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Wednesday, 24 December 2008

The Autobiography of an Old Drifter

The autobiography of an old drifter: The life-story of Percy M. Clark of Victoria Falls is in the Rhodesiana reprint series, by Percy M. Clark "of Victoria Falls" and was originally published in 1932. No index!

The people appear in South Africa, Southern Rhodesia and North Western Rhodesia (Victoria Falls / Livingstone and west towards Mongu). North Eastern Rhodesia was a separate region at that time. Much of the action takes place at "The Old Drift", the original settlement at Livingstone, hence the book title. Clark says that another name for this was "Deadrock" in 1908. I find it curious that after five years there he refers to himself as a Rhodesian, as do other people from his home, Cambridgeshire. On the other hand...

One is left with an impression of a lion-infested, malarial frontier town with slightly mad inhabitants, liable to have fist fights at any time. Tough folks. Also racist, as evidenced by the number of racial epithets. He will often just refer to "a Jew", for example, or "a Scan" (Scandinavian), and I suppose many went by nicknames such as the "Yank" and "Mac" who turn up.

Clark eventually ran a curio shop, but was an accomplished photographer and chemist also. His main business in the earlier days was photography and he must have taken some of the earliest photos of places in the area. He sold postcards and portraits. There is a photo of Litia son of Lewanika, later Yeta III.

In 1903 he records

The Old Drift ... about a dozen white men round two or three stores right on the river bank. In the rainy season it was a swamp.... In the vast territory of North Western Rhodesia in 1903 there were no more than ... a hundred white people"

Eleven out of thirty-three died that winter...

He also states that 70% died the following year.

In 1911, Clark says, the census shows 1,497 whites. It would be nice to track this down... In 1931, 13,846 were recorded.

The following names appear, but there are some I didn't bother with, including some famous visitors and some nicknamed or pseudonymous people. They are in approximately the following order, dating from around 1900 onwards

BRANCH, George (of Cambridge / Cape Town)
SAGO (of Brabant's Horse)
SMART, Harold
ALLEN, Ellis
MARRIOT & PARKER (photo shop?)
HADDON & SLY (Bulawayo shop)
Major Charles DULY (Duly Motors)
George WALTON (comedian)
Charlie MATON (B.S.A.P)
Nurse WILLIAMS (Bulawayo)
O'CONNOR (an Irish-American)
Captain Bourchier WREY
BICKLE (manager of Lennon's store)
Aaron's bar (Jewish - Manzinyama)
WERNER (Geelong Hotel)
Sir Charles METCALFE
Henry FRENCH (Kate French's father, solicitor Cambridge) p 224
Kate FRENCH (Clark's wife, married Feb 15th 1906 at Great St Andrew's Cambridge)
Victor CLARK (their son)
H.C. Marshall HOLE (Bulawayo; administrator Sesheke)
Andrew DALE
Prof. LAMPLOUGH (Cambridge?)
Arthur WEINER (Geelong) p225
"Mopani" CLARKE (the original settler, who came from Chatteris in Cambridgeshire)
Prof Henry BALFOUR p 238
Lord SELBORNE p 242
Billy BUTCHER (Sesheke); photo of Carlisle and Butcher with Clark
AITKIN (Lia Lui)
Dr WILSON (from Bulawayo; died circa 1903 at the Old Drift - probably same as recorded elsewhere on this blog d.1903)
Tom KING p172
DIPPER (mineral water plant)
ZEEDERBERG (mail service)
"Jimmy" (hippo hunter on Chobe River, came from USA)
L.F. MOORE (editor of the Livingstone Mail, previously The Pioneer paper; chemist) A previous chemist died in 1908?
"Joe", an undertaker
"Taffy", the village policeman, died there
A "Greek" who shot 9 lions one morning. Two got away. He had thought they were pigs
Charles B. FOX, working on the railway bridge in 1904
Percy WILD, a book-keeper
Colin LUNN (Bulawayo)
railway contractor brothers called Bill and Jack probably just there while working on the bridge
Arthur (Bill?) SMITH p270
"Fred" a prize fighter / bouncer
Sir Herbert STANLEY p250
Cecil RODWELL p250 (photo of these two fishing in the Zambezi)
HICKSON faith healer Bulawayo p259
Duchess d'AOSTA cousin of King of Italy p263
Leo WEINTHAL  p265

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Livingstone war memorial

This plaque and memorial is located near the Victoria Falls, Livingstone and records names of Rhodesian and Northern Rhodesian soldiers and police.

