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       Most refugees from the South found that living in the Brazilian wilderness was still preferable to living under Yankee military occupation.  Colonel Charles Gunter’s group of southern lawyers, surgeons, and plantation owners was living under extreme primitive circum-stances on the banks of Lake Juparana and the Rio Doce, in a lovely setting on the malarial coast of central Brazil.

     Probably nowhere in Christendom had a more sophisticated, more thoroughly educated group ever volun-tarily exiled itself into the wild, as this one had done.  Two hundred souls cast their lot with the Colonel.  Colonists Josephine Foster, Julia Keyes, and Gunter have left in their writings a mass of evidence that this colony of American southerners had the wit and wisdom to understand what they were doing.  They were not masochists, nor were they seeking martyrdom.  They were simply in pursuit of a happy life


.     Julia Keyes had cause to rember what Charles Nathan had said to her when she visited his palatial house in Rio de Janeiro before moving to Rio Doce.. She wrote in her diary:  “May 20, 1867---During dinner yesterday, Mr. Nathan made a remark which puzzled us, in reference to the Doce.  He spoke of the wild life we would lead on the Doce, saying we would soon forget small forms of etiquette.” Life would be hard for them in the primitive sector of Brazil where even Brazilians hesitated to settle, and the colonists knew it.

      In the same diary entry, Keyes wrote: “The Doce is mostly wild and uncultivated, and there is where we are going to live.  Father is going to build us a home and then return to Rio to practice his profession (dentistry) and we will divide our time between the country and city.” The Keyes were intent upon reestablishing the joyous days they and their eleven children had experienced in Montgomery, Alabama, before the war, when they had maintained both a city house and a plantation home.


     Josephine Foster, previously of Chatawa, Pike County, Mississippi, had a double reason to be thankful for being on the River Doce.  She had made the long trek across Texas into Mexico prior to the overthrow of Emperor Maximilian.  There she had survived the bloody ouster of the Confederates attempting to set up colonies in the shadow of snow-capped volcanoes at Orizaba.  From their homes on the beautiful lake and river, the colonists of the Rio Doce could gaze into the distance and see the dark peaks of mountains among beautiful and ever-changing surroundings, and the pioneering lady had only to imagine a snow-cap on the mountaintops and be reminded of earlier, pleasant days at Oritzaba.


     States represented in the Gunter group were Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Virginia.  Women who had never in their lives washed clothes or cooked food were pitching into manual labor with surprising vigor.  Men whose work had been done by servants and laborers were digging ditches, hammering nails, and plowing fields behind balky Brazilian mules.  Foster wrote:


     “Lawyers, Doctors, etc. have laid aside their professions, and have entered into their new life with the proper spirit, facing the forests , seemingly with the determination to succeed or die in the attempt.  The ladies, too, are performing their part bravely, cooking, washing, etc.  Such things seemed to come by chance in former years, but we thoroughly understand the process now.  We act from a sense of duty, not pleasure, altogether.  We already begin to reap the reward of our undertakings, in being happy and con-tented.  We did not hope to enjoy such uninterrupted peace and quiet as we are now experiencing---each and all seem to be perfectly satisfied.  We have had but little sickness among us, only slight chills, as all new  settlers are sub-jected to in any country.  We undergo hardships and privations, as a matter of course, but they are as nothing compared with what our forefathers underwent whilst settling Alabama, Mississ-ippi, Louisiana and other states.”


     Her fifty-seven year old father in less than a year had almost single-handily cleared four acres of land and planted them with corn, beans sweet potatoes, bananas, pineapples, grapes, ginger, and mandioca, “which is used by the natives as a substitute for corn, and we have already learned to love it, and there is nothing better for stock,” wrote Josephine Foster.  The primitive house was comfortable, built to native specifications that allowed breezes to carry through the palm roof, an effective way of cooling the air.  The dwelling had dirt floors, and much of the furniture was homemade,  There was abundant meat in the woods and fish in the lake.   

