Tuesday, 19 October 2010




ALEXANDER, Dr. Walter :

Born in Scotland he arrived in Rhodesia in 1925 to take up the post of medical officer to Rezende Mine, Penhalonga, having taken the diploma in public health in 1921, and the M.D. with the European community and practised for thirty years. After taking up a course of tropical medicine in London he returned' to the Eastern Districts to resume his duties. At a later date, as a senior man in his profession, took a leading part in founding the Umtali first District Clinical Club - one of the first of its kind in Southern Rhodesia. In 1955 the Rezende Mine closed down after thirty years of service he turned to public life.

He was M.P. (Eastern) and afterwards became Speaker in the House (1959). In 1942 he married Miss Mary Wilson, sister of Sir Ian Wilson. He was decorated by the Pope in 1955 and awarded the knighthood of St. Gregory the Great for his services in the Roman Catholic Church in Southern Rhodesia. He was also chairman of the Odzi Falls Irrigation Board for thirteen years. Being a noted public figure in Manicaland, Lake Alexander is roamed in memory of him.


This early settler came to Old Umtali in 1891 as a prospector. He seems to have travelled up and down every mountain and kopje in the district, and had served with the Rhodesia Native Regiment.


Mr. D'Urban Barry was born in Swellendam in 1874 and went to school there. He first came to Mashonaland in 1891, and was one of the earliest and most enterprising settlers. While still in his teens he prospected with the Barry, Lovemore and Cripps group in the Mazoe Valley - the Barry in the syndicate being his brother who came to tho country in 1890 with the Pioneer Corps.

In 1891 he went to the Cape, only to return to the Colony five years later, when he settled in Umtali district. After suffering cattle losses through rinderpest in 1896 he served with the Umtali Rifles and at the end of the hostilities he obtained his release and came back to Umtali.

A cattle man at heart he set about repairing the inroads made into his stock by importing a herd of good quality cattle from Natal in 1898, and started a dairy and transport business which grew into an auctioneer's stock sales, and general agency, the formerly well known firm of Barry & English.

Early in 1900 he married Miss Letitia Frances Albertyn, and they had ten children. In 1915 he gave up his business in favour of farming at "En Avant" near Old Umtali, and owned a very fine herd of dairy Shorthorns, all fed on fodder grown under irrigation on his farm. He was one of the instigators of tho Old Umtali Valley irrigation scheme.

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About this time he became a foundation member of the Farmers' Association, the Agricultural Show Society, and the Turf Club. With the help of his wife, their home at Ev Avant became one of the most kindly and hospitable in the country, and was frequently visited by large numbers of friends.

Mr. Barry was also a Town Councillor in the early days. The Barrys are descendants of an old Norman family and the farm Ev Avant derives its name from the family motto. The South African branch of the Barrys is descended from pre-1820 settlers who landed in the Cape in the early 19th Century.

His two sons, Fred and Ben, served with distinction in the Second World War. Fred enlisted in the Southern Rhodesia Armed Forces in 1940, and joined the Southern Light Battery, served with the Cyprus Regiment in North Africa and Italy, was twice mentioned in dispatches, and finally commissioned as Major. He was chosen to represent the Rhodesian Contingent in the Victory Parade in 1946 and attended a reception at Hampton Court at the time.

Ben joined the Royal Navy in 1941 and from Simonstown was posted to H.M.S. Birmingham as'a Seaman. He served in Malta in convoys, was commissioned in 1943 and posted as liaison officer with the Italian Fleet. In 1943 he took command of his own ship - H.M.S. Nigella, in the Indian Ocean.


She arrived in Rhodesia in 1917 during a very heavy rainy season, travelled to Melsetter in Zeederberg's coach and at Rocklands, Jan Martin's farm, she and her mother were warmly welcomed, (it is interesting to note that at this farm cheese was a source of income.) After a gruelling journey by cape cart and horseback up and down mountain slopes they arrived at their father's home. Only the barest necessities of life were available. The thatched roof leaked badly and umbrellas and raincoats had to be placed over the beds. A leopard that night took their dog from the front verandah. After many adventures Mrs. Bosman taught at several schools, finally at Mbeza Valley. She often stayed with Mr. and Mrs. English who ran a dairy near the present civic centre in Umtali. On a journey from Umtali to Melsetter there was a heavy cloud burst within tho region of Mpudzi river which, was in spate. The driver of the coach in which Mrs. Bosman was the only passenger, drove into the raging river. To prevent the hind mules from drowning the driver and his companion were obliged to jump into the torrent and cut the traces loose, whilst Mrs. Bosman hung onto the reins. The front mules eventually managed to reach the opposite stoop bank and pulled the coach out before it overturned.

DE BEER, Billy Houlton :

Grandson of the late Holton Augustus de Beer, 1895. Early Settlers held the post of First Secretary and later General Manager of the Bulawayo Board of Executors, and died in 1928.

Mr. de Beer was the son of the late Harold Ward de Beer; educated at St. Georges College, Salisbury' and Milton School, Bulawayo. In 1949 joined Southern Rhodesia Government service as a clerk of the Magistrate's Office, Bulawayo. In 1953 appointed to staff of Federal High Commissioner in London, and remained

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there until 1955, when appointed Private Secretary to the Southern Rhodesian Minister of Justice and Internal Affairs. In 1956 he was appointed Assistant Public Prosecutor, Bulawayo and in 1957 appointed Assistant Magistrate, Umtali - 1964 to 1970; then Shabani and Que Que; and appointed Provincial Magistrate, Manicaland at Umtali in 1978. During this period he was a member of the Round Table, Chairman of the Dominican Convent Parent Teacher Association, on the Committee of Rhodesia Society Manicaland Branch, and together with Mr. Ken Fleming was responsible for starting a Manicaland Branch of the Pioneers' Society and was the first Secretary of the Branch. He was also a member of the Umtali Rotary Club and served on the Board of the Umtali Boys' and Girls' High Schools, as well as being Chairman of the Manicaland Branch of tho Pioneers Society.

He married Elizabeth Ann, daughter of the late F.C. Zeederberg of Cape Town, cousin of Zeederborg Coach fame. He had two sons and three daughters.

BROCK, Miss Josephine :

For fifty two years a nurse in Rhodesia. In 1933 walked three hundred miles from Enkeldoorn to Beit Bridge. "If my legs would let me I'd do it again, if I thought it would help to spread the truth about Rhodesia". She was Matron to the first Hospital in Umtali, known as 'Kopje House'.


Came to Rhodesia in 1894 .as a builder and contractor. His' wife followed a year later, . He built the old Court House, and Government buildings at the time when cement cost nine pounds a barrel. He owned several houses and offices in Umtali.

CLARK, Miss E.M., B.A.; U.G.H.S, 1958 :

Born in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, and educated in Scunthorpe Grammar School. Obtained her degree at the University, Sheffield. After leaving University she taught in Hull and North London before joining the service of S.R.V. Government, Salisbury. After a term at Plumtree School, she joined the staff as Deputy Headmistress to the Umtali Girls' High School in 1957 and was appointed Headmistress on the retirement of Miss M. McLaughlin in 1959.

COLEMAN, Joseph W. :

Came to Rhodesia in 1896 by Zeederberg's passenger coach, after serving on the Post Office at Cape Town and Macloutsi (Bechuanaland). Posted to Salisbury Posts and Telegraphs Head Office in 1900. Whilst there married Miss Hunt and afterwards transferred to Gatooma as Postmaster. Family consisted of three girls and three boys. Transferred to Umtali as Postmaster in 1920 taking over from Mr. Wallster. In 1930 transferred to Bulawayo and returned again to Umtali and retired in 1936.

His son, Arthur, is well known in Umtali. For a while he was Organising Secretary to the Umtali Agricultural Society and took a prominent part in many other associations. He married Una Richards and she will always be remembered as a professional pianist who gave great pleasure to all her audiences.

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CHALONER, George :

He came to Rhodesia in 1919. Had the contrast for the first lighting and power plant for the town of Beira, also did a good deal of work for the change-over of the Rhodesia Railways from Umtali to Beira. In 1920 accepted the job of installing the first electric scheme in Umtali, the power unit consisting of two steam engines with wood burning boilers. The Mayoress, Mrs. W. J. McIntosh, officially turned on the lights on January 28th, 1922. The consulting engineer for the project was Professor Buchanan, who drew up the specifications. Umtali was the first Municipal authority to break through and specify a three phase 380 volt 50 cycle plant.

