-Caveat Lector-



[This aparently appeared in the New York HErald Tribune
on 6/15/29 - MRW]

Minor C. Keith,
 United Fruit Co.
  Counder, Dead
Builder of South American
  Railway System Suc-
  cumbs in Babylon, L.I.
Began in Broadway Store
Constructed Line Through
  Jungle on His Own Credit

Special to the Herald Tribune
BABYLON, L.I., June 14 - minor
Cooper Keith, builder of a great rail-
way system in Central America and a
founder of the United Fruit Company,
died of pneumonia today after a brief
illness at his home in West Islip.  He
was eight-one years old and had
maintained a residence here for sixty-
five years.
  The death of Mr. Keith brings to
a close a colorful career, which is de-
scribed in detail by Samuel Crowther
in his book, "Romance of the
Tropics."  Mr. Keith, who was pres-
dent of the International Railways of
Central America, began his business
career in a store in Broadway, New
York City, at a weekly wage of $3,
after he had completed a private
school education.  He was born in
Brooklyn in 1848, the son of the late
Minor Hubbel and Emily Meigs

   Lumberman Turns Cattle Raiser

 His father had been in the lumber
business, and young Keith, developing
a distate for his first position after
a few months, became a lumber sur-
veyor.  His first year in this field
netted him $3,000.  He sold out his
lumber interests when he was twenty-
two years old and set himself up as a
cattle raiser on alonely island at the
mouth ofthe Rio Grande.  In two
years he build up an extensive range
with 4,000 head of cattle and 2,000
 He had received an invitation from
his brother, Henry Meiggs Keith, to
join him in the constructio of a rail-
road in Cost Rica, so he joined his
brother in that country, at that time
a fever-ridden jungle, and the two men
began to build a line from Puerto
Limon, on the Atlantic side, to San
Jose, the capital, on the Pacific.  Henry
Meiggs, an uncle and a builder of the
first railroad across the Andes, had
turned over to Mr. Keiths brother the
contract for this road.
  At the start the enterprise was beset
wit grave peril and in the first twenty-
five miles Mr. Keith's three brothers
and 4,000 other men lost their lives.  De-
spite this, Mr. Keith, on his own credit,
continued for several years to build
the line, contracting in 1882 with the
government to accrange the external
debt and to complete th road to San
Jose.  He went to live in London for
three years, where he arranged the ex-
ternal debt and also the financin of
[pounds]1,2000,000 in bonds to finish the rail-
way.  while building the road on his
own credit he suffered losses of more
than $1,000,000 which the Costa Rican
government paid to him vounterily.

      First Banana Shipper

  Meanwhile, Mr. Keith had learned of
the possibilities of raising bananas in
that tropical section.  In 1872 he started
the first banana plantation in Central
america, sending his first shipments to
New Orleans.  Mr. Keith made the first
banana shipment by steamship from
Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia and
Nicaragua to New Yrok and New Or-
leans.  In the days when he first under-
took the raising of the fruit the entire
annual shipment from the tropics
amounted to approximately 300,0000
bunche, carried on sailing vessels.  To-
day this section exports annually more
than 50,000,000 bunches.
  By 1893 he controld the banana
industry in Cost Rica and the next
year, with the late Andrew W. Preston,
he organized the United Fruit Com-
pany.  Mr. Keith already had acquired
a fleet of steamships to transport his
fruit and fore his holdings he received
three-fifths of the company's total
capital at that time.  In order to give
more attention to his interests he re-
signed the first vice-presidency of the
United Fruit Company several years
  He had married Cristin, daughter of
the late Jose Maria Castor, former
President of Costa Rica, in 1893 and
long had been identified with public
improvements of that country.  Under
the laws of New Jersey he organized
the Guatemalan Railways, which be-
came the International Railways of
Central America in 1912.
   In recent years his most important
business connection was th financing
by this of the Republic of Sal-
vador.  The country, requiring a loan,
sought Mr. Keith's aid at a time when
the republic owed two years' back sal-
aries to emplyees, labored under a
heavy internal debt and was in default
of its loan in London.
  He excersied keen foresight after sev-
eral months of unsuccessful attempts
to negotiate the 8 per cent bonds in
the United States and Europe.  As a
last resort the International Railways
borrowed cash on their three-year
notes in London.  The bonds all were
sold and the loan repaid in four

   Negotiated Refunding of Dept.

  He also negotiated the refunding of
Salvador's exterior debt and as the re-
sult of his aid the republic was enabled
to pay its internal debt, other indebt-
edness and entirely to re-establish its
credit at home and abroad.  Since the
negotiation of the loan the republic's
revenues have more than doubled.  It
has been said that Mr. Keith did for
Central America what Cecil Rhodes did
for South africa.
  Mr. Keith maintained offices at 17
Battery Place, New York City, and was
president of the Atlanta &St. Andrews
Bay Railway Company, directo of the
Empire Trust Company, president of
the Guatemala Central Railroad Com-
pany, president of Minor C. Keith, Inc.,
vice-president of the Preier Gold Min-
ing Company and presiden tof the St.
Andres Bay Lumber Company.  His
Lone Oak poulty farm, near here, is
one of the largest in the country.
  His clubs included the Explorers, the
New York Yacht, the Whitehall and
the Metropolitan, of New York; the
Sampawam Shore and Country Club of
Babylo, and the Royal Automobile
Club of London.  He also was a fellow
of the Royal Geographical Society of
London, and was a trustee of the Mu-
seum of the American Indian, Haye
Foundation.  Several years ago he gave
a collection of Indian pottery and other
relics, obtained in Cost Rica, to the
american Museum of Natural History,
New York.
  His wifre survives.  They had no chil-
dren.  Funeral services will be held at
his home at 10:30 o'clock Sunday morn-
ing, with  the Rev. Edward J. Burling-
ham, rector of Christ Episcopal Church,
West Islip, officiating.  Burial will be
in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn.

[From the obituary section:]

KEITH-On Friday, Jun 14, 1929, inor
 Cooper, beloved husband of Christina Cas-
 tro Keith, in his 82 year.  Service at his
  residence, Babylon, L.I. sunday, June
  16th at 10:30 a.m.  A special car will be
  attached to the train leaving Pennsyl-
  vania Station at 9:15 a.m. sunday

Aloha, He'Ping,
Om, Shalom, Salaam.
Em Hotep, Peace Be,
Omnia Bona Bonis,
All My Relations.
Adieu, Adios, Aloha.
Roads End

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