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 Some colonists were Catholic, but most were Protestants, many of whom keenly felt the lack of churches of their own fath.  Many also resented restrictions imposed by the majority religion in Brazil, though the res-trictions were few.  One of these restrictions was that they were required to hold their services in buildings that were not built as churches.  The colonists invited missionaries from the States to settle with them, and many responded, but Gunter’s group was unable to attract a minister to Rio Doce.

     Settlement at Rio Doce followed the pattern established at the McMullan colony (New Texas), the Dunn colony (Juquia), and the Gaston colony (Xiririca), but these three were clustered together, while the Doce group was isolated five hundred miles to the north. All four groups intermixed to a small degree and kept in close communication. Events in one  had repercussions in the other.

 The immigrants busily added to their huts, making them into comfortable houses, and whitewashed them neatly. The houses were built native style. Poles were first driven into the ground and then the roof poles were tied to them with a strong vine. No nails were used. After this framework was tied together, Daubing with clay created the, and the roof of palm leaves was applied. The building of a house was an event in which the whole neighborhood participated. Americans and natives alike pitched in to daub. The floor was made of layers of clay, each of which was pounded with heavy wooden pestles, making it as hard as rock. Later, all of the Americans were able to put in wood floors when Dr. Farley established a sawmill.


     At times the Confederates attempted to improve on the Brazilian way of building houses. Some insisted on putting American-style singles on the roof, instead of the palm leaves. To their consternation the heavy trop-ical rain easily penetrated the shingles, and they had to be replaced with palms.


     Life in the wild had its compensations. Every morning the settlers would walk directly from their beds down to the white, sandy beach in front of their houses and bathe in the warm waters of the lake. A little nook was found in the bushes four dressing. No discomfort was felt in such a mild climate, uniform throughout the year. The colonists enjoyed the absence of flies, a constant annoyance back home in the U,S,A,. Brazilian mosquitoes, however, seemed to be less friendly than the U.S. variety. The lake was not only a thing of beauty and recreation, it was the road by which they visited each other and brought in supplies. Jenny keys, Julia’s daughter, enjoyed watching the canoes go by with their white sails glimmering in the sun. The Americans had introduced sails to the canoes, and Brazilians were copying the fashion.

The Millers, before they moved south to Americana, were prominent members of the Gunter colony, and they entertained widely. Christmas at their house the first year was a grand occasion, with a large baked turkey crowning the dinner table. In only nine months, they had transformed their home at lakeside into a showplace. Thoughts of those present around the well stocked table were about their loved ones back in Mis-sissippi, Alabama, Georgia, and the other states of the old Confederacy, struggling to survive. They missed their friends and relatives back in America. Separation had formed a permanent ache that not even a phys-ician could heal. Some wondered whether their grandparents and great grandparents had felt the same ache when settling the wilderness in the South.


     Colonel Gunter, who had gotten several months start on the other settlers had the finest crop the first year. Though plagued with the malarial fevers as were many of the colonists, his family worked hard in the fields and grew fine watermelons and sweet potatoes, which they divided with their neighbors.


     The Rio Doce settlement went through a series of misfortunes beginning in 1868. Many of the settlers were stricken with malaria, a virulent five not unlike the malaria prevalent at the time in the southern coastal areas of the United States. Quinine supplies sometimes were limited and real suffering occurred, though there were no fatalities. A drought, the the worst in thirty years, ruined many of the crops. The Keyes family decided to move to Rio and left their plantation with the Spencers. Others moved on to other colonies or set up independent plantation to their own.

The colony never grew from its original size, yet it prospered in the long run. Planters came and went, some acquired riches, other barely survived. The vast number of professional men in the colony in time sought their fortunes in the larger cities of Brazil, particularly Rio, where life was even grander than they had experienced in the U.S. South. In Rio one could sample the best of Europe. Women wore Parisian fashions, the best people drank only French wines, traveled in the liveried carriages, lived in palatial houses made not.of daubed clay but of exquisitely cut marble and brick. Long winding driveways led to the front door. There was a great demand for physicians, and most established large practices. The first of them to move, Dr. McDade, settled at Itapemirim. In his first year he had many patients.