COVENTRY, Harold Newton :

Born in Natal 1882, and educated privately at Durban. Came to Rhodesia in 1900 and joined the Veterinary Department at Bulawayo, was transferred to Melsetter and Umtali, then went farming at Hawkshead near Penhalonga. Eventually he retired to live with his daughter, Mrs. T.C. Hulley, in the Vumba. Married Annie Rose Mabel Sophia Richardson in Natal in 1905. Had four daughters, Mrs. E.D Miles, Mrs. T.C. Hulley, Mrs. N.J. Brandon and Mrs. Borrodaile. Mr. Coventry's father was the eldest of four sons, and was a Justice of the Peace and Field Cornet. As a boy Mr. Coventry went through the siege of Ladysmith, and served through the Zulu Rebellion in 1906 in the Natal Carbineers.

CRIPPS, Lionel, C.M.G. :

Born in 1864, came to Rhodesia with the Pioneer Column in 1890, a trooper under Captain.Heany, and was engaged in prospecting in the Mazoe area. In response to an appeal from Colquhoun, who wanted volunteers to bolster Manicaland against the Portuguese, he set out with ten others, and Selous as a guide, for Umtali. .The one hundred and fifty mile journey took nine days and the party arrived three days after the battle of Chua Hill.

On June 4th, with the Portuguese threat diminished, the small corps was disbanded, and in November 1891 Lionel Cripps claimed his Pioneer Rights - a 4,500 acres farm 'Cloudlands' in the Vumba Mountains. At the same time he gave the name 'Castle Beacon' to the highest point on the ridge. After this he remained one year on Cloudlands in the Vumba regaining his health.

In 1892 he returned to Port Elizabeth, and eventually married Miss Lovemore in Cape Town on 6th April, the couple set out for Umtali borrowing a wagon, with a cook boy, drivers, leader and two horses.

By this time the Matabele war had broken out. On arrival in Rhodesia they camped on the Gold Belt in Penhalonga. It was here in huts that their eldest son, Lionel John was born. The babe was given little chance of survival by the doctor, but Sister Emily Hewitt remained three weeks with Mrs. Cripps and the baby survived. This child happened to be the second white child born in Manicaland.

In 1894 the Cripps family moved to the 'Park', a farm much lower than Cloudlands. Huts were built near the gum trees, which today stand at the Burma Valley turn-off. In 1895 the homestead was burnt down and everything was lost, so they moved temporarily to Old Umtali, returning to the Park only to stay a few weeks before Mr. Cannell rode out to the homestead and warned them that rebellion had broken out. Next morning preparations were made to leave.

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Mrs. Cripps described this as the most dismal and uncomfortable part of her life. It was spent in laager. After staying for a time with various friends, she and her child became ill. The doctor recommended that she return to Port Elizabeth. She did ,so, travelling by mule coach as far as Chimoyo and then by narrow gauge train to Beira. Mr. Cripps, after selling his cattle to the Imperial Government because of rinderpest (they were quickly handed over to tho butcher) followed his wife.

Their return to Rhodesia co-incided with the move to the town over the Pass, and they built themselves a wattle and daub three- roomed house on their plot (top of Allan Wilson Road), below them was Mrs. Fisher and Mr. Burnett and Major Dennison. After a year they decided to go to Cloudlands, Now they had a son to take with them and the journey took two and a half days by footpath. Because of incessant rains they did not remain there long and returned to the Park and bought the adjoining farm, "Fernhill,'' for three hundred pounds.

In 1904 Mr. Cripps was called to London for the Goldfields Company of Rhodesia. By this time they had four sons and soon after a daughter, Angela. During his absence Jack Tulloch (14 years) helped to run the farm.

In 1914 Mr. Cripps was selected M.P. for the Eastern District, and afterwards became First Speaker in the House of Assembly. His son Lionel served with the Rhodesian Forces in South West Africa and with the 2nd Rhodesia Regiment in East Africa. The other sons, being under age, ran the farm. Mr. Cripps was buried on the Vumba.

CRAVEN, Walter, M.R.C.S. (Eng) L.R.C.P. (Lond) :

Medical Officer, Beira, Mashonaland and Rhodesia Railways. Educated at St. Andrews College, Grahamstown and St. Mary's Hospital, London. Came to Rhodesia in 1896 and served through the Mashona Rebellion 1896 - 1897.

DAWSON, Gerald :

Arrived in the early days and resided in Old Umtali, was a keen polo player and was responsible for the first reunion of the Pioneer and Early Settlers of Old Umtali and Manicaland in 1920. He served on the Sanitary Board for many years and finally, when a sub-committee was formed, Mr. Dawson, Mr. P.G. Smith and Mr. Hulley were appointed to draw up a petition to the Administration asking for a Municipality.

In 1914 he became the first Mayor in Umtali and served in this capacity for three years; he continued by working as a town councillor, as well as giving substantial help in the war effort. He was fifty three years old when he died, and was greatly missed.

DAVIES, James :

Mr. Jimmy Davies, as he was known, arrived by sailing ship first at Cape Town and then on to Beira. After leaving the ship he joined the Rhodesia Railway Company, about 1897. The railway line was then being constructed between Beira and Umtali. After he arrived in Umtali Mr. Davies started mining at Toronto and like many others, lost all his money. He married Alice Johnson who came from the Cape to visit her elder sister, Elizabeth Norris. Later he bought Mr. Wilkies' Milling and Undertaking

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business in Umtali, and lived in a brick house adjoining the mill, at the corner of Fifth Street. It was there that their seven children were born, three girls and four boys. In 1932 the mill was burnt down. Fortunately by then Mr. Davies had built another house on the opposite side of the rood. As the fire had destroyed a great deal of his machinery and maize, it was found impossible for the mill to support two families, so his elder son, Jimmy, bought the farm 'Rhine' from a German who had occupied it since 1914. Mr.. Davies has lived there ever since and Mr. James Davies, his father died in 1956.

DOUGALL, Mrs. H. Mc :

President of the Women's Auxiliary of the BESL in Umtali who was given the following orders and medals - Order de la Couronne, Gore de Leopold and the Medaillo de la Reine, Elizabeth Belgian, the French Croix de Guerre, with star, the Medaille des Epidemics and the Medaille do la Societo des Secoors des Blesses Militaire from the French. She also had the Mons Star of the British Service Medal, Mrs. McDougall was the first woman to enter Bruges after the retreat of the Germans in October 1918, the first woman to enter Ghent on Armistice Day and was present at the return of the King and Queen to Brussels. The Queen of the Belgians was godmother to Mrs.. McDougall's eldest son who was taken to see her Majesty at Brussels in 1924.


Tom Dhalamani was a member of the Zulu race and was born in 1866. He was first heard of in 1889 when he was an office boy in Kimberley under Cecil Rhodes. In that year he accompanied Mr. Rudd, Thompson and Maguire to Bulawayo. He served through the campaign of 1893 and he was probably the last person on the British side to see Lobengula alive. In 1896.he took part in the engagement which resulted in the capture of Makoni. In the Boer War he was with Major Scott-Turner and Colonel Arnold. From 1915 to 1918 he served with the Rhodesian Native Regiment in East Africa.

EICKHOFF, Charles :

Was Postmaster for Umtali for seven years, In 1912 bought the newspaper and stationery business and his editorship lasted twenty two years. He relinquished, control in 1934 when the business was taken over and became The Printing & Publishing Company Limited and the old name of the Umtali Advertiser was resumed.

Mr. Eickhoff played an important part in Umtali's development. ' He was one of the first eight town councillors, was Mayor from 1917 to 1919 and was prominent in civic affairs. He retired in 1921. He was closely concerned with the improvement of educational facilities in Umtali. He championed the cause of responsible government in 1914, and after the referendum in 1924 became Umtali North's member of the first Parliament under Sir Charles Coghlan, and was appointed Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the committee.


Mr. Fairbridge and his wife Rosalie first lived in Old Umtali, then moved to the present town in 1897. Mr.. Fairbridge was a Government Surveyor and know almost every inch of the country. He was deep thinking, and he delighted to indulge in reminiscences of the

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past. He wrote many articles concerning the early history of Manicaland, such as "Fort Massi Kessi, Fort Heyman", "The Machine gun of Fort Massi Kessi", "Pioneers and Early Settlers in Umtali", etc. His family consisted of Helen, Hilda and the renowned Kingsley, who become famous for his Immigration scheme. A bronze statue of Kingsley now stands at the top of the Christmas Pass over-looking Umtali. Most of Mrs. Fairbridge's life- sixty eight years - were spent under pioneer conditions. Her honeymoon was spent in a wagon and for many years she accompanied her husband on his numerous survey trips.

