Venezuelan Adventure – American Consulate Requests Registration of all Foreigners – February 28, 1940

This letter explains it all. I just do not know where it was sent or how Grandpa got a copy.


APG - American Consulate in Venezuela - request to register - February, 1940

Tomorrow and for the rest of the week, a letter from Grandpa to Lad with the latest news and shenanigans at the Old Homestead in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Venezuelan Adventure – Memo to the Camp at Pariaguan – October 10, 1939

Socony-Vacuum Camp

Pariguan, Estado Anzoategui

October 10th, 1939

To: All Members of the Club Committee –

Mr. J. Allen, Chairman

Mr. A. Guion

Mr. J. Wardlow

Mr. de la torre

Dear Fellow Club Members –

The Executive Committee is pleased to announce your appointment as members of the “Club House Committee” with tenure of office from the present until January 1st, 1940.

The function of the “Club House Committee” is to see that the Club House and equipment there in is properly attended to at all times.  This does not include actual financial operations of the bar.

Will you kindly hold a meeting at an early date and cooperate with Mr. Starr in the construction of the bar and put up as soon as possible an adequate bulletin board.

Police powers of the Club House are also passed on to your Committee.

The Executive Committee shall be glad to cooperate with you at all times.

Yours very truly


Henry F.  Schweer

N. P. Dutton

R. RE. Jones

R. N. Ross


Tomorrow and Sunday I will be posting letters from Dave’s World War II Army Adventure. 

Judy Guion

Venezuelan Adventure (33) – Directions For Unit # 83 – September 7th and 9th, 1939

We are sending a 4 speed box via a hired truck to San Joaquin this morning.  He will also carry a mechanic from here to make the installation and return the old box here.  Kindly see that this man gets the box and correctly.  He is a new man and we do not know how much work he can do without supervision.

Mr. Grant brought the chofer in from # 83 with the advice that Mr. Langdon said I was to do what ever I wanted with him as he ripped the box out of # 83.  He claims that he was operating this unit without brakes and that Mr. Langdon new of this condition.

Please get together the whole story regarding this and send it into us as we do not want to stick our neck out with the Labor Board here.

If the man was operating this unit without brakes and Mr. Langdon new of this condition we have to handle the situation of this man’s further employment with the company in a slightly different way than usual.

Please ask Mr. Langdon to forward a story with every man that he sends in here for us to take care of.  We had a similar case some time ago and it cost us something to straighten out.


C. T. Leander

P. S. This transmission I believe is interchangeable with the one in # 83 with the exception of the top.  If the top of # 83 is in good condition simply transfer it to this box and install.  If the top is damaged, install the box and send the top over here and we will see what we can do with it.

                                                                                                                        C. T. L.




I am sending you a clutch plate and disc, to water pumps and two pts. of brake fluid

Send back all the parts removed from this truck by the first available transportation.

If the Pressure Plate is not burned out do not use the new one as we are short of them.


C. T. Leander


Tomorrow and on Sunday I will post two more letters from Dave who has been transferred to Manila.

Judy Guion

Venezuelan Adventure – Memos from Leander About Trouble Shooter Jobs – August 13, 1939

Here are two Inter-Office Memos from C. T. Leander, Lad’s Direct Boss, with the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company. Both deal with Trouble Shooter Jobs assigned to Lad. This promotion gives Lad the flexibility of moving from Camp to Camp, wherever he is needed and the Camp Mechanics cannot deal with the problem. This was an ideal opportunity to see more of Venezuela and the workings of the Company.

Mr. Starr reports that the battery in the above unit is continually down.  I am therefore sending you a 1939 generator, cut out and also another battery.

Before replacing any of the above parts check the starting motor on this unit and all of the wiring below the chassis.

When the unit was in here last it was found that the starting motor was very dirty with the results that every time it was in use the load was so high that it pulled the battery down.  This may again be the trouble.  In any case all removed parts should be sent back here for repair.

The warehouse not having a generator with the two fan belt pulley it was necessary for me to send you the one pulley type.  All you have to do to use this is install the pulley from the old generator.

Altho the steering knuckle for #40 was ordered by wire for air express shipment it has not arrived as yet.  As soon as it gets in will get it out to you.