Unveiled to the Glory of God
In Memory of Brave Men
H.R.H.Prince Arthur of Connaught
August 1923

H.G. Machell

D.S. MacKnight
P.H. McGreor
G. McKnight
D.C. McMillan
J. Merber
J. Minshall
H. Nisbet
H.F. North
E.W. Osborne
G. Palmer
K.D. Peacock
H.C. Pearce
H.S. Plant
J.M.F.C Pound
D.A.C. Russell
T.L. Russell
M. Ryan
F.G. de Satge
C.H. Saureman
T.R.L. Savory
C. Sell
N. Sinclair
C.M. Sing
H.H. Smith
A.J. Smith
A. Soames
W. Stevens
H.J.M. Stuart
H.W. Tarbutt
J.C. Taylor
R.J.F Urquhart
A. J. Warren
G.F. Watherston
W.W. Waugh
E.G. Williams
J. Wilson
D.A. Wood

Also 102 Askari whose names are recorded on the NR Police Memorial at Livingstone, also many other natives of the territory of whose names no complete record exists.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Lusaka School Register 1925

APPENDIX I (from Richard Sampson's book "So this was Lusakaas")
File No. KDC/26/1 at regional archives.

Lusaka School Registers 1925

Oosthuizen EJ., 14 years;
Erasmus MJ., 15 years,
Ralph S.R., 14 years;
Maritz, Alice, 11 years;
Wienand A.N. 10 years;
Hobbs D.E., 9 years;
Myburgh J.E. 10 years;
Botha, Corrie, 8 years,
Hattingh Katy, 8 years;
Doyle, Kathleen, 8 years;
Doyle, Brenda, 7 years;
Venter Martha, 9 years;
Wienand, Jacqueline, 7 years;
Nel, Maria, 8 years.

Neethling H.J., 15 years;
Wienand R.H., 13 years;
Erasmus Jacob, 12 years;
Hadden, James, 10 years,
Nel O.I., 15 years;
Nel, J.D. 13 years;
Nel, C.A.S. 10 years,
Erasmus, J.S. 8 years,
Botha, Wikus, 7 years;
Voss, Jocy, 9 years;
Wroe, Richard, 10 years
Wroe, Pendennis, 8 years;
Wroe, James, 12 years;
Voss, Louis, 7 years;
Voss, Henry;

Vos, Susie, 16 years;
Vos, Helena, 15 years;
Landshurg, Wilkemina, 15 years;
Minne, Susanna, 16 years;
Geldenhuys. Francina, 11 years;
van Tonder, Elizabeth, 13 years;
Oberholster, Clasina, 8 years;
de Lange, Francina, 5 years;
Robbertze, Martha, 10 years;
Vos, Willem, 11 years.

Geldenhuys, Johannes, 16 years;
Joubert, Jacobus, 14 years;
Joubert, August, 12 years;
Minne, Gulluam, 14 years;
Jones, Carl, 11 years;
de Beer, Lourens, 9 years;
Geldenhuys, Paul, 14 years;
Jones, Cornelis, 9 years;
Joubert, Davis, 10 years;
Rochir, Sidney, 14 years;
Vos, George, 9 years;
de Beer, Mathys, 10 years;
Minne, Ignatus,11 years,
Geldenhuysm Josias, 6 years;
Robbertze, Barend, 13 years;
Oberholster, Edward, 13 years;
Rocher, Louis, 15 years.

Lindeque, Lena, 16 years;
Lombard, Martha, 16 years;
Botha, Susie, 13 years;
Gelliers, Hester, 12 years;
Lindeque, Johanna,12 years;
Myburgh, Maria, 12 years;
Uys, Petronella, 12 years;
Steyn, Johanna, 11 years;
Lindeque, Helena, 11 years;
Shanker, Sarah, 10 years;
Botha, Johanna 9 years;
Lindeque, Aletta, 9 years,
Lindeque, Cecilia, 9 years;
Bekker, Lenie, 8 years;
Carinus, Maria, 8 years;
Geldinhuys, Dirkie, 7 years;
Steyn, Nelie, 7 years;
Carius, Nellie, 6 years;
Uys, Catherina, 7 years.