FISHER, Mrs. Lily :

She once owned the whole of Umtali and sold it to Cecil Rhodes as a town site. She was an intrepid and charming soul. In the early days Mrs. Fisher had no transport and when she retired to the Vumba she used to walk into Umtali and back, a distance of forty miles return trip. She built her own home and was proficient in using firearms, and so was able to protect herself against aggressive intruders and wild animals. She was well known as 'Granny Fisher' to the whole of Umtali.

FISHER, Mr. Isidor :

Toured Rhodesia in 1904 with a London musical show as Musical Director and Conductor. Retired and lived in Strickland Lodge. He had six children and twenty six grandchildren. When the Hon. I.D. Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia, came to open the new wing of the Strickland Lodge, Isidor Fisher played the piano for the ceremony. As Mr. Smith walked up the stairs he played "He's a jolly good fellow", and Mr. Smith commended him, saying "You always play the right thing at the right time!". Mr. Fisher was proud of the fact that he was the only pianist to be appointed official pianist to Government House under four different Governors.

FLEMING, K.M., B.A. UED Umtali Boys' High School 1956 :

Born in Gwelo and educated at Plumtree School, he is related to Andrew Fleming, the first Government Medical Officer appointed in Rhodesia. After leaving school Mr. Fleming joined the civil service. He became interested in law and studied at Rhodes University College, subsequently changed to a teacher training course and qualified in 1935. His first appointment with the Southern Rhodesia Education Department was Chaplin School at Gwelo in 1936, and in 1938 he was teaching at his old school at Plumtree. In 1940 he came to Umtali and took over Tait House as Master in charge until 1951, when he was appointed Deputy Headmaster. In 1953 he became Headmaster of Fort Victoria school, in 1956 he returned to Umtali as Headmaster of Umtali Boys' High School. He retired in 1971 and received many presentations for his valuable and excellent work. On retirement, in conjunction with Mr. H. de Beer, he formed the Manicaland Branch of the Rhodesia Pioneers and Early Settlers Society in 1970.

GARNER, Mr. W., B.A. :

1907 first Principal of the Umtali High School, arrived to assume the Headship of Umtali Public School. Mr. Garner Was Irish and a good educationist and business man. Under him the school flourished and the attendance reached seventy. After the amalgamation of

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St. John's Church school and the school known as the Academy in 1909 Mr. Garner became Principal when a petition in his favour signed by all parents. He was transferred at the end of 1912.

GLEDHILL, A.D., M.A. 1947 - 1953 :
Born in Yorkshire, came to Rhodesia in 1924 and obtained a post at the Salisbury Boys1 High School, (now Prince Edward's), became Deputy Head in 1935. He became a School Inspector stationed in Bulawayo. He performed valuable work as Secretary of the National Youth Council. He was Acting Chief Inspector of Schools for a short period and was then appointed to be Headmaster, Umtali Boys' High School.

HILL, B.B., B.A., M.C., O.B.E. :

Born in Durham, England, during the first World War, served in several regiments including the Royal Tank Corps, where he received the Military Cross. He reached the rank of Captain; severely wounded in action. Came to Rhodesia in 1920, taught at Chaplin School for ten years before being promoted to the position of Principal of Umtali High School in 1931. In addition to sponsoring Child Welfare Associations he helped found Young Men's Clubs, Adult Education Centres and was a great supporter of the Old Borderers' Association. He was appointed one of the Trustees of the Southern Rhodesia State Lottery. He died on his son's farm, 'Leap Year', Marandellas in February 1964.

HARVEY,.William Egerton :

Mr. Harvey farmed cattle and ostriches in Vogelfontein in 1898, and when his cattle were wiped out by rinderpest, decided to come to Rhodesia.

He came to Rhodesia in 1898, riding transport with Archie Harvey on the way. His wife, Mrs. G.F. Harvey, in the meantime stayed with her parents, Charles and Frances Butt, South at Gorah (a seaside resort near Kenton-on-Sea) until such time as they could embark for Beira, to rejoin her husband in Umtali.

Eventually Mr. Harvey's wife and family of three arrived in Umtali, having travelled along the usual route up the Pungwe by paddle boat to Fontesville, and from there on a primitive train with open coaches and a wood burning engine, having been eaten alive with mosquitoes and held up at times when the line was under water. They were met in Umtali by Mr. Ogilvie. As soon as Mr. Egerton Harvey heard of their arrival he went to collect them. At that time the Harvey brothers were staying with Mr. and Mrs. Cripps who were then living in huts. Mrs. Harvey and her family travelled up to the Vumba in Machilas, Mrs. Harvey and Grace in one, Bill and Eva in the other, the luggage carried by porters.

Once the family had regained their strength they moved to Darlington, where they lived in pole and dagga huts. These were so wet that they had to sleep in hammocks slung from,the roof. During that period Egerton helped Jansen construct a new road over the Christmas Pass, and also went out with Mr. Hulley on one of his rounds. Egerton Harvey was then offered the job of Manager of the Charter Company farm of Springfield at Tiger Kloof, which was partly in Rhodesia and partly in Mocambique.

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The family lived in huts for two years, during which time two more children wore born. Unfortunately both these children died of malaria. When East Coast Fever broke out, Mr. Harvey joined the Veterinary Department under Major Jarvis, and later built a home near the Hospital (Kopje House). While they were living there two more children, girls, were born - Florence ahd Elaine. Mr. Harvey passed his first and second Law examinations and joined the Native Department and later transferred to the Magistrate's Office. When he retired in 1925 he and his family moved to Sunsetting, Vumba, which he had purchased from Mr. Lionel Cripps.

HEWITT, Sister Emily :

Married Herbert Blatch in Umtali at about the' same time as Sister Mary Sanders was married to Captain R» Nesbitt. She nursed in London in 1893, and after being persuaded to come to Rhodesia by Bishop Knight Bruce it took her seven and a half weeks to reach Umtali after some gruelling experiences. A great deal has already been written about her service to Manicaland so there is no need for repetition.

HODGSON, Cooper :

Pre-pioneer came to Rhodesia at the age of about twenty years from West Cumberland. Worked on the construction of the railway line. Started by setting up a business in Salisbury, and came back when he was in a position in Hodgson and van Riet, later changed to Hodgson & Myburgh. Mr. Cooper Hodgson died at the age of thirty eight. He was an outstanding personality and most popular. His death in the prime of life cast a gloom over Umtali. His son named Cooper, visited Umtali to see his father's grave and his birth place.


Arrived in Beira in 1899 after working as an accountant in Port Elizabeth; salary seven pounds ten shillings per month. News from his brother in Salisbury service offering him an appointment with Messrs. Pauling & Company, Beira at a salary of twenty five pounds. Accepted and went to Beira. Was told on arrival that no one would live more than twelve months in this dorp, so was warned to get out as soon as possible. After numerous experiences, already related, he left Beira after twelve months, after Pauling & Company completed the broad gauge line and handed it over to the Rhodesia Railways, Mr.. Holland arrived in Umtali in 1900, stayed at the Paulington Hotel. After living without vegetables for over a year he was pleasantly surprised when they appeared on the table.

He travelled to Salisbury to a show on one of the first cars to attempt such a journey. The road was once used by coaches in the early days and had not been travelled over for twenty five years! It was a gruelling experience which took two days as frequent enquiries had to be made as to whether they were on the right road. He started a business in 1911 in accountancy and auctioneering, the firm being Huxtable & Holland. Mr. Holland became Deputy Sheriff in 1951. His firm progressed rapidly and his son, Binks, succeeded him when he died.

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HOWELL, Captain Wilfrid, D.S.O., C.E. :

Chief Engineer Beira - Mashonaland Railways: served through the Boer War 1899 to 1902, was severely wounded. Queen's medal five bars. King's medal and two bars. Organised and commanded Engineers Company of the S.R.V. Member of Umtali Club and Sports Club.

HULLEY, T.B. (Tambudza) :

Like so many of Rhodesia's early settlers, Mr. Huylley was born in the Cape Province of 1820 settlers' stock. He was educated at Grey's College, Bloemfontein. He took part in more than one native scrap before trekking to the Barberton district where he held the appointment of Compound Manager on the Sheba Mine. It was here that the received the name of 'Tambudza' by which he was also known in Rhodesia.