     The sacrifices of living in the country paid dividends later to some of the children of the refugees, as in the case of the leader of the Rio Doce group, Colonel Gunter. Along with many of the original settlers on the Rio Doce, Colonel Gunter stayed on the land and continued to develop his cotton, coffee, and sugarcane fields. He died there on August 19, 1873, seven years after his arrival, leaving quite a legacy. His son, Basil Manley Gunter, was named a consular representative of the United States government in Victoria in 1889, though he was a Brazilian citizen. He invested heavily in the Brazilian Railway system and amassed a fortune, living his entire life in Brazil.


     Despite the permanence of the settlement, the government of Brazil was never able to establish a regular steamship line to the colony site at Lake Juparana. For this reason, the Confederates found it difficult and expensive, though not impossible, to transport their products to other parts of the country. Some, therefore, moved away in the 1880's, among them the Bunnells of Alabama and the Brassell family of Georgia, who returned to Mexico.



Duncan McIntyre

The McIntyre family  was from Richmond Ciunty North Carolina and were part of the group recruited by Colonel Charles Gunter for settlement up on the Rio Doce, north of Rio de Janeiro.  Unlike many of the other emigrants, Major Duncan McIntyre, a man of some means,  did not go to the proposed colony, ins-tead he purchased a large fazenda (plantation) outside of Petropolis (The summer home of the Emperor himself) which included one hundred and thirty workers.  It was like old tomes for Duncan as he "Began to grow sugar cane, oranges and coffee." --"business was good." 

Catherine, Duncan's wife, and her sons, Daniel Colquhoun McIntyre and Robert D. died and were buried near Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Daniel was injured during the construction of (according to family legend) Brazil's first sugar mill. A beam fell on him and he died several days thereafter. Five years after her husband's death Margaret Jane and her daughter Margaret Isabelle McIntyre returned to the States. They returned to Laurinburg, NC and seven years after their return Margaret Isabelle married Duncan Thomas McIntyre, her second cousin.  Isabelle and Duncan T. resided for a while in North Carolina before moving on to Claiborne, Mississippi, finally settling at Richland , Louisiana, where they are both buried.

 source:  Clan McIntyre Website



1 Duncan COLQUHOUN b: in Appin, Argyllshire, Scotland, Number of children: 2

     2 John COLQUHOUN d: Abt. 1826, Number of children: 8

     +Effie MCLAURIN b: in South Carolina d: 06 Sep 1821 in Date from old McIntyre Bible, Number of            children: 8 Father: Hugh McLaurin Mother: Nancy

            3 Catherine COLQUHOUN b: 1781 in Scotland d: 26 Jul 1868 in Rio De-Janiero, Brazil, Number                   of  children: 4

           +Duncan MCINTYRE d: 21 Nov 1830, Number of children: 4 Father: Donald McIntyre Mother:                    Catherine ?

                    4 Margaret Colquhoun MCINTYRE b: 04 Jan 1818 d: 29 Dec 1890 in Martin, Miss.                                             (Claiborne  County), Buried in the Brandon Cemetry.

                    4 John Colquhoun MCINTYRE b: 11 Oct 1819 in Richmond Co., North Carolina d: 15 Jun                                  1875  in At the home of DR. H.C. McLaurin in Brandon, Miss.

                    4 Daniel Colquhoun MCINTYRE b: 30 Jul 1821 in NC d: 12 Jan 1873 in Near Rio De Janiero,                            Brazil, Number of children: 9

                    +Margaret Jane ADAMS b: 01 Nov 1820 in SC d: Bet. 1894 - 1895 in Laurinburg, NC,                                         Number of children: 11 Father: Shockley Adams I Mother: Isabella McRae

                               5 Duncan D. MCINTYRE d: Aft. 02 Jan 1875

                               5 Harriet MCINTYRE

                               5 Hugh MCINTYRE  d: 1846

                               5 Julian MCINTYRE

                               5 Katherine MCINTYRE

                               5 Robert D. MCINTYRE b: Abt. Apr 1854 in Richmond Co., NC   d: 1896 in Sao Paulo,                                        SP, Brazil, Number of children: 1

