Sunday, 17 January 2010

The man with the toothbrush in his hat (Westbeech)

By Richard Sampson (my edition 1972 Multimedia Publications Lusaka)

The man with a toothbrush in his hat: The story and times of George Copp Westbeech in Central Africa concerns one of the first white trader-hunters to settle in South Central Africa. Much of the narrative concerns George ('Joros') Westbeech's relationships with Coillard (who gave him a silver watch), Sipopa, Lewanika and Lobengula. We hear how Westbeech supported the establishment of Coillard's mission, aided Arnot and Holub, and kept peace between Lobengula and the tribes to his north, while thwarting the Jesuits. There is much information on the succession of chiefs.

Like most of his contemporaries in the region, he also loved his drink.

Time and again one reads about how African chiefs knew whom amongst the white traders they could trust, and Westbeech is one of those who won the affections of many, through his honesty and trustworthiness. Although qualified as a master mariner in Liverpool (Toxteth Park), he spent most of his life in southern central Africa and was fluent in the languages spoken in the area, which helped him to assimilate himself into the local communities. In fact, according to Selous he had a wife in every village. Holub records that he had 16 wives. However, according to Sampson, no descendants of his had been traced at the time this book was written.

Supposed to be the only photo
of Lobengula
He married an Afrikaaner girl, Cornelia Carolina Gronum in 1875, but the marriage only lasted a few years before Westbeech's drinking and, probably more significantly, the talk of his other 'wives' put an end to it.

He seems to have travelled abroad due to a combination of family tragedy - when he was aged 8 both his parents had died - and the impact of the American Civil war on the cotton trade and industry in Liverpool. Possibly also he was caught up in the excitement generated by David Livingstone's visit to Liverpool in 1857. He emigrated to Natal in 1862 aged 17 and soon pushed northwards, arriving in Matabeleland in 1863. Many of those going north were deserters, discharged soldiers and criminals. So many travelled Westbeech's road in the end that Sampson says the boundary between Botswana and Southern Rhodesia more or less followed it.

His trade was mainly in ivory, and he killed hundreds of elephants (in a good year maybe 700) each year. No wonder areas were later said to be hunted out.

Thomas Leask
Although a supporter of English expansion, it seems ironic given Westbeech's generally good relations with Lewanika and Lobengula that his virtual control over the area just north and south of the Zambezi around Panda-ma-tenga should have in the end assisted Rhodes and the BSA in acquiring mining rights and bringing in colonial rule.

He died 17 July 1888 and was buried at Vleischfontein.

Coillard party, including Aaron Waddell

  • Lobengula and assumed to be George Westbeech, p.9
  • Holub Mr&Mrs p56
  • 1884 Coillard party, p72
  • Lewanika 1885 p88
  • Mataa p95
  • Tatila p95

Here are the names... (I omit minor chiefs)

Adonis p39

Africa, Jan ('Klaas') p.35, 43, 126-7 d.1887
Akafuna - see Tatila
Arnot, Frederick Stanley p76,79,89,91-2, 137
Asikambwa, Mwanamala (Sipopa's steward) p64
Begehegge (Jesuit) p79
Bairn (Bauren), Robert (clerk) p53,57,60,63 d. Panda-ma-tenga 1875
Baldwin, William C. (trader) p.28,32
Banosha family p92
Barber, (Bulwayo) p53
Blockley, J. George (Sesheke) p.32,40,55,61,66,74,76,79,80,96,102,126-7 d.1887
Boyd, Dr p35
Bradshaw, Dr Benjamin p35,44,45, 65, 67, 73
Browns, Tati Store, post office p54
Byles (trader) p67
Chapman (trader) p.32
Clark, Elizabeth (shopkeeper, wife of George Copp)
Clark, Ted p128-9
Clarke, Richard (Shosong) p53-55
Coillard, Elise c. p72
Coillard, F. (& Mrs) p70-81, 87-92, 96-110, 128-35, 144-5
Coillard, Mrs p72
Copp, Elizabeth Clark, b 1816, m. 22/1/1840 Church of St Bride, d.1852 (TB),
Copp, George, from Devonshire to Toxteth Park, d. 1847 (m. Elizabeth Clark)
Cowley, Richard p62, d. Panda-ma-tenga 1875
Dardier, Dr Auguste (Swiss, Sesheke) p131-3 d.23 Feb 1888?
Dawson (Matabeleland, Shoshong, Bulawayo) p37,70,126-7,131,141
Depelchin (Jesuit) p79
Dobbie, Hugh (Australian, Tati) p64
Dorehill, George (hunter) p64-5
Fabi and wife Asserat - cook, p62
Fairbairn, James (Bulawayo) p17-19,50,83,87,96-7, 109, 126-7, 131, 141-4
Fairlie, William Frederick p62
Fekete p117-8
Fourie (transvaal) p49
Francis, William C. & Mrs, p54,57-60
Francis and Clarke 1872 p53
Frere, Sir Bartle p67 letter to Panda-ma-tenga
Frewen, Richard (posh traveller) p66-68, 76
Fry, Mr T. (trader, Shoshong) p120
Garland (Port Elizabeth) p44
Gosling, John (retired P&O chef) p51, 60, 65
Grandy, William (ex navy hunter) p64-5
Gronum (Grunim, Gronen), Antonie Johannes, (Marico) p48-9, from Beaufort West, farm Veldevreede (Transvaal) p51
Gronum, Cornelia Carolina p46 (photo), m. Westbeech (Zeerust), 1875, p49-69, 75, 144