C. T. Leander.

I understand from the local Jefe Civil that the motor in the Chevrolet Chingo that is owned by him has serious motor trouble.

He has obtained from somewhere a Chevrolet motor and has asked us to look it over here in the shop.  We gave it a quick once over to make sure that it had six pistons etc.  By the first available transportation to Altimira we are going to send this motor there for him.

He will have it installed by his own man and I wish that you would arrange if possible to see that they install it so that he can get his truck out of the way.

I have just explained to his man here that we are not responsible for the job of installing the motor but that we are asking you to look it over and see that they get it in the right way.

We naturally do not want to offend the Jefe Civil and therefore if you can arrange to see that it goes together correctly please do so.

If necessary leave Camaro with him until you see that the thing is going to be completed OK.

C. T. Leander.

Tomorrow and Friday I will post another letter to Lad from his Father in Trumbull.

Judy  Guion

Trumbull – Uncle Ted Adds Fuel To The Fire – July 7, 1939

Trumbull, Conn

July 7, 1939

Dear Mr. Aguenevere, (I believe this is Uncle Ted’s attorney in Caracas, handling Uncle Ted’s attempts to get paid back wages from Interamerica. Uncle Ted Human is married to Helen (Peabody), the sister of Grandma Arla (Peabody) Guion )

Since writing you on the 24th of June, (a letter from Uncle Ted to his lawyer in Caracas, which I do not have) Mr. A. D. Guion of Trumbull rec’d a letter from his son Daniel – (now in Caracas) stating that in a conversation with Maxudian (Yervant Maxudian, President and owner of Interamerica, Inc., the company that hired Uncle Ted, Lad and Dan to help build a road for the Venezuelan Government from Caracas to Maracaibo)– Mr. Maxudian said – quote “He (Maxudian)  claims he has high connections with Pres. Contreras and no matter what dirt is slung against the fair name of Inter-america, new contracts are forthcoming.  He (Maxudian) supplied evidence that he has personally censored the outgoing mail, including a letter I (Dan) sent to the Engineering Soc’y. in N.Y., which was never received.  Be careful what you write, was his advice” end quote. Mr. Guion will probably act direct on his son’s letter through Washington sources.  Am simply furnishing this for your advice.

Mr. McCarten, Vice President of Interamerica, tried to obtain some Engrs (Engineers) through the Soc’y here and was turned down.

Yours very truly,

Theo. Human, Jr.

Venezuela Adventure (35) – Peabodys and Duryees – Dear Laddie – Aunt Betty Writes to Lad – June 20, 1939

Letter From Aunt Betty (Duryee) on letterhead from her shop, The Crest Novelty Shop, in Grand Central Station







Dear Laddie,

Now my fountain pen just refuses to write – although I have been so kind to it, bathing it in nice cold water and putting in a new supply of ink in it – it’s little ______ but it still will not write.  I will have to take it to a dealer and find out what is the matter with its insides.  All this is to ask you to forgive the lead pencil which gives better service.

Last week Wednesday, June 14th, Dad called on the telephone and said that as Ted and Helen were in New York City there was room, and said he would drive down and take me up to Trumbull if I would like to go..  Now I don’t have to tell you that I said YES.  Well he and Dave came for me about three o’clock and I was “Johnny on the spot”, right ready with both feet.  It was a beautiful day, just one of those that only come in June, and I did enjoy the ride up and was so glad to see all of those of the family that were home, no need to say that I missed you and Dan.  It was interesting to hear all about you and Dan and all the unpleasant disappointments you both have had to put up with, but when you realize the adventures, the seeing of another part of the world and the lasting experiences, it seems to me quite worthwhile because you both are young and it will all be an experience for good for the rest of your lives.  One cannot pass through anything like that without learning many good lessons.  I was first thrilled with your letters, and laughed and cried over some of them.  Finally thinking of you losing your job, you should take up writing as a profession.  Your descriptions of Animals, Trees, Places and Journeys were such that I felt I was right there and conceived with my mind’s eye just how it all was.  I laughed so at the ride in the truck were you were served coffee?  In such a dirty cup that it stuck to your hands, now you know I could realize that was no laughing matter to you at the time, but the way you described it was very funny.

