Alfred A. Benitz Page last modified:

Trip to Europe, U.S., & South America

June - December, 1904
Age: 44/45

Missing pic of cover.

Trip to Europe & the Americas, 1904
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(Source: S.B. Pryor)

In 1904, Uncle Alfred (Alfred A. Benitz) undertook his second foreign trip since arriving in Argentina in 1874.  He had undertaken his first trip ten years earlier, leaving La California on May 21st, 1893, visiting England and the US, and arriving back at the estancia on March 27th, 1894. There is a record of him visiting Fort Ross; however, we do not have an account of where he travelled in the form of a diary or otherwise.

This trip, his second, lasted six months, during which he visited England, Europe, and the US.  He met up with friends everywhere he went, but also with close and distant relatives.  He spoke English, German, and Spanish.  Only in Paris did he hire a guide.  It was on this trip that he visited Endingen, the home-town of his parents, and picked up the letters written to his uncle Thaddaeus by his father during the 1850’s and 1860’s.  It was also on this trip that he researched his father’s service in Texas.

Most of the diary appears to have been written long after the fact.  It is very likely that this is a second diary, his first having been stolen in St. Louis.  His normal writing style for a diary, with daily entries in fresh paragraphs, does not begin until after Panama, when he is on a tramp steamer sailing down the west coast of South America.  This suggests, that with plenty of time on his hands, he took the opportunity to recreate his stolen diary from memory.


Transcription notes:  Alfred wrote neatly in pen.  However, in this diary he had few noticeable paragraph breaks.  To make it easier to read on the web, we have inserted our own paragraph breaks and have highlighted some of the dates, cities, and page titles in bold but otherwise the diary is as he wrote it: verbatim, we did not correct his grammar nor his spelling.  For words that are undecipherable, we have inserted our best guess followed by [?].  Our comments are within [square brackets and italics] or in side-notes.  (Transcribed by: Jane Baggott, June 2012)

Missing notes.

Inserted Notes

[Loose note 1]

Seeds of Marimoñas
Tassel flower.
Plant or cutting of Penstemon & Perennial Phlox
Mr. Hins.

[Loose note 2]

Astilbe Simensis [Chimensis]
Chinese Spirea

[You can see the flowers by clicking on:
Marimoñas, Tassel Flower, Penstemon, Perennial Phlox, and Astilbe.

[Inside cover is blank]
[First page of notebook has the following memo]

Memo of useful articles

2 horse power 700s gasoline engine costs   $125.-

Use about 1 gal gasoline which costs about .15c per horse power per day.


Rider Ericson
hot air pump 35 Warren St. N.Y.
10 inch rider capacity 5000 gallon pr hour at 25 feet. at 35 feet it will only drag 3000 gallons Price 392.00 with pump.-


Brook’s Centrifugal pumps made by WHCook. Monadnock buildings Chicago.-
These seem to be the most practical pumps for pulling lots of water by suction.- The largest size draws 40,000 gallons pr minute & use 13 to 14 horse power to ever foot depth. Will throw the water to a height (over)
The size 28800 gallons per hour 30ft. depth requires a 7 horse power engine & costs $150.
The size 60000 gallons per hour weighs 650. lbs. & takes 14 horse power & costs $250.


[20 blank pages]

1904 Trip to Europe & States

Missing diary page.

First page of diary entries

June 25  Left Los Palmares for Rosario.  made arrangements with Renner that he would pay peones etc at Los Palmares until I come back.  Gave him cheque for $3000. & also he would likely take the oxen that I had lent to Benavidez @ $50 each.  Bought ticket from Barnett in Rosario for Southampton on the Danube @ £36 = $412.35William: Alfred’s older brother Went to the Escribano publico Moises Garcia and made a poder general for William in case any thing happens to me.-  Got a letter from Banco Londres & Rio dela plata for £1000 paying ½ % £5 = $57.35.

Went down to B.A and got a plow Tigre sulky & a McCormack mowing machine, and a hand pump & sent up to Los Palmares $332.05  Rec’d 673 from Lewis Morell & changed $573.00 for £50.  Had a suit of clothes made & bought other necesaries & left on the 30th.  Schreibers came and saw me off.

