada tropilla for ‘apartes’. Finished the yard for galpon, plowed and transplanted patatas. resowed some maiz. Duck shooting by H. and Sinnm. Fine day rather warm.

– 25 Nov. –

Hacintha made gate for galpon yard. Resowed some maiz & cut some alfa.

– 26 Nov. –

Carpired saballos & sandias, and cut alfa. Sent Elia, Pancho, Soto and Andon to apartes to Biscacheras etc. Warm day.

– 27 Nov. –

Hacintha and Peicho bro’t 10 long palms from Palmar. Lots of calves imbechados. Warm day bit cloudy.

– 28 Nov. –

Went to Fuerte Union and bro’t over carrots. Peicho & Hacintha went. Afterwards bro’t in the dry alfa. Disembechando. Warm.

– 29 Nov. –

Sunday. Gave 2 K. yerba to puesto. Hot. Nothing going on.

Nov 30 / 91

Disembechando at puesto rodeo, and capared the last 2 yr. old bull._ North wind. Cart broke in bringing palmas, train of back part. (1) Butchered old cow.

December, 1891

[Likely author: Alfred]

[no entries Dec. 1 to 3]

Dec. /4

Alfredo had gone to La Camila day before yesterday to see the gente apartar, went also to Dos Mercedes, La Blanca, La Sin Nombre & Calchaqui and came back tonight. Apartadors come tomorrow. Had Chamorra who had not returned horse ‘demandared’. Broke wheel of cart in trip to Palmar. Old Juan went to Calchaqui and brought out irons to fix other cart. Hacintha and Peicho cut alfa today. Perico came to see about taking tropa down next week. Hot weather and had a dust storm.

– 5 Dec. –

Fixed up two wheeled cart. Jose Manuel went to Calchaqui. Butchered a novillo and disembichared calves. Soto came back from apartes. say had parted about 40 altogether. – parted at Michelas – Biscacheros, La Camila, Dos Mercedes y San Agustin.

– 6 Dec. –

Sunday. Gave Elia 10 kilo yerba.

– 7 Dec. –

Had rodeo on at puesto to ‘disembichar’ and capared some big ugly bulls._ Peicho & Hacintha cut the alfa, and Soto digging cellar._ Strong stormy south wind. Getting dry but only want rain for chacra.

– 8 Dec. –

Herman and Sinn were hunting. ‘nada’. Got up leρa. Soto finished digging cellar. Got in two loads of alfa. Two paisanos Doming & Cruz Iguano came back from nutrieras Palo Pelado. Fine day.

– Dec. 9. –

Desimbechared in Palmar rodeo and butchered a novillo. Finished cellar and bro’t up rest of alfa. 1½ loads. Fine day, looks rainy.

– 10 Dec. –

Peicho brought load of pasto from puesto. Cleared up dirt & rubbish from cellar etc. Perico & 3 men turned up to part tropa. Close day and looks stormy.

–– 11 Dec. ––

Put on Palmar rodeo and parted 231 novillos 5 of which afterwards disechared or escaped in locking in at puesto. Perico, Maclungo, Pancho, Pedrito, & two other peones worked on their own horses, & parted also Alfredo and Elia. Frightful hot close day. Looks stormy. Butchered old cow. Nicolas & gente from Mercedito turned up to part. Some more indias nutrieras turned up. la fotografista with Hauser also Donkin came in cart._

– 12 Dec. –

Storm came up just as we put on puesto rodeo with hard rain. Blanco hooked at puesto by novillo. No work._

– 13 Dec. –

Parted the novillos at puesto. Ponce also worked on horseback. Dispatched the tropa which rondaer at 4 arboles. Counted them (432) novillos 7 calves to eat on road. Pd’ fotografer $20.00 on a/c pictures he took yesterday. 2 views ½ dozen each. Hauser and fotografista left. Hot sweaty day again.

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List & Cost of Troperos

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Notes, Back of list

Per the scribble top left, it was in December. Per the names listed, it was most likely 1891 – per Perico (see the North Santa Fι reference list of names).  The wages of $959 is equivalent to 48 steers at $20 each (approx. avg. 1889 & 1892 prices).

– 14 Dec. –

Arreglared Soto. Got cart ready to go Calchaqui tomorrow. Had rodeo on for Nicolas. Butchered old cow. Chacra looking fine, 1st choclos _ Packed skins up _ 4 tiger. 14 aguara 18 lion 1 gato once 1 gato overo, 1 pig 1 gama 2 zorro, 2 quillape, 2 plumeras, wrax, palo negro, tiger head._ 7 ciervo.

– 15. Dec. –

[Likely author: Donkin]

Cart went to Calchaqui Herman, Sinn & myself [above line: A.] packing up Portmanteaus Start tomorrow Planted 3 Paraiso trees in front & 2 in the garden.

– 16 Dec. –

Donkin took charge of the Chacre Alfred, Herman & Sinn & peon left for Calchaqui taking horses with them to be left at Espin. Pepita working round the house. Don Pedro Grand & companero arrived in the evening to see Alfred about carneando a novillo (2 by 3) by mistake.

Cool morning & evening hot middle day. Don Pedro brought noticia about tropa, used his corrals last night, also left a bravo novillo at his place, & took another instead.

