The Wappat Web Site is pleased to produce this page on behalf of our Mexican branch of the family, who have been very helpful at providing photos and information for the site. We would like to thank in particular Eduardo, Fernando, Luis, Javier, Ricardo and Arnulfo.
Last updated:
 31st July 2002.

31st July 2002
More picture from Javier Adame-Williams, this time on vacation with his family in Chichen Itza on Yucatan Mexico. Many thanks Javier!

Andres and Javier Adame Guajardo, Javier's 2 sons, at the entrance to the temple.

Javier Adame Williams ans son Javier, looking down from the temple steps.

29th July 2002
Views and architecture around Linares, Mexico, home to many of the Mexican Wappats/Williams. I will add captions if someone (Arnulfo?) can email me some facts? Many thanks to Arnulfo Williams for the photographs.

19th June 2002

Javier Adame Williams and family.

Javier Adame-Williams and family.

Javier Adame Williams, and wife Martha, together with their two sons Andres and Javier.

5th April 2002

Thanks to Javier Williams-Tancredi for these pictures of his father, Juan Williams-Alanis, grandson of John William Pearson Wappatt.

Juan Williams-Alanis

Juan Williams-Alanis

Juan Williams-Alanis and son.

Juan Williams-Alanis

1) Travel Diary Transcripts of John William Pearson Wappatt.

This diary extract was transcribed and edited by Frank Wappat. Copyright 1983.

The earliest spelling of our name on our family tree is the signature of Ralph Wappat II. He was born in 1719 and signed "Wappat". The name continued to be spelt this way until Eleanor Wappat, wife of William Pearson Wappat, added a second "t" when registering the births of her children making it "Wappatt". This branch of our tree exists now only in Mexico as only one male survived in her family.

He was John William Pearson Wappatt, born 1866 in Hope Town, a Northern district of Darlington in Durham County, England.
He and his family (parents, 3 sisters and a brother who died in his teens) moved to nearby Middlesbrough, where they lived at 70 Wood Street. His father obtained work on the North Eastern Railway, where in later years he became an engine driver, until his retirement.
John, or Jack as he was known, soon grew tired and restless in Middlesbrough. Judging from his diaries he had a very good education, was a good writer and had a good command of the English Language.
His hobbies were running, swimming, boxing and singing, showing he was athletic; his musical talents extended to playing violin, concertina and cornet. He was proficient in later years in shorthand, although his diaries give little evidence of this.

On the 10th August 1886, he began a rigorous two months "fitness" course, rising at 7am and retiring at 10.30pm. During this time he bathed regularly, drank a pint of milk daily, and had electric shock treatment. This was supposed to relax and strengthen nerves and muscles.He took up boxing, weight lifting and voice exercises.
On the 3rd October 1886, he began a six months intensive training that included the use of a "cavalry" sword. He was then 20, yet no mention is made of work or employment. He is listed in the 1881 Census as a clerk in an Iron Merchants Office, Middlesbrough.

All of the training appears to be in readiness for his planned departure to the USA, for on the 14th June 1887 he left the Port of Liverpool bound for America.
According to his diary, the journey took 13 days before they arrived at Cape Charles. John arrived at his unnamed final destination at 8.30am on 29th June 1887.

He mentions upon arrival "dinner 25 cents .. girl with tan .. dark town wooden shacks .. niggers .. big fellows .. black pigs .. grasshoppers .. iced water .. Bananas .. houses whitewashed .. women smoking .. pissing out of windows which are always open .. always drinking .. spittoons in Church .. temperature 104 in the shade - 2 cooks dropped dead, also a nigger, with sunstroke .. boss shakes hands." He also mentions in passing; Hampton, Norfolk, Pennsylvania, Washington and oyster planting.

On the 30th June 1887 his started work as a boss over "10 Niggers" in No.2 Pier where he mentions "sharks .. snakes .. 2000 hop heads of tobacco .. toads .. quinine .. mocking birds .. Malaria .. sick and vomiting .. "frogs croaking enough to give anyone the gripes to hear" .. niggers sing. " He mentions nothing more for two weeks until 16th July 1887 when he writes "Southerners" (not Yanks) indicating they are in a Southern State of America.

