Friday, March 14, 2008
Delano Riker, in memoriam
I depart from my regular posts on flora and fauna to report the death of Delano Riker Teles de Menezes, 60, vice-mayor of Santarém on March 13, 2008. Delano was much more than a politician in his life. He was a cattle rancher on the Amazon River floodplain; he was a pilot and owner of a regional airline; and Riker was a blood descendant of the American Confederates, called Confederados here. The patriarch was Robert Henry Riker, who ventured off from South Carolina to Santarém with his whole family in 1867. I understand that he was president of a railroad in South Carolina prior to the Civil War and that he was much better off economically than other Confederados coming to Santarém. His American wife, Sarah Elizabeth Hapoldt, died 10 years after arriving in the Amazon. Their six children born in the United States included David Bowman Riker, the last Confederate to die in the Amazon. Robert Riker married again and fathered several more children born here in Santarém. More coming up in the next blog post. Image, Delano Riker's coffin leaving the Baptist Church of Santarém.