The story of Nathaniel McHorney's 1901 trip to Ecuador.

January 20th, 1901

The page for Sunday, January 20th says:

5:10 am weigh anchor arrive at
Tumaco 7:10 a.m. 8 a.m. go ashore
attend High Mass. Father Collins
sanctifying the church - i.e, blesses it
on a/c of sacrilegious music & soldiers
some time ago doing things upon the
high altar. Services through at 10 a.m.
Return in time for breakfast.
Must write description of any (good) views.
Saw the town. Learn 2 miners from P. de
O. left on Quito - Swansborough (only)
Day is hot and little breeze.
Dreaming of Sr. Teresa de Sales, and
Anna. Singular all my dreams end in
a crying. Tumaco a pretty spot.
Another trip ashore to talk with Dr.
Ogden, relative to P de O. take boy in canoe.
Mrs. C.G.F's proposal - exciting - buy 2 hats
Get bullets as relics from Wm Jarvis.
Learn Arizala is coming back to P de O in
two weeks, D.C.S wants him.
Leave Harbor early to cross bar - came to
another where ship was fired upon in July
last. Krupf gun used - stirring times in
Colombia. Arrive in Esmereldas. a.m. Monday.
Drinks cost $1
Gave Nicolas $1
Feel good - church!

(as always, you can click on the image to get a larger view) 

Questions and comments:

  • There was a battle on July 21, 1900 between the insurgents (Liberals) holding the town and the government forces.
  • The Liberals took control of the garrison of Tumaco (again?) in September 1901 and fired on the British steamship Quito.
  • It is less than 100 miles from Tumaco to Esmeraldas.
  • I don’t know who “Sr. Teresa de Sales” is.
  • Who is “P de O”?  “P. de O” is almost certainly the “Playa De Oro Mining Company”, and Charles G. Franklyn (C.G.F. in the diary) was at one point it’s President. (Thanks, Ditto!)
  • D.C.S is most likely Dean C. Stapleton, who was the Vice President and General Manager of the Playa De Oro Mining Company, and was arrested in Ecuador in 1901 for counterfeiting.
  • Thomas Swansborough worked for Playa De Oro as a miner.
  • All the property of the Playa De Oro Mining Company was sold at foreclosure in late 1902/early 1903. (item 1090)
  • Who is Arizula?
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Comments on: "January 20th, 1901" (3)

  1. There is a Playa de Oro in Ecuador about 40 miles from Esmeraldas. Today it is an ecotourism center/reserve. Perhaps it was a destination even in 1900. I can’t find any history on the place but it is accessible by canoe and maybe Nathanial and “boy” made a trip there. Also, the hats referred to are probably “Panama” hats which are all made in Ecuador.

    • That sounds completely reasonable to me – I’ll see what I can find out about Playa De Oro later tonight.

      [Later] Updated the post with more info…

  2. This also might have been the source of the gold. As I understand it, Nathanial was under contract as an accountant to a gold mining operation in Esmeraldas.

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