Sunday, September 18, 2016

Stephen A. Gabuzda 1885-1966 Part 5

Business Trips

Stephen A. Gabuzda was a business man who also invested in world business. He took trips to Bermuda with fellow stockholders in 1922 and to Belize in Central America in 1924.

Hamilton, Bermuda in 1922

On the back of this photo is listed names. Starting from the left side: Stephen Gabuzda, Ben Davis, Mr. Belakanich?,
Stanley Orberrender, ???, William Flad, Andrew Zelnick, ???, ???. 
1923 is date written on back.
I was first made aware of these adventures when sorting through my mother’s files of photos and documents. I first found a letter that Mary, mother to Martha, wrote to Martha in 1946. (So glad that the envelope was saved with the letter.)

On page 2, Mary’s comment, “I just showed Bernice (younger daughter) what is on the other side, and she laughed and said, ‘Ah, isn’t that nice.’ I translated from Slavish, he was in Central America at the time or was it Bermuda.” On the other side of this page was the translation Mary made of her husband’s, Stephen, letter he wrote her while on the ship to Central America in 1924. 

See transcription below.
This led me to find files of photos of Stephen’s trips with names written on the back with co-investors as seen above.

I found Stephen's actual passport he carried on his second trip to British Honduras, now Belize.
His application also can be found on dated 27 Feb 1924. See link below. Interesting to see that Stephen intends to go to Guatemala.

Original passport dated 3rd March 1924.

Photo below is used in passport application above and passport. This dates it to the 1922 trip to Bermuda.
On the back of this photo is listed George Palya, Ben Davis, Stanley Oberrender, William Flad,
Theodore Reichman, Steve Gabuzda (Pop), and Andrew Zelenak. 1923 is date on back of photo.
Irene Gabuzda's (Steve's eldest daughter) handwriting on back.
Arch Rock, Hamilton, Bermuda labeled below photo.
The photo above was taken at the natural arches beach of Tucker's Town in northeastern Bermuda including Stephen Gabuzda (Pop). Unfortunately, the arches were destroyed by Hurricane Fabian in 2003. [1]  

Below is Steve with his uncle George Palya, (who started Steve in the meat cutting business 10 years earlier), enjoying the Atlantic Ocean in Bermuda.

Stephen Gabuzda with George Palya
I go to typing these names between 1922-1924 in Passenger Lists. I find one ship with the group. They are on the S. S. Fort Hamilton sailing from Hamilton, Bermuda, on February 25th, 1922, arriving at the port of New York, New York, on February 27th 1922. This verifies that Stephen took two trips. His first one to Bermuda. I checked out several pages of the United States Citizen pages. On pages 3,4,7 and 8; I found nine passengers traveling together to Bermuda from Freeland, Pennsylvania.

"New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital image, ( : accessed 10 August 2016), image of 505 0f 698, Line 4,  Steven Gabrizda entry, citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T715, Roll 3084; Ship S. S. Fort Hamilton out of Hamilton, Bermuda,  AR Francis master, arrived New York on 27 Feb 1922.

These included: Samuel Hess, page 3, line 1. The next four were on page 4 including William Waskervich line 3, Steven Gabrizda line 4, Andrew Zelanak line 9, George Palya line 10 (seen above). On page 7; listed William Oberrender line 20, William Flad line 23, Benjamin Davis, line 24. Finally on page 8, William Martin is listed on line 29. Theodore Reichman is not found on the S.S. Fort Hamilton; so is this an error in name labeling on the photo? 

Are the question marks in above ship photo William Martin, Samuel Hess and William Waskewich? I hope this blog post finds the answers to this mystery.

I was fortunate to have a cousin who possessed more documents (including the above passport) and other photos that belonged to my grandfather. He gladly sent me boxes with these detailed documents instead of tossing the contents in the trash. Thank you so much, dear cousin!

Here is what I found out. There were about a dozen letters written to various stockholders from 1924 to 1929 from The Tidewater Lumber Co. Woodward Building of Washington D.C. The above investors were interested in mahogany logs grown and cut in Belize. Was the first trip to Bermuda to impress the company's stockholders? 

