|Alfred A. Benitz||Page last modified:
On the Trail
Follow the brown arrows.
Places mentioned are
hightlighted in yellow.
(Source: Automapa 11
ca. 2000, modified)
At the time of this hunt, Alfred was living at “Los Palmares”, his estancia west of Calchaquí (Santa Fé province), between the Salado and Calchaquí rivers. It was winter and it was, at times, quite cold. During the hunt, he writes in detail about the quality of the terrain they ride through, as if he were scouting for land he might rent or buy; he even rides 4 leagues (20 km.) off their trail to visit one property.
We are missing the crucial first page of his notes which would tell us who made up the hunting party and where they first went. However, the Los Palmares day-book has the following for Wednesday, August 6, 1902: “...Don Alfredo left for the outside today taking Elias [Ledesma] with him also one peon. Mr Meacham and Julian Sanchez with one peon are the rest of the party...”
The “outside” was Alfred’s term for the wilder areas north and west of Los Palmares. He and his hunting party rode and hunted a wide loop, circling the lowlands of northern Santa Fé (province). Starting from Los Palmares, they rode north-west 7 days across Santa Fé into Santiago del Estero (province). They then rode north 4 days, hunting as they went. Turning north-east then east, they rode into the Chaco (province). For 8 days they hunted along its southern border until they came upon the north-south trunk railroad. Turning south, they re-entered Santa Fé, hunting and visiting friends for 6 days as they rode their last leg back to Los Palmares. (25 days, approx. 700 km.)
Transcription notes: Written in ink, the diary is easy to read. We have transcribed it as written, verbatim, without corrections to spelling or punctuation (Warning: Alfred often omitted apostrophes, e.g Fareiras should be Fareira’s.). We did standardise the date headings, and gave him the benefit of the doubt for some squiggles (e.g. m vs. n vs. u, a vs. o, e vs. i). Our comments are within [square brackets and italics]. For unrecognizable words, we have inserted our best guess followed by: [?].
Transcribed by: Michael Mohr-Bell
For assistance with Spanglish terms, please use our Reference Pages. A table of Places visited & People met is available at the foot of this page; with modern names provided for some of the places visited.
[The first page of notes is missing; the hunt began on August 6, 1902.]
on road n of Verde fence. M. Fraire came as far as Potrillo & stopped night. Warm day. N.E. wind. 6 league march today.
Left Fareiras at 7.30 and reached Cacique 10.30 A.M. about 3½ leagues and stop the night. Felis Roman is here (Godoy’s capataz). All the neighbors here had a good scattering of cattle during the temporal 28 29th of last month and are still looking for them. Camps very good here, and at Oso. In afternoon Felis had on rodeo about 1400 head, cattle looking very well, & butchered a very fat novillo and gave us meat. Sent for Calcha to Tres Pozos to come and act as vaqueano to San Bernardo. Day was hot with strong north wind. In the morning the horses had a disparada at Faraira’s on a/c of Julian’s horse clearing with saddle.
Left Cacique at about 7.15 A.M. and marched about 3 leagues to 9.45 to Tres Isletas (Tabordas). Passed through very good camp belonging to Banco? Take Calcha along as far as San Bernardo as vaqueano. Felis came as far as 3 Isletas. Stop the day here as they say no more water until we get to San Bernardo except a well near Monte Peludo. Horses dont drink very well here as water in well is abombado, and the lagunita by house is dirty. Julian got new dog (Bonito) from Felis making 4 in our pack. No gamas to be seen yet. Last night the wind changed to south and a fine day. N.N.W. march.
Sunday. Heavy fogg until 11 A.M. and could not find all the horses until 2 P.M. so stop the night here again. Hot day.-
Locked horses in corral last night when moon went down and had an early start 6.45 A.M. and marched about 6½ leagues due north to San Bernardo reaching there at 12 A.M. Passed through Monte Peludo where some men (Santiaguenos) were digging a well 2 leagues from Tres Isletas. Passed through very good camp but at San Bernardo not so good. Capt Chena received us very well and gave us meat & green barley & dry hay for our horses. Their horses very thin. Capt Chena showed us around the fort & jahueles. There are about 27 soldiers, who do all sorts of work, plowing, taking care of cattle, building etc. Strong south wind & cloudy and cold. Calcha the vaqueano returns from here, gave him $10.00
The two soldiers return to San Bernardo. Gave them $5.00 Marched at 8 a.m. and gave water to horses at Agustin Montes well about ½ league to west of Pozo Quinto. A Santiagueno boy here acompanied us to Pozo Basualdo which is on road from Inca to San Luis (2 leagues march N.W. and camped at 10 a.m. at Pozo Basualdo). Shot at mark in afternoon. The directors of Estancia Unidos had passed up to San Luis on 9th. Santiaguenos gave us roast mataco and ostrich meat: gave them galletas & rice. Frost in morning and very cold night.