Like most of the old hands he had a shot at mining before taking up the appointment of Native Commissioner at Mazoe in April 1895. After filling other appointments in Lomagundi, Salisbury and Melsetter he was appointed in June 1896 Native Commissioner Umtali District, which appointment he held till July 1902 when he was transferred to Inyanga. He was back in Umtali in 1903 as Native Commissioner and Assistant Magistrate, and after acting as Chief Native Commissioner for Mashonaland for six months was appointed Superintendent of Natives for Division III, comprising the district of Umtali, Melsetter and Inyanga, an appointment which he held till his retirement from the service in 1919.

A man of wide interests he filled many positions in addition to his Native Department appointments. In 1896 he was Officer Commanding the Umtali Burghers. He was for several years the local Officer Commanding the Southern Rhodesia Volunteers and no mean performer on the range. He was a member' of the Sanitary Board, the predecessor of the present Municipal Council. He was a prominent Officer of the Sporting and Turf Club," and Tennis Club. He was the first Master of the Manica Lodge of Freemasons, and had taken high degrees in the craft. Since his retirement from the service he had considerable interest in farming affairs, particularly on his farm Shigodora' where he lived from time to time, and administratively as a member of the Executive of the R.A.U., an authority on. native affairs. He served on the Board appointed to report on native areas in connection with the Land Apportionment Bill. In later years he was the first President of the Hillside Golf and Tennis Club.

Cecil Rhodes asked him and Major Scott-Turner to come to the new site of Umtali and decide on the preliminary lay-out of the town.

Mr. Hulley married Josephine Coleman, daughter of Granny Coleman known as the mother of the Pioneers, a descendant of the Moodie family. They had four sons, Frank, Cecil, Eric and Tom, Frank followed in his father's footsteps and joined the Southern Rhodesia Native Department and on his retirement as Provincial Native Commissioner for the Midlands, received the Imperial Service Order in the 1948 Birthday Honours. He was an officer in the 2nd Native Regiment and served in East Africa. Cecil served in the first World War with the 2nd Rhodesian Regiment and then with the 2nd Rhodesia Native Regiment, and was a full time Police Reservist in the Second World War. Eric went overseas and was one of the first Rhodesians to join

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the Flying Corps, After the war he joined the Native Department. Tom, too young to go to the First World War, continued his studies ' at school and later farmed on the family farm 'Shigadora'. Herewith a comment from Sir Robert Tredgold: "Tambudza Hulley "Who gave a long service in the Native Department, ended with a rank equivalent to the modern Provincial Commissioner. It was largely due to his personal influence that the Rebellion in the Eastern Districts assumed such limited proportions."


Walked up from Beira with Count Rezende in 1888, and they discovered the Rezende Mine in 1838 and the Penhalonga. Mine called after Count Penhalonga. They were the first white people to enter this part of the country.

Jefferys was appointed to arrange and lead an expedition into Manicaland, and visited Chief Umtasa after arrival. He afterwards became a Mayor of Umtali. His two sons served with distinction during the First World War.

KENNY, J.P.. Edward Thomas Milborough :

Came to Rhodesia in 1891 at the age of seventeen. He joined the Mashonaland Mounted Police, was a fluent linguist, was appointed interpreter to Magistrates and to High Court in March 1895. He served in the Matabele Rebellion, was mentioned in dispatches for bravery. Mr. Kenny was the Registrar, of Natives in Salisbury in 1896, Inspector of Natives north Mazoe 1898, acting Native Commissioner Gutu, 1915. He was also the Native Commissioner at Chipinga from1920 to 1922.

Mr. Kenny was an authority on native customs, and was placed second in a country-wide competition in-which all interested persons submitted papers on the customs. One of the nicknames bestowed on him by the Africans was the 'arrow thrower'. When a case is held in the Chief's Council, evidence is given and all persons present may speak or ask questions. Eventually the Chief assesses the majority opinion as to who is the guilty party, his arrow thrower then throws
the spear into the ground in front of the person judged to be guilty. The nickname was given to Mr, Kenny as he was said by the people to be unerring in his judgement.

He married the youngest daughter of Mrs. Marriott, had five children - Noel, Edgar, Gordon, Henry and Edith. Mr. Kenny died in 1925. His daughter Edith is married to Mr. Robert Cunliffe, the present Provincial Commissioner for Manicaland.

LARK, Major F.R., J.P. :

Major Lark was born in Australia in 1881, and was educated at Malvern College at the time that Lord Malvern was also a pupil. In 1902 he joined the Cape Mounted Rifles, and afterwards when he came to Rhodesia, joined the B.S.A. Police. In 1920 Major Ingham took command in Umtali district and F.R. Lark assisted him as Lieutenant. In 1921 he became District Commander of Melsetter District and was promoted to Captain, and finally before retirement became a Major. Major Lark served in the Second World War and was Commandant of an Italian Camp.

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After retirement in 1921 he started the. first taxi service in Umtali with O.T. Baker and delivered the mail to Penhalonga. On one occasion he had to go to the aid of Dr. Jackson. On the return journey the car's gears went wrong, and so he was obliged to reverse practically all the way back from Melsetter. Major Lark was proud of the fact that he was able to cross the Sabi under his own steam. He managed this by deflating his tyres!

Major Lark was a keen sportsman, and was one of the founder members of the Hillside Golf Club, and President of the Rugby Board in 1921. He was chosen to compete in the first Zambezi regatta in 1910 representing Rhodesia as one of the crew of four, competing with Cape Town and East London. The Rhodesian crew were originally G. Parson (later Commander of the Rhodesian Forces), F.R. Lark, H. Plumb and W. Hancock (Post and Telegraphs staff). The latter unfortunately was accused of being a professional cyclist and because of this, ruled out. A B.S.A. Policeman who had not done much rowing and lacked training was hurriedly sent to replace him and because of this the crew failed. However, in the pairs competition Parson and Lark lost only by six inches.

LIVINGSTONE, M.A., M.C. UBH - 1929 :

During the First World War he was awarded the Military Cross and was seriously wounded at Gallipoli. After a brief period of service in the Colonial Office, London, he came to Rhodesia as Second Master, Milton School, Bulawayo. In March 1922 he was appointed Headmaster, Umtali High School. He left in 1929 and was transferred to Milton Senior School 1929, and died in March 1967.

LONGDEN, William Matthias (Red Buffalo) :

Born in 1863 in South Africa and after a career as a bank clerk, fought in the Basuto War, met Kruger and had a spell in Barberton. Recruited labour for mines in the early days beyond the Limpopo when it was Gungunyana's territory. Rhodes afterwards asked him to go to Gungunyana's and remain there until recalled to try and obtain a concession. Longden went with Doyle and Harrison (trooper of the B.S.A. Police). He remained alongside Gungunyana's kraal for three months before receiving orders to return. In 1892 and again two years after this, Rhodes sent him again to Gungunyana's kraal with a subsidy to the old King, and he eventually arrived safely after an arduous trip. At the end of the Matabele War in which he served, he was sent to Melsetter, as the first Magistrate to the district, then he met the other trekkers who were led by Tom Moodie and those who followed on. In 1895 there was trouble between Rhodesia and Portuguese East Africa. Longden served with the Boundary Commission and it was finally agreed that the peaks of the Chimanimani mountain should mark the boundary. In return for his services he was granted twenty acres on which he built a residence. In 1903 he married Mary Donne, an American girl and lived to the age of 87 years.

METHUEN, Colonel J.A. :

Known as the grand old man of the Castle, a castle which he and his brother built, still standing on a kopje beside Methuen Road, an impressive building. He lived in Umtali from 1902 to 1960. The castle was guarded by field guns that were brought up by the Pioneer Column. There was a flag staff which flew appropriate flags on

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national days and for distinguished visitors, both foreign and local. As a senior officer on the Western Front in the First World War he gave every assistance to his Chaplain, the well known Tubby Clayton of Toe H fame. When the Post Office officials received a letter addressed to 'Father. Christmas', the/wrote across it and reposted it 'Try Colonel Methuen!

At one time Godfrey Huggins came to see him and he thought it fitting to hoist the Jolly Roger. This caused some concern to the population of Umtali when the menacing flag waved from the castle mast, and one woman hastened to the Charge Office to report the matter. "There is someone flying the Skull and Crossbones", she complained bitterly. "Tell him to remove it," "If you think we are going up there" remonstrated the police "to make a complaint to old Methuen, you are making the mistake of your life, just forget about it". Flags were not the only thing he collected. His study could easily be mistaken for an Armoury. On the floor and hanging from the walls was everything from a Roman Gladiator's sword to a Japanese machine gun. He had been collecting weapons ever since the First World War, when he spent a year In the front line and was severely wounded. "It is the safest place to be in when a war is on" he said with his usual humour.

