The history of Clarissa Falls
Clarissa Falls Resort is only a small part of La Clarissa Ranch, owned by Ramón
Gálvez, son of José Maria Gálvez Nuñez & Inéz Castellanos.
La Clarissa Ranch is a working cattle ranch operated by Ramón's three sons:
José Antonio, Ramón &
Falls is operated by Ramón's daughter Azucena
("Chena"), who is assisted by her
eldest sister Anna Maria & her mother, also Azucena. Members of the family's
fourth generation, Mark & Imelda, also work at the resort.
It was José Maria Gálvez's vision which led to the purchase & development of La
Clarissa Ranch on land historically owned by Thomas & Clarissa Paslow.
Clarissa Falls, the beginning
Clarissa Carter Paslow was a coloured Kriol woman with thin lips, a Roman nose & a thrifty, stingy
disposition. At a young age she had been sold into slavery, belonging to one William Pitts. Pitts schooled Clarissa and she
became a great asset to him, and then to her second proprietor, Captain James Pitt Lawrie.
Clarissa held great status among the other slaves of the district. They called her "high-minded." Captain Lawrie
valued Clarissa's abilities, but his wife felt uncomfortable that a slave was smarter & better educated than herself. She
was also not happy that Clarissa had the nerve to admonish her about thrift & cleanliness.
One day, Captain Lawrie was taken aback by a strange, impetuous young man by the name of Thomas Paslow. Paslow
had wanted to marry Clarissa within a week of first seeing her.
Lawrie asked, "Does Clarissa know about this?"
"Aye," Paslow replied, "she said yes. I'll buy her freedom from you at whatever price you state. It's marrying
And so began the union of Thomas & Clarissa Paslow, along with her freedom.
In 1779 Clarissa was about 20 years old when there was much talk of war to defend the shore of British
Honduras from the Spaniards and Clarissa longed for war. It was not until 1798, at the Battle of St. George's Caye
(celebrated every year on 10 September), that Clarissa & others clutched their hearts atop the Fort Wexford rooftop (where
the commercial center stands today, on the site of the old market), as the distant thunder & flash of guns reflected on
low-flying clouds. The tension was unbearable, but Clarissa had to be strong to help protect the country, keeping her cannon
filled & ready in case she had to fire.
At the end of the day, the Baymen & British drove away the Spanish for good, ensuring the freedom of British Honduras.
Thomas Paslow owned a number of properties along the Belize River, notably the logging camps of More
Tomorrow, Paslow Falls & Clarissa Falls. It was at Clarissa Falls that Thomas & Clarissa settled,
and how the falls & area received its name.
The full story can be found in Belize 1798 - On The Way To Glory, written by
Return to your hosts, La Clarissa Ranch.