I am so glad that you have found another job with more reliable people and not such hard work with promise of better pay.  Will be glad to see Dan when he arrives here.

Love to you and here’s all the best wishes for good health, happiness and plenty of success.


Aunt Betty

During the rest of the week I will be posting a letter from Grandpa to Lad, addressed “Dear Oil Baron. 

Judy Guion

Venezuelan Adventure (34) – Dear Gusher Guion – Dan Writes to Lad – June 20, 1939

Daniel Beck Guion


June 20

Dear Gusher Guion,

I regret not having written sooner but I had not yet decided the exact course to follow.

We have abandoned the Carora-Cabinas location and are working from Barquisimeto to Siguisigue.

At about the same time that Interamerica abandoned the old line, I (and Jim) abandoned Interamerica. We went to Maracaibo, disported ourselves for a week, then drove in the Co. truck from Cabinas to Barquisimeto via Coro.  In Barquisimeto we talked to our erstwhile proxy who prevailed upon us to stay for the month of June, promising a clean record and return passage in exchange.  It is only a promise, of course, but I am planning to leave for Caracas on the 2nd of July.

Please let me know if it is possible or not to see you either in Caracas or in Pariaguan during the first week in July.

If you are sure you have time to answer by letter, my address is Bobare, Estado Lara.  If time is too short, there is a telegraph office here in Bobare.

If you can get to Caracas for a day or so, bueno.  If not, I shall try to dash down to Pariaguan, weather and roads etc. permitting.  If you can come to Caracas, please bring my wrist watch and any other thing you might want to send home.

I shall leave Bobare on July 1, and if you want to get in touch with me after that, wire the Consul in Caracas.

Here’s to the 4th of July.


Tomorrow I shall post a letter to lad from Aunt Betty.  On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I will post a letter from Grandpa to Lad. 

Judy Guion

Venezuelan Adventure (29) – Ced Writes to Lad – Grandma’s Birthday And Cars – May 14, 1939



Cedric Duryee Guion

Dad wrote you a letter last night but I’ll tell you about yesterday anyway. The Larry Peabodys, Anne Stanley, Kemper Peabodys, T. H. Jrs, (Ted and Helen Human) Aunt Dorothy and Rusty (Rusty here anyway) were here for a birthday party for Grandma.  We took movies on the rest of the film in the camera, played toss ball with a ball and tether.  The kids however wandered off to the sandpit and proceeded to throw dirt clods at each other in a mock war – were they a site when they got home!  Aunt Anne has a new Plymouth Touring Sedan (grey-standard) and likes it very much.  The Kemper Peabodys (Kemper Peabody and his wife, Ethel (Merriam) Peabody) also have a new car – a 37 Buick Roadster Touring Sedan left them by Mrs. Merriam who died about 2 weeks ago – they also inherited everything else.  (Dad says about $250,000, 2 estates,. etc.) I feel so sorry for them? Aunt Ethel brought up a beautiful lamp and lots of nice bedding which she didn’t need.

I am working at Tilo’s factory now and will stay there until I get the chance at Alaska, which I am waiting for.  Mr. Mosier, the dept. head, spoke to me last Friday and said he was raising me from 40 cents an hour to 45 cents an hour next week (beginning today) and that in about a month he would try to get me a better job; perhaps driving one of the skid trucks.

Skid trucks, in case you don’t know, are little four-cylinder units which lift skids piled high with shingles and transport them.  You put the projection at the front of the machine under the platform of the skid and a hydraulic lift lifts it off the floor and away you go.

