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Central Tiunucú

After the family failure in the 1880s, and having lost the Elena plantation which he managed for his father-in-law, Francisco Rionda settled in Tiunucú plantation which was basically all they had left in Cuba.  Tiunucú was inland in Sancti Spiritus too far east where no railroad had reached yet.  Nonetheless, Francisco settled there with his wife, three children and his nephew Manuel Rionda Benjamin.  During his early years the family would receive three more children; Elena in 1882, Salvador in 1888 and Esperanza in 1890.  

In 1891 Manuel joined with Juan Manuel Ceballos and Juan M. Clarke, the Havana representative of Krajewski-Pesant Co., to organize Central Tiunucú Sugar Cane Manufacturing Co.  However, with the outbreak of the Cuban War for Independence in 1895 all plans to develop the sugar mill were abandoned and Francisco and all his family had to flee to the US where they were received by Manuel and Harriet.

With Joaquin and Francisco dead, Manuel was the family patriarch left to look over all his sisters and nephews.  After the war ended and the 1899 grinding season got underway, Manuel visited Cuba to find out if Tiunucú had survived the war.  He found out that although the manor house and the ingenio structures were still standing, they were overgrown with weeds but could be rescued.  Francisco's widow Elena and their children would move to the house and Manuel's brother-in-law Pedro Alonso would take charge of reconstruction, by the next grinding in the spring of 1900 Tiunucú would produce some 3,400 bags of sugar for sale.

Another big event that proved rebuilding Tiunucú a great decision was the construction of Sir William Van Horne's Cuba Company central railroad from Santa Clara through the center of the island to the easternmost Oriente province in 1900.  It was one of the first, if not the first, to haul sugar over the Cuba Railroad Company's railroad.  That immediately resulted in a 50% increase in value for Tiunucú.

In 1916 Tiunucú paid 50% stock dividend on its preferred shares and a 100% stock dividend on its common shares and cash dividends of 10% in 1917 and 1918 and 27.5% in 1919 and 1920.