Photos of Grandma and Panama.

In the late teens, during World War I, my great grandfather, C.A. Gates, packed up his family and moved them from Pennsylvania to the jungles of Panama to build a saw mill and harvest mahogany trees. After a year in the deep jungle, my great grandmother took their two children and got an apartment in Panama city and lived there while my great grandfather continued to work in the jungle. They lived in Panama for several years.

Here is the only photo I have of all of them together in Panama.

I never met my great grandfather, but my grandmother, Naomi Ester Gates Thompson, told me many stories about living in the Jungle and Panama City as a teenager.

Here are photos of the sawmill in Rio Congo, the worker’s homes, a letter to C.A. Gates from his employees, and the local population.


After a year in the jungle my great grandmother moved the children to Panama City. Here is a photo of the apartment they lived in and my grandmother, Naomi, as a young girl dressed for carnival.

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