When was the farm founded?

Estancia Cabo San Pablo was founded in 1904 by José Montes Pello. At that time, the government handed over land to the settlers, and initially Estancia Cabo San Pablo and Estancia Santa Ana were created. They occupied 10 lots of property and five lots of public land. Initially, José Montes had 109,000 hectares under management.

Montes installed the first general store in the area on the coast of the Argentine Sea; where  business was done with the native peoples of the area, with the shepherds, and with the travellers of the ships that anchored in the bay.

Just like Ménendez, Nogueira or Braun, José Montes was part of the group of large Magellan landowners in the region. They managed the sheep farms on the island of Tierra del Fuego from Punta Arenas, where they lived and tended their businesses.

Montes hired a Swiss engineer named Thürller to build  his new estancia, Cabo San Pablo. Years later José Montes married María Eugenia Thürller Roux, daughter of this engineer, and they had three children: Eugenia, José and Teresa. Years later, José Montes Thürller took over the operation of the estancia in Tierra del Fuego during the heyday of the wool business.

Teresa Montes Thurller, daughter of José Montes, married José María Ménendez Behety, son of José Menéndez and María Behety. They had  8 children.

After 7 decades of exploitation of Estancia Cabo San Pablo, the Montes family sold the farm to the brothers José and Bruno Pirillo; who were:  oil, maritime transport and finance entrepreneurs; they were the owners of Banco Cabildo, too. Severino Fernández, a Galician immigrant, was the farm’s manager for many years. Later he was succeeded in this task by one of his sons, José “Pepe” Fernández.

The banking house of the Pirillo brothers went bankrupt in 1984 and was intervened by the BCRA (Central Bank of the Argentine Republic) and, since the farm was part of thor assets, from that moment Estancia Cabo San Pablo was managed by a commission of the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic for approximately 10 years. In 1994 its sale was announced. Several  neighbours applied for the tender and that is how the establishment was divided into different sections. The Apolinaire family acquired the section where the main farmhouse buildings are located.

The founder

José Montes Pello, born in Sardín (Ribera de Arriba) 1855, son of farmers, when he turned 17 he emigrated to Buenos Aires, working on a farm owned by some Basques in San Fernando.

At the time he moved with his cousin Mariano Montes, a doctor of theology, who had abandoned his ecclesiastical career, to Punta Arenas.

José Montes immediately took a job at the home of Guillermo Braun (then Braun y Skroder) where he remained as a dependent for eleven months.

With his savings, plus one hundred Elizabethan gold coins that his father gave him when he left Sardin, he bought some horses and started trading with the Tehuelches Indians, from Punta Arenas to the Coyle area. He later rented a schooner to trade with the Indians of Santa Cruz, sometimes taking food to the governor of that territory, Mr. Moyano. In 1881 he acquired sheep and cattle, supplying the sub-prefect of Río de Gallegos with meat and basic necessities, this costing him a large amount of work and effort.

Driven by his entrepreneurial spirit, Montes took fields from the Argentine government in Río Gallegos and others on Río Coyle, this is the time when the spirited Asturian settler had to fight the hardest, suffering the lashes of weather, temperatures, rains and winds, sleeping on the black bush of the canyons without a roof or shelter. Eight or ten years went by like this, wool was not worth much, meat was sold for three cents a kilo, despite this, the Asturian tenacity did not faint, blindly trusting in a better future, the opening of the first slaughterhouses and meat plants opened prosperity to the cattle business. Montes came to own farms in Gallegos, Coyle, Santa Cruz, Tierra del Fuego and in various parts of Chilean Patagonia.

He married a woman of Swiss origin, María Eugenia Thürler Roux, with whom he had 3 children.

José Montes ordered the construction of the Montes Palace in the centre of the city of Punta Arenas, Chile, in the Muñoz Gamero square in 1920. The palace is neoclassical in style, and was built by the architect Miguel Bonifetti

The building was acquired by the Municipality of Punta Arenas in 1967 and is currently the headquarters of the Illustrious Municipality of Punta Arenas.

He passed away in 1947.

He had a reputation for being stingy, and the stories say that apparently this helped him grow economically….