Norman Democrat--Topic. (Norman, Okla.), Vol. 17, No. 48, Ed. 1 Friday, June 18, 1909 Page: 3 of 8
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MR. PICKARD'S EXPERIENCE •
UftN THE Trail of a Bold •
VJ Buccaneer," published !
herewith for the first time, is 9 •
bit of Venezuelan history which .!
has never before ben told and *
is not to be found in any of the !
standard historical works on
Venezuela. It is replete with !
thrilling situations embodied in |
the capture of Caracas by Amo- ..
ry Preston's buccaneers. While *
the bandits were stealing along .
the secret mountain path to *
Caracas, the able-bodied inhabi- •
tants of the city took positions \
of defense along the main thor- •
oughfare to the capital of Vene *
zuela. The desperadoes were •
discovered by an infirm old man <*
who attempted to resist their
invasion with true patriotic in- %
stinct. It was easy to overpow-
er him. The Caracas traitor
who guided Preston over the se-
cret path was hanged before
the city was entered. Once in Caracaf looting and murder held
While in Caracas, visiting Cipriano Castro, who was then pres-
ident of Venezuela, it was Mr. Pickard's good fortune to meet men
who were familiar with this unrecorded invasion. Mr. Pickard was
given permission to make the journey over the secret pathway. He
took photographs of the smugglers then inhabiting the mountain
wilds. These photographs are reproduced herewith. These same
smugglers to-day hold forth in the mountains. Smugglers, by prey-
ing upon the Venezuelan government, caused the rupture between
Holland and Venezuela, which trouble is said to have been the
cause of the flight of Castro and his subsequent expulsion from
most ports on this side of the world in the southern hemisphere.
• M H v
RAIL over the mountains to Caracas?" said the dusky, scanti-
ly clad women who were energetically doing the family wash-
ing in the brawling stream above Macuto. "Oh, yes, that
by way of La Guayra. There is no longer a direct path from
here, but we have heard of the trail of the buccaneers."
"Direct to Caracas over the mountains*" said the little
old keeper of the sea-baths, who has buried six wives and
declares he is looking for the seventh. "Certainly there is
such a route, but it isn't much used now, and you are sure
to lose your way."
"Why, of course," cried Don Antonio, our host of the Casino
de Macuto. "It is easily done, but you had better take a guide
as far as the top. Here's Agapito, he will do. How much will you charge
the senors, Agapito?"
"Five dollars," promptly replied the young peon. A general burst of
laughter reduced his price to $2.00, and the bargain was struck.
At four o'clock next morning we had a cup of coffee, packed our luggage,
consisting of one pocket comb, and sallied forth in the wake of Agapito.
Pretty little Macuto, her head in the lap of the mountain and her feet
laved by the surf, lay deep in slumber, but the lights of a score of fishing
boats twinkled on the sea. The town once was a favorite resort of the
well-to-do people of Caracas, but now counts her guests by the dozen, for
she never has recovered from the destruction and terror caused by the earth-
quake of 189D.
Our guide's course at the start seemed so hap-hazard that the doctor
Inquired somewhat anxiously if he was familiar with the route.
"Yes, indeed," was the reply. "I spent seven months on this mountain
not long ago as one of the revolutionists led by Gen. Matos, so I know all
So we scrambled on in the darkness unprotesting. Above us loomed the
mighty bulk of El Picacho, forming, with his brother peak to the east La
Silla, and the connecting heights, the range of Galipan over which we must
pass. The path was rough and steep and twisting—"used only by the
goats," said I.
"I am one," replied the doctor, grimly.
Half an hour of clambering and we struck a better defined trail.
"This is the path taken by donkeys," explained Agapito.
"I am one of those, also," muttered the Medicine Man. "And to think
that Amory Preston led a band of armored and armed men by this trail
to Caracas in the night! If I only had breath enough I'd tell you about it,
but wait until we reach a resting place."
Higher and higher by devious ways we went and gradually the stars
faded out,, the bright-hued birds began to whistle and sing all about us and the
richness of the tropical foliage through which we were pushing was revealed.
Then a shaft of sunlight found its way through a cleft in the mountain
range and struck El Picacho full on his rocky head. Facing about on a
projecting corner of the path, we had spread before us the vast panorama of
Caribbean sea and Venezuelan shore line. Still the lights of the fishing
boats twinkled faintly and hundreds of pelicans were busily gathering their
share of the spoil of the waters. Skimming over the waves, they would
wheel suddenly, poise themselves, straighten out and descend like a falling
arrow, then settle on the surface and calmly glup down the unfortunate
fish, that seldom escaped the swift plunge.