Probably the most gruesome thing in the castle was a skull on a high shelf above the Colonel's favourite chair. He laughed when asked why it was there. "It's a trick I use to discover dishonest people on my staff. When something is missing I get them all in here and ask the thief to own up. I've fixed a thread to the skull. When this is pulled the skull turns round to look into the room. It never fails. I can always tell the thief just by watching his face." "Talking about Native superstitions, do you know the castle is haunted?' Well, it is. The evil spirits come out every night. We all have some" This was a favourite joke of his.

MILES, Miss Z (later Mrs. Dick Tulloch) :

Accompanied by her brother* arrived in Old Umtali December 1895, via Beira, a very arduous journey in the early days. News in the hamlet spread when it was realised she was a teacher, and she was approached by parents. Subsequently the first school was started in a meagre pole and dagga hut in 1896. Miss Miles thought it large enough for a number of pupils on hand but not in the best state of preservation. A few tables and packing cases were provided by parents and well-wishers; a small map was attached to the wall and two foot square window was covered with a piece of calico. A Union Jack was stuck into the thatch near the ill fitting door. The parents contributed, some old text books and two slates. A homemade blackboard completed the equipment. Exercise books had to be made from trimmings left over from the Rhodesia Advertiser, better known as the Umtali Post.

The school was situated near the laager, and as the Mashona Rebellion was in progress at the time, a racket was to be prepared to 'warn local inhabitants to make a hasty exit to the laager. There were seven or eight pupils.

Miss Miles moved to New Umtali in 1897 when the High Commissioner Sir Alfred Milner, gave her a grant for tables and chairs and the Government made available a wood and iron office moved from the old site. This was erected near Kopje House which was then the hospital

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and the pupils numbered twenty seven. Born in Forest Hill, London, Mrs Tulloch died a grand old lady in Bulawayo in the forties. After her departure Mrs. Player Miles took over from her and taught the children until late 1898 when the American Methodist Episcopal Church opened a school which replaced that of Miss Miles.

McIntosh, W.J. :

Mayor of Umtali from 1921 to 1922. Was in partnership with Falla, hence the firm was known as McIntosh and Falla. The firm was renowned for the building of wagons and carts, the finest produced in Rhodesia. The wood and iron was shaped in the factory, including the wheels. The stream at the foot of what is now Victory Avenue was called "Blacksmiths' Spruit' and from it McIntosh collected all the water he needed in buckets. This was a great help to him when the iron rims on the wheels needed shrinking. He also undertook shoeing the Government S.R.V. horses.

MCLAUGHLIN, Miss M. B.Sc. UGHS 1954 - 1958 :

Was born in Upington, Lanarkshire, and was educated at Lawside Convent High School, Dundee and Glasgow University from where she graduated in 1923. She joined the Southern Rhodesia Education Department in 1935 and was first appointed to the staff of the Girls' High School, Salisbury. In 1938 she moved to Eveline School, Bulawayo where she taught until 1953.: In 1953 she moved to Umtali where she was was associated with A.D. Gledhill as Headmistress elect in establishing Boys' and Girls' High Schools. Miss McLaughlin became Principal of the Umtali Girls' High School in 1954 and retired in 1958.

MEIKLE, John :
Mr. Meikle was born in Natal, came to Rhodesia in 1892, shortly after the entry of the Pioneer Column. He served in the Fort Victoria Defence Force during the Matabele War. He witnessed the Matabele invasion of Fort Victoria at the time when there were only thirty Europeans in the town, plus hundreds of Mashonas taking refuge there, when twenty indunas headed by Lobengula's favourite General requested that the Mashonas be handed over to be slaughtered. Mr. Meikle acted as interpreter for the Civil Commissioner. The Matabele were informed that no steps wpuld be taken until Dr. Jameson was informed. As he was in Salisbury they would have to await his arrival. Mr. Meikle stated that while they were awaiting the arrival of Dr. Jameson, the Matabele burnt down all the Mashona huts and their granaries. An indaba was held with the Indunas on Jameson's arrival and he was very firm in his attitude, giving the Matabele an hour to remove themselves across the Shashi river. The Matabele took up a position two miles away and were undecided what steps to take. The allotted time allowed to them to depart expired and the Europeans plus outsiders who had been recalled, decided to attack. Sixty mounted men made their way to the hordes of Matabele and then the order was given to charge. Nearing the Matabele they dismounted and started firing. The battle was on, but very soon the Matabele broke away and started running, and the Europeans lost a few men in the action but the Matabele suffered heavy casualties.

However, when the gallant army returned home the Mashonas greeted them with enthusiasm for having saved their lives.

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After this Mr. Jack Meikle was in partnership with his two brothers, Thomas and Stewart, in their successful business in Fort Victoria. In 1892 he came to Umtali (Old) and continued trading and opened up a store. Before moving to New Umtali all goods had to be transferred by ox wagon, mainly from Fort Victoria via Salisbury. This caused considerable delay and the cost of goods was exorbitant. Mr. Meikle was well rewarded for his determination to succeed. Whilst in New Umtali the railway arrived and his business prospered.

Mr. Meikle took great interest in tho activities of the new township, and was one of those responsible for erecting the Pioneer Memorial by transporting a large granite slab drawn to the position where it now stands. He was also one of the founders of the Tramway Company and at one time was Mayor of Umtali. He dabbled in mining, much to his sorrow. When he withdrew from business he started farming seriously on his farm, 'Mountain Home', where he began afforestation on a commercial scale. He was fortunate as he found bauxite on the farm, the only known economic deposit in Manicaland.

Mr. Meikle died on 19th June, 194.9. His contribution to the progress of Manicaland was memorable.

MYBURGH, Francis Rudolph, M.L.C., J.P. :

Deputy Sheriff, Umtali. Solicitor and-Notary; 20th July 1871 at Cape Town. Came to Rhodesia in 1897. South African Internationist 1896. Address was Myburgh & Campbell, Umtali. His father Rudolph Myburgh was a partner in the firm Myburgh & Company, Umtali.


Came to Rhodesia from the Orange Free State, first settling in Melsetter, farming and trading. Owing to severe cattle diseases came to Umtali in 1896, took over the transport, forwarding and clearing business from Hodgson & van Riet and then formed the firm known as Hodgson & Myburgh. Eventually he owned the E.H.C.C., and was the Chairman of the Eastern Milling Company, Mr. Myburgh was capable of dealing with tractors, therefore undertook the transportation of timber to the Rezende mine. This was done by a tractor, steam engine, and crossing the Christmas Pass was a great achievement. He was a member of the Town Council and at one time Deputy Mayor and took a keen interest in the development of the town and district.


Of the famous Moodie trek from Bethlehem to Melsetter in 1892. Melsetter being called after the village Melster in the Orkney Islands. Ben Moodie came to Rhodesia in 1883 on a short trip, after becoming a trusted friend of Lobengula who presented him with twelve slaves. In 1888 he made another hunting trip to this country and came into the district known as Melsetter. He met Cecil Rhodes in Kimberley in 1892.

NIEKERK, Mrs. van :

Came to Rhodesia in 1892 with a baby of eight months old, and a girl aged five years. Arrived at Charter and bought the farm 'Blackwoods'. From there, because of the unrest in Matabeleland, went to Salisbury and then on to Old Umtali. Dr. Jim persuaded them to come on to the Inyanga district. They travelled over the mountains and rivers, no roads or tracks. After climbing the rough

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hills they found it a tedious journey. One afternoon when they reached half way up the forty mile hill, fog came down and they could go no further and had to place stones at the back wheel's of the wagon, afraid of it going back to. the bottom, whilst they tried to sleep in a hut. They had only one old Native to help them, and not knowing the language they could not understand each other, at last they : reached a certain spot and Mrs. van Niekerk said "Not a foot further do we go". They had many adventures before settling down and eventually the family lived there for sixty years.

She described her quiet life with her family of eight children. When Mr. Rhodes came up on his first visit he found his cottage without doors and windows. This was soon rectified and he was very happy and loved Inyanga. He was provided with horses and he rode over the veld every day with Jack Grimmer and often used to spend the morning with the van Niekerk family, describing his schemes and plans for Inyanga, During the 1896 rebellion the family had to go to Umtali as all the men were needed.

After the rebellion Mr. van Niekerk was sent around the district on reconnaissance, He managed to get through the rough country, reached Inyanga and selected a site for the Police Camp, leaving a number of men to build huts etc. On completion about twenty five men were stationed there. Mrs. van Niekerk's five grandsons were in the Second World War and she and her daughters went nursing. "I did my duty to Rhodes and feel very happy about it" were her final words.