Belize, Central America in 1924

Stephen took a second trip for the Tidewater Lumber Co. but this time from Central America in Belize. I find him on the S. S. Coppename leaving Belize, B. H. [British Honduras] on 17 Mar 1924 sailing to New Orleans arriving 19 Mar 1924. Samuel Hess is the only familiar name of group of stock holders from previous trip. Charlie Johnson is also a familiar name with letters written to investors from offices of the Tidewater Lumber Co. Edgar Snyder is also traveling to same destination with Samuel Hess and Charles Johnson as signed witnesses.

"New Orleans Passenger Lists, 1813-1963." digital image, ( : accessed 10 August 2016), image 163 of 594, Line 2 Steven S. Gabuzda entry, citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T905, Roll 098; Ship Coppename out of Belise, B. H., [unknown]master, arrived New Orleans on 19 Mar 1924.
This is where the above letter fits into the story. See transcription below. 

March 10, 1924

Dearest Wife,

I am letting you know that I am well and resting because I don't see anything but water and the heavenly skies and the fish in the water. I have nothing to think about but you and the family. I miss you everyday and our Martha because I have no one to play with. 

I am letting you know that maybe I won't be home until about 29th or 30th of March because I don't think will be able to take this ship back, because we have to spend a little more time here. Take care of the family and yourself keep well my dear.
xx-----------                                                              husband
                                                                                   Stephen Gabuzda

handwritten note by Martha Gabuzda Cooper
"Translated from Slovak and copied by mom
Obviously written aboard ship"

It is interesting in investigating my grandfather's second trip, he and above traveling companions, all went together to apply for their U.S. Passport Applications for British Honduras as all approved date is 3 Mar 1924. Destination is Guatamala[?], Central America.

The photos below (in my possession) were a documentary report of their visit to British Honduras/ Belize.

Here are Steven's 3 traveling companions. Picture is too dark to see who is who.
Looking at their U.S. Passport photos my guess is Edgar Snyder (standing on steps),
Dr. Samuel Hess (sitting on steps) and Charles Johnson ( standing at far right).
In my paper files, I find a several page typewritten report on the Tidewater Lumber Co. operations in British Honduras requested by the Mackubin, Goodrich and Company of Baltimore, Maryland, dated November 1924. The purpose of the examination “was to determine the ability of the company to successfully carry out a contract to supply the Williamson Vaneer Company, Baltimore, Maryland, with certain hardwoods, suitable for manufacture into veneer, from lands held under Government concession.”

It lists the officers, directors, stockholders, personnel, holdings, equipment in Stann Creek and All Pines, British Honduras. The conclusion of the report states that the Tidewater/Williamson contract “may be considered a feasible and sound commercial project.”

This challenged me to find out more about the Tidewater Lumber Co. focusing on their mills in British Honduras. In 1925, the railroad line between Middlesex and The Tidewater Co.'s pier (Stann Creek, now called Dangriga) an agreement was made with the British Honduras government and the Tidewater Lumber Co. to use their line to export their mahogany lumber to the United States. After the decline of lumber manufacturing, the railroad was used for passenger cars until the arrival of automobiles.[2]

Among my documents, I find this letter sent to my grandfather from the Tidewater Lumber Co. dated 7 Jan 1926, stating of the Tidewater Lumber Company’s disposal “in and about the tropical republics, shipping to Belize; Puerto Barrios, Guatemala and Puerto Cortes, Spanish Honduras.”

Letter in author's possession.
Unfortunately, The Tidewater Lumber Company later failed thus making their investments worthless as stated (in the final letter in my possession, dated 19 Dec 1929) by George Nicholson,"My own opinion is that the stockholders will not realize anything from their investment, and it may just be as well to charge it off."

[1] Wikipedia contributors, "Tucker's Town Peninsula, Bermuda," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia,,_Bermuda&oldid=654453044 (accessed August 11, 2016).
[2] Rollinson, David. Railways of the Caribbean. London: Macmillan Education LTD. copyright 2001.

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