– 17 Dec. –

Don Pedro & companero went back home about 10 leagues same camp as this is. Elia came over for the string for his cinche. Went back with him & brought back one of the most cussed cheeses I ever saw in my life. Juan & his gente Killed old cow. Went into the chacre and took off lady birds from the patatas. Pepito round the house & also picked beans in the garden. Cool morning & evening hottesh middle day.

Dec.  – 18 Dec. –

Peicho arrived with the cart with the following things viz. 1½ bag of biscuits, 10 K. sugar, 10 K. rice, 1 bag yerba, 1 bag of Salt 14 bars of Soap, 5 empty boxes, 2 K. tobacco 2 shirts, mustard, potatoes, & beer, for me. Mending fence round kitchen garden. Pepito round house. Gave Juan his ration 10 Kilos of yerba. Rained part of morning fine afternoon.

– 19 Dec. –

Cleaning the weeds in the patatas. Elia & Juan parado rodeo near the house to cure the imbichados Pepito helping. Peicho cleaning back of the house for ploughing. Gave washing to Dρa Juana. Fine day.

Fine day

– 20 Dec. –

Paolo came over to take cart & oxen to haul firewood for the puesto also gave him 12 small Winchester cartridges for Elia – his ration of yerba 2 Kilos – 3 Kilos of rice for Elia – 4 bars of soap for Elia. Peicho & Pepito went out leche-iguana hunting brought home 4 nests, Juan in camp.

Cloudy morning rained heavily in afternoon.

– 21 Dec. –

Transplanted papata vine in Chacre 3 rows finished, weeded & earthed. Peicho commenced ploughing back of house for potatoes Juan & his gente Killed old cow. In afternoon also sown lettuce & beans in the garden Fine day & Cloudy. Gave leave to Peicho in the evening to go to puesto to recojer with Elia tomorrow on the Wampita side. Gave him 6 Remington Carts.

– 22 Dec. –

Mended fence round chacre, & tightened it. Pepito round house. Juan in camp. Elia & Juan went to Wampita.

Eat the first melon too ripe.

Fine day so’therly wind.

Dec. – 23 Dec. –

Put up six boxes for hen’s nest also fastened up Chacre gate an ox knocked down & got in. Peon that helped Alfred take tropilla to Espin arrived with 3 newspaper (Independiente) & other things for Elia & Pepito  Pepito round house.

Esteras drying up fast.

Eat the second melon? not ripe enough?

Cloudy day few drops of rain in afternoon.

– 24 Dec. –

Pepito watering patatas. Wrote a letter to Alfred sent it by Hacinto who left in evening for Elia en route to Calchaqui also sent Elia his rations of yerba 10 Kilos by him  Peicho came back from Wampita saw nothing  Juan taming mare for his carriage  Gave Peicho his rationslb yerba. Stormy morning, cloudy afternoon, cool evening.

–– 25 –Dec. –

Christmas Day. Usual. Presents. Dried beef a la mτde & rice pudding burnt. Juan off to other rodeo curing also he & his gente Killed old cow. Pepito on the sick list. Two Mendozinos stopped the night left a horse & dog here last time they pass. Elia & Jacinto called in afternoon. Gave Elia $120 (Vale NΊ1 on Cappata) of which $20 of it was Domingo’s his brother in the name of Jacinto Roja.

Close hot cloudy day.

–– 26 –Dec. –

Mendozinos left for puesto Cooked my Xmas dinner steak, onions, & potatoes & Beer. in the evening stewed steak & Beer  Bean in the garden sprouting also Patata vines looking up.

No work rained all the morning.

Rained 1/2 the night & all morning

Fine afternoon with high South wind.

–– 27 Dec. ––

Juan & his gente went leche-iguana hunting found 2 nests. Gave vales to the following persons.

No 2 Vale Jose Pepito $5
”  3     ”    Peicho in Juan B. name 5
”  4     ”    In Juan Benevides name for washerwoman 2

The last was for washing Alfreds clothes which he left dirty. Dρa Juana said she got the Indian woman to do it as she was not hired to do so. Andon came over from Puesto. Juan getting ready to go to Calchaqui.

Fine cool day.

–– 28 Dec. ––

Juan & two girls left for Calchaqui early. Peicho ploughing all day. Sowed pease where the early maize was sown  Old girl & her daughter “paseando” to the Puesto. Antonio Indian & six others arrived in the evening from outside nutriando.

Fine day warm middle day.

–– 29th Dec. ––

Juan came back with all the vales Cappata refusing to cash them also brought papers & letter from Mrs. Benitz  Wrote to Alfred about the refusal of vales. Elia came over & is going to send it off tomorrow to catch the 10 train. Peicho & myself putting down cellar floor  Peicho also finished ploughing.

–  30 –   Very hot day.  – 30 –

Peicho finishing cellar putting up shelves for milk &c. Juan & his gente “Killed” old cow. Antonio & his Indians left for San Martin left a lance for Alfred.

Very hot close day.

Dec –– 31 ––

Peicho hauling palms for the fence round the plough land at back of house also string up the onions  Elia & Juan “parado” the “rodeo” near the house to cure. Elia & his gente called & took away the adze  Sorting & putting in order all the periodicals.

Fine morning stormy afternoon with slight rain.

© Peter Benitz (Benitz Family)