Bothma, Wessel, 16 years;
Celliers, Gideon, 16 years,
Shanker, Philip, 16 years;
Botha. Jan, 15 years;
Lindeque, Ignatius, 14 years;
Lindeque Justus, 14 years;
Celliers, Johan, 14 years,
Davel, Hendrik, 14 years,
Steyn Willem, 14 years
Davel, Leonard, 12 years;
Celliers, Sarel, 11 years;
Neethling, Daniel, 11 years;
Carinus, Andries, 10 years;
Bekker, Barend, 9 years;
Myburgh, Antonie, 9 years.
Steyn Frederick, 9 years;
Uys, Dirk, 8 years;
Carinus, Carl, 8 years,
Davel, Willem, 16 years.

Buckle, Louisa, 17 years;
Helbreg, Anna, 14 years;
Buckle, Betta, 9 years;
Nel, Ria, 12 years;
Minne, Johanna, 7 years.

Helbreg, Martinus. 9 years,
Buckle, Charles 14 years;
Buckle, Petrus, 12 years;
Eksteen, Casper, 8 years,
Nel, Hendrik, 14 years;
Human, Laurentius, 9 years,
van Heerden, Jacobus, 14 years.

Livingstone - old drifters and more

From An Historical Guide to Livingstone Town (and Victoria Falls Town)

by Kristin Ese (Livingstone Tourism Association, 1996)

This post has been expanded with further names from a second book by Kristin Ese (see lower down).

About the Old Drift

" The death rate was extraordinarily high. If they did not die from malaria they succumbed to blackwater fever or were mauled by lions or crocodiles... There were one or two chemists, but hardly a doctor to consult, though in 1903 a nurse came up from Bulawayo. The doctor died from blackwater fever some months later, and the nurse returned to Bulawayo."

The following names turn up in this slim book which gives you a guided tour of some of the buldings in Livingstone town. See lower down for extras from a second book by Kristin Ese.

CANNON & BRADSHAW from Bulawayo erected a shop in 1910.

Frederick .J.Clarke was given the name Mopane by Lobengula, the Matabele king, because he was tall and straight as a Mopane tree, and his heart as hard as the Mopane wood. He was the first white to settle at the Old Drift where he started a self-named business in 1898.

Clarke erected Nanoo's Cash and Carry in 1909 and the family carried on the business until 1950.

F.J.Clarke was a prominent man in town and had several properties and farms. He played an important part in both the social and political life in town.

Susman Brothers & Davis Butchery, Tel Address "Davis, Livingstone".
The Pioneer Butchery. Bakers and Livestock Dealers. Empire Street & Cold Storage Depot.
(Nice photo)

Robert Davidson was the first mayor in town 1928-29, he was an old drifter and worked for Mopane Clarke for many years.

Bimsinh Jiwa Devalia ran a shop in 1945, fought for social and political justice and was among the first to open (his shop and his Britannia restaurant) to Africans.

Worked on Dimitra Saw Mill 1915/16?

Marcus Grill, one of the Jewish pioneers, had a shop in the building on the corner of Akapelwa Street and Kuta Way.

Solomon Grill established the first cinema in Queensway in 1919. In 1921 he moved to Mainway (Rama and Bukhan today).

The Livingstone Mail reported of the large family:

" one sister sold tickets, another took them, a third played the piano. Mr Grill senior looked after the motor. Mr Solly worked the projector and the rest of the family made quite respectable audience...".

In 1922 Solomon Grill's father erected Grill's Kinema with an indoor stage, a bar, lounge and a dancing hall.

Ten years later Solly Grill and his sister Gertrude MERBER erected Capitol Theatre...

The Grills also established one of the first modern garages in town in 1919, the Livingstone Motor Works.

St.Andrew's Church's (1910) architect was C. Hazard... the first government architect.

R.Murray Hughes (The Livingstone Journal) recalls (of the railway reserve)

"I don't know exactly where the railway person fitted into the social framework of Livingstone. One never saw them except at the station or on a train... [or at] the hospital to be treated for malaria"

John Hunt Way is named in memory of John Hunt who was a European curio trader. He was among the few Europeans in Livingstone who supported the struggle for independence, but died before the first African coalition Government in 1962-64.

