Friday, May 01, 2009

The Confederates - Darlan Riker

Every now and then I divert from plants and trees at Bosque Santa Lúcia to report on the Confederados, descendants of the American Confederates who came to Santarém after the Civil War in the United States. Click on the label "Confederados" to see other posts, including one on the death Delano Riker.

I've known Darlan Riker since 1979, when I first came to Santarém. He and his brother, Delano, were partners in an air-taxi business named TAIL. I also knew their mother, Dona Mayflower, who invited me to visit the grave site of her grandfather, Robert Riker, who had immigrated to Santarém from South Carolina after the American Civil War. They settled on the edge of the Planalto (highlands) only 5-6 miles from the city. Although years and generations have passed since that time, I'm always reminded of their original homestead because of Delano's riverboat and cattle ranch, both named El Dorado. The boat is almost always moored to a buoy out in the Tapajós River, right in front of the city. I often wondered why the Riker boat and ranch were called El Dorado. I discovered why after reading David Afton Riker's book, O Último Confederado Na Amazônia (The Last Confederate in the Amazon) . To put it simply, the old Riker homestead at Diamantino had provided well for the family ... and the descendants of Robert had sold the place for a good price, around 1910. I took the picture of Darlan upper image) only this week, almost in front of the house where his mother lived. Darlan is still a pilot ... and his love is that of flying. We also talked about the boat that now belongs to Delano's sons. Although there's no advertizements, it can be leased for for regional tours, including the El Dorado ranch. Every time I touch base with the Confederados, I realize that I need to take time off from my other actvitities to write more about them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm always interested in who pulls up stakes and why, and and what drives them hither and yon, so that sounds like a fascinating slice of history. Too bad I don't read Portuguese . . .