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Monday, April 10, 2017

Cemitério dos Americanos - Santa Barbara d'Oeste SP

When we began making our bucket list for this trip, Byron put the American immigrant cemetery near São Paulo on the schedule.  He had read quite a bit about some of the Southern families who left for Brazil about the Civil War.  There were some 10,000 - 20,000 individuals who came with the assistance of Dom Pedro II with the idea they would help start cotton production in Brazil.  The main groups went to the states of Paraná and São Paulo with a small group that went to the far north near the city of Santarém.   

Our guide, Miss Nanci, is a descendant of the first arrivals in the little town of Americana.  She was very knowledgeable and told us about many of the families as we passed by the grave stones.  Most of the Confederates as they were known were not allowed to be buried in the local cemetery as they were not Catholic.

Miss Nanci works hard to document the history of the families who came to Brazil in the 1860's.  Each year on the cemetery grounds a festival is held to remember those who came and stayed.  It was not easy and quite a few gave up and returned to the United States.  

This little chapel on the cemetery grounds was the first Baptist church built in Brazil.  As a result of the Confederates' arrival the Southern Baptist convention sent its first missionary pastors opening the doors for the spread of the Baptist movement all over Brazil.

Miss Nanci told us about the visit of President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalind, who has a great grand uncle buried here.

This particular monument was sent to Brazil by a group in the United States.  The soldier was considered lost in battle as no one knew he had come to Brazil and died here.  Through Miss Nanci's work to document all the ones who came, this memorial made its way to this quiet spot far from the battlefields of the Civil War.

No matter what you think about the Civil War, I found it interesting that this people decided to leave the country they knew and loved to see their freedom and fortune in a new land.  Many died early on from tropical diseases.  Many gave up and went back.  Some stayed and made a difference in a new place.

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