                               +Mary Elizabeth ELLIS, aka: Ms. Molly Number of children: 1

                                               6 Margaret Kate Ellis MCINTYRE aka: Ms. Pearl, Number of children: 2

                                               +BYINGTON, Number of children: 2

                                                          7 Albert Jackson BYINGTON aka: Mr. Bud, Number of children: 1

                                                          +Elisa de Arruda BOTELHO b: in Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Number                                                                   of  children: 1

                                                                        8 Maria Elisa Botelho BYINGTON aka: Ms. maisa


                                                          7 Elizabeth Ellis BYINGTON, Number of children: 1

                                                          +MANNING, Number of children: 1

                                                                        8 Richard B. MANNING, Number of children: 1                                                                                                                               9 Robert McIntyre MANNING

                            5 John Malloy MCINTYRE b: Abt. Apr 1854 d: 29 Jul 1885

                            5 Margaret Isabelle MCINTYRE b: 01 Nov 1863 in GA d: 10 Dec 1929 in Richland Parish,                                  LA

Duncan and his wife Catherine Colquhoun and son Daniel Colquhoun McIntyre, his wife Margaret Jane Adams/Malloy and children moved to Brazil. This occurred shortly after the disastrous outcome of the Civil War and the infestation of the south by carpetbaggers. First indication of their presence in Brazil is a letter written in 1869 (Old Letters), but we believe they were there closer to 1867. The telegram of 1867 was sent in care of W.A. Gunter, but delivered in the States. They were part of Col. W.A. Gunter's expedition. Gunter, in cooperation with the Brazilian government, started a colony of disgruntled southerners in Campinas, Brazil.

"Mary Elizabeth Ellis, a professor at the Piracicaba College in Piracicaba (SP), founded by presbyterians in the southern United States, came from the Mississippi. Due to the War of Secession, she was brought to Brazil at the age of nine, going to live in the house of her grandfather, Henry Strong, already established as a farmer in Santa Bárbara d'Oeste, one of the main centers of American immigration in the interior of São Paulo. In 1878, Mary married another immigrant, Robert Dickson MacIntyre, assuming her husband's surname (Mott, 2003: 22-3).

One of Mary and Robert's three daughters, Pearl Ellis MacIntyre (who later adopted the name of Pearl) was born on December 3, 1879, on the family farm. After living in several cities in the interior of São Paulo and Minas Gerais, he moved with his parents and his two sisters to the capital of São Paulo, where he studied at the Escola Normal Caetano de Campos. As a normalist, she was invited to work as a governess in the mansion of a wealthy family from São Paulo, but refused. By that time, he was already married to Albert, a young American immigrant (Mott, 2001: 219).

Pérola Byington

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pérola Byington

BornPearl Ellis McIntyre
December 3, 1879
Santa Bárbara d'OesteSão PauloBrazil

DiedNovember 6, 1963 (aged 83)
New York CityNew York, U.S.



Spouse(s)Albert Jackson Byington

Pérola Ellis Byington (December 3, 1879 — 6 November 1963) was a Brazilian philanthropist and social activist. She was an advocate for mother and children's health assistance in Brazil during the first half of 20th century.[1]


Born Pearl Ellis McIntyre, she was the daughter of Mary Elisabeth Ellis, and Robert Dickson McIntyre, American Confederado immigrants established in Santa Bárbara d'Oeste. She adopted the Portuguese form of her name (Pérola) and in 1894 when Pérola was fourteen years old, she completed the prepa-ration for the Normal School, but was prevented from entering because the minimum age requirement was sixteen years old. Then, she received private lessons, except Latin, which she took at a boys' school , where Pérola had to hide behind a folding screen so as not to attract the attention of the teacher and the boys. In 1897, Pérola took the entrance exams for the annex course of the Law Academy of São Paulo. She didn't passed the geography test and neither was well received by the academicians, who did not see with good eyes the opening of the course for women. In 1899, at the age of 19, Pérola finished the normal course. In 1901 she married the industrialist Albert Jackson Byington, — also a Confederado — in Brazil, with whom she had two children.