On 17th September 1887 he left his job "paid off" he says with 22 dollars. On 20th September 1887 he "left in a hurry for Norfolk".."down York River to York Town." On 29th September 1887 he bought ticket to St. Louis for $17.50c and got a rebate at Cincinnati. He left for Washington, returning to "Centi".
3rd October  1887 He went to Louisville, Tennessee and Atlanta, Georgia.
21st October 1887
Jack gets a job at B.BOPLING MILLS weighing crops for 9 dollars a week. 4th July 1888 Independence Day. "Now bossing 38 niggers." Here he starts lending money; 8 1/4 dollars for 1 dollar 25 cents.
1st Sept 1888 The Superintendent gave him a contract for all iron made at new forge, at 18 cents a ton. "Can make 5 dollars a day. One week made 22 dollars 28, plus 2 dollars 25 by lending money."
21st October 1888 "Been at job for a year, am worth 270 dollars in cash plus gold watch, gun, clock, shoes, 6 "lots" in Missouri and agreement with T.M.Watson about oil in Tennessee, and jewellery. Made 30 dollars 30 one week." Has row with "Wheeler" - quit Mill!

17 November 1888 Went to Avondale Gate City 20th December 1888 Jack went to New Orleans with 93 dollars in pocket plus receipts for 200 dollars. A graphic description of New Orleans follows; "Bands play everywhere, mainly in the streets and street corners, as well as cafes. The music is like a type of rhythmic march music and I saw and heard a machine that talks and actually plays music and sings (circa 1890, this would be an American Edison Cylinder recording player)."

By May 1891 He writes in shorthand with some English and a little disjointed Spanish, then he signs the entry J.W.P.Wappatt. For the rest of 1891 he appears to be selling parrots in the USA "riding all over the country". He was fined at Texacana 11 dollars 75 cents for selling parrots without a licence! Regular work for companies appears to have been abandoned. He is now working on his own, selling parrots, hunting, fishing and is wealthy enough to visit Chicago's World Fair, St.Louis, San Antonio until he arrived in Villagran, Mexico in July 1892 still signing his diary entries as J.W.P.Wappatt.

A doctor, grandson of a doctor of that particular time at Villagran recalled to me "When he first arrived in Villagran he could not speak a word of Spanish. He arrived on a black horse and became known as 'Juan Black Horse'. He travelled quite a lot selling birds and animals and appears to have been a kind of adventurer".
In 1894, Jack notes his arrival in Mexico, where he acquired a derelict gold mine and two small silver mines, which are still there today and the silver mines still produce.

However 3 years previously his diary records 14th October 1889 "Assets in Limon, Costa Rica 650 dollars, plus valise, pistol, gun." On the 18th January that year he records his assets in Limon as 47 dollars cash plus the hardware.
Two questions arise;
1) Did he have a separate business in Costa Rica?
2) Did he live there, or why send his money there?

Throughout his diary he signs himself "J.W.P.Wappatt" However in a different handwriting near the beginning of his diary at Middlesbrough, England is J.P.Williams, Limon, Costa Rica, Central America.
This article published to the web site on 25th April 2000.

2) Interview with Leonor Wappatt, daughter of John William Pearson Wappatt.

Leonor was born in Mexico, as a result of her father's marriage to a Mexican named ROSAURA LEAL.

Questions set by FRANK WAPPAT in English, Translated into Spanish by Laura Elizondo, and the answers in Spanish translated back into English by Laura.

1) How old was your father when he left England?

[According to her father's diary, he embarked at 2pm, 14th June 1887, when he was 21.]

2) Do you know how or why he left England?
Yes, he left with a friend from his hometown, whose father was Captain of the ship. He stowed away after deciding to go to the USA, but was discovered after 3 days.