We were still sheltered from the sun's rays, the breeze was cool and
Agapito moved at a leisurely gait, but our hearts pumped hard and our
knees became wobbly. By ten o'clock the spurts of climbing were shorter
than the periods of rest and even an army of ants crossing the trail was
excuse enough for ten minutes of relaxation. At a hut perched on a Jut-
ting rock we encountered an aged peon leading a goat, and there ensued
an animated discussion of the routes, between Agapito, Nanny's master and
the mistress of the house. As a result our guide swerved far to the west
down through a beautiful ravine, seemingly undoing the climbing of an
hour, and again upward on what was supposed to be a better trail. Nanny
and her owner followed, but the little beast looked so disgusted with our
slow progress that we let her pass ahead, and saw her no more.
Passing through the tiny village of San Jose with its garden patches
terraced on steep hillsides, we caught sight of a white house that seemed
to be at the top of things, so far as our route was concerned.
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"Yes," said Agapito, en-
couragingly, "that is the
end of the climbing. An-
other range of hills cuts
off the view of Caracas
from there, but the way
is all down hill."
So we robbed a lonely
orange tree and scram-
bled on with renewed
That white house, when
we did reach it, was a joy.
Only a rambling conglom-
eration of adobe rooms
and courts, swarming
with Indian men, women
and children, it was a ha-
ven of rest for our wear-
"We want some cool
drink quickly," said the
"Beer, brandy or wine?"
asked the swarthy, hand-
some young matron, who
seemed to be the head
of the 'stablishment.
"I'm sorry, but we have
no beer to-day."
"Then some brandy in
Not a drop of brandy left in the house. But we can
serve you with fine Muscatel."
So Muscatel it
was perforce, and surprisingly good,
oo. A full quart soon vanished, and the doctor nearly fell
over a thousand-foot precipice in the front yard when the
price was named—three reals, or 30 cents American. That
confirmed the suspicions that had been rising in our
minds. The place must be a nest of smugglers, and it
took on an added air of romance. We must needs photo-
graph all the inhabitants, from the lanky youth with the
ancient muzzle-loading shotgun to the naked babies and
the mournful donkey, and then sought out a shady spot
where the doctor might relate the tale of Amory Preston's remarkable feat.
"It was in June 1595," he began. "The English were doing unpleasant
things to the Spanish wherever they could find them, on sea or land, and
Preston was running about the Caribbean with several vessels and some 500
bold buccaneers. Approaching La Guayra, it occurred to him that there must
be considerable plunder on Caracas if only he could get to it. So he landed,
chased the inhabitants of La Guayra up into the mountains and moved along
to Guaicamaento. There he caught a Spaniard, Villalpando by name, who
promised, for a bag of gold, to lead the English over the mountains to Cara-
cas by the shortest trail. The difficult climb was made in the night, over this
route we are traveling, and in the early dawn the buccaneers saw their
prize lying below them in its fair valley. Not needing the further services
of Villalpando, Preston had
him hanged to a tree as a '
warning to traitors, the bag !
of gold for which he had sold '■
Ills city being tied to his feet
"Pertain of the people of La
Guayra had warned Caracas
Of the landing of the Kngllsh-
men. and the entire lighting
force of the city, led by the
Alcaldes, Garcia Gonzalez and
Francisco Reballedo, marched
out to meet the foe. But it
was taken for granted the
buccaneers would cross by the
"royal road," which was com-
paratively easy, so the Span-
lards stationed themselves on
that highway, laying several
cleverly placed ambushes.
Meanwhile Preston and his
men had quietly walked into
the city, without opposition.
No, that Isn't quite true, for
Don Alonso Andres de I.edes-
ma had been left behind on
account of ills advanced age.
Desperate, but undismayed, the
gallant old cavalier donned
his armor, mounted his horse,
couched Ills lance and single-
handed disputed the entrance
of the English into the city.
•Don't hurt him,' cried Pres-
ton. 'He's too brave to die.'
But Don Alonso charged the
five hundred and fell mortally
"Preston looted the city
thoroughly and the Spaniards
returned to And him safely
fortiiled In some of their pub-
lic buildings. A week later
he marched out unmolested,
recrossed the mountains and
Bet sail with all the treasure
of Caracas. The name of Don
Alonso de Ledesma Is still
honored by the few remaining
ancient Spanish families in
Venezuela, but there is no
statue of him in Caracas."
nested and refreshed, we re-
sumed the trail and now came
our great disappointment.
Agapito's memory had played
him false, and the mountain
range that still rose hundreds
of feet in front of us must be
crossed before the descent be-
gan. We wailed bitterly, but
toiled un through a dense Jun-
gle of tall trees, thick shrub-
bery and Interlacing vines.