Had a very uneventful passage.  had berth right in front & was alone in cabin until got to Pernambuco when got a young Swiss chap in cabin with me.  Went on shore at Santos, Rio, Bahia, Madeira, Lisbon.  Had a great spree at Santos as it was the 4th of July.  Made friends with Walteus (grain man) & also school teacher Newman from Rosario & played chess a great deal on [trip ?].  Wento Metropole Hotel in London & had clothes & shirts measured on by Higgs (clothier) & also Lords (shirts).

Stopped 3 nights in London and then went up to Carlisle (300 miles 6 hours) where was met by Todd & then went to Bromfield where his trap met us.  John Todd: Great friend & fellow hunter in Arg., Yukon, & Africa.  The rest are Todd’s friends & relatives. Mr. Rumboll also was on train.  Stopped at Mereside 8 nights, during which time went out most every day in his motor car.  Got acquainted with his sisters Mrs. Hills & Mrs. Barclay, his mother and aunt.  also met Maggie Stone, Cissie Wilson, Askew ( of coal mine Mr Strong a neighbor, Goldly former manager of Kimberly mine.  Went over to golf links one day at Silloth and another day left in morning before 5 and went through all the lake district.  Windermere, Ulswater, etc. a beautiful trip & had swim & rowing etc.

Last day we were at Merside, Todd gave a croquet party event a lot of his friends came & we had a very pleasant day.  Another day we went down the coal mine, which was a great experience but did not like it much as we went down too fast.  Went one day to Allenby (sea coast) & to Silloth where there is a golf club.  Another time we spent ½ of a day at the links at Silloth.

On Aug 3 left Mereside and went to Glasgow with Rumboll nice looking hilly country stopped over night and next day took a round trip with Rumboll to Lock Lomond, Lock Katrine & the Trossacks and back to Glasgow the same night.  Got soaked in going through the Trossacks.  J. Agar: Family friend from Arg., & co-owner of Agar, Cross & Co. farm supply co. Next day called in at Mr. J. Agars & in evening went with him to Helensburgh where he has a most beautiful place.  Went back to Glasgow in morning went back to Glasgow & then took the train for Carlisle where was met by Todd again.  Went to Wigton where visited Todds relations & then drove home.  On the 8th Todd and I went down to London & stopped again at the Metropole.  He stopped with me there 3 nights.  I got my clothes etc at last and then went over on the 14th [August] to the Continent.  Took a Cooks ticket to Cologne via Ostend £1.15/ Had a quick trip to Ostend where caught Berlin xpress & reached Cologne 10 P.M (about.) Next day visited the Cathedral there, zoo, etc.  Quite a fine place.  Next day went to Bonn to take the Rhine Steamer.

Inquired of the Coach man whether he knew of Sinn & we found his brother Hubert & family.  He telephone to his brother who lives in a town not far away.  Anton Sinn: Acquaintance from Alfred’s youth at “La California” (Arg.). Well I took the Steamer to Coblentz where I met Anton Sinn, also his brother again and we had a great time, going about time, listening to the bands & drinking beer and Rhine wine.  His brother left us in the evening & next day Anton and I went back to Bonn where we visited his famother who was having a birth day and met some more relations.  In the afternoon we climbed up to the old ruins Drachenfels on the Rhine and had supper on the shore of the Rhine then passed over & took the train Coblenz.  On the road Anton Sinn left me.  I stopped the night at Coblenz & next day took the steamer to Bingen.  very picturesque with all of the old castles, also passed the Lorelei.  At Bingen I stopped a few hours and drank some fine cheap Rudesheimer.  In the afternoon I took the train to Offenburgh passing thro’ Baden Baden and then took a side R.R and got to Endingen where fathers and mothers folks came from.

An old fashioned place.  Stopped at an inn & next day went up to the town hall where I enquired for any Benitz people.  Barbara Benitz: Alfred’s first cousin.
Theodore Lederle: son of a first cousin.
First found the Mr & Mrs Hildebrand who seemed to be second cousins of father, & then with him went to the house of Barbara Benitz Jerg an old lady who is the daughter of Thady Benitz fathers brother.  She has a son called Franz, also a daughter (ugly).

Theodore Lederlyie is the son of Anna Benitz Lederlie (dead) who also was the son of Thady Benitz.  Theodore is a fine chap & is married and has two children and has lots of letters written by father about “54.

Stopped 2 nights in Endingen & went up the old church on the hill (St Catherines) with Hildebrand and it is a fine country with forest on the hills and vinyards to the valleys which seem very rich and well cultivated.  people all living in the villages & going out in the day with their ‘cow’ or ‘ox team.