NORRIS, John :

Born within a stone's throw of Rhodes birth place, John Norris had to seek his own living at the age of twelve years. Four years later he enlisted in the Inneskilling Dragoons and was drafted to South Africa, arriving in December 1884. He first met Rhodes in 1885. Five years later, after obtaining his discharge, he met Rhodes again and was offered a position - to accompany him with the Pioneer Column to Rhodesia.

Other things intervened. Rhodes became Prime Minister of the Cape and he retained Norris on his staff. He remained at Groote Schuur till October 1896 when he was sent to inyanga to manage the . Rhodes Estates. He remained at Inyanga for four or five years and in 1907 began farming close to Umtali. There he built up a fine dairy farm before he died.

Another link in the chain connecting the Colony with Cecil Rhodes was severed. But Mr. Norris in his own right had no, need of any reflected glory from his association with the founder. He loved Rhodesia in a way which few men can aspire to and he was the last person to try and make any profit out of his position. Indeed, biographies of Rhodes have done scant justice to Mr. Norris, but he was never the man to worry about that. Sir James McDonald makes some reference to him in his first book. Following news of the Jameson Raid, Rhodes had a severe heart attack.. Unknown at the time to Rhodes himself, Norris and Tony, with two Native servants, kept his life going by their skilful attention.

A wide knowledge of mankind had given Mr. Norris a critical yet happy outlook on life. Not only had Rhodes, who did not make many mistakes in the men he picked, sent him to Inyanga to look after his farm there, but also took him to Turkey to select Angora goats.

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Mr. Norris was much more than a valet, he was a trusted associate who never failed. He brought the same honesty to his dealings with all men, and to all the ups and downs of life. The Colony he loved so well was very much poorer for his death. He had six children, three were born at Groote Schuur, one at Rhodes Estate, one at his farm 'Placefell' in Inyanga and one in Umtali. John Norris contributed considerably to the building of Manicaland, and his passing was much regretted among the old hands who loved him deeply.


He knew Cecil Rhodes well, Arrived in Cape Town in 1895 and worked for Cecil Rhodes for six and a half years at Groote Schuur and was at his house when the news of the Jameson Raid came through. Working for Rhodes brought him into close personal contact with him. He remembered that there were two staircases in Groote Schuur. If there was someone Rhodes did not want to see he, was always able to escape by the other stairs and the visitor was told that he was out.

Mr. Norris left Groote Schuur in 1902 just before Rhodes' death. Worked in Kimberley but as there was a big diamond depression he came to Rhodesia. He was a carpenter on the construction of the Rezende Mine at Penhalonga in 1920. He came to Umtali and began his own firm of builders and contractors. He remembered the postal service to Penhalonga in those days. This was carried by Kingston Brothers who ran a Cape cart once a day between Penhalonga and Umtali, and when this was replaced by a car the car had to be pushed up the Pass.

OGILVIE, Hollings :

Mining Commissioner. Came from Grahamstown and was educated at St. Andrew's College. He had one child, Patricia. He was Claim Inspector 1890, Acting Mining Commissioner in 1897 and Mining Commissioner in 1898. His hobby was farming.

PALMER, Estcourt Raymond Buller :

Mr. Estcourt Palmer, a prominent Umtali farmer, son of an 1890 Pioneer, life Vice-President and Trustee of the Manicaland Agricultural Society, Director and member of numerous boards. Mr. Palmer was born in Umtali in 1900 and was educated here. He was the son of Mr. James Albert Palmer, who came to Rhodesia with the B.S.A. Police.

In 1916 Mr. Palmer went to England and enlisted in the King's Royal Rifles. (60th Rifles) at the age of sixteen. He served in France during the First World War and was a Major in the West African Frontier Force during the Second World War. After the war in 1919 he started farming at Ferndale (then known as Barrydale).

Mr. Palmer served on the committee of the Manicaland Agricultural Society from 1924 and later became life Vice-President and Trustee. In 1928 he married his wife, Grace, a daughter of another 1890 Pioneer, Mr. John Crawford. In the same year he captained Manicaland at rugby; he also represented Mashonaland at rifle shooting and shot for Rhodesia against the Americans at Bisley in France in 1917.

Mr. Palmer was an original member of the Umtali-Odzi Road Council and a bridge over the Odzani River was named after him. He was also a past Chairman of the Umtali and District Farmers Association and attended meetings until he died. He was a former

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President of the Umtali. Branch of the British Empire Service League and was a member of the Police Reserve. Mr. Palmer was awarded the O.B.E. and the I.C.D. He had two daughters, two sons and eleven grandchildren.

PALMER, James Albert :

His many medals proved that in numerous campaigns he had played a notable part. He served with the Pioneer Column, was wounded in the Jameson Raid, fought in the Rebellion, Boer War and the Great War, and was one of the best horse masters at the time in the country. His three grown-up sons and his daughters are a credit to the country. Mrs. Palmer was also an Early Settler. His son, Estcourt, distinguished himself in two World Wars. Much has already been written about Mr. Palmer in this book.

POWYS-JONES, Llewelyn :

Civil Commissioner and Magistrate, Umtali. Came to Rhodesia in 1897; transferred to Rhodesian Civil Service from Albany in 1896 as Magistrate; Bulawayo in 1897; Civil Commissioner and Magistrate in Umtali, 1906.

ROBINSON, Major, D.S.O. :

Was appointed to the service of the Southern Rhodesia Government in 1895 and travelled by Zeederberg's. coach to Salisbury from Mafeking, being drawn by oxen owing to horse sickness. During the 1896 Rebellion remained in laager at Salisbury. Then after it was over, transferred to Umtali as he put it "a little village situated near the Portuguese border". Here he spent three most pleasant years under the late Lieutenant Colonel Scott-Turner. He worked in the Magistrate's Department. When his chief went down with enteric fever he took over and had some interesting cases.

One man, a Mr. Adams, known as 'Rory of the Hills', came before him again and again for being drunk and disorderly, but all the sentences he got did not reform him. Another well known old hand was Maori Brown. He was a great source of interest at the hotel where he told exciting stories of bygone days. He got the nickname when he fought against Maoris in New Zealand. There was a famous civil case in Umtali which aroused a great deal of interest and amusement. A Mr. Warwick was persuaded to have himself nominated to Parliament. His style of oratory was peculiar to say the least. He was holding forth at a meeting at, the Cecil Hotel when someone poured oil over him and tucked a feather on his head. A civil case followed after some amusing disclosures. Mr. Warwick withdrew his case. As his suit had been ruined, the hat was passed round and a new one obtained.

Many amusing anecdotes wore told about the late Cecil John Rhodes. On his periodic visits to Manicaland he was pestered with complaints. One day when he was having breakfast in the open, two men came forward and grumbled about making no headway in Rhodesia, Mr. Rhodes turned to his secretary and said, "Pay these men sufficient money to take them to Beira. Go" he ordered. "We do not want men without guts in this country". Another time a man by the name of Furling asked Mr. Rhodes to give him a farm. "What experience have you had?" he asked. Mr. Furling replied "None, but I see a chance of making a success",. "If I give you a farm how would you

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start?" enquired Mr. Rhodes. "I have a plough", was the answer. Mr. Rhodes then said, "Go away, Furling, go and play". In 1899 the Anglo-Boer war started and Major Robinson received a telegram from his Chief, Colonel Scott-Turner, who was stationed at that time in Kimberley, stating "application has today been made by the Military Authorities to Rhodesia for your service in a military capacity. If permission is granted come at once, (if not granted also come)". The permission was granted, so Major Robinson's sojourn in Rhodesia came to an end.


After giving a false age ho came to South Africa with the first Cape Mounted Rifles. He came to Rhodesia with the British South African Company as opposed to the B.S.A. Police. Mr. Sargent was in Salisbury for several years. Eventually he became Public Prosecutor and retired as Sub-Inspector in the B.S.A. Police.

At that time the Police Station was a triangular shaped building situated in the same place as it is now. There were a few cells on one side and a flag post in the middle. A large baboon was left tied up to the other flag pole. During the afternoon the baboon protested as it was time for his drink. The Constable went out with a bottle and gave him what he required, a strong drink, which quietened him down considerably.

The Native Constables were armed against lions. Mr. Sargent described the Christmas Pass road as straight up and straight down again on the opposite side, whichever way you were travelling. He also remembered how Bobby Burns, owner of the Christmas Pass Hotel, on hearing the whip.of the driver of a wagon coming up the steep mountain, would ring a ship's bell. This was to summon the Africans to fetch an extra span of oxen to help the wagon out of its difficulties!