During the First World War, Byington was in the United States, where she was responsible for a section of the Red Cross. Already back to Brazil, she continued participating in philanthropic activities. From the 1930s, Byington alongside the teacher Maria Antonieta de Castro led a campaign to combat child mortality, called "Cruzada Pró-Infância", (Crusade for Childhood) a task which she held for 33 years.[3] She also dedicated herself to several other programs in defense of the disadvantaged, especially children, having been awarded several commendations of merit.

She died in 6 November 1963, in New York City, United States.

In her honor, a hospital dedicated to women's health in São Paulo is named after her.

Pérola, a municipality of the state of Paraná, was named after her; Alberto Byington Júnior, Pérola's son, was one of the partners of the Companhia Byington de Colonização Ltda., the company that bought land and settled in the region.

Byington is the great-grandmother of actress Bianca Byington and singer Olivia Byington. She is also the great-great-grandmother of the musician Gregório Duvivier.

The Avenida Paulista Series is about to be 2 years old, throughout this period we publish, weekly, the history of the mansions of the early twentieth century and the buildings that succeeded them. There have been 60 stories published so far, some of them so rich, they have won chapters.

There are still many other houses, but the information begins to rarify .... Therefore, we invite those who have information - researchers, descendants, curious - to participate in this unpublished survey on the avenue.

This week we will introduce the Albert Jackson family home and his wife, Pearl Byington, which was number 127 on the old number. Through a scholar, Marcos Cesar da Silva, whom we thanked, we had access to a photo of the house. During this week we researched the family, but there was no time to write the text, so we will give voice to what we find published.

The origin of the family is told below, by means of the opening section of an article by Rafael de Luna Freire entitled "From electricity generation to electric amusements: Alberto Byington Jr.'s business trajectory before the production of films" published in 2013, in the Historical Studies Journal of Rio de Janeiro.

"Mary Elizabeth Ellis, a professor at the Piracicaba College in Piracicaba (SP), founded by Presby-terians in the southern United States, came from the Mississippi. Due to the War of Secession, she was brought to Brazil at the age of nine, going to live in the house of her grandfather, Henry Strong, already esta-blished as a farmer in Santa Bárbara d'Oeste, one of the main centers of American immigration in the interior of São Paulo. In 1878, Mary married another immigrant, Robert Dickson MacIntyre, assuming her husband's surname (Mott, 2003: 22-3).

One of Mary and Robert's three daughters, Pearl Ellis MacIntyre (who later adopted the name of Pearl) was born on December 3, 1879, on the family farm. After living in several cities in the interior of São Paulo and Minas Gerais, he moved with his parents and his two sisters to the capital of São Paulo, where he studied at the Escola Normal Caetano de Campos. As a normalist, she was invited to work as a governess in the mansion of a wealthy family from São Paulo, but refused. By that time, he was already married to Albert, a young American immigrant (Mott, 2001: 219).

A native of Elmira, in the state of New York, Pearl Jackson's boyfriend, Albert Jackson Byington, was born on January 22, 1875. In 1893, at age 18, he worked for six months at the Chicago International Fair. "After this," according to testimony of Paulo Egydio Martins, "was hired to come to Argentina and settled in Buenos Aires with his friend Charles Williams. In 1895 he came from Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro, to work with the Canadian engineer James Mitchel, responsible for introducing the electric tram in the capital. Then he went to São Paulo to work at Light & Power "(Martins, 2007: 106).

From the manual work in the process of electrification of the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo "up the post and pulling wire", in the words of Martins, began the career in Brazil of the American immigrant (later naturalized) and life Albert and Pearl, or rather, Alberto and Pérola, a couple of Brazilian citizens, as would often be emphasized.

The young couple settled in Sorocaba and in 1901 Alberto Byington acquired the Sorocaba Electric Company, which had a small thermal plant (De Lorenzo, 1993: 55-6). From Sorocaba he moved to Campinas, then the second most populous city in the state, where Alberto organized in 1904 the Cavalcante, Byington & Cia., That would give rise to the Company Campineira Luz e Força, probably associating itself with the local businessmen connected to the coffee . Gradually, the American continued in the strategy of buying and building small electric power plants in the region.