Left Endingen on the 21 Aug and went back to Offenburg and then through the black forest (Hollingen?) on to Friburg and then to Basle where I stopped the night.  ( I forgot to say that when I left Bingen I had gone on to Heidleberg where I stopped on the 18th and next day visited the castle and went way up the hill.  The night I got there I went to a students place where they have music and drink beer and afterwards to the park where there was more music, and left in the evening for Endingen.  I left) Very fine place and interesting.

Next morning 21st Aug I left Basle and got to Paris in the evening and stopped at the Grand Hotel.  I hired a guide at 15 franc’s a day, and that night we went to the Moulin Rouge, saw Heaven & Hell, and then went around town & had a good time.  Next day we went around saw the grave yard Pere Le chaise [Pere Lachaise], cathedral Notre Dame, Morgue, & then had breakfast at the famous Phyol ?  and in afternoon went through the Invalides, saw Napoleons tomb.  fine place.  Next day went all through Versailles & in evening went to the Gran Opera Lohengrin.  Next day 25th went back to London via Havre & Dover.

Was two nights in London and then went otver Southampton on th 27 Aug and embarked on the Philadelfia for New York.  Got over in New York on the 3d Sept after a very fine voyage.  Ship crowded and was 3d in cabin.  Went to Gilsey hotel and stopped until the night of the 6th.  Went over to Coney Island (Dreamland) out to Harlem river & saw a great deal of the town.  Saw Mr. Legler, and also Mr. Gordon the banker.  Left my big valise leather trunk, & other luggage in New York only taking suit case toand valise with me.

Went to Buffalo and had drive around town & then went on to St Louis which reached on the morning of the 8th [Sept.] by the big 4 route (Cleveland, Indianapolis.)  Hattie & Katie: Alfred’s nieces (William’s daughters).
Allyn et al: Clara’s brother & sisters (William’s in-laws).
Mrs. Bischoff: Family friend & fellow teacher of Clara’s.
Went to the Montecello Hotel where Hattie & Katie were staying also with Mrs Stewart also Mr & Mrs Charles Allyn and Mrs Lang and Mrs Hamilton.  Hattie & Katie were there about a week and then left for Washington & New York with Mrs Stewart I gave Hattie $200.-  The Allyns left a few days afterward.

I went nearly every day to the fair and met quite a lotng of young Argentines & went a good deal to the pavilion Argentine.  Also, met Mrs Bischoff several times & paid her a visit at her sisters.  The cattle show was very interesting & met Mr J H Miller & a lot of the proffessors also heard Mr Gosling lecture on cattle juding.  I paid 3.00 for Catalpa seed which the old man in charge of the catalpa exhibit was to send out to me in S.A. (fresh seed).

On the 27 Sept as the hotel was very full & dear $5 per room I moved about 2½ blocks away to a private house Mrs Youngs 4961 Park View place where I sent my luggage & in evening when I came back from fair some one had walked off with my fine suit case packed full of things of which a list is in another part of this book.  I went down to Mr Brechts and got an introduction to the chief of detectives, but we never found the thieves who I suspect were in combination with the bell boys of the Montecello.  So I bought a new bags at Barrs & new outfit more or less.  Mr Bicknell got me letters from Secretary Wilson to Dr Conoway of Missouri Experiment Station and also Dr Francis of Texas Experiment station but they were also stolen.

Well on the 11th of Oct I left for Texas on the Katy line only travelling in the day time so as to see the country, so got that night to Parsons (Kansas) where I stopped the night and next day went on to Dallas, passed through some fine country.  Muskogee seemed a very thriving town with plenty of gas and oil.  At Dallas they were just having the State fair or Carnaval so all hotels were full.  Stopped at the Windsor two nights & Texas Fever (tick fever): caused by protozoa carried by ticks, today controlled by dipping cattle.
Charles Allyn: Clara’s brother, banker in Corsicana, TX.
then took the trolly car for Forth Worth where there was Dinglers circus.  Went out to the stockyards & went through Swifts packing house.  Cattle did not seem to be up to much.  Met Dr Klein the government Veterinary Surgeon who was very kind to explain the Texas fever to me & ways of curing they have here.  That night I went to the circus which was a great affair but had to walk back to the hotel.