SELOUS, Frederick Courtnney :

Left England for South Africa on 20th July, 1871, Member of the Zoological Society - made a living by elephant hunting, travelling continually all over South and Central Africa, also collecting specimens of natural history. In 1890 took service under the British South Africa Company, and acted as guide to the Pioneer Expedition to Mashonaland. He wrote several books; his recreations were football and bird nesting when young, then hunting, big game shooting, poetry, cricket, collecting specimens of natural history. Died in the Second World War whilst scouting for the 2nd Rhodesia Regiment.


Siyahamba was of the Ndebele Tribe. Being a wagon driver he was able to help the Pioneers with transport when they came to the country in 1890. He was also a driver to Cecil Rhodes at one time. He came to Old Umtali in 1891, during the time Selous was surveying the road from Fort Salisbury to Fort Umtali. He remained in Umtali, and helped with the removal of old houses to the new site.

His son, E. Siyahamba, was born in New Umtali and worked for Mr. van Zyl, Mr. Barry, Mr. Martin, the Premier Estate and with the construction of the Odzani furrow. He recalls how the Africans had a premonition before the country was occupied, that strangers would one day arrive and occupy Mashonaland and rule the country justly

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and well, and save them from the hands of tyrants who were destroying the country and starving them out. So certain were they that it would come about that they went about singing a little ditty that when that time arrived they would be free from slavery, and live again. This freedom actually did take place, and the people have been led into peace and constructive living.

SNODGRASS, Major Robert Graham :
Officer Commanding Umtali District, S.R.V. Came to Rhodesia in 1890. Built first brick building in Salisbury and Umtali. Introduced first race horses into Mashonaland, Served as Lieutenant in the Matabele war 1890. Captain Salisbury Garrison in the Mashonaland Rebellion 1896-7. Brought dispatches from Bulawayo to Salisbury 1893, Hobbies - Volunteers and sport. Breeder of sheep and horses; late member of the Sanitary Board, Umtali. Chief of Caledonian Society, Umtali District. Partner with Alfred Anderson as Anderson & Snodgrass working the Kent Reef, Sambi Reef, King's Daughter and Liverpool

SOFFE, Andrew Cunningham, C.B.E. :

Son of an English Chemist, was born in Malmesbury, South Africa in 1894. After the death of his parents his early years were spent in the Marsh Memorial Homes, Cape Town. He came to Rhodesia in 1913, served with the First Rhodesia Regiment and Northern Border Column and was twice mentioned in despatches in World War 1.

After over thirty years in commerce he took up farming and forestry. He started forestry in. a small way in 1925 and was Chairman of Border Forests Limited with forestry estates north of Penhalonga, Melsetter and Mocambique. Gardening was his hobby and he acquired plants from many parts of the world for his garden at Quinta da Fronteira in Mocambique this garden was subsequently donated to the then Portuguese Government who renamed it "Andrew Cunningham Soffe Nacional Perque".

One of the earliest pioneers in regional planning was undoubtedly Mr. Soffe to whose reading, enterprise and ideas, the plans for development of the Eastern Districts can be attributed. He thought largely, got beyond the parochial view, and the organisation "The Eastern Districts Regional Development and Publicity Association" was a model for other districts. Believing Rhodesia's future was bound up with its heritage of soil and water, he studied America's Mr. David E. Lilienthal's Tennessee Valley 'Authority, and was largely responsible for persuading the Government to investigate the Sabi/Lundi survey.

He served on the Natural Resources Board and pressed for National Parks in Rhodesia; he was the first Chairman of the Parks Committee which sponsored the Chimanimani National Park in Melsetter. His other public interests included work on the Industrial Development Commission, Umtali Agricultural Society, Automobile Association, National War Fund 1939/45, Red Cross and Toe H. He was Chairman of the Umtali Schools Advisory Council for seventeen years and the Umtali Boys' High School's new hostel which was opened in 1973, is named "Soffe House". He was awarded the C.B.E. by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth in 1954 for his public service.

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He served as Chairman or Director of many companies including The Thomas Meikie Trust and Investment Company Limited, Rhodesia Tea Estates Limited, Umtali Board and Paper Mills Limited, Rhodesian Wattle Company Limited, Central Africa Building Society (Umtali Branch), The Timber & Wattle Growers Association and others.

Mr. Soffe died in 1965 leaving a widow and three sons and a daughter by his first marriage.

STRICKLAND, Arthur and -Jeannie :

Trekked up from Greytown, Natal, to Rhodesia in 1896 with his wife Jeannie (born Meikle). They settled first in the Charter District then came to Penhalonga. Here they bought the beautiful farm 'Inodzi' from Mr. Cockerel!, and it was a common saying that 'He was the best farmer in the district and his wife the second. Whatever they touched prospered due to the skilful management and very had work. Inodzi was renowned for its hospitality to all. Lord and Lady Malvern, then Sir Godfrey and Lady Huggins, sometimes spent peaceful days there. His daughter, Thelma married Mr. Ian Wilson who became the first Speaker in the House of Assembly, and his only son, Newby, died in an accident whilst rounding up a leopard. The Stricklands made a great contribution to Manicaland when they bequeathed everything they possessed to Strickland Lodge, a haven for the aged.


Mr. Sutherland, M.A., F.G.S., F.R.M.C., U.P.C., Headmaster Umtali Public School 1913 - 1921. He was a distinguished scholar and an experienced teacher. He was an Honours Graduate in Mathematics and Science, a prizeman of his University in Classics and English. He had been elected a Fellow of the Geological Society as well as a Fellow of the Meteorological Society. He arrived at. Umtali in 1913 after his resignation from the Government Service (British South Africa Company). He died in 1942.

TAYLOR, Frederick John :

Came to Rhodesia via Beira 1901. Worked for the firm of Meikles in Umtali for many years, when Mr. J. Meikle was managing his own affairs, at the time Mr. Bennett was his assistant.

Mr. Fred Taylor, as he was known, became engaged to Miss Helen Mamie in 1904. When she arrived in Beira he met her there and brought her back to Umtali. They were married in the American Episcopal Methodist Church in Umtali by Mr. Bennett, the minister at that time. They started their honeymoon which was a trip to Melsetter by donkey cart, which took about ten days. On arrival, Fred Taylor became manager of Meikles and they remained there for three years.

After that he went into partnership with Frank Lapham, and they took over the farm 'Cornucopia' at Rusape. The venture was not a success. East Coast Fever was rife and had practically wiped out all their cattle. As oxen were essential for ploughing this was disastrous. Fortunately game was plentiful, and Mr. Taylor, being a good sportsman, was able to supply venison whenever necessary. Leopards were also a menace, not only were they partial to dog meat but also to poultry. Dogs had to be indoors before sunset. Mr. and Mrs. Taylor were awakened one night by a commotion outside their

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bedroom window. It happened to be a bright moonlight night, and when Mrs. Taylor looked through the window there before the fowl house lay a contented leopard, with feathers strewn all around. The leopard, having eaten his fill, lay reclining, his forearm under the fowl house door, reaching out lazily to grab another bird as they frantically tried to evade his paw.

Three years after attempting farming, Mr. Fred Taylor returned to Umtali and rejoined Meikles as manager when the store was located near the railway station. In 1923 he purchased Findlays Store and went into partnership with J. Nisbet, and the firm was known as Taylor & Nisbet Limited, shortened to 'T & N' by all who knew it. About this time Mr. Taylor bought what was then known as Manchester Farm on the Vumba and later changed the name to Manchester Park Gardens, now Vumba National Park. Mr. Fred Taylor bequeathed this beautiful garden to the Nation and it is now a well known tourist attraction.

TAWSE-JOLLIE, Mrs. Ethel :

A fluent and persuasive speaker, married Archibald Ross Colquhoun in 1900, the first B.S.A. Company Administrator of Mashonaland and visited Rhodesia with him in 1904. After Colquhoun's death in 1914 she flung herself into war work and shortly afterwards married Tawse-Jollie and lived on a farm in the Melsetter-Chipinga District. Was organising Secretary for the Responsible Government Association as well as many other Associations. In 1920 she waselected first woman member of the Legislative Council for the Eastern Districts.

During the period of 1921-22 the Responsible Government was an important issue, and she worked hard towards it as union with the Union of South Africa was not then acceptable and the election of 1924 confirmed her constituents' faith in her. She was returned to the newly established Legislative Assembly as Junior Member for Umtali. Mrs. Tawse-Jollie was defeated when she stood as Rhodesian Party candidate for Selukwe, by Robert Gilchrist of the Reform Party. She was awarded the 0.B.E. in recognition of her services as she was the first woman, in the then British Empire, to enter Parliament.