In that sense, in March 1913, Alberto Byington became the representative in Brazil of the newly created company The Southern Brazil Electric Company, Limited, linked to English capitals. During World War I, faced with the import restriction on coal, the main input of thermal generation, there was an even greater investment in Brazil in hydroelectric generation.

No wonder, Byington & Sundstrom, Alberto Byington was responsible for the complex construction of the Hercílio Luz bridge, which connected the island of Santa Catarina, where Florianópolis is located, to the mainland, inaugurated in 1926, after four years of construction. (..)

The expansion of Byington & Cia in the 1920s meant that the company had a branch in New York and in the main cities of Brazil: Rio, Sao Paulo, Santos, Porto Alegre, Curitiba, Salvador and Recife. "

Pearl Byington was one of the founders of the Crusade for Childhood, an important institution with the goal of reducing child mortality. Her granddaughter, Maria Elisa Botelho Byington, worried about the preservation of her grandmother's story and the Crusade, wrote the book "The gesture that saves - Pearl Byington and the Crusade for Childhood", edited in 2005 by Griffin Historical Projects and Editorials.

At the launch of the book, Maria Elisa, gave an interview to Paula Protazio Lacerda, from Época Mag-azine, and some excerpts about her grandmother published here.

"Pearl married Alberto J. Byington and had two children. In 1912 the family took their children to study in the United States. The war broke out and they could not return to Brazil. With that, my grandmother started working at the American Red Cross raising funds.

The American Red Cross extended its services beyond the battlefields to care for the wounded. It instituted campaigns for the prevention of accidents at home and in transit, and pioneered rural visits to treat distant families in the city. Pearl may not have acted in all these areas, but acquired, say, by "osmosis" that work environment.

When he returned to Brazil, he worked in the Red Cross of São Paulo, with the founder, Maria Rennotte, his mother's companion in the Piracicabano College. Then, with all this experience, at the age of fifty, she inaugurated the Pro-Childhood Crusade together with Maria Antonieta de Castro, a health educator. Its purpose was to combat child mortality.

Pearl and her team had wonderful ideas. They held many campaigns, competitions and public events and suddenly the Crusade fell in the taste of the press. Several newspapers published all the campaigns of the Crusade. The last campaign, in 1963, shortly before the death of Pearl was on channel 9, TV Excelsior. It remained 27 hours in the air. I do not know how, but someone invented a toll and all the taxi drivers agreed to go through the toll that night. There were many actions in favor of the Crusade for Childhood.

Pearl received numerous awards and decorations. In São Paulo, Pérola Byington Hospital, in its honor, is dedicated to the care of women and a nucleus of professionalization for young people in situation of social vulnerability. In its hometown, Santa Bárbara d'Oeste, the avenue where the world's largest lathing industry is based, was named Avenida Pérola Byington.

Pérola, a municipality in the state of Paraná - formerly a district of the municipality of Xambrê - was named after him, on behalf of his son Alberto Byington Júnior, one of the partners of the Company Byington de Colonização Ltda. , acquired land and colonized the region.

About the house of Paulista Avenue we know little, (maybe in the book have some information, which I bought, but not yet). What we have determined is that Pérola used her house for meetings and events of the Crusade for Childhood, in addition to collecting donations, as in this matter of 1930 on Children's Week, instituted in Brazil by Pérola.

The family appears at this address in telephone directories from 1920, but before that, 1917 the place appears on behalf of the family of Willian Speers, an Englishman from Newcastle, who came young to Brazil. He worked for 53 years at the São Paulo Railway Company, where he became superintendent and representative of the company in Brazil. In 1910, the house was in the name of his son JP Speers.

Until 1935 we find news of the actions of the Crusade on Paulista Avenue, then in the late 1940s beginning of the 50s, we found the address in the name of Mario Dias Castro, who lived in another Paulista house (The story can be read on this link ) and was brother of Ernesto Dias Castro, owner of the House of Roses.