In 1972 one of the last Jews to move from town, Nickie Iljon, dispatched the torah from the Synagogue to Lusaka. 'His name is still on the hardware store in Mutelo Street (Codrington Street).'

Started Dimitra Saw Mill with Trombas in 1911.

Announced the opening of their store in 1907.

Reverend Louis Jalla was in charge of the Paris Mission church at the Old Drift in 1911. The Paris Mission was the first in the area, followed by the UMCA from 1910.

(The mission was pioneered by Revd Francois Coillard in 1899; Coillard was later buried at Sefula with his wife.)

Worked on Dimitra Saw Mill 1915/16?

Ran the Livingstone cafe opposite the Livingstone Hotel in 1906 [my reading of the text]

Freddie Mills, one of the pioneers from the Old Drift, started a makeshift bar for railway workers, eventually becoming the Livingstone Hotel in 1906. He also built the North Western Hotel. He also erected the building on the corner of Akapelwa Street and Kuta Way.

In 1906 Leopold F. Moore organised a subscription library through the Livingstone Mail and in 1911 a Library Committee was formed to collect funds for a [library] building.

He also ran L.F.Moore's Chemist shop. Outside his shop he used to arrange gramophone concerts with the newest records from England.

He was a "vociferous opponent to the administration" through the Livingstone Mail newspaper.

Moore was knighted in 1937 and died in 1947.

Mr Pauling was the railway contractor.

'In 1906 Miss Powell started an infant school in a small room in a shop in Chimwemwe Way (Fairway). In 1908 the Government decided to support a primary school. By 1910 there were only 18 pupils - parents still choosing to send their children south to boarding schools.'  A report in 1910 concluded that the school had low discipline and that the children were below average in skills and intelligence.

Miss Stow was a matron at the Livingstone Hospital from around 1909-1915.

The Golf Club was informally opened in May 1908. Mrs Selby (the magistrate's wife) provided tea and refreshments.

George Smith ran a shop later taken over by the Susman brothers (& Davis Butchery).

He drowned in the Maramba river in 1909.

Stanley House (1928) housed the bank for many years and was also the elegant store of Harry Sossen, another of the wealthy Jewish families.

Harry and Eli Susman 'came from a small village in Lithuania, emigrated in their early teens and landed in Cape Town in 1880. They crossed the Zambezi at Kazangula in 1901. By 1906 they were established in Nalolo and Sesheke.'

Livingstone Museum - the clock was a gift from the Susman brothers in memory of their arrival in Northern Rhodesia in 1901. Harry and Eli Susman were among the first Europeans to cross the Zambezi...

The foundation stone of the Jewish Synagogue was laid by Eli Susman in 1928.

William Trayner, a ferryman for Mopane Clarke, started the first newspaper in January 1906, "Trayners Rag" and partnered L.F.Moore in starting his own newspaper in March of that year.

Started Dimitra Saw Mill with Jacobs in 1911. The saw mills supplied wooden sleepers to the railways.

J.W.B White said of the railway reserve

" the most extraordinary collection of cosmopolitan toughs I have encountered anywhere".

Together with Susman family formed Susman Brothers & Wulfson in 1947.

From "An Historical Guide to Livingstone and Victoria Falls Town" (1996, republished 2010)

(Directory Publishers, Bulawayo)

This similarly slim volume (44 pages) adds some further history of Livingstone town, including a nice summary of David Livingstone's journeys in the area. There is a little additional information on sites of interest in Victoria Falls town, in present day Zimbabwe. There are some different photos, and places mentioned, though many descriptions are the same as those in the volume described above.  Amongst the photos is a group shot of white staff at Zambesi Saw Mills in the 1920s and people attending the Regatta in 1905.

Here are some extra names in this book. In addition, there may be further mentions of names mentioned above.

BERRINGER, Otto L., Chief Surveyor of Livingstone until 1920 (item 2 in tour of town is his house)

CHAPMAN, Nurse who came up from Bulawayo in 1903, but returned

CLARK, Percy M. - photographer, 1905, photo of his shop

CLARK, Victor, son of Percy, took over his father's business

COILLARD, Francis -  Memorial Church. Coillard d.1904 and is buried at Sefula Mission Station.