Heavy fog in morning. Left camp at 8.20 a.m. and reached Pozo Cuadrado N at 11 a.m. about 3½ leagues. Santiaguenos here gave us some ostrich meat. Camp open and monte (both poor). Water in well here saltish for horses but in represa (dug out) good for drinking purposes. A tree here has name of L. Zuberbuhler, A. Villate, L. Saldivar, J. Hosman, A. Puerto, Laplacette, J.S. d la Fuente, H. Wilkinson, evidently the party ahead who have gone to San Luis/ the directors of Estancias Unidos. A cabo (Sosa) chasqui from San Luis to Inca on way back borrowed a horse to go to estancia as his own had tired out. Horses did not seem to care to eat or drink at Pozo Cuadrado so saddled up at 5.05 p.m. & reached Pozo San Martin (o abra bajo [no idea?]) - corner of Prov Santa Fe, Santiago & Chaco – at 10.20 p.m. about 8½ leagues. Scrub monte & open places in poor Quebrachales which seem to go in strips. N of Pozo Cuadrado seem to be a lot of salitrales, Palmares bajo & tusca, caught a mataco. Found Jose Escobar & brother & a piquet of 2 soldiers here at San Martin. Fine day, night cloudy.
The two soldiers here at San Martin rondared our horses last night. Stopped at this place today, and went out hunting in diferent directions. Escobar took us to Pozo Toba about 4 leagues west where there is the best camp about here, but it is at most a poor specimen of open camp. The Salinas join the campo Toba on S.W. side. camp between Toba & San Martin are mass of tusca and thorns & monte. Killed an ant-bear and an ostrich & saw some guanacos. Indians supposed to have tolderias close here. Frost here and south wind. Mojon 500 mts. east of Pozo Toba has No 3 N.W. on east side and No 4 N.E. on west side. Lots of game here but bad country to hunt in on account of thorny shrubs.
Hard frost S wind. Marched 8.30 a.m. to 1 P.M. to Pozo del Medio about 7 leagues N.N.E. Well very deep 24 mts & water has taste of something rotten. No settlement here or on road. Camp much better, high rolling, best we have seen since Pozo Quinto. Quebrachales but not very broad. Some deer about. Had horses loose last night and Julian’s strayed way south again.
Sunday. Left camp 7.30 a.m. marching N.N.E. and reached Estancia San Luis at 12.30 about 7 leagues. Camp N of Pozo del Medio not so bad camp rolling interspersed with monte. About 3 leagues N of Pozo del Medio found a big excavation (ancient) & about 10 ft deep. I suppose it is where some meteor had fallen & dug out by indians, as found pieces of ore; while in excavation about quarter to 10 heard a very loud report like as in thunder? Cattle here at Estancia seem in fair condition. Camp fenced in is 5 leagues and cattle 3000. Abelardo Barbie here is manager. also met Paulo Ariola here on a visit, and Teniente Castillo with Soldiers. The expedition of directors had left today for Savana. We camped at the new brick house. Had broke our paba 2 days ago and Barbie gave us another one. Barbie says 65 leagues of camp 3000 head of cattle, mares, horses etc for sale for 130 or $140,000. (Zuberbuhler camp). We rondared horses last night at Pozo del Medio. Elias & J Sanchez saw lots of guanaco today. Very hard frost in morning & bitter cold. The well here at San Luis (they say is) is 35 mts deep and bored 80 mts. Water a bit saltish. Australian represas, wind mill, horse power, & volcador.
Frost and bitter cold morning. Marched at 7.30 or 8. took a round about road E, NE, N, SE, & S to Tanigo by road, (about ESE straight from San Luis) long march and very strong NE wind blowing. Reached the old fort Tanigo (deserted) 4 P.M. and found some water at the dug outs or represas as they call them here. Camps dry [note at foot of page: 10 leagues by road 7 leagues straight ] and burning and the best was near “oso tuerto” and the “Bolsa” but I don’t suppose these camps would hold more then 500 to league. Barbie gave us some meat and we killed 3 gama and a guanaco 1st. Lots of very old tolderias about. The expedition going ahead seem to be burning all the camps.
Camped here at Tanigo all day to give horses a rest. Elias and Julian hunted to the west and saw lots of guanaco and deer and got embretared in monte which is very thick west side. Monte ralo to east and north east. Bag 2 deer, 1 guanaco. Bad day with very strong N.wind.
