Juan Manuel Ceballos

Juan Manuel Ceballos (1829-1886) was a Spanish immigrant who went to Cuba where he married Juanita Sanchez Herrez.  After some time in Cuba he relocated to New York City where in 1850 he established the merchant banking firm Ceballos, Pader & Co., involved mostly in maritime transportation.  After the death of the elder Ceballos, his son also named Juan Manuel Ceballos (1859-1913), succeeded him and renamed the company J. M. Ceballos & Co. with junior partners John S. Fiske and Anderson C. Wilson.

In 1889, Caibarién merchant Mariano Artís acquired the old Ingenio Belencito in Yaguajay, founded around 1845.  He invested in state-of-the-art equipment increasing daily grinding capacity from about 500 m.t. to over 4,000 m.t. converting the old Ingenio into the Central Narcisa.  The  Narcisa Sugar Co. was incorporated in New York in 1897 by Manuel Rionda and Juan M. Ceballos to acquire Central Narcisa, by 1925 its total annual production capacity had been increased to almost 50,000 m.t. of raw sugar.

By 1907 the Narcisa was owned by the North American Sugar Co., founded by the Fowler Brothers, who were Cuban-born sons of a British citizen that emigrated to Cuba in the mid-19th century from Canada to build a leading merchant house in Cienfuegos.  Other shareholders included English and Cuban-born residents of New York City, but the Fowlers were the principal owners and managed the estate.

Ceballos was also a Director of the Rosario Sugar Co. of E. Atkins & Co.  He also had ownership interest in the Soberano and Oceano sugar mills in Sancti Spiritus, later owned by North American Sugar.  J. M. Ceballos & Co. also owned the India Wharf Sugar Refinery in New York.

J. M. Ceballos & Co. failure in October 1906 with liabilities of nearly $3 million was attributed to the embezzlement of approximately $1 million by Miguel Silveiras, manager of its Cuban subsidiary Silveira Sugar Co., of which Ceballos was president.  After the failure of J. M. Ceballos & Co., Juan Manuel continued his merchant banking and shipping business under the holding company Sollabec, Inc.

Ceballos died unexpectedly of a stroke while attending to business as usual at his office on the 3rd floor of the Lord’s Court Building at 27 William Street in NY.