Sunday, March 16, 2008
Delano Riker, part 4
Although I never had an infinity with Delano Riker, I did have the pleasure of knowing his mother, Mayflower Riker, and his uncle, Joe Riker. I don't remember who introduced me to Mayflower (now deceased) back in the early 1980s, but she was quite enthusiastic about taking me to Diamantino to visit her grandfather's grave site. Diamantino is about 10-12 kilometers south of Santarém. It's fairly much suburbia of Santarém today, but back in the 1860s, when Robert Riker settled there with his American family, it was really back country. It was a rather unique location because it connects three different environments, the planalto (highland), tropical savanna and the Amazon floodplain. Robert Riker's grave site was located almost at the bottom of the hill, very close to where the community of Mararu is situated today. I got the impression that the site had almost been abandoned. I don't remember historical details, but it seems that the Riker homestead had been sold around 1910 by Robert's son, David Bowman Riker. It's quite probable that this particular piece of land had changed hands many times over nearly a century. What I saw there was a small farmer's house and a field of corn and manioc. The grave site was right in the middle of the corn and manioc crop. I've not been back to the site since that time, but I heard rumors that the remains of Robert Riker may have been moved to another location, maybe Santarém. I'm negligent in not having researched these details. Image: Delano Riker procession arriving at the Santarém cemetery.