In the area of ​​Avenida Paulista, was built between 1973 and 75 the Pedro Biagi Building, in the current number 460 of Avenida Paulista, with a project by the architects Mauricio Kogan and Luis Andrade Mattos Dias.

The tower has 23 floors, with two modulated pillars of apparent concrete that emphasize its verticality, and on the roof, the pillars end in hollowed arches. At the ground level there is an agency of Banco do Brasil, and on the lawn a work by Franz Weissmann (1911 - 2005), as indicated by a reader. Thank you!

The building was named after Pedro Biagi, who was an Italian immigrant, who became a well-known farmer and owner of sugar mills in the interior of São Paulo.

Pedro Biagi's anthology: "When I made my first brick, I did not think I would have a building with my name on the main street of the main city of Brazil!", Referring to the Paulista Avenue building in São Paulo. So much that it was walled in the building itself.

Pearl and Alberto's home in Sao Paulo



HospitalIn São Paulo, Pérola Byington Hospital, in its honor, is dedicated to the care of women and a nucleus of professional-ization for young people in situation of social vulnerability. In its hometown, Santa Bárbara d'Oeste, the avenue where the world's largest lathing industry is based, was named Avenida Pérola Byington.


Michael Poirier Collection/National Archives 


Albert Jackson Byington, 40, was born on 22 January 1875 in Elmira, New York, United States.  He immigrated to Brazil in 1895.  He was a successful electrical engineer and imported the first electric motor to Brazil.  On 4 July 1901 he married Pearl Ellis McIntyre.  Pearl was born on 3 December 1879 in Santa Barbara d'Oeste, São Paulo, Brazil. Byington's ticket for Lusitania's last voyage was 46092 and he was in cabin B-26. On the day of the disaster, 7 May 1915, Byington was waiting for the elevator with Frederick TootalLady Margaret Mackworth, and David Alfred Thomas when the torpedo hit. Here is what Tootal says about he and Byington in his 1915 testimony:

1160 (Q):  What did you then do? (A):  I was talking to a lady who was waiting for the lift when it happened, also to another gentleman [Byington] who was travelling with me, and we both took her by the arm and started going up the stairs, and we got on to the next deck, the "C" deck, on the portside.  We then went aft with her to the companionway leading up to the boat deck, where there was a big crowd, and they were taking women and children first, and we put her on to that.

Tootal and Byington entered lifeboat #17, but the seamen lost control and the boat spilled.  Both men survived. Albert Byington's survival in the Lusitania disaster was detailed in The New York Times, Monday, 10 May 1915, page 2, where he is mistakenly listed as a British subject. The following is his account:

"It looks to me," he said, "as if the Lusitania officials imagined that she was too lucky to be torpedoed. Instead of running 15 or 18 knots an hour, she ought to have been pushed to the limit, as that, we all understood, was one means of safety upon which she depended. "Another point which I think out to be emphasized in that the Germans showed utter disregard for life by not giving time for the passengers to get off. "No ships of any kind were in sight for ten or fifteen miles. The Germans had it all their own way. They could easily have allowed the Lusitania's passengers ample time to get into lifeboats and row away before shooting their torpedo. There was no opportunity for anything to happen to the submarine if she were delayed. It shows that they didn't care a rap about the loss of life in their murderous work." Mr. Byington jumped into a lifeboat which was filled with so many passengers that the ropes broke. As the boat fell into the water it capsized, and hearly all in it were drowned. Mr. Byington, who had a life preserver, swam to another boat. This later capsized. Then he got into another boat and helped to row it ashore.