I go to work today at 2 pm and work till 10 pm, and here is the point of this letter.  I have no way to get over to Stratford except by bus as Arnold has had his working time changed (he used to take me over and back), therefore I must register a car promptly.  Your car needs the front axle straightened.  I bent it as Dad probably told you, last winter skidding into the stones at the foot of our drive on the ice.  The axle will cost 3 dollars at Huntington and Arnold will install for $5.00.  Not bad, eh? My plan at present is, I think, to repair the _______, drive it until I can sell it, first selling all equipment possible to Arnold and others, and then send the money to you or do as you suggest with it.  I shall be very shrewd, never fear.  I expect at least $125.00 and perhaps more.  The wheel is also sprung and I may have that straightened; it is on the spare now.  The Whippet I may turn to after that (Biss says O.K.) and I will need a battery and valve – (isn’t that right?)  Therefore I want your signature on registration form and bill of sale on both cars to carry out tentative plans.  I shall get the forms in Bpt. (Bridgeport) today and enclose them herewith. The rest I leave up to you but please rush as I want a car as soon as possible.  I might register mine (the sedan) but I would have to have the battery repaired, buy two tires and fix or replace both the generator and the top – the latter having split badly standing in the rain, sun, snow, etc.  I just made the annoying discovery that the Whippet was never registered in your name, but I’ll send the form to you anyway or you will probably see Dan sooner than I could get a letter to him, anyway the Packard is the more important, although the sooner the better or the Whippet, as I am not quite certain what I will do.  In the event that Dan will not see you (I’ll know about that in a couple of days) I can send the necessary papers to him and let him sign them and return to me.  I can’t seem to remember whether the renewal form is necessary and I will find out when I go to the M.V. Dept. and if they aren’t necessary I’ll send a duplicate set to Dan of the blanks and you will not need to bother.

Well, so much for that.  I hope I’ll be able to get a car to use soon in any event and yet – I may go to Alaska too, in which case – well, I still don’t know.

I’m very glad you were able to get a job down there so soon and hope you get along well.  Hope we’ll see you before too long though and get a first-hand report in person on your exploring (or is it exploitation) of the country and its inhabitants, with all the sanitation, etc.  We all get a big kick out of your letters and feel quite wise on anything pertaining to Venezuela.  It seems almost as if we had been there.  Now, for Heaven’s sake, stay away from all cows, Fords and Maxudians (Yervant Maxudian, Principal of Inter-America, Inc., which hired Uncle Ted Human, who hired Lad and Dan to work in Venezuela, who returned to New York leaving unpaid employees), and don’t forget to brush your teeth and wash behind your ears.  I will try to write soon again and who knows, I may succeed.  This letter wasn’t too hard to write anyway if, of course, you excuse all cross outs, writing overs, etc.  Best of luck, Ced

Tuesday, 5:30 pm

I couldn’t make it yesterday so here it is today.  The only thing necessary is the card I’m sending you which must be notarized down there (if this is not possible just sign your name and I suppose you can use the Trumbull address and let Helen Plumb (Town Clerk of Trumbull, also sister of Dan’s girlfriend, Barbara Plumb, known as Bar to friends and family alike) notarize – savy? and also from you I must have a bill of sale also notorized. (this is merely a written statement by you saying you sold me the car for so much money, on the Whippet, if you see Dan, there is only one number – apparently the engine and maker’s number are the same.  Regards – Ced

Tomorrow and on Sunday, I will post more letters from Dave’s World War II Army Adventure. 

Judy Guion

Venezuelan Adventure (27) – Dear Dad – Matador in Training – April 25, 1939


Alfred Peabody Guion in Venezuela in                            1939


Lad has been kept quite busy repairing vehicles destroyed by the roads in Venezuela, but on a rare afternoon, he decides to take a walk. It became quite an adventure.

Dear Dad,

The day before I left New York, Aunt Elsie gave me a little diary for 1939. I have studiously entered in it something that has happened each day and under Thursday, April 19th, I entered “damn near killed by cow”. Here is the story:

After lunch, since I was tired of resting, reading, writing etc., I went for a walk. I headed out and had gone about 2 km when I saw three mules, over a slight rise ahead of me, running faster than I have ever seen mules go before and each was carrying a rider, two men and a small boy. The men were yelling and waving their machetes as though trying to attract my attention and the boy was crying.

Following them was a cow with her head down, apparently trying to catch them. Incidentally all the cows and bulls here have long sharp horns. Following the cow were two men attempting to catch the cow with lassos. As the cow came closer to me she altered her course and headed for me. I got a little frightened and looked for some means of escape.

The road was fenced with barbed wire on each side so I had two alternatives: to out run the cow or get over a fence, and the latter seems more probable. The left-hand fence looked newer and stronger so I headed for that. The cow continued to run towards me so over the fence I went. As I have described it, it sounds as though I took my time, but you should have seen it. That cow was coming fast. So fast, in fact, that before I hit the ground on the other side the cow hit the post I was using as a support to help me over.

