By Angel Nuñez
As I move along with my list of ‘Firsts in San Pedro’, I am discovering some new ones like the first wedding on the beach (actually on a pier in front of Ambergris Lodge by Mr. Bob and Mrs. Smith). Someone asked for the first families so I have decided to dedicate an entire volume for that one.
There is no written account to delineate the actual names of such families but through my readings and investigations I will be able to come close to those first families. My good friend Danny Vasquez (+) left Memoirs of Old San Pedro in a book written for him by the late Emory King. Danny was born in the village in 1902 about fifty years after San Pedro was founded in 1848. Danny autographed a copy of his book for me in 1989 when “The Little World of Danny Vasquez was published. Through his memoirs and names mentioned by my father and grandfather and acquaintances in our conversations, I am able to compile a fairly accurate list of those first families in San Pedro.
Let me begin by acknowledging The Vasquez and Manrique among the first families since Danny was born of Vasquez and Manrique in 1902. The Aguilars were among the first since Danny’s grandfather some 50 years earlier was mentioned as having married Trinidad Aguilar in San Pedro.
Mention is made that most families were of Mestizo Indian descent, but that some Maya families also formed part of the early community as were the following: Moh, Cobo, Dzul, Can, Kumul, Dzit. One family came directly from Spain- Tolosa. Julio Tolosa raised cattle in Basil Jones about the time Ambergris Caye was purchased by the Blake and after Tolosa died Papa Blake assumed ownership of the cattle on his land. Another family came directly from England- Parham. Parham married first to Andrade of Mexico and then to Alamilla so they too are part of our early families in San Pedro. Apolonio Alamilla and his brother Juan both refugees of the Caste War in Yucatan were the first Alamillas in Ambergris Caye. The Forman family, the first Creole family in San Pedro, was also among the firsts. Salustino Loria hosted dances in the Mestizo community. These families hosted the religious novenas on May 3 for feast of the Three Crosses: Guadalupe Trejo and Mercedes Marin. Serapio Lopez hosted the novena of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Regina and Cruz Nuñez
Alan ‘Jack’ Forman Sr.
Maurice Bladden and Severo Guerrero Sr.
Ines Marin de Reyes
The Wedding Of Concepcion Gomez and Geminiano Aguilar
The First Orchestra Band and Their Names
James Howell Blake "Papa Blake" and Elena Alamilla married in San Pedro and became heirs to Ambergris Caye after it was purchased in 1869 for $625.00 in an auction sale. Maximiliano Rosado was a businessman and he married Justina Nuñez. Zosimo Rodriguez and Andres Gomez miraculously survived the epidemic that killed half of the population. The first to die was Manuela Villanueva followed by two Sansorez and then one Tolosa. Francisco Verde cultivated arrowroot which was grounded into flour and became a popular commodity during the epidemic and the scarcity of food in San Pedro. Juan Guerrero is mentioned as a musician and Carmelo Cardenez as a comedian during the festivals. Anselmo Marin was a leader in the chicle camps. Popular musicians mentioned are Juan and Victor Guerrero, Thomas Paz, Isabel Reyes, Secundino Gonzalez, Eriberto Gutierrez, Severo Guerrero, Jemi Aguilar, Gilberto and Priciliano Gomez, Manuel Azueta, Alan Jack Forman, Carlos Marin, Adriano Ramirez, and a few popular singers such as Olivia Blake, Emma Muñoz, Elvira Alamilla and Beatriz Paz.
The above are the main family names cited by Danny Vasquez who lived and knew these families on Ambergis Caye. Yet we all know that in the early part of the twentieth century there lived in San Pedro families like Ancona, Badillo, Castillo, Varela, Graniel, Rivero, Perez who were quite likely among some of the early families on the island.
This is close folks, and if any family name has not been mentioned, kindly add a comment with a short explanation and it will be much appreciated for our records.