Was David Fagen A Stud?

David Fagin – His surname was spelt in different ways, in one of the few verifiable images of him. Click photo for full report.

One of my pet peeves is the use of random photographs of American-American soldiers, some dating from the American Civil War, labelled as “David Fagen”. They appear on most Facebook posts about one of the few Buffalo Soldiers to desert to Philippine Republican forces during the Philippine-American War.

Buffalo soldiers served creditably in the American Civil War, the Apache Wars, Cuba, Mexico, and the Philippines, in both the Philippine-American and World War Two.

In the Philippine-American War not a single Buffalo soldier was implicated in committing atrocities despite serving in hot-spots like Samar. That is not to say they were perfect, one Buffalo soldier cut off the arm of a Filipina so he could take her bracelet, but in general their behaviour was exemplary.

Most saw their service as a way of demonstrating that they were Americans, despite the shoddy treatment handed out to them in their home country.

So, taking a random anonymized photograph and mislabelling it as someone else deprives the man pictured of his identity, his honour, his courage, his existence.

None of the photographs supposedly depicting him were identified as such contemporaneously with one exception, the sketch given above, from the Salt Lake City Herald of 30 October 1900, which may be derived from a photograph of him in civilian attire. The article is based on interviews with those who knew him, both civilians and military and gives a fascinating insight into the character of David Fagen.

Does it change our image of him?

Continue reading “Was David Fagen A Stud?”

When Tarzan Fought Kipling For Filipinos

Edgar Rice-Burroughs about the time he wrote The Black Man’s Burden. Photo: Museum of the San Fernando Valley.

Most of us who study Philippine history, especially the American occupation, are familiar with Kipling’s poem, The White Man’s Burden, urging America to take up its ‘responsibilities towards its newly acquired colony, the Philippines, but few are aware that the creator of Tarzan, Edgar Rice-Burroughs went into bat for the Filipinos with a blistering poem of his own, The Black Man’s Burden.

Rice-Burroughs was a military veteran, having served with the 7th US Cavalry at Fort Grant, Arizona, shortly before the Spanish-American War and Philippine-American War. He was familiar with the Apache Wars, which were still fresh in people’s minds. As his novels War Chief and Apache Savage show, he was very familiar with the treatment of the Indians in that period. Those novels were written at a time when a more sympathetic view of the Indians was on the rise and the realisation of what had been done to them, was emerging.

It has been said that the Apache novels, now less well-known, than his John Carter novels and Tarzan were by far the best written of all his output.

At the time he wrote The Black Man’s Burden, his days of fame were far ahead, he had yet to become a writer of the adventure books that made him famous.

Here are the two poems:

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How a Slow News Day in Washington Invented the Filipino McKinley Islands

The assassination of William McKinley

No matter how long one has been studying Philippine history there is always something new. It is one of the pleasures of diggingthrough dusty tomes and digital libraries. I belong to some of the better Facebook history groups, which means once in a while something comes up that gets my investigative juices going, like the report that the Philippines could have been called the McKinley Islands, after US President William McKinley who allegedly promised to Christianise and civilise the Archipelago as he pinned a paper US flag into a map in 1901 while pitching for the Methodist vote in an upcoming election.

Had McKinley run for another term he might well have won, but for two bullets fired at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York on 6 September 1901 by Leon Czolgosz, a Polish-American anarchist born in Michigan. McKinley died a week later.  On 26 October,  three 1,800 volt charges were sent through his body, he was declared dead and his body dissolved in sulphuric acid and what was left buried in prison grounds.
It was claimed that one of Czolgosz’s complaints against McKinley was the US actions in the Philippines.

Continue reading “How a Slow News Day in Washington Invented the Filipino McKinley Islands”

Mushi-mushi, Halo-Halo To All That

Clarke’s, the first ice cream in Manila?

Language is a bit of a challenge trying to identify when ice cream and even halo-halo emerged. ‘Sorbetes‘ in Tagalog covers both frozen water/fruit juice confections and ice creams. In Spanish we have helado attached to chilled/iced products like quesos helado, mentioned in an 1875 Manila directory.

Aha, you may think: Cheese ice cream! But there is no cheese in quesos helados. A speciality of Madrid, these are variously coloured water-ice sorbets put into small shaped moulds with milk added. When frozen they look like little cheeses, hence the name.

Helado is also used for ice-cream, sorbete for sorbet, hielo for ice and sorbete de leche specifically for ice cream as well as Mantecado and helado Leche..

Upper-crust menus were often in French. Glace is the French for ice, creme glace is ice cream, and sorbet is sorbet, but, again glace can cover both sorbet and ice cream.

The same applies also in the English term ‘ices’.

A 1911 adverisement for La Campana. Note helados, sorbete and helado, also horchata.

A 1913 instruction to ice cream makers and sellers uses mantecado for ice cream, a term that does not seem to appear in 19th century Philippines.

Then there is garapinera. While often assumed to be an ice cream/sorbet maker even that may be unsafe. Online friend Zeidrick J Cudilla brought my attention to an 1866 Spanish-Visayan dictionary which mentions garapinyera as a box in which beverages are kept, but does not imply ice was used.

In Waray it refers generically to a container for water.

 

To add to the confusion, garapinera also refers to the insulated container vendors carried their product around in rather than the device it was made with.

You can watch how ice cream was made in Victorian times here:

So, as far as we know, the first unambiguous appearance of ice-cream was in 1902 during a visit by the USS Alert to the Philippines.

Continue reading “Mushi-mushi, Halo-Halo To All That”

Hot Times, Frosty Americans

William Henry Corbusier built the first American ice plant in the Philippines.

