Nininger Moment #4 The Trip To Mexico Part 2

Two nights before the Nininger party reached Mexico City while trying to set up camp, several unfriendly characters approached them. They managed to catch their interest with an article of little importance and swiftly packed up and drove on. They were in bandit country but continued on long after dark looking for some sort of shelter they might stay at. They finally arrived at a hacienda but had to pass through four gates to gain access to the main house. A little while later police came and question them in regards to a murder that had taken place at a neighboring hacienda. After answering the questions the police left and they were left to finish their late evening meal and sleep in the court until the next morning.

After arriving in Mexico City the first place they went to visit was the Institute of Geology. Nininger knew no one there and had no I.D. of introduction but asked to see someone who might know something of meteorites. They were introduced to a Dr. Mullerried a German geologist who was a great field investigator in Mexico. He explained to Mullerried he read some accounts of iron meteorites being found in quantities at certain locations in Mexico and asked for help on finding the spot. The Dr. said they would talk of it later and then showed Nininger to the National Museum where many meteorites were located. At the museum many of the meteorites were mislabeled or even unlabeled. Nininger offered his services of putting the pieces back into order and trying to identify some of the unlabeled specimens. The mislabeling and lost labeling was the result of many revolutions in Mexico. He and Alex also spent time cutting and etching a number of specimens to further identify them. He had also brought trade specimens with him so that trades could be arranged for the excess museum pieces.

One of Nininger’s aims was to visit the spot where so many iron meteorites had been found and so after a few days approached Mullerried again to try to find out more about the Xiqupilco village near Toluca. Nininger knew that a Dr. Jose Aguilera had told him that a total of twenty two tons of material had been shipped from that area. Two mineral dealers Foote and Ward had collected most of the material prior to 1906. He also knew a visit to the location might yield him many meteorite specimens he could trade later for others back in the United States. Mullerried cautioned him that it would be somewhat dangerous but would try to make arrangements. The village of Xiqupilco was some 30 miles distant from Mexico City but rugged mountains laid in between. Nininger and Dr. Mullerried would take a train to Toluca and then another train to Ixtlahuaca and hire other transportation from that point. Nininger cashed a travelers check in Mexico City for fifty dollars into pesos in order to have some cash to negotiate with. Alex remained behind as he was ill and resting at the time.

Source: Find A Falling Star by H.H. Nininger

Note: Nininger spent time prior to making the trip to Mexico at familiarizing himself with as many meteorites as possible so he would be knowledgeable about trades. His effort helped to put the Mexican National Museum’s Collection back into order and helped to effectively receive many needed trades for the meteorite market in North America at that time.

The Nininger Moments are articles or books written originally by Harvey Nininger and put into a consolidated form by Al Mitterling. Some of the items written in the moments might be old out dated material and the reader is advised to keep this in mind.

–AL Mitterling