I was so frightened and shaky when I landed that I just lay on the ground for 10 or 15 seconds and then I began to feel as though I were scratched a little. I got up and discovered that my shirt was torn beyond repair and that my pants had a rip from the right knee down. My right arm was scratched and my right hand was bleeding profusely.

Of course I’m afraid of contagious diseases down here, mostly of tetanus, so I headed for the camp as fast as I could. The Doctor is a kind, gentle sort of man and washed my arm and hand with alcohol. Then he swabbed on iodine by the paintbrush full, and after these two treatments I felt slightly faint. Fresh air helped however and then he bandaged them.

My ring finger was ripped open on both sides from the ring to the tip of my finger, my” pinky” was cut on the inside and between my thumb and first finger the skin was cut.

I took the last of the bandages off yesterday but as you can see, writing is still not as easy as it should be and I can’t bend my finger too much. That, I believe, is the only news that has occurred since I wrote you last week and at this point I am speechless.

Best wishes and luck to all,

Chico (Spanish for Lad)

I have never been chased by a cow or a bull, but reading my father’s description, I can see it all happening as if I was there. I’m sure my grandfather was thrilled to read of two more things (cows, tetanus) to worry about. My father stayed in Venezuela for two and a half years and I’m sure my grandfather had some restless nights, knowing that he was so far from home.

Tomorrow and Sunday I will be posting more letters from Dave’s World War II Army Adventure.

Are you enjoying these stories? Feel free to share my Blog with others who might have stories of their own to share. Telling stories is one very good way to connect with others.

Judy Guion

Venezuelan Adventure (26) – Oiga, Hermano or Hey, Brother – April 23, 1939

We are going back in time to April of 1939 when both Lad and Dan are in Venezuela.  Lad is working for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, where he will be maintaining the diesel engines for their pumps.  Dan is still out at a camp in the field with no supervision or food.  He is still employed by Inter-America, Inc. but management is struggling. 

Daniel Beck Guion

La Concepcion

Rio Misoa

April 23.

Oiga Hermano, (Hey, Brother)

Your letter has proven to be the high point of inter-Americas fiasco.  It served to crystallize my decision asi:

With my recently-acquired draft for $290 I shall wend my way to the Cuidao of Maracaibo, not later than May 31, which is my latest ultimatum.  I shall take the necessary clothes, go to Caracas, see the Co. lawyer, proceed to Pariaguan (at your invitation which I await), visit briefly, back to Maracaibo, pick up bag and baggage, embark for Panama, buy clothes in Panama, sail for New York or travel north via Central America and Mexico, quien sabe? (who knows.?)

The new camp is located about 7 kms. below Primera Sabana on the same river which is called Rio Sicare,and Rio Misoa as it progresses from Ande to Ande Maracaibo-wards.  Those few kilometers made a lot of difference in temperature and tropical vegetation, it being too, too, warm aqui (here).  We are able to swim in a pool of the river close at hand which helps plenty.

My new address will be on the back flap of this envelope if Dick Wiberly keeps his promise.  He is taking this letter with him when he goes to Maracaibo to establish headquarters.  Please answer immediately, since I do not expect to be here much longer.  Let me know if a visit to Pariaguan is feasible and if so, how to get there: bus?  Co. car? etc.

In spite of my elation at your success and my draft for $290, time is beginning to drip like cold honey from a spoon.  Having made up my mind to leave, time has done a tricky little reverse which makes yesterday seem like tomorrow.

Tambien, (Also) in the last six months I have seen so little of civilization that I will be lost in Caracas’s Plaza Bolivar.

In your excitement you failed to acquaint me with the photograph situation.  What happened to the photos you took at Primera Sabana and Quelbrada Totuche camp?  I cannot find the negatives or the positives.

Enclosed is a letter which came for you.  Of course I didn’t read it.  The address on the envelope was (words cut off on this copy) New Haven.

Until Presently,


Tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday, I will post a 3-page letter from Grandpa, on Friday, a letter from Lad to his father.

Judy Guion