Just as the sun reached the
zenith we really came to the
top, some 5,000 feet above the
sea. and the downward slide
brought other sets of muscles Into play Soon there witi hints of |'Hlaa
through the forest, and suddenly, as we rounded an enormous tot , a
glorious valley of Caracas opened out before our dazzled eyes.
Pen nor camera can do justice to that magnificent sight Miles o a r
garden land In varied shades of green, glistening streams, a great city wit
white buildings roofed with red tiles and with grove-topped hills, lay two
thousand feet below us, all bathed in soft sunlight; and for a background
were the southern mountains with ««■•■■■>• clouds drifting across their emerald
and brown slopes. We gazed long in silence, fancying witli reason that from
that very point Preston and his buccaneers had caught their lirst sight of
Caracas. The giant tree beneath which we stood might well be the one on
which the traitor guide was hanged.
of the California Fig Syrup Co. and the
scientific attainments of its chemists have
rendered possible tho production of Syrup
of l-'igs and Elixir of Senna, in all of its
excellence, by obtaining the pure medic-
inal principles of plants known to act most
beneficially and combining them most
skillfully, in tho right proportions, with
its wholesome and refreshing Syrup of
As'there is only one genuine Syrup of
Figs and Elixir of Senna and as the gen-
uine is manufactured by an original
method known to the California Fig Syrup
Co. only, it is always necessary to buy the
genuine to get its beneficial effects.
A knowledge of the above facts enables
one to decline imitations or to return them
if, upon viewing the package, the full namo
of the California Fig Syrup Co. is not foua
printed on the front thereof.
Building Railroads of Sheepskins
By Capt. Ellis D. Morson
AILROAD building is now the order of the
Rday In all countries, and though it seems
almost incredible, the Turk has caught the
railroad fever and is not only projecting,
but actually constructing, and has partly fin-
ished, what will be one of the longest and
most important railroad lines in the old
world. Its object is to connect, the political
capital of Islam with the holy places which
every Moslem Is expected to visit at least
once during his lifetime. As the Moslems
number from 175,000,000 to 200,000,000, the
annual pilgrimage from all parts of the Mahommedan
world is of enormous proportions. That from India and
the east is provided for by steamship lines, but It Is now
proposed by the Turkish government to offer special
inducements to Its people in Asia Minor, Syria. Palestine
and even North Africa, to make the sacred pilgrimages
at their ease, by providing railroad transportation from
Constantinople to Mecca.
To comprehend the magnitude of the enterprise, it is
necessary to remember that old world distances are not
always understood in the new world. The scale of the
maps Is usually much smaller, so we sometimes get the
idea that the United States is the largest country on the
earth, because It looks largest on the map. A better
concepion of the Turkish undertaking will be gained
by the knowledge that, taking Constantinople as a cen-
ter, Paris will be on the edge of a circle with a radius
of 3,000 kilometers (about 2,250 miles), while Mecca will
be 500 kilos beyond the edge of that circle. In other
words, to make the matter plainer, the distance from
Constantinople to Paris Is about that from New York
to Santa Fe, N. M., and from Constantinople to Mecca is
approximately that from New York to Prescott, Arjz.
1 he Turk, therefore, who has always been regarded as
slow going, must be conceded to have more industry
than generally goes to' his credit. There is, however,
behind the religious motive, a political end to be gained.
The sultan is the nominal head of the Moslem world.
But as the holy places, Mecca, Medina and several oth-
ers, are in a land far distant from the center of the em-
pire's political influence, the ruling officials in those
cities have, for hundreds of years, been quasi-independ-
ent, some have thrown off entirely the Turkish bond and
actually maintained their independence. Then, again,
pilgrims from Syria, who attempt to travel by the cara-
van routes through Arabia, Petraea and along the Red
sea, have long been subject to pillage by the wandering
tribes of Bedouins. A railroad through this country with
fortified stations at short intervals, would bring all north-
west Arabia under real, rather than nominal Turkish
control and restore to the sultan genuine authority as
"protectors of the holy places."