COISSON Mission station (photo)

HARRINGTON, Arthur (1930s) 'a character of notable reputation', known for shooting at the screen during cinema shows (mentioned in a book by W.V. Brelsford, 'Generation of Men')

HINE, Bishop of Northern Rhodesia, 1910  'I stirred up a wave of opposition by having a native Christian vested in cassock and surplice to carry my books at the Livingstone Centenary Commemoration Service'. He left in 1914

KERR, attacked by lions while looking after SUSMAN's cattle, 1914, Livingstone Mail

MILLS, Freddie - photo of gravestone in Livingstone Cemetery

MILLS, Enos Walter (brother of Freddie) bought Fairmount Hotel in 1928. 

MOHR, Eduard (mention of his book 'To the Victoria Falls of the Zambesi', 1876)

MOOREHEAD, Alan - mention of his book 'No Room in the Ark', 1957

SATARAS - 'the Greek has been killed and eaten by lions' - 1914, Livingstone Mail

SMITH, John - description of sundowner ritual; veterinarian; was in hospital at the end of 1914

SOPER, Jack - photo with crocodile catch, mention of curio shop

WILSON, Lady Sara - visited in 1903

WILSON, J.N. - Doctor came in 1903, died a few months later. (This sounds like a quote from another book I've commented on before.) 

Monday, 27 October 2008

Old drift - National Monuments of Zambia

From National Monuments of Zambia - an illustrated guide by D.W.Phillipson, 1983, Mission Press, Ndola

This cemetery is now almost the only surviving trace of the first European settlement of Livingstone. It is ... about one and a half kilometres upstream of the entrance to the Mosi-Oa-Tunya Zoological Park.

The presence of an urban settlement in this area owed to two major factors: the line of the main entry-route from the south into the then North-Western Rhodesia, and the proximity of the Victoria Falls. Prior to the construction of the railway all goods imported into Northwestern Rhodesia were carried by ox - or mule-drawn wagons and ferries across the Zambezi at the point, some nine kilometres upstream of the Victoria Falls, where the river is at its narrowest for some distance. The northern end of this crossing, known as the Old Drift or Sekuti's Drift, (after the Toka chief whose village was then nearby), soon became the first European settlers' town...

The first settler, F.J.Clarke, arrived in 1898 and set himself up as a trader, hotel-keeper and forwarding agent. By 1903 the European population had grown to sixty-eight, including seventeen women and six children. The British South Africa company established an administrative post nearby.

In most years some twenty percent of the settlers died and in 1903 the figure was considerably higher. Many of these early settlers were buried [here]

The railway from Bulawayo reached the south bank of the Zambezi at the Victoria Falls in April, 1904 and ... the bridge was officially opened in September 1903.

As soon as work began on the bridge it was apparent that, with the completion of the railway, the Old Drift would fall into disuse and that the only argument for retaining the Livingstone settlement in that unhealthy spot would fall away.

A detailed account ... is given in the book Mosi-Oa-Tunya: a handbook to the Victoria Falls Region, edited by D.W.Phillipson, published in 1975.

In addition to many waterfalls and other geographical features, two other sites mentioned in this book are:

Niamkolo Church, which was founded on the shore of Lake Tanganyika near Mpulungu by the LMS, the oldest survivmg church in Zambia (built 1893-96). A mission was founded here in 1880, abandoned after five years due to the disturbances caused by Arab slave raiders, but reopened in 1887. The church was founded by Alfred J. Swann and the building was undertaken by Adam Purves. The church fell into disrepair around about 1910.

Fort Monze was one of the earliest colonial police posts, founded in about 1898 near the village of Chief Monze, apparently to control activities of Europeans buying cattle after the Matabele rebelion.  It was founded by Major Harding, and demolished by F.W. Moseley in 1903. As the photo shows, only a monument remains.

 The cross (below) commemorates William Harding, but I can't make out the text altogether, which presumably mentions other officers of the BSA buried in the cemetery here.

