“The King of Patagonia” was perhaps the most appropriate moniker by which to describe Don Jose Menéndez, founder of Estancia María Behety.
This most renowned Asturian emigrant of the Argentinian Patagonia was born the second of November, 1846, in the Miranda Parish, at that time a part of the parish of San Nicolas de Avilés. He was one of seven children from the marriage of Manuel Menéndez-Cañedo Álvarez, a resident of Peñaflor, Grado, and of María Menéndez Granda, born in Miranda.
Manuel took his son, at just two years of age, to the house of a maternal uncle named Jose Menendez Granda, a distinguished teacher from Ventosa, Candamo. Manuel entrusted the elder Jose with the task of his son´s primary education, with the unwavering mandate that young Jose would return to the home of his birthplace for at least two or three days of every month.
In that same manner he also spent his summers in Ventosa, until he was eleven years old. That year his parents brought the child back to Miranda – against his uncle´s will, who could see in the child great talent for studying – to work tending the livestock. Jose´s school assistance decreased, but his parents allowed him to study as time allowed.