The Turkish government is always harassed by its
creditors. The moment a piaster comes into the treas-
ury, all the creditors make a grab for it, so the question
of financing the enterprise became one of prime import-
ance, for no money, no road. In this dilemma the wily
Turk hit upon a happy expedient. The sultan issued
an irnde commanding that every Moslem family which
sacrificed a sheep at the feast of Balram should bring
in the skin to the nearest government official, and these
sklAs should be sold for the benefit of the road. As every
Turk does the sheep-killing act at Bairam, it was figured
out that after the officials had stolen all they could with-
out detecfion there would still be 70,000,000 francs. In
addition, contributions would be made by the faithful,
and that finally the road itself, as construction pro-
gressed, ought to bring in a revenue, increasing year by
year, and so, trusting to faith and sheep skins, the work
was begun. The portion of the road thus far completed
is from Damascus to Medain Salih. From Constanti-
nople the lines under construction run directly south-
west to Aleppo, with side branches to Smyrna and An-
gora. Near Aleppo a projected line will lead, by way
of Bagdad, to the Persian gulf From Medain Salih the
road is under construction to Medina, while surveys have
been made from Medina to Mecca and the Red sea
The route is to pass east of Jerusalem and the Dead
sea, on the high lands of Syria, Moab and northern Ara-
bia. The engineering difficulties are serious, but by no
means insurmountable, and are not to be compared with
those of the Union Pacific. The Caifa line descends
from Deraa with a mighty sweep down to the sea, while
the chains of mountains in Moab must be traversed by
tlie aid of loops, tunnels and bridges. At Damascus the
level Is 2,000 feet above the sea, and varies from that to
3,000 feet at the highest point south. Great difficulties
are presented by that portion of the line from Constan-
tinople to Damascus, for the giant ranges from the Cau-
causus and Armenia extend through Asia Minor almost
to the Aegean and Mediterranean. So it is believed that
at some points on this part of the line the roadbed will
rise to a height of 3,000 to 4,000 feet above the sea.
Several hundreds of miles of this part are now actually
under construction, tunnels are bored, viaducts and
bridges are run between important towns. There are
now completed lines from Constantinople to Angora,
from Smyrna far into the vilayet of Konleh. and these
portions will be feeders of the main line Work on the
line is greatly expedited by the labors of a division of
the Turkish army, it being difficult to secure labor in
the country to b<; traversed, particularly in northern
Arabia, where the Bedouins are few and unendurably
lazy. The Turkish soldiers themselves are not particu-
larly energetic, but, strange to say, this service is much
desired, not only from the fact that the soldier-workmen
are actually paid, which most of the Turkish army is
not, but their term
third, to say nothing
the sultan. German
ning, foreign workine
nels and viaducts, v;
the mechanical labor,
the hands of several
and cabinet minister
so far as can be lear
report made by the
the line could as w
has been in use for
THE SAME TOUCH OF NATURE
People of To-Day and Moslem Con-
queror of Old Show Themselves
Alike In One Respect.
Freight car No. 16,656 of the Penn-
sylvania railroad was held empty on
a side track waiting until Mrs. Rob-
in Redbreast completed the hatching
out of a fine nestful of egjjj laid on
a journa- box while the cftr waa is
i Touching, but no novelty. When
mighty Amr' and his Moslem hosts
overthrew Egypt and made all north-
I ern Africa a stronghold of Allah and
j Uls prophet, they camped on the east
: hank of the Nile, opposite the ancient
capital, Memphis, until they had
j licked the defenders of that ten-miles-
i wide and twenty-milos-long city.
When Amr' had finished he thought
I of moving into the flee tow? across
the river, for which the pale shades
of the slaughtered Egyptians had no
further use. But In the interval a dove
had built its nest in the peak of his
Moslems are kindly to animals,
which are beyond the possibility of
being converted to Islam by the
sword. Amr' allowed that It would be
a pity to disturb the dove; he de-
layed; meanwhile a new city gradu-
ally grew up on the bare plain to the
north of his tent. In a word, Cairo
rose out of the desert for the amaze-
ment of after ages, while tho Mem-
phian palaces of sun-dried bricks went
back Into the soil. To this day in
South Cairo they will show you the
original Fostat, the "place of the
dove."—New York World.
I do not say a proverb Is amiss
when aptly and seasonably applied;
but to be forever discharging them,
right or wrong, hit or miss, renders
conversation insipid and vulgar.-—
What a lot of languages we talk,
even if we talk only English! I was
assailed by a man across the luncheon
table with a language about a Cup-
tie final, and confessed that it was
quite unintelligible. Then another
man talked about golf, which is an-
other language. And then the wom-
an's language elbows these columns.
"Tho Countess wore a seagreen
white marabout stole, and a black taf-
feta bow garnished her huge hat of
burnt Tagel straw." It is a flue exam-
ple of women's slang. But to the man
it means nothing but expense.—Lon-
Natural History as She la Spoke.
