COMPLETE REPORT OF SOMOTILLO AREA
GATHERED FROM PATROLS FROM 10 JULY TO 19 SEPTEMBER,
----- ROADS -----
The bull cart road to Somotillo via the ferry is
passable at all seasons of the year but bulls and carts
must be towed across at this crossing of the Estero.
Very little mud injures this road during the wet season.
The fordable crossing about nine miles above this point
involves the use of a mud road that is bottomless for
nearly twenty miles during the wet season. This
crossing is at the San Juan Ranch. All other
trails and roads east of Somotillo are little affected
with rain with the exception of the Mayacunda area.
All west are through spotted areas of short swamp grass,
and bad in wet season. The International bull cart
road to Honduras is very good. This road leads to
Choluteca and from there to Tegucigalpa. The roads
to the North and East of Somotillo are trails only with
the exception of a very bad bull cart road to Cinco
Pinos. This area north and east is very
mountainous, although not shown as such on the map of
Mr. Clifford D. Ham. From the mountains in this
area one can see Momotombo and two other active
volcanoes near Leon.
----- OCCUPATION OF INHABITANTS
The entire area is given to cattle business. There
are a few cane mills but they are all operated by bulls
and the products sold locally. These mills are all
in the mountain sections where a considerable amount of
coffee is grown, but the business of coffee is in bad
condition due to abandonment of the mountain plantations
by the owners to to lack of police protection, and
consequently the sugar mills, which supplied the
laborers on coffee farms, do a very limited amount of
work. Every name on the Ham Map shown by a black
dot represents a cattle ranch with the exception of San
Francisco which is a mountain town and should have a
circle around the dot. All of the ranches are very
old with the exception of San Ramon of the Mountelvan
Estate which is located at what is shown on the map as
Casimiro. The other San Ramon near Villa Nueva is
property of the Midence Estate. Most of these
ranches have about one thousand head of cattle and from
fifty to three hundred head of horses, although many
have practically no horses. Cheese is made at all
ranches. Those ranches shown by the dots on the
river of the Honduran border are only small farms in the
mountain country. In the small towns there are
stores only in Villa Nueva and Somotillo. The
banditry in the mountains destroyed all stores in the
others and conditions are not yet safe for the natives
to attempt to stock the stores abandoned. Many of
the people living in the small towns are engaged in
carrying Honduran contraband tobacco to Leon and in
distilling liquor in native stills for sale to the ranch
laborers. In Somotillo there are more than a dozen
stores of varying character selling all kinds of cheap
wares and a considerable variety of imported liquors.
It is safe to say that a third of the population in the
town live by stealing from the big ranches or from one
another. The country is also infested with
professional game hunters who live in small huts in
isolated places and sell dried dear meat and skins of
all kinds. In this area this trade is pretty well
curbed due to the confiscation of every gun of every
hunter known to me at this time. The laborers on
the ranches are furnished with beef and corn and paid
from fifteen to twenty cents for each day of actual
----- NATURAL PRODUCTS -----
Very little native fruit is cultivated in this area.
All of it grows well. Wild game is abundant.
[ p. 2 ]
----- CHARACTERISTICS OF THE
Racially, most are Indians. Invariably lazy.
Murder and maiming with arms and machettes very common.
Considerable drinking on week ends and holidays.
Very few pay any attention to religion of any kind.
Churches in most towns abandoned and in ruins with
exception of Villa Nueva. Practically all totally
disarmed. Practically all profess to be members of
Liberal Political party, especially when seeking
clemency for stealing or murder. Women invariably
virtuous. There is no known prostitute in the
area. Bulk of natives illiterate. Health is
remarkably good. All are cowards and have a fear
of Americans that amounts to terror.
----- POLITICS -----
Although none of the natives can give any cause for
participation in politics, all are emphatically Liberals
or Conservatives. Liberals are in the majority.
Conservatives are usually property owners or town
officials holding offices until the coming elections.
The bandit Cabullo [Cabulla] visited this town twice and
murdered several people. Several of the young men
of the town joined him but the bulk of those who were in
the revolution from this section followed another well
respected bandit here called by his followers, General
Perraulta [Concepción Peralta]. A Conservative
leader, sent here from Managua goes by the designation
of General Pinera. He successfully hid from the
opponents during the revolution and is not accused of
banditry during the time he led a group of nearly one
hundred natives but stole the pay roll from his
followers and has no political support. Politics
is usually given as the motive for all crime.
----- PATROLS -----
All patrols are mounted. Six animals were
furnished this outpost by the Quartermaster. Only
three of these were ever serviceable. Two have
been returned to Chinandega and the owner of the Las
Mesas Estate came for another that was unserviceable.
A group of thirty horses and mules has been obtained by
collecting what are known as national animals.
These animals are delivered to property owners as soon
as the present proof of ownership. Patrols have
been made only to disarm natives known to have arms or
to catch those with stolen animals or capture criminals.
The following patrols have been made to date.
July 10th. Left at 2. p.m. for Villa Nueva with
Sgt Payne, Cpl. Nelson, one private and Marcelino Lopez.
Returned 7.p.m. Made inquiries in Villa Nueva of
activities of bandit Pinera. Learned he had left
for Honduras. Talked with Miguel Midenci [Midence],
owner of the Hato Grande, Las Posas, San Ramon of Villa
Nueva, and several other cattle ranches.
July 15th. Left 10. a.m. for Triumfo [Triunfo],
Honduras with Sgt. Payne, one private, and man who had
been caught carrying arms to make inquiries relative to
him. Returned afternoon of same day.
July 17th. Left 8:30 p.m. with Sgt. Payne, six
privates and guide to locate murderers of one named
Sanchez killed same day in Henoqual. Arrived at
the three houses occupied by the ones implicated about
1. a.m. They broke away when a private fired
without cause. Several shots fired after them.