Although ice was available in Manila, cold storage was another matter. Posh houses, hotels and so on, could store vegetables, fruit and water in their ice boxes but unless you had a convenient cow in your yard, as the Tafts did, fresh milk was a luxury.

Vendors sold carabao milk which had been brought into Manila by train, kept in a store at ambient temperature overnight then put on the streets as late as 4pm. To say the least, it wasn’t in the best of condition by the time it was purchased, and any bacteria would be thriving well.

With no wholesale cold storage available various chemicals, including formaledhyde would be added.

No wonder canned milk was preferred by those who could afford it.

Americans, including 60,000 soldiers at any one time, demanded beef but it was often so putrid when imported from the US that even those who cooked it would run away and throw-up. Again, chemicals were used resulting in meat of varying degrees of inedibility.

Australia developed the first refrigerated ships and the Americans in the Philippines became the backbone of the Australian beef industry. But there was a need for somewhere cold to store it.

Another ice issue arose from efforts to fight infectious diseases through vaccination throughout the islands. Ice chests could keep vaccines fresh but ice was not available outside Manila, at least in the quantities needed.

Ice could be a matter of life and death.

Enter the all-but-forgotten American Civil War veteran William Henry Corbusier, the pioneer of American ice plants and cold storage in the Philippines.

Continue reading “Hot Times, Frosty Americans”

End Run

Here we are. The last decade of the 19th century and no confirmed sighting of ice cream nor the equipment to make it with, the garapinyera.

That gap may have much to do with the class structure of the Philippines at the time.

Who cared about the kitchen worker who made the ice cream? Much as no-one thought it important to gather the experiences of the common tao who bore the brunt of the Philippine revolution and the war of independence against the USA.

The comparison is certainly valid: Professional kitchens are as hierarchical as a military unit. A unit of kitchen workers, from dish-washer to Chef is known as a brigade. They do the work but are beneath being noticed in 19th century Manila.

Continue reading “End Run”

Down and Dirty

‘Dirty ice-cream’ refers to the product sold by street vendors rather than that bought in a shop and eaten at home or consumed in a cafe or restaurant.

‘Dirty’ in this context, it is widely believed, does not mean unsanitary. A ‘dirty kitchen’ in the Philippines is an area where raw food is prepared for cooking from which it is taken to the ‘clean kitchen’ for cooking and dishing.

In fact the term may have emerged in the first two decades of the 20th century frozen products from vendors were dangerous treats.

We may have Julius Witte to thank for it.

Milk vendor goes to work

Maybe it is significant that the earliest reference I have found to what today is referred to as ‘dirty ice cream, or at least sorbet flavoured water ice sold by street vendors,, comes in a book written in French by Alfred Marche and published in 1887, when Julius Witte was running his ice plant, the only one so-far known at the time.

Marche describes a typical Manila street morning with milk vendors carrying vases on their heads, sellers of fresh grass and hay for horses, Chinese barbers who also cleaned customer’s ears and trimmed their nose hairs, and sellers crying out “Sorbete! Sorbete!” ”

Jose Rizal also mentions a sorbet vendor in Binondo in Chapter Four of Noli Me Tangere, published in 1887 with the same cry.

The sorbeteros repeated the same shrill cry, Sorbeteee!while the smoky lamps still lighted the identical Chinese stands and those of the old women who sold candy and fruit.

Together, these suggest that ambulant vendors were a common sight by the end of the 1880s.

At the moment we don’t know the fate of Julius Witte’s ice business. His perfumery and ironworks continued but nothing is heard of the ice plant after the final years of 1880.

Did he sell it on? If so, it may have been acquired by one of two companies – San Miguel or Fabrica de Hielo.  Whatever was the case, the De Witte plant vanishes as the Philippines enters a new era.

 

Part Six: End Run

Part Four: Here Comes The Ice Man

Here Comes The Iceman

Julius ‘Julio’ De Witte, opened the first know ice plant in Manila,

In the 1850s commercial ice-making became viable. There were several technologies developed at the time but the most common used the evaporation of ammonia to produce the freezing effect. You experience a similar effect if you put rubbing alcohol on your skin.

These early ice plants reportedly produced an inferior product to New England ice, according to Mark Twain. Over time the technology improved and made its way to Manila.

It was no longer necessary to import ice all the way from the US although customs duties for imported ice remained at zero into the American period in the Philippines..

Julius Witte, who hispanised his name to Julio for business purposes had set up an ice plant at 21 Calle Barraca by 1873. Witte had an ironworks and dealt in perfume essences such as ylang-ylang.

While it is widely believed that any reference to sorbete automatically indicates ice-cream an 1875 guide references sorbet and what may have been ice-cream as separate products, sorbete and helado, but has no reference to a helado maker, indicating that there was no commercial ice-cream being manufactured in the Philippines at the time. If it did exist it was limited to restaurants and possibly private homes.

Continue reading “Here Comes The Iceman”

Mugford, The Manila Chilla

A familiar sight for nearly two centuries, and current in the Philippines.

Charles D Mugford was a master mariner from Salem, Massachusetts, in New England, home of a global ice export industry. A member of a wealthy family, he went into business in Hong Kong and seems to have commuted between there and Manila

In May 1846, three years after Frederic Tudor’s exports to Hong Kong had begun, Mugford asked the Spanish authorities to allow ice to be imported into Manila tax-free and for customs duties to be suspended on the importation of materials to build an ice house.

At some stage, Mugford invested $9,000 in the American trading firm of Russell & Sturgis which was doing well by exporting Manila hemp cordage and sugar from the Philippines.

He was rich enough that when he accidentally burned down a hemp warehouse when discarding a lit cigar he airly boasted he’d invest another $10,000, around $300,000 in today’s money.

Continue reading “Mugford, The Manila Chilla”