In morning early wind changed to SE & cold Marched at 7 A.M. following track of expedition Zuberbuhler until 5 P.M. They are burning nearly all the camp and about 4 leagues east of Tanigo found a water hole called laguna del Señor, place where expedition had stopped but it was near dry so we marched on. Passed through diversified camp, very pretty, which seems rather good beginning about 2 leagues east of Tanigo, & keeps getting better more to east. Long march at least 12 leagues to find water at Laguna Guasuncho, in a low place surrounded by fire but camp about 10 squares further on in grass. saw guanaco and bagged 4 gama, 1 ostrich. “Nandubay” written on tree by expedition who had passed here today ahead of us. They evidently had to pass one night without water about 2 leagues further back. Strong SE wind. Nearly all camp today burnt. Course ESE.
Marched after giving water to horses about 1½ leagues (6.45 A.M.) ENE to old Fortin Encrucijado (deserted)
[today the town of: Coronel Du Graty] where found here the expedition Zuberbuhler who were encamped here with out water
or grub as their 2 reses got lost at Tanigo, cleaning out well here, about 6 metres deep camp very good where passed this morning.
Warm day NE wind. These people seem very anioses [ansiosos : anxious] to get these camps poblared. offering
to sell at long term of payments. Vaqueano Perez says here to Palmares negros is 3 leagues to east and 8 leagues south.
Saw a big palo boracho tree a league to west of encrucijado. Elias got into well to dig it deeper, but no more water came so
at 3.30 P.M. marched about 1½ leagues S.S.E. to Fortin
Encrucijado Avanzado which is a fine deserted
Fortin 2 stories high and well built in open camp between dense montes. Camp good to Encrucijado and the montes are much better
than any we have seen yet. Plenty of gran bestia tracks. Camp on fire to south, water in a low place about 500 yds from here.
Fire last night “avanzared” [advanced upon] us here as wind changed and very strong; locked in horses for a few hours in Fortin. Marched at 8 A.M. until 12 oclock. Got in road from Avanzados about a league to E.N.E. and then marched ESE to Los Ganzos old fortin, but found no water at estero. Met the expedition (who also unsaddled here) again. At 2.10 P.M. marched again SE to Pozo Inginero (Gomez Melino) about 2 leagues 3.40 p.m. where there are some water holes & camp here for night. Camp about a league E from Avanzados begins to get low, tacurusales. Camp 1 league east of Avanzados & Encrucijad, good from there westward for about 8 leagues, best camp is about 3 leagues west of encrucijado. Strong S wind, beastly day, lots of camp burnt and no grass or game.
Marched about 3 leagues to Fortin Primer Agua ESE 7.10 to 9.40 A.M. Monte ralo and canada, esteritos, not bad. Camped all day and hunted. bagged 1 ciervo. Cold morning nice day SE wind. Camp towards east seems open or cañada.
Sunday. Bitter cold last night & heavy frost. Marched 8.15 to 1 P.M. about 6½ leagues. About 4 leagues E of Primer Agua reached Cocherek on west edge of cañada. Camp between mostly cañada and scrub monte. From Cocherek to monte where wood choppers (primer obraje) S.E about 1½ leagues bad cañada and then 1 league through Quebrachal low and poor, signs of having been worked formerly. Saw tiger tacks (fresh) and seems a good game country to west Cocherek. Saddled up 3.15 P.M. and marched until 4.30 p.m. E about 1½ leagues and camped side of estero at old palm corral. Meecham was out hunting and says RRoad is only ½ league from here, a desvio station 3 leagues south of Savanna. Bagged 1 coati. Very low monte and only begins good here.
Heavy frost. Marched at 8.40 A.M. ½ league to Kil 168 a wayside station with a few houses and a bolichito where we bought some galletas, meat, cigarros $5.50 There is an old cuartel of the soldiers here (Tapera) Marched at 10 A.M. to 11.40 A.M. along the RR and camped at noon about 3 k north of Amores. Palmares in Monte Ralo, camp dry, say had no rain since April. The expedition had gone to Savanna yesterday, very hungry etc. Marched again in afternoon & passed through Amores where got some more stores, visited barber etc and then camped at Jose Holsers about a league along RR. Camps very low and burnt with frosts. Amores is a very small place built with palms. Fair day SE wind. 4 leagues.
Frost coldish day S.E. wind. Marched at 8.15 A.M. camp very poor with grass for horses. Got to desvio 141 then to Ombu about 11.30 but did not stop and then passed desvio 123 & 115 and unsaddled close to latter at a bad place about 2 P.M. at only opening in neighborhood with charcos of water. Julian stopped at Ombu and did not turn up. Very thick monte from Ombu to here with no openings.
Frost coldish day SE wind. Marched at 6.20 A.M. until 1.15 P.M. to Uribes poblacion south of Palmar near laguna Loca. And passed desvio 108 and then Golondrina where bought more stores etc. Camps very dry and luckily there is water at Uribes here. Met here Willie Yates, Angel Uribe, Ruede Stirneman etc. We found Julian at Golondrina.- Report indians having stolen horses towards Guaycuru. Funny we saw no tracks gong out. Marched about 8 leagues today, with vueltas. Got plenty of fat meat here_
Frost. SE wind and coldish.
