Ofelia "Sally" Salazar Butler (1891-1987)
B October 6, 1891 to Juanita Roges & Emilio Salazar
M Harold Abbott Butler July 4, 1928
D Died in Miami, Florida, December 21, 1987
C William Abbott Butler Kenneth Morton Butler
Siblings:  Encarnación, Emilio, Jose


            The de Salazar family originated in the southern regions of Spain during the 18th century, mainly in the Grenada area. Ofelia's great grandfather, Jose Diego de Salazar, who had joined the military, was sent to Pensacola where Spain maintained a major military force and headquarters for the North Florida garrisons. In 1817 Diego married Josefa Hernandez and in 1818 their son Jose de Salazar was born in Pensacola.  

With Napoleon wreaking havoc in Europe, and Spain, facing opposition from the French, British and the ever increasing power of the United States, decided not to go to war to protect its territories in North America. In 1821, title to the land it controlled in Florida to the newly formed government in Washington for what was then a considerable sum of five million dollars. During the end of 1821 and early 1822 all Spanish forces and families headed either back to Spain or to a neighboring island, many of them ending up in Cuba, an island stronghold Spain would control for another 75 years. Jose Diego de Salazar left the military, and with his wife and child, Jose de Salazar, settled in the city of Pinar del Rio in Cuba. Soon they dropped the 'de' from their name and became just Salazar. In short time they integrated into the community and established themselves financially. Their son Jose was sent to medical school in Havana from where he graduated in 1843.  

Dr. Jose Salazar settled in Consolación del Sur, a town on the central highway about half way between Havana and the capital of Pinar del Rio, and became a 'country doctor'. His shiny black horse-drawn buggy drawn by a stately roan mare called "Bonita", took him on his daily rounds of the adjoining countryside. On a typical day he would deliver a baby or two, tend to the ailing aged, set a broken arm and attend to any unforeseen emergency. He loved his work and all in the area he served, mostly impoverished farmers, loved him. He was compassionate and kind to all. With many patients unable to pay in cash, Dr. Salazar most days would arrive home loaded with several chickens, a pig and all sort of vegetables.  

In 1854 he married Irene Hidalgo Gato and soon she gave birth to a son, Emilio Salazar, who grew up in Consolación del Sur. At the age of 18 Emilio was sent to medical school in Havana from where he graduated in 1878. He returned to Consolación del Sur and also became a country doctor. In his rounds, a young girl, Juana Rogés, daughter of German Rogés y Estrada, owner of a large estate called "Santa Juana de las Ovas" caught the eye of Doctor Salazar with the result that his visits to Ovas became more frequent. Don German's estate was almost a city upon itself. The main crop was tobacco which required an enormous amount of hand labor. Slaves numbered over 350 including women and children. All were housed and well fed.                  

 Dr. Salazar courted Juana until she reached the age of 18, he was now 33, when he asked for her hand in marriage. Married soon after, they settled at a home within the estate and began producing babies, all delivered by their father. Five were born starting in 1889. One died but the other four, two boys and two girls, grew up in a beautiful country environment.. These are Ofelia's words:

 We had a wonderful childhood. Our nanny, Maria la China, a slave, took impeccable care of us. She made sure we had the food we liked, we were clean as were our clothes, and watched over us continuously. On Saturdays and sometimes on Sunday we would dress up and go to town. Florencio, a farm employee would hitch up the nicer of our carts to a pair of oxen and off we would go, just the three of us and Maria la China, since Emilio was too young. The solid hard wood wheels would make for a rough trip down the narrow lane into town. The oxen were steady but slow. Florencio would snap his whip and call out, "Mariposa!! Pajarito!! Hay Hay!! and the oxen would pick up a bit on their gate. Every ox had a name and all were castrated to make them docile thus their names of "Butterfly' and "Birdie". 

             Ovas was but a small village with but a couple of stores, but it was nice to go out and see people. The nearest large town was Consolación del Sur which was about 20 kilometers away but to get there we had to get papa to take us in his buggy. As we grew up, Jose, Encarnita and I would go there about once a year. We had a tutor who came daily and taught us how to read and write in Spanish and English, mathematics and history.  

             My father wanted all of us, girls and boys to have a good education so in 1901, when I was 10, he decided it was time for his eldest son, Jose, to begin his serious studies. Uncle Taboada took Jose up to New York on a ship then on a ferry across the Hudson river to Hoboken, New Jersey. There they rode the Lakawana Railroad to Convent Station where he was left at a boy's school owned and operated by the sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth College. In the following year, papa took Encarnita, Emilio and I to Havana and with Uncle Taboada, put us on a huge steam boat. Poor Emilio. He cried and cried, he missed his mother so much. Poor thing, he was only seven. The ship took us to New York Harbor, where we moved into a small hotel near Times Square. We rested for two days then went to the train station and got on the Lakawana Railroad for the short trip to Convent Station. Emilio went to the boy's school with Jose while Encarnita and I went to St. Elizabeth. 

             Sister Maria Dolores, a native of Nicaragua, was the guardian of all Latin pupils that went to St. Elizabeth as she spoke both English and Spanish. During the year that my brother Jose was there, she watched over him and communicated with his father in Cuba. Jose became an altar boy, learned the Latin answers and rang a small bell at the right moments in the mass.

             When I arrived at St. Elizabeth with my older sister Encarnación we were both very lonesome. We could not speak English and everything around us was strange and different. After time we joined the other girls, learned English, and played with them, slowly integrating. We stayed at St. Elizabeth for eight years during which time we became fluent in English and American customs. My father decided we should return which we did. The boys went on to high school and college. Jose at the age of 14 was sent to Manhattan College in New York City where to complete his High School studies then went on to Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass where he graduated as a Civil engineer. My brother Emilio graduated from High School and went on to study Engineering at Notre Dame. Both returned to Cuba and lived a long productive life both business and family wise.          

             Mother returned to Cuba with Encarnita in 1910 and moved in with her father who had moved to Havana and had rented an apartment at # 59 Consulado Street, a very central downtown location. Both young ladies found jobs as bilingual secretaries, and so began their lives. Mother worked as a Secretary to Carlos Pesant, President of Pesant Steel and Iron company with whom she remained during six years. Here is my mother again: 

             Encarnita had a parrot which she fed with her hands in the late afternoon. A Spaniard, Benito Loygorri, lived in the same apartment house in an upper story and watched the parrot being fed, Encarnita flirting in a way and looking at Benito. Finally, Benito requested a friend of his named Damborenea to introduce him to my father while at the same time meeting Encarnita. It took not long for a romance to build and on October 18, 1918, she married Benito Loygorri in a civil ceremony in a town called Calvario in Havana Province.  

            My mother lived with her father until his death in 1925 then moved to a small rented apartment in the Vedado with her brother Emilio and his wife, Enriqueta. When that did not work out she moved to the Hotel Vedado on M and 19th street in the Vedado neighborhood of Havana. Harold Butler, an engineer working for the electric utility company moved in about the same time. It took almost a year for him to make contact with Ofelia Salazar, and a few months to take them to friendship, then love, and on to marriage.

The story is continued in the Harold and Ofelia Butler Story.

Bill Butler

September, 2010

This is where Harold Abbott Butler and family lived in Cuba  

Memorias De La Familia Salazar

Wonderful Pictures of Cuba