Next morning went back to Dallas & took the train to Corsicano & was very kindly received by Mr Allyn and family.  Next day being Sunday we only had a drive, & next day visited the cotton gin, oil mill, well drill factory, & Ice factory. & in the evening went out to the fish pond & had a jolly supper but no fish.

Next morning 18th I left for College Station & was kindly received by Dr Marshall as Dr Francis the boss vet was not there.  I messed with the teachers and next day Dr Rizic inocullated a calf to show how it is done & also gave me a bulletin explaining every thing.  I left before noon and went back a station to Bryan where they were having a county fair & saw a roping contest, and then went on to Austin.  I stopped there two nights and went through the State Capital building, and also went through the records to see if fathers name was there but could not find it.  Wilhelm in Texas: Recently found records of his service in the Texian army (1836-37); never a ranger. Said there had been a fire about 1855 which had burnt a lot of old records. Had met a lawyer Mr Morrow who of Abiline who promised to write if he could find anything out.

On the 21st Oct I went on to San Antonio which is a great lively place & wrote to Meacham of Uvalde who telegraphed he would be in.  The state fair was in progress & was quite a show in cattle & pumping aparatus.  Met Mr Miller again & was introduced to quite a lot of cattle men.  Meacham was in two nights.

I left on the 24th stopped the night at Houston & next day to New Orleans, passing through great rice fields & sugar cane.  At New Orleans (Grinewald hotel I found my luggage from N York & took passage for Colon $50. on the Bradford & sailed on the 28th  (Small steamer.  2000 tons.  Had a good time in N.O. & saw the town pretty well.

On Nov. 2 arrived at Colon in morning early & after being visited by health officer got alongside dock & had to await train for Panama 2.45 Saw town. entrance to Canal De Lesseps buildings & statue to Cris Colon.  Got thro’ custom house all right without opening luggage.  Was sorry to leave Capt. Brien & Mr Gissler of Cocos Isle.  2 engineers for canal also went to Panama (1).

When we got to Panama 6.15 P.M. to Gran Central Hotel heard steamer had left but later the nigger porter said steamer was delayed so hurried and tried t get aboard, saw agent, & harbour master, & got permission of policia & got row boat & went to the Boca where found the Loa.  Paid the nigger 2½ £ to get me aboard.  Took 1½ hours in row boat & reached the Loa 10.30 P.M.  She is a boat about 2000 ? tons with the rooms cabins on deck.  cabins large & have one to my self.  Lots of German speaking people on board.

Nov. 10.- Pacasmayo.- Had fine cool weather since we left Panama on the 3d with south westerly breezes.  Loa is a slow boat and we did not get to Guayaquil (Ecuador) until 6th evening.  Fine vegetation on the river.  Went ashore on the 7th & had breakfast at the hotel Paris  Panama hats were for sale on boat and shore, bought 2 for £5. & 2 more on board for £4.  Were at Guayaquil until the 8th afternoon next day to Payta and today to Eten & this evening to Pacasmayo.  Poor dry coast, hills, & no vegetation.  take on board Tobacco, rice, cafe, sugar etc for Callao.

On the 11th Nov we stopped a bit at Salaberry which is the same as all the Peruvian ports high hills, mole running out short distance, and small lighters for cargo.  Health inspecciones.  On the 12th we got to Callao a harbour, & I immediately went on shore & took electric tram (½ hour) to Lima & put up at hotel Maury good rooms @ 4 soles per day.  Very quaint town narrow streets, many churches, women with mantilla & mostly dressed in black.  Went & saw the rests of Pizarro at the Cathedral which is of immense size & built about 1625.  Curio shops with ancient pottery and Inca silver.  Went to bank (Peru & Londres) where seemed plenty of business.-

On Nov. 15 went by train to Oroya highest R.R. in world.  The tunnel by Monte Meigs is 15722 ft high & Mt. Meigs is 17574 ft high.  Fine scenery grand, the glaciers, snow, precipices etc & quaint ruddy people with droves of llamas & burritos.  Stopped the night at a crowded hotel (Junin) Suffered from head ache effects of the Sorocho, but believe was better off than most passengers.  soroche: altitude sickness The Austrian haciendero was very bad.  Good many English and Americans on line & about.  Not far off to the famous Cerro del Pasco mines (a days journey on train.  Got back to Lima next evening at 5 P.M & immediately took a coach & electric tram to Callao & got on board Loa again which sailed about 9 P.M.  Most of the other passengers has sailed on another steamer south.  Lot of passengers on board now.