Doris lived In tho city, and a sum-
mer visit to grandpa's farm revealed
many wonders. After being treated to
the farmer's luxury, cream, she was
allowed to go to the barn to see tho
cows milked. She looked on with
much interest for a while and then
asked: "Grandpa, which is tho little
pocket she keeps th cream In?"—
of military service is reduced one-
of spiritual advantages promised by
and French engineers do the plan-
in are engaged for the bridges, tun-
■ hHe the soldiers are employed for
The management is ostensibly in
I boards composed of pashas, beys
s, who meet In Constantinople and,
ned, do nothing but object to every
•ngineers and suggest tunnels when
II follow the caravan route, which
a thousand years.
HIT CEILING AND BE A DIVA.
Madame began "The most tedious phase of the
course in voice culture Is learning to breathe. I shall
test you now. free of charge, and, if you do well, we
may be able to shorten that portion "
Hope leaped into the Young Girl's eyes.
"1 took lessons in that out home," she replied.
But madame sniffed. '
"Lie down." The Young Girl was startled; she even
ventured to hesitate.
"Yes, yes On your hack. It is my own method and
has been indorsed by the most eminent throat and lung
specialists. So. Relax your muscles. Now." Madame
seized a bit of white paper from the piano and tore
it into strips, ojie of which she handed to the Young
Girl "Chew this," she said, "until you have made it
into just such a spitball as you used to make in school.
Then fill your lungs to their greatest capacity, form
your lips as if to whistle and. with all your strength,
Visibly startled, but visibly still more impressed,
the Young Girl did as she was bidden and blew the spit-
ball about six feet into the air
Madame nodded approval. "Not at all bad, she con-
ceded. "I think we can materially curtail this portion
of the course."
The Young Girl was scrambling to her feet
"When when will it be completed?" she asked
"Just as soon as you can hit the ceiling," said madame.
I M-fr A 31%
Tired Tom (sadlyl—Ah, that patch
tells me that my old pal, Plodding
Pete has been this way. Poor old
SEEMED APPROPRIATE TO HER
Wife of Sick Man Thought She Had
Reason for Appealing to Loco-
One day last winter a feeble Irish
woman called upon us for aid. The
case sounded urgent, so I wont with
her at once. Everything was Just as
she had stated. Her husband was
very 111, she was too old and feeble
to work, their children were dead,
there was no fire and their only food
was bread which their neighbors, al-
most as poor as they, had given them.
I asked her why she had not come to
us before and she replied that she
had appealed to the church and to
several individuals without success.
"Thin," she went on, "Oi wlnt to th'
big place 'round the strate." The only
"big place" near was a plant for the
manufaduro of steam engines, and I
"But what made you go to the loco-
motive works?" I asked.
"Well, ma'am, shure an' ain't, me
old man got locomotive taxes?"—New
Interrupted the Wedding.
The other day, at the Shawnee
county Court House, Probate Judge
Schoch was about to marry a young
couple. He pronounced the prelim-
inary words and told them to join
hands, and started on the ceremony.
"Hey, there! Hold up a minute!
Walt, I say!" This series of startling
exclamations came from the door.
The groom was horrified—the bride
"Just a minute. I want to give you
each an apple before you are married."
said the man who had made the noise.
And in he calmly walked and handed
each of them a Grimes Golden.
It was one man's Idea of a joke.—
Kansas City Journ?.l.
A Test of Friendship.
Just before Artemus Ward's death
Robertson poured out some medicine
and offered it to the sick man, who
said: "My dear Tom, I won't take
any more of that horrible stuff."
Robertson urged him to swallow the
mixture, saying: "Do, now—there's a
dear fellow—for my sake. You know
I would do anything for you."
"Would you?" said Ward, feebly,
grasping his friend's hand for the last
"I would Indeed," said Robertson.
"Then you take It!"
Ward passed away a few hours affr
erward.—Recollections of the 13a
The Agreement of Views.
Pessimist Don't you think this sea-
son shows the drama has a tendency
Realist—I have noticed that more
people are buying seats in the orches-
at Breakfast, Lunch
A new dainty of pearly white
corn, by the makers of Postum
Toasties are fully cooked,
rolled into thin wafers and
toasted a crisp, golden-brown.
Ready to eat direct from the
box with cream or good milk.
The exquisite flavour and crisp
tenderness delights the most
fastidious epicure or invalid.
"The Taste Lingers"
Popular pkR. loc.
l.arge Family size ISA
Sold by Grocers.
Here’s what’s next.
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Norman Democrat--Topic. (Norman, Okla.), Vol. 17, No. 48, Ed. 1 Friday, June 18, 1909, newspaper, June 18, 1909; Norman, Oklahoma. (gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc153078/m1/3/: accessed October 15, 2018), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.