Fortunes & Misfortunes



MY DEAR OLD BOY: You have been wondering, no doubt, not to have heard from me all these years, and your surprise will be greater to hear from me out of this strange quarter of the globe. . . . Well, my boy, I've been at work, hard at work, and, as the world would say, I've prospered. ... I am working a very valuable grant, covering one hundred square miles. The bottoms are rich in timber and the uplands abound with gold. Native help is plentiful and can be hired for a song and sixpence, and the mahogany can be floated all the way to the coast. I want a congenial associate, and don't know any one with whom I would rather share my good fortune. At any rate, since I heard, by the rarest chance, that you were on the way to the Caribbean, you would find a run over to view the country well worth your while, etc.


{The Popular Science Monthly, Vol 45}

"H." was not alone in coming to the Mosquito Coast to try and make their fortune. This British protectorate along the east coast of what is now Nicaragua saw entrepreneurs harvesting mahogany, mining for gold, and growing bananas. The prospect of a canal connecting the Pacific Ocean with the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean also fueled land speculation and thoughts of future opportunities.

Many young men left their homes in Europe and headed to the New World in search of adventure, opportunities, and to make their fortune. Over the years acquaintances became friends, partners, and even family. Even those that were successful found out that it was often fleeting. They had to endure and deal with many misfortunes. Their life in the tropics was interrupted by political actions, disease, competition from big business, floods, pollution, and their own personal limitations.

Follow a group of late 19th Century entrepreneurs on their journey, called life, and realize that not that much has really changed over the past 100 years.

Any information on the following characters would be greatly appreciated - willing to share what I have in exchange.

    • Theodore R. Bockman - b: 22 Jan 1855 in Teestrup, Denmark, L: Rama, Mobile, AL, d: 18 July 1896 in Bocas del Toro

    • Alva Neuhaus - Married in New Orleans, 1890 - 1893 Rama, 1895 Mobile, AL, 1898 to Copenhagen, Denmark

    • Alvar Bockman - their son born 1891 between Bluefields and Rama

    • Anna (Alva) Sophie M. Neuhaus - b: 13 Apr 1858 Copenhagen, Denmark, to New Orleans in 1890 (She became Alva)

    • Edward Neuhaus - b: 4 Dec 1859 in Copenhagen, Denmark, Lived and Died 1901 in Rama

    • Johannes Neuhaus - b: 12 Aug 1869 in Faaborg, Denmark, in Bluefields, Rama, New Orleans L&d: 1922 Berlin

    • Wilhelm Julius Reginald Neuhaus - b 9 April 1864 in Kappeln, Germany, died 21 Sept 1924 in Rama

    • Regina Louise Oelund Neuhaus - Their Mother - Copenhagen, Denmark

    • Lorentz Christian Neuhaus - Their Father - Copenhagen, Denmark

    • Frederick Feldballe - b: 1846 in Denmark, photographer in Bluefields and Rama, to New Orleans in transit 1894

    • Achilles Clerici - b: abt 1851 in Italy, Bluefields, New Orleans, Bocas del Toro, d: 11/14/1934 Los Angeles, CA

    • Luigi Del'Orto - New Orleans, LA

    • Henry P. Loding - b: 11 Sept 1869 in Kolding, Denmark, Bluefields, Mobile, AL, d: 26 Feb 1942 in Mobile.

    • Rev. John Chr. Seybold - New Orleans, LA

    • Benton Bell Seat - Bluefields, Arkansas

    • John Wilson & Sons - Bluefields, Rama, Bocas del Toro

    • Orr & Laubenheimer Co. - Bluefields, Mobile, AL

    • William L. Rathbun - b: May 1852, New York City - banana operations in Nicaragua - later with United Fruit Company

    • Paul & May Osterhout - Bluefields & Bocas del Toro - Collection of letters sent home, Rice University TARO

The letters mention: John Quincy Allen, Allie Allen, Henry Brown, John J. Osterhout, Dr. Sauderson

Reference Links

    • Book about Edward Neuhaus and his life near Rama, Nic. written by Johannes Neuhaus (as B. Werner) in Danish - with photographs

Nybyggerliv blandt Meskitoindianere, B. Werner [i.e.: Johs. Neuhaus] Published: [Kjøbenhavn] Gyldendal, 1904

HATHI Trust Digital Library:

  • Views from the Mosquito Reservation, Nicaragua C.A. (c1893) by Feldballe, F. - photographs of the area - view or download in several formats

    • Nicaragua and the Mosquito Coast - The Popular Science Monthly - Vol 45

Nicaragua and the Mosquito Coast

Index of plantations with names and owners, Advertisements for businesses, street map of Bluefields

Topographical and river details, elevation profiles

Correspondence to Washington - Benton Bell Seat & others - Index begins on page 5

The Story of the Creative Enterprises Conducted by the United Fruit Co.

Information about the formation of the Mosquito Territory, the banana companies, and the conflict in 1894

Reports of International Arbitral Awards - XV, pp. 37-46 16 June 1900