One reported injured later. Returned 6. a.m. July
July 23rd. Left for Santo Thomas at 3. p.m. with
Sgt. Payne, Cpl. Holton, one private and guide.
Took one mule from Honduran who had no possession.
July 24th. Went to Cinco Pinos. Got one more
mule and four more horses. Arrived San Francisco
at dark. One mule and three [ p. 3 ]
horses of this latter group later called for by rightful
owners. July 25th. Started for Somotillo
before daybreak. Alcalde of San Francisco gave me
a good mule left there by the troops. Arrived
Somotillo 1:1t [sic] p.m.
July 25th. Went after a horse thief with Estephen
Varda and four Marines. Got small bay stallion.
The man crossed to Honduras. Left 9. p.m.
Returned 3:30 a.m.
July 29th. To Henoqual. Got pistol.
Out in morning, returned after dark. Sgt Payne, 1
Marine and guide.
July 30th. To Henoqual. Got large white
horse from Joaquin Ramos. July 31st.
Returned to Somotillo about 9. a.m. Sgt. Payne,
Aug 2nd. Left for Santo Thomas at about 1. p.m.
Got two shotguns, 1 pistol, 1 horse, and 1 mule.
Aug 3rd. Returned to Somotillo after dark.
Cpl. Nelson, three Marines and guide.
Aug. 5th. Left 1. p.m. with Cpl. Holton and guide
for Villa Nueva. 1 shotgun. Returned
Somotillo 9. a.m. following morning.
Aug. 6th. Left 4. p.m. with Cpl. Nelson, two men
and guide for Santo Thomas. Aug. 7th. Took
two pistols and two horses. Aug. 8th.
Reached Somotillo about 10. a.m.
Aug. 9th. Left 1. p.m. for Mayacuna [Mayacunda].
Cpl. Holton and guide. All night at Calera.
Aug. 10th. Reached Mayacuna 10. a.m. Got two
horses and left about noon. Somotillo 9. p.m.
Aug. 12th. Sent Cpl. Holton and two men to Calera
to get bay stallion. They returned 1 Midnight with
stallion. Did not go myself.
Aug. 16th. Cpl. Nelson and three guides and seven
privates and I left at 9. a.m. for Santo Thomas.
Got two horses and three pistols. Took two of the
pistols and one horse from Marcial Rivera, bandit of
Cinco Pinos. Slept in Cinco Pinos. Aug.
17th. All day on road in search of information,
relative to Salgado. Slept in San Pedro.
Learned Sabino Rodriguez had burned the town hall and
killed the Alcalde during the revolution. Aug.
18th. Went to San Francisco. Went to house
of Sabino Rodriguez and got pistol. He later
surrendered his one stolen horse. Slept with three
men not far from border of Nueva Segovia. Other
four stayed in San Francisco during the night.
Aug. 19th. In Frisco nearly all day.
American engineer, Mr. Samuelson, asked me to locate
Waterman and recover his Luger pistol. He gave me
a bay stallion. Left at 4. p.m. for Somotillo.
Took mule on way which was later returned upon proof of
ownership. Slept near Henoqual. Aug. 20th.
Reached Somotillo at 6. p.m.
Aug. 21st. Left in afternoon with Cpl. Holton and
guide for San Ramon. Stayed all night at Las
Mesas. Aug. 22nd. Arrived San Ramon about 9.
a.m. Sent Cpl. Holton and guide back to get a
fresh horse to replace one became lame. Aug. 23rd.
Inspected brands of all mules on San Ramon Ranch.
Aug. 24th. Inspected all brands of mules at Las
Lahas [Las Lajas] and left for Somotillo at 2. p.m.
Aug. 27th. Left in afternoon with Cpl. Holton and
guide, for Las Pilas. Captured Rigoberto Sanchez,
murderer of Payan in Villa Nueva, and a .44 Colt pistol.
Returned at 6:30 a.m. Aug. 28th.
Aug. 28th. Left about 10. a.m. with Cpl. Holton
and two Marines to get mules in San Ramon. Got 5.
Returned 7. p.m. [ p. 4 ]
Aug. 29th. Left about 3. p.m. with Cpl. Holton,
one Marine, guide and Rigoberto Sanchez to collect arms.
Got two pistols and two shotguns. Returned noon
Aug. 30th. Went with Lieut. and Captain of Guardia
to Patoka in evening to inquire for a criminal for
murder from Chinandega. Returned 1. a.m. 31 Aug.
Sept. 1st. Left at noon with Cpl. Holton and guide
to investigate case of horse killing. Caught
culprits at 1. a.m. 2. Sept. Reached
Somotillo. Culprits paid for horse.
Sept. 6th. Left about 9.30 a.m. for Villa Nueva to
investigate murder of Poncho Huete, killed by rifle 7.
a.m. that date. Had Cpl. Holton, one private,
guide, and Comandante of Police at Somotillo.
Slept in Calera. People accused one named Manuel
Garcia who had escaped. Sept. 7th. Went to
Mayacunda and Portilla. Returned to Villa Nueva at
dark and reached Somotillo at 3. a.m. 8
Sept. No results. Got one horse.
12 Sept. Left for Villa Nueva with Cpl. Holton,
one private, Commandant of Police and guide to
investigate telegraphic report that Garcia was in the
town. No results. Report unfounded.
Reached Somotillo before dark.
Sept. 14th. Went with Cpl. Holton, guide, and
owner of stolen bulls to catch thief near Canne Fistula.
Caught party who restored all stolen goods. Got
one shotgun and two horses.
Later reports covered by telegraphic report.
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- - -- - - H. N. KENYON - -
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