Marched at 8 AM until 1.30 to Taponiers at Palo Pelado. about 6 leagues.- Visited Jerry Oconnor at N end of Laguna Loca. There was a Gagune [?] colorado cow with a big last years calf. Gave calf to Jerry and encargared him the cow. Afterwards visited Carlos Rochet at south end of Laguna Loca, had mate and then came on to Taponiers. Juan Adler is here. Mrs. Searson gave us cheese and bread. Laguna Loca almost dry and every body baldeando for their cattle. Grass all burnt with frosts. Taponier not home. Got two horses 1 pangare & 1 saino left by indians last year.
Frost but wind changed to north and warm day. Marched from Taponier at 7 A.M. to costa river at bend near monte about 4 leagues south of Palo Pelado. Marched again 3 P.M. to 6.45 to Mig. Durans about 5 leagues. 9 league march today. Duran lives at isleta NE of Isleta Larga. He did not come (from Vera) until late. Up until midnight listening to his yarns. bag 1 gama 3 nutria. Camps very dry as hardly rained March or April. Baldeando for cattle some water in tajamar. Lots of pig tracks near monte.
Warm day N wind. Marched at 8 to 10.30 am to a puesto tapera about 3 leagues south of Duran Costa of a nice estero N side of isleta, plenty of water here. Passed Mendoza’s place and camps looking fresher. Marched again at 3 P.M. to Paso Cueva del Tigre, about 2½ leagues, esterito south of paso. M. Duran made Alfredo a present of a big straw hat. No game.
In the following table, places with names underlined are on the map provided (at top), places with names in italics are their modern names. Abbreviations for the provinces are: SF - Santa Fé; SdE - Santiago del Estero; Ch - Chaco.
|Places Visited||People met & Places mentioned|
Cacique [Fortín Cacique], SF;
Oso [Laguna del Oso], SF;
|8||Felis Roman (Godoy's capataz);
Calcha, vaqueano, from Tres Pozos, SdE;
San Bernardo, SF;
Tres Isletas (de Taborda), SF;
Monte Peludo, SF;
San Bernardo, SF;
|11||San Bernardo, SF;
Monte Peludo, SF;
Tres Isletas, SF;
|12||San Bernardo, SF;
Pozo Quinto, SF?;
|12||Fortín Tacuru (was 5 km south of Gato Colorado), SF;|
|13||Pozo Quinto, SF?;
Pozo Basualdo, SF (almost in SdF);
Inca [Fortín Inca], SdE;
San Luis, SdE?;
Estancias Unidos SdE?;
|14||Pozo Cuadrado [El Cuadrado], SdE;
Pozo San Martin [Tres Mojones?, Ch];
Inca [Fortín Inca], SdE;
San Luis, SdE?;
(Names on tree: L. Zuberbuhler, A. Villate, L. Saldivar, J. Hosman, A. Puerto, Laplacette, J.S. d la Fuente, H. Wilkinson);
|15||Pozo San Martin [Tres Mojones?, Ch];
Pozo del Toba, SdE;
|16||Pozo del Medio, Ch;||16||Pozo Quinto, SF?;|
|17||Estancia San Luis, Ch;
Pozo del Medio, Ch;
|17||Abelardo Barbie (Mgr. of Ea. San Luis);
Savana [La Sabana], Ch;
Estancia San Luis;
Zuberbuhler camp (10+ km NE of Santa Sylvina, Ch);
|18||Fortin Tanigo, Ch?;||18||Oso Tuerto;
Laguna del Señor, Ch?;
Laguna Guasuncho, Ch;
|21||Fortín Encrucijado [Coronel Du Graty], Ch;
Fortín Avanzado [Colonia La Avanzada?], Ch;
Palmares Negros, [Palmas Negras] NW area of SF;
|22||Avanzados [Colonia La
Fortin Los Ganzos [Colonia Los Gansos?], Ch;
Pozo Ingeniero (Gomez Melino), Ch;
|22||Fortín Encrucijado [Coronel Du Graty], Ch;|
|23||Fortín Primer Agua, Ch;||23|
|24||Fortín Primer Agua, Ch;
Cocherek (Fortín Cocherek, close to SFé border about ½ way across; 30 km west of La Sabana], Ch;
|24||Savanna [La Sabana], Ch;|
|25||Kilometro 168 (RR way-station), Ch;
Los Amores, SF;
Jose Holzer's, SF;
|25||Savanna [La Sabana], Ch;
Ombu [Cañada Ombú], SF;
|27||Uribe's población, SF;
Laguna La Loca, SF;
|28||Palo Pelado, SF;
Laguna La Loca, SF;
Palo Pelado, SF;
Isleta Larga, SF;
Paso Cueva del Tigre, SF;