|Portrait by Paul Jacoulet|
Well, there are two versions of the story. It's up to you which one to believe!
Strange things happen at night. Even in the small, sleepy village of Asan in 1902.
Pedro Evaristo Salas, from Aniguak, was spending the night at his friend's house in Asan, a young man of 28 years named Francisco Taitano Taijito.
Just past midnight, Francisco and Pedro were awakened by a man calling out, "Hombre! Hombre!" "Man! Man!"
The two of them getting up and going outside to see what was up, they found an American Marine Private named Nelson Tracey standing there.
"Are you the brother of Rita?" Tracey asked Taijito. "No," Taijito responded.
Tracey turned to Salas and asked, "Is he the brother of Rita?" "No," Salas replied.
At that, so testified Taijito and Salas, Tracey took out his revolver and pointed it at Taijito's chest. He forced the two men to accompany him to Salas' house in Aniguak, at which point Tracey grabbed Salas by the collar, asking for a fight. Salas declined and, when Tracey wasn't looking, Salas quietly entered his home and evaded further involvement. That left Taijito alone with Tracey, who forced Taijito to go with him to Rita's house to call for her. Finding no one at Rita's house, Tracey let Taijito go and they went their separate ways.
It would have ended there, except that Taijito and Salas then filed a complaint in court against Tracey, accusing him of threatening them.
When questioned in court, Tracey had a different story to tell. He says that he was out for a walk in Asan that night, where he lived. He saw a young man in the street and he asked him if he knew where he could get some tuba. The young man said he'd go look, and Tracey gave him a peso. The young man said he'd be back in 10 minutes. When 30 minutes went by with no tuba or young man in sight, Tracey went looking for him. He found someone resembling the young man walking, and he asked him if he found tuba. The person said "no." Tracey asked him if he was the person he gave a peso to. Again the person said "no." Where could he find the man, then, Tracey asked.
That's when this young man went to the home of a woman named Rosa, which happened to be Taijito's house, and called out "Hombre!" When Taijito and Salas exited the house and met Tracey on the road, Tracey asked him if he was Rosa's brother. Taijito said he was not the brother of Rita, nor of María, but he was the brother of Rosa, although all three women were sisters.
Tracey felt he was being played around with and put his hand on Taijito's shoulder, asking for the tuba. At some point his revolver fell from his jacket to the ground and he picked it up, but at no time did he threaten anyone with it. Then, a village official, Carlos Maañao Tydingco, came on the scene, at which point Taijito went away.
Tydingco was also questioned and said that he saw none of this happen at all!
So it became the word of two against one, with no independent witnesses to corroborate either side's stories.
So we will never know. Was the American Marine Nelson Tracey looking for Rita that night? Or for tuba instead? Was it for love, or for liquor?
Tracey's name on a list of Marines stationed on Guam in 1901