[According to her father's diary, he began a fitness course on 10th August 1886 in preparation for his emigration. The embarkation and departure are fully documented, including the discovery of three stowaways off the coast of Ireland on 16th June]

3) What did he do in the USA?
He obtained work, but then he travelled south through Argentina to Patagonia.

4) How long did he stay in the USA?
Until he had no money; then he wanted to travel.
[This is unusual, as Argentina is further away than Patagonia. By October 1888, he had been at his job in the USA for one year. He left that job and took on others where he was "boss" of "30 niggers". He had $270 in cash (dollars), a gold watch, and gun.
On 15th June 1891, he began buying and selling parrots, having successfully sold 45 birds in San Antonio where he bought a rifle and a pistol, and quinine.
On 15th July, he writes, "Received $120 (dollars) from my folks".
We do not know what he means by "my folks". His family were English and would not, or could not, send dollars from England in those days. That amount was the equivalent of £30, or three months salary to his father!
His daughter Leonore appeared to avoid the question of his reason for leaving the USA, for she resumes the narrative at when he comes back up North to Villa Gran in Mexico, where she says
"He had a lot of friends who spoke English".

[This seems unlikely. His diary mentions having met three Englishmen and a German with whom he became friendly - also a person he refers to as "the" Englishman.
On 11th October 1889 he writes "Set off home again" but never mentions where home is. He first mentions Villa Gran on 14th July 1892 when he says "Arrived in Villa Gran. Killed a pine-deer with 8 points on horns. Made $500 profit on trip North."]

John (Jack) William Pearson Wappatt
who became "Juan P Williams"

Villagran, Mexico where he first settled in 1894.

Jacks's first house in Villagran,
as it was in 1983.

The first surviving son Juan born 1900. Two previous children of Jack Wappatt died in infancy.

The church in Villagran when Juan 1900 was married.

The remains of the railway station is San Jose, Mexico where Jack acquired abandoned mines.

A Wappatt silver and lead mine.

Rough dwellings for miners.

Crushed rock travels down this chute before washing (panning).

Another Wappatt mine and a gold smelter.

The house of Jack Wappatt when he moved to Linares, Mexico.
The house remains in the family.

The Linares Store of Consuelo and Allan Williams, grandson of Jack Wappatt.

The Wappatt's of Mexico, now known as Williams.
Juan, born 1900, is in the centre.

All photographs coutesy of Frank Wappat

5) How good was he at communicating in Spanish?
He could speak perfect Spanish. Before he died in 1928, he gave me his diary, which is written in Spanish.
[One may consider it strange that an Englishman kept a diary in Spanish. The diary I have seen was in English. Once again, Leonor's statement appears to be at variance with the truth. For example, in March 1891, seven years before his marriage, he wrote in his diary - "In 2 dias, soy 24 años". This is poor Spanish for "In two days time, I will be twenty-five."]

6) You say your father spoke perfect Spanish. How could an Englishman speak perfect Spanish at that time whilst travelling?
He met my mother in Villa Gran and fell in love with her. He was told by friends he must learn Spanish to win her affection. He learned in a matter of months.
[Note: Highly improbable!]

7) Where, at that time, did he live in Villa Gran?
He was given lodgings by friends named ADAME, because he was poor.
[In the light of what we know from his diary, this cannot be true. He was rich by their standards.]
Then he married my mother and bought a house in Villa Gran.
[She does not mention how a poor man, given lodgings, could buy a house there.]

8) What did her Mexican family think of this marriage?
Her family resented the idea of marriage, for they knew nothing of his background, so he asked his mother in England to write to his new wife.
[Most unlikely. His mother could not speak Spanish. The Mexicans could not read English. His mother was a Primitive Methodist. The Mexicans were Roman Catholics. At that time Primitive Methodists hated Roman Catholics, and would not permit a marriage of their children to Catholics. If they did marry a Catholic, they ran the risk of never being allowed back into the parental home. In fact, all of the visits that John William Pearson Wappatt made back to England, he never took his wife or any of their three surviving children. In those Victorian days of the late 19th Century, the English did not like or take kindly to any foreigners being absorbed into their family.]