Nov. 19 Nice trip from Callao to Mollendo which we left today 7.30 P.M.  Most of the passengers from Lima have got off and only a few on board.  We have been in sight of land most of the time and the sea is quite smooth.  Some pretty high mountains in sight.  Moore (Granville) also got off today as he goes to the mines in Bolivia.  Very slow trip and no excitement.  Looks like a very triste country but they say back in the table mountains there are good sheep ranges.-  Passed Cerro Azul & Pisco the day after leaving Callao and yesterday Lomas, only stopping a few hours at these ports.-

On the 20th (Sunday) we stopped a few hours at Arica & Pisagua and on the 21st stopped all day at Iquique which is a thriving town of about 40000 inhabitants and a lot of shipping in port tak Nitrates away.  Went on shore & took a tramway ride to Cavancho where had a very good breakfast.  Houses all wood & no vegetation except in the small plaza.  Took on a good many passengers but I am the only one left from Panama.

On the 22nd we stopped a bit at Antofogasta & took on cargo etc and on the 23d we were at Taltal and Chañaral.  went on shore at Taltal.  All these coast cities are dry arid cities and are only kept lively by the nitrates & minerals.  Quite a lot of shipping at most of the ports.

On the 24th we stopped a bit Caldera and on the 25th reached Coquimbo which is quite an important port.  Went on shore and drove over to Guayacan to the Smelting works where the steamer took us up.  At Caldera and Coquimbo lots of woman come on board selling fruits, prawns, cheese, etc etc.  Lots of passengers on board & hope to reach Valparaiso in morning early.

Nov. 26.  Arrived in Valparaiso 9 A.M.  Nice smooth sea & fine view coming in.  “Cia transportes Unidas” took charge of my luggage and passed custom house allright and went to Hotel Royal.  No chance of getting across the Andes until Wednesday 30th.  Went to bank Chile & drew £30 = $450 Chileno.

27. Sunday.  Went out & had bath in ocean at playa de los Ingleses and in afternoon went to Viña del Mar ½ hours journey in R.R.

28.  Had bath in ocean at playa Ingleses & studied in afternoon Saw about my passage to Rosario Cia Unidas Transportes.  Poor hotel.

29.  Left for Santiago on R.R. passing through some very nice irrigated country.  At stations lots of women selling fruit cakes horns etc.  Took lodging at Hotel Imperial near station.  Went to bank drew £15 making just £600 drawn so far.  Took a coach and drove through Cousiño & Florestal parks.  Not a bad place Santiago.  bought some spurs.-

Dec 1 Nov. 30.  Left Santiago at 8 A.M. for Los Andes via LaiLai.  had breakfast at Los Andes which is a nice little town and then went on construction train to Rio Blanco (3 hours late) & left at 6 P.M. in coaches for Juncal raining hard, & arrived after 2 hours drive through the mountains.  Bad night for travelling.-

Dec. 1. Did not go with rest of party over the mountains as made arrangements with Mr Lassus of the Peruvian legation to go together later, so the rest left at 3 A.M. & we left with at 7 A.M. with the arriero and pack mule with our small luggage.  We passed through a tremendous lot of snow 5 & 6 metres thick in places & had a snow storm with strong wind.  but arrived all right at twelve oclock at Los Cuevos where Mr Lassus had to take to bed on a/c of the Puna so stopped all night.  Puna (apunado): altitude sickness Snowing hard nearly all the time  Luckily we are about the only passengers here with exception of a priest.

2. [Dec.]  This morning early a train with cattle came along so we boarded her and went to Inca where there is a good hotel (Lloyd & Thompson)  Was snowing heavily all forenoon.  Had a sulphur bath below the bridge in afternoon (Venus & Champagne baths).  Nice scenery.-  People mostly stop in doors and play dominoes and billiards.  At Las Cuevas our heavy luggage had passed the custom house all right and had been sent on.  Pinnell passed on way to Chile.

3.- Took another bath.  Cargo train came from Cuevas so we left for Mendoza at 11.30 about & arrived just in time 6.25 to take train for Villa Mercedes.  Mendoza looks very nice with all of her vinyards.

[46 blank pages, no more writing nor scribbles]

© Peter Benitz (Benitz Family)