Byington died around 1953 in São Paulo.  His wife Pearl died 6 November 1963 in New York.


by Maria E. B. Byington


My letter about some love letters found in a little straw suitcase from B. T. (Tom) ATKINS, a Confederate soldier, to Miss Sally STRONG, who immigrated to Brazil with her father after the Civil War appeared in MISSING LINKS 4:41 on 6 October 1999. Sally sent her photo, taken in New Orleans just before she sailed to Brazil, to her sister, Mrs. ELLIS, and to dear friends in Brookhaven (Lincoln County created in 1870, from parts of Franklin, Lawrence, Copiah, Pike and Amite counties), Mississippi. Her sister gave the photo to Tom, who placed it in Amy HOO-KER's album, for if it had been sent directly to him "no one's album could have presented an array of pictures brilliant enough to have ever held it." All this Tom describes in one of the letters to Sally in Brazil.


I needed a photo of Sally to place in the book I was preparing with Tom's letters, so I wrote to MISSING LINKS to inquire if by any chance some of these photos sent to her friends in Brook-haven might have turned up in some family's album or some old photographs exhibit [SOME-BODY'S LINKS 2:1, 7 January 2000]. I received several letters from people giving me suggestions about where I should look, such as universities, collections of old photographs, private collec-tions, etc. I had almost given up having a photo of young "Aunt Sally," who inspired such strong feelings in at least three gentlemen, but who would not think of marrying for "her heart was buried in a battlefield," (so goes the story collected by Judith Mac Knight Jones, historian of the descendants of Southern immigrants to Brazil).


Then one day I found the photo right under my nose. Judith had published in her book about the descendants a picture of a young girl immigrant with the following caption: "member of DUNN's group," but unidentified. However, as I turned the pages I had gone over more than 100 times, I saw a picture of the same girl with the same dress between a young couple, and this time with the following caption: "The BANKSTONs and Sally STRONG."The BANKSTONs were relatives of Sally who had gone to Brazil together with Sally and her father. The story of how the house in which the STRONGs formerly lived in Brookhaven was found captured the interest of Megan Smol-enyak, who published it in her book IN SEARCH OF OUR ANCESTORS: 101 Inspiring Stories of Serendipity and Connection in Rediscovering Our Family History (Holbrook, Massa-chusetts: Adams Media Corporation, 2000), companion to the PBS series (see my letter in MISSING LINKS 5:46, 15 November 2000).


The story also aroused the interest of Martha Strong, who published it on her Web site "Wel-come to my World" at So, now the book is finally ready and in April 2001 I will be visiting New Orleans, Louisiana for the first time. Then I will take the train to Brookhaven, Mississippi, making the trip back to the place my family left more than 130 years ago. My book will be presented at the local library, and on 21 April 2001I will take part in the Tour of Homes in Brookhaven and visit the Old Strong House, which belongs to Dr. Natalie Herndon. It is located at the intersection of Interstate 55 and Exit 42.The many success stories published in MISSING LINKS and ROOTSWEB-REVIEW  inspired me to continue with my searches. I am most thankful to librarians Mary Sanders and Rebecca Nations of the Lincoln County(Mississippi) Regional Library, who helped me with this project,and to all who have written sending me suggestions on where to search for Sally's photo. * * *

Editors' Notes: Cynthia Forde in a 27 February 2001 message to quotes the work of Anne Martin Haigler, of St. Louis, Missouri, on the BANKSTON line that went to Brazil. At page 404 of BANKSTON COUSINS, Anne Haigler stated that Francis Marion Bankston, son of Jacob Marberry Bankston and Nancy Tuombs, was born circa 1845 in Copiah County, Mississippi and on 9 October 1872 gave power of attorney to his mother, at which time he was living in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Forde continues: "Campo: A North American Cemetery in Brazil," by Cyrus B. Dawsey and Betty de Oliveira, printed in TAPROOTS, Vol. 36, #3, Jan. 1999, by the Genealogical Society of East Alabama, gives further information regarding the American settlement in this area. A list of burials in the Campo Cemetery includes: ANDERSON; AYERS; BAIRD; BANKSTON, Francis Marion -- 17-12-1844 to 23-09-1878, spouse Sarah ELLIS died Sao Paulo City; Henry M. BANKSTON, 28-09-1867 to 07-09-1869, son of Francis M.; Nancy S. BANKSTON, 25-08-1872 to 08-08-1875, daughter of Francis Marion; BARNSLEY; BOOKWALTER; . .

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