9) Of what social class was your mother?
Her father had no money, but her family was the best principled and upright in the township.

10) Why was your father known to everyone in Mexico as JUAN P. WILLIAMS when his name was John William Pearson Wappatt?
He was working for an American named MENET of a Copper Mine company in Mazapil. Menet was a close friend of my father and married a girl from Linares.
During the Revolution of 1910 everything was taken away, so my father began to work in another mine in San José, which the American's deserted when the Revolution started.

11) Did he ever meet anyone called "WILLIAMS"?
No, no, never. He discovered that people were calling him "Williams" so he registered his business interests in the assumed name of Williams, as this is easier for Mexicans to pronounce than "Wappatt".
[Note - Impossible. At the Embassy in Monterrey, he is registered as WAPPATT, and when he married on 1st May 1898, he signed as JUAN WILLIAMS PEARSON WAPPATT, at Montemorelas, giving his age as 30 instead of 32.]

12) Did you know of any other family, called Wappat, in the United States?
That family comes from his friend with whom he stayed in New York, but we lost trace of them. We exchanged many letters and photographs, but that is not the reason he changed his name.
[This reply is curious. The name Wappat is unique, so how could she think that they were friends rather than family, and why say they were not responsible for her father's unofficial name change? Even more strange, there was a family named Wappat in New York in the 1890's (the Frederick Wappat Saw Company) and they were full-blooded relatives! What happened to the letters and photographs?]

13) How and where did you father die, and where were you?
He was in Villa Gran making plans for the mine [gold mine] when he suffered a cerebral hæmorrhage. Our family was at Linares, in the house which is still there today. [1987]

14) Why was he not living with your family - especially as it was Christmas time?
We were at Linares because he was unable to find a buyer for the Villa Gran house. He spent a lot of time there. The people there loved and respected him because he had a pharmacy there, and bought and sold in these products. The pharmacy subsidised the mine. After his brain hæmorrhage, he lived only a few days and was unable to communicate with anyone.

15) Were you with him when he died?
No, I was in school…then ignored the question.
[NOTE: In school at the age of 23? What sort of school is that?]

16) Was he rich when he died - two houses, a pharmacy and a mine?
Oh yes, he was very rich. After the Revolution, he put me in a boarding house in Monterrey. He had a good relationship with the Governor of one of the States in Monterrey, also a Colonel.
He had bought land and grew cotton and made a lot of money in Coahuila.
When the Revolution came, we lost everything in the Bank.

[NOTE - She has gone from her age of 23 when he died, back to the Revolution, when she was 5 years old. She continues in the distant past, avoiding the time of his death]
During the Revolution, we lived in Monterrey, but had the opportunity to live in Villa Gran. However, we visited it.

I do not believe that the answers are those of an old lady who has forgotten detail and dates. I believe she was deliberately avoiding the real truth, and knew that I was determined to uncover the truth and the mysteries, which she had resolved to conceal from her immediate family. However, her elder brother would surely have known more than she would. It is unlikely that he would have concealed anything from his descendants.

Old Leonor had never heard of me, yet when I first saw her, and took her hand, she said - "You are a very spiritual person. You have healing in your hands. I feel the power". She held my hands for several minutes and said it eased her pain.

After that first visit, and my subsequent questioning, she said to her nephew, Allan, in Linares --"My father told me never to trust Frank Wappat".

  • Her father died before I was born.

  • My father, who is Frank Wappat, was 24 when her father died, and my father had no employment and never travelled more than 30 miles from home in the 1930's and neither did his father.

Was Leonor deliberately trying to discredit me - a priest from England and part of her own family - or is there another Frank Wappat that none of us know about?

Did her father have a previous marriage?

Did he have other children?

Did he mean Fred Wappat from New York (his cousin) with whom he "lost" contact?

Interview and commentary by Frank Wappat.
Article published to the website on 15th July 2000.

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