TULIP, Jack :

Jack Tulip arrived in Umtali during 1914, having come from England where he was born. He was employed on the Rhodesia Railways as a Boiler Maker. Later, in 1920, he returned to England to bring his wife and two daughters to join him, Worked on various gold mines before settling in Umtali in 1926 where he continued to work on the railways. His favourite leisure time was spent fishing or hunting. Also played the^flute in the local band which performed in Umtali

TULLOCH, Alexander (Sandy) :

Pioneer, born 1859 in Perth, Scotland, went to sea at the age of fourteen and joined the Pioneer Corps in 1890. Afterwards started prospecting, being one of the first to trek to Manicaland where he remained for the rest of his life.

He served in the B.S.A. Police at Macequece, and was in the Horse Volunteers 1896 and served during the Mashona Rebellion 1896. His son, Alistair, was the first white child to be born in Mashonaland and received a special land grant from Rhodes.

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TULLOCH, Mrs. Z.M. :

Came to Manicaland in 1895; was in the Rebellion 1896. She opened the first school in Old Umtali with twelve pupils, in a grass hut. Did excellent work and was a very notable Rhodesian.

WHITEHEAD, Sir Edgar Cuthbert Freemantle :

Came to Rhodesia from England in 1928. He entered Government service at Gwelo and later came to Umtali and bought a farm on the Vumba, which he developed, and of which he was very proud. He became a leading figure in the farming community.

In 1939 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly. He supported Godfrey Huggins. He served in the Second World War and was awarded the O.B.E. After being High Commissioner in London from 1945 to 1946 he returned to Rhodesia and was re-elected to Parliament. Finally he took part in negotiations for the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in 1957. He became Leader of the United Federal Party in 1958 and finally became Prime Minister.

He always took a great interest in Umtali and its affairs, and performed the official opening of the Umtali Civic Centre on the 7th June, 1960.

During the visit of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret to the Vumba in 1950 he showed his royal guests over his farm. When arriving at the unkept homestead, made the excuse that he was unable to allow them in because a swarm of bees had taken possession of it!

Sir Edgar returned to England in 1971 where ho died.

WIBBERLEY, Frederick Charles :

District Traffic Superintendent df Rhodesia Railways. Came to the Colony in 1901. Was also member of the British Association for the advancement of Science. Was the Manager of Railways in Rhodesia, and resided in Umtali for a few years before the Railway Headquarters were transferred to Bulawayo.


Came to Rhodesia in 1892 by the overland road, and left by the East Coast footpath. -Afterwards returned to Umtali to make a home for his family as he reckoned this district the 'pick.' of the whole of South Africa. When working on the mines in Penhalonga in 1892 he published (in connection with Messrs. Tom Dayne and R,S. Fairbridge) a detailed 'Map of the Manika Gold Belt' showing the mines and farms around Umtali (now Old Umtali), and also the three historic forts, Fort Umtali, Fort Massi-Kessi and Fort Hayman.

ZEEDERBERG, Christiaan Hendrick (Doel) :

Mr. Zeederberg, of Swedish descent, was born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa in I860. He was the youngest of four brothers. He was an astute businessman whose remarkable qualities stood him in good stead, and were much appreciated by Cecil Rhodes.

Aided by his three brothers, in 1891 he began his first coach service, and in 1891 Rhodes asked him to consider a road service between Pietersburg and Fort Salisbury. He accepted the offer and immediately started to construct a road. This road was completed in

Page 111

four months. He also became responsible for tho coach service in Mashonaland, and later Matabeleland. This covered the greater part of Rhodesia.

During the Anglo-Boer War 1900 Zeederberg convoyed thousands of troops through Rhodesia. In 1900 Rhodes made a coach journey from Salisbury to Umtali and was driven by Zeederberg himself.

The days of coach travel lasted until the coming of the railway.

In the early days Zeederberg's coaches wore renowned all over Rhodesia, especially as they were drawn by mules. They were a Godsend during tho rinderpest and East Coast Fever periods; one could always rely on tho coach reaching its destination, in spite of delays caused by rough roads and swollen rivers. To give one illustration of hazards to be overcome when travelling in such conditions, let us go along with Mrs. Fletcher who was travelling by Zeederberg coach to Rhodesia.

"I thought it was so picturesque, for a start, watching the long team of mules - but imagine sitting upright for nearly a week, day and night, with a child in your arms, and one beside you, bumping through kloof and stream, through storms and swollen rivers. One night in a storm the coach had to negotiate a road which was badly washed out. The passengers alighted and stumbled through boulders and bush, keeping the coach in sight only when lightning flashed. Once in the middle of the night, the coach got stuck in a bog. Rain was falling but the driver came to the window and ordered the passengers to climb out".

She tells how she and her two children lay down beside a fire, which the Africans tried to keep alight, until the coach was extracted. Then she had to change the children into dry clothes within the narrow confines of the coach. Nine travellers were boxed in a space big enough for four; the less fortunate were balanced outside among the mail bags heaped precariously on the roof.

Upsets were also common, although that seems to have been the only hazard which Mrs. Fletcher escaped. A French woman has described one of these upsets when the coach hit a boulder and capsized, and the unhappy passengers on the roof came tumbling down, mixed up with mail bags and luggage. She found herself, when the dust and confusionsettled, with a fat man sitting on her face. Much to everyone's astonishment the man leapt to his feet with a scream of pain. He was ignored while everybody rushed to see what had happened to the unfortunate young foreigner.

"Mademoiselle, were you hurt, too?" asked an elderly woman sympathiser.

"Mais non, madame", said the French girl as she was helped to her foot, "'ee was very heavy on me, so I bite 'im".

PEACOCK, Lt. Colonel E.H., D.S.O., M.C. and Bar :

Spent many of his early years in the Burma Jungles, and ended up as a Lieutenant Colonel with the British Forces in Burma. When General Wingate's Forces went out of operation he took command.

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After demobilisation in 1946 he found a farm at Umtali - Fern Valley - where, with only his African boys he built what was considered an impossibility - a dam on the Dora River. As the dam was more than sufficient for his own use, he surveyed about six hundred acres of his farm and plans were drawn up, dividing this into two acre plots. So it was that the suburb now known as Fern Valley was started.

It was a terrible shock to him when, owing to a heavy rainy season, the dam burst. However; he rebuilt it and it was a great success and supplied the wants of all the plot holders.

He was Chairman of the Umtali Branch of the Game Protection Society, keenly interested in sport, particularly polo and tennis and when he died in 1957 his wife, Geraldine, wrote a book "The life of a Jungle Wallah", of great interest.

They had two daughters, Joy and Wendy. Joy married R..N. MacLean, formerly District Commissioner of Melsetter. She was also a Senator in the last Government.

End of Chapter

End of Book


Many Treks made Rhodesia: S.P. Oliver
Red Buffalo: H.W.D. Longden
Heritage of Rhodesia: W.D. Gale
Guide to Rhodesia: Published Davie & Company, Bulawayo
Official Year Book No. 2: 1924-29 Government Statistics Bureau
Women in Central Africa: Compiled by Mrs. O. Gumprich
This is our land: Frank Clements
Some African Milestones: H.V. Varian
Rhodesian Epic: T. Baxter and R.W.S. Turner
South African Who's Who: 1900 Edition
Rhodesiana: The Rhodesiana Society
Zuro: History Society U.B.H.S., Umtali
Umtali Museum Society: News letters
The Borderer Jubilee Edition: Umtali Boys' and Girls High Schools 1908-1968
The Pioneer: The Rhodesia Pioneers' and Early Settlers' Society
All our Yesterdays: Illustrated Life Rhodesia

Click Here To Return to Index

Recompiled, by Eddy Norris, from a copy of the booklet made available by Neill Storey. Thanks Neill.

The recompilation was done for no or intended financial gain but rather to record the memories of Rhodesia.

The family of the author have given permission for ORAFs to load this booklet onto the Internet.
Thanks to the family and special thanks to Heather Curran.

Thanks to
Paul Norris for the ISP sponsorship.
Paul Mroz for the image hosting sponsorship.
Robb Ellis for his assistance.

Should you wish to contact Eddy Norris please mail him orafs11@gmail.com



At 18 November 2010 at 11:23 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Penny Maitland-Stuart Writes:-

Thanks to all involved in this digital reproduction – something that Cecil M Hulley I am sure would find hard to believe possible! I haven’t finished reading them ALL – but have them stored to go through as soon as I have a chance. Special thanks Eddy.


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