Old drift cemetery, Livingstone - Findlay

in memory of
Alexr W. Findlay
Who died at
The drift, Livingstone
9th Jan 1904 Aged 35 years

Old drift cemetery, Livingstone - Collins


25th March 1904
34 years

Old drift Cemetry (plaque) Livingstone, Zambia

The Old Drift Cemetery

This cemetery forms the last
resting place of a number of the
early settlers who died at the old
drift between the year 1898 and the
time of the removal to Livingstone.
Amongst those known to be
buried here are :

Georges Mercier, Paris Missionary
Died 1900
John Neil Wilson, aged 45
Died 11th January 1903
Alexander W Findlay aged 35
Died 9th January 1904
Ernest Collins, aged 34
Died 35th March, 1904
Miss E. Elliot, died 8th August 1904
Samuel Taylor Alexander , aged 68
Died 11th September 1904
David Smith, Died 7th April 1905
And fourteen others whose names are not known

Old drift gravestones, Livingstone - Alexander

Samuel Thomas Alexander

Born of American Missionary
In the Hawaiian Islands
October 29 1836

Struck by
a falling rock at
Victoria Falls and died
September 10 1904

"For now we see through a glass
darkly, but then face to face;
Now I know in part, but then
shall I know even as also I
am known"


Old Drift graves, Livingstone - Wyle



16th July 1904
42 years

Friday, 22 August 2008

The old drift, Livingstone

Okay, this is not a great photo, but here's what it says:

The Old Drift

On Kalai island near here was the village of the Toka chief Sikote who was deposed by the Kololo Sebituane during 1840s. In November 1855 Sekeletu, Sebituane's son and successor assisted David Livingstone on his first visit to the Victoria Falls.

(Toka here may more usually be referred to as Batoka, and Kololo as Bakololo or Makololo.)

In 1893 there was established here the first colonial settlement near the falls at the place where all the goods from the south were ferried across the Zambezi into Northwestern Rhodesia. The old drift settlement was abandoned in 1905 when the railway bridge was built.

The old drift was a very unhealthy settlement (due to malaria) and lies in the present day Livingstone game park in Zambia. It remains a beautiful spot to visit, where you are quite likely to see hippos rising and submerging and maybe elephants crossing, if you are lucky.

From David Livingstone's Cambridge lectures by Sedgwick and Monk (1860) we have the following uncomplimentary assessment of the Batoka (the reported speech is Livingstone's):

He found them a large-bodied race, fierce, blood-thirsty, and the men entirely
naked. They seemed to be more astonished at his disapproving of their nude condition, than ashamed of it.

These people were numerous, and possessed immense herds of cattle until Sebituane utterly routed and subdued them, capturing their cattle. "Secure in their own island fortresses, they often inveigled wandering or fugitive tribes on to others which are uninhabited, and left them there to perish. The river is so broad, that, when being ferried across, you often cannot see whether you are going to the main land or not. To remove temptation out of the way of our friends, we drew the borrowed canoes last night into our midst on the island where we slept, and some of the men made their beds in them. I counted between fifty and sixty human skulls mounted on poles in a village near Kalai, being those of men slain when famishing with hunger; and I felt thankful that Sebituane had rooted out the bloody imperious ' Lords of the Isles.' "

A Batoka chief whom Dr Livingstone visited had his village adorned with fifty-four human skulls, on pointed poles. They boasted that few strangers ever returned from a visit to that quarter. The way to propitiate a chief is to cut off a stranger's head, and bring it to him.

In manners they are most brutal. Their mode of salutation is to lie down on the back and slap the thighs. Their language is a dialect of the others spoken in the great valley. Their tribe is now a mere shadow of what it was, having been almost rooted out by the successive onslaughts of Sebituane."

Says Livingstone in "Missionary Travels"

" They throw themselves on their backs on the ground, and, rolling from side to side, slap the outside of their thighs as expressions of thankfulness and welcome, uttering the words "Kina bomba."

A few gravestones remain at the old drift, probably fewer than there were in years gone by, and now few standing - see the next post.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Genealogy on the web

I am trying to figure out what I might do with a blog, and giving it a go just to see how it feels.

This blog was originally named a-brickwall.blogspot, for the brick walls faced in my lately fruitless genealogy search on the web. My first idea was that this would be a way for me to keep a record of stuff I've read that may be of use to somebody in their genealogy hunting, but it will probably turn out to be about Africa in general, and Zambia and South Africa more particularly. Time will tell.