Hartley, Henry (hunter) p.20
Hammar, August (German) p.14
Helm, C.D. (LMS) p141
Hewitt (trader) p63, 66 d.1876
Holub p55-61,77, 103, 108, 111-120, 135, 138-9
Horn, W (Klerksdorp) p38, 99,112
Horner, Lewis (hunter) p64-5 1877
Hughes, ? married younger sister of Elizabeth Clark, 1840
Hughes, Samuel John, b. c. 1842 (building contractor, Toxteth Park)
Isiah (Coillard) p72
Jalla, Revd Louis (Italian) p132, 145
Jantje p39
Jeanmairet, Dorwald (Swiss) p91 m. Elise Coillard 4/11/1885 p.100
Jesuits (Dutch and Belgian) p74-5,82,87,89,96,108,112
Jolly (trader) p55, d. Panda-ma-tenga 1875
Khama, p52,70,71,73-4,77
Kuruman (Mzilikazi's heir) b.c. 1828 p.20
Leask, Thomas (from Orkney), p.23,24 (photo), 33, 47, 69-70,82-3,86-7,97, 126-7, 131, 141-4
Lebebe p94
Leeb p117-8
Lekoguani (Lewanika's nephew) p110
Levi (Coillard) p72
Lewanika, 'Robosi', p45, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77-80, 84, 86, 89-94, 98-106, 109-112, 121-3, 128-131, 134-37, 145
Litia (son of Lewanika) p92,110,112
Livingstone, David p55,57, 137
Lobengula, p51.66,70-1,74,77,81,83,87,97,109, 124-27, 131, 133, 139-43
Lochner, Elliot p144-5
Mackenna, p45
Macleod, Cpt Norman (74th foot) p62
Mackintosh, Christina (Scots, 2nd wife??) p77
Magumpa p134, 136
Mahura, Jan (employee of Leask, Sipopa) p.30, 61,62
Mairet, Jean p72
Mapani p117-8
Maransian (aka Sikabenga) p100-2, p124, 133-8
Ma-Ruthi (Levi's wife), p72
Mashoku (Sipopa's executioner) p55,61
Mataa p73, 94, 96, 98-9
Middleton (Coillard's party) p72, 130
Middleton, George William (artisan, brick maker) p91, 144 
Moffat, John Smith (son of Robert) p142-3
Moffat, Robert p.74
Mokhole p135
Molemwa, p121-2
Montgomery, J.A. (landdrost, Zeerust) p48
Moremi (Lake Ngami) p94,99,122
Musson bros (traders) p144
Mwala (M'wala) trading induna p94
Mwanawina p64-66,73,92
Njambo p135
Oates, Frank (naturalist) p45, d.1875
Openshaw, G. p53, 57, 60
Patterson, (Captain) Robert p68-9

Philips, George Arthur 'Elephant' (Bulawayo) p.17-19, 35-37 , 40 , 50, 52, 69, 83, 86-7, 96-7, 131, 139, 141, 143-4
Pinto, Major Serpa p109
Price, Helmore (LMS) p.28
Rae, Fr p.107
Rees, Bowen (witness on Lobengula mining agreement) p.142
Reutter, Dr George (Paris Mission) p40, Inventor mosquito net 1902
Samaseku p94
Rhodes, Cecil p141-4
Rudd, (Rhodes representative) p142
Schinderhutte, Christoffel 'Stoffel' (German) p.35,44-45, 63, d.1875
Scholtz, Clark Burton (landdrost) p50
Scott (visiting falls) p67

Schulz, Aurel (German) p.14
Sekofella p98-9
Selembu (Sipopa's ngambela) p61, 94,98-100
Selous, p68-9,82, 137-9
Sergeaunt, John p68-9
Shepstone, Theophilus p.20
Sikabenga - see Maransian
Sipopa, p.28, 29 (sketch), 44, 55-74, 92, 94, 100, 105, 122, 124, 129, 137
Slack (trader, Shoshong) p63
Sousa, Filisberto Guedes (trader) p109
Stabb, Major p.13, 51
Stromboom, Jan Oscar (Norwegian-British)  p.44, 128
Tahahima p134
Tatila p95-100
Taylor, James (Klerksdorp) p69
Taylor and Leask's store (Klerksdorp) p.47
Theunissen (trader) p57
Thomas, Evan Morgan p69
Van Rooyen, Mr & Mrs, Tati store, p54
Vijlder, De (Jesuit) p79
Waddell, Aaron p72
Waddell, William p91
Wall, Henry (Griqua, Grahamstown), p35, 43
Walsh, Alexander (Second Queen's Surrey Regiment), Shoshong, Tati p53, 57-60, 74
Ware, Harry p98, 144
Watson, Frank p97, 119-20, 126
Westbeech, George, d. 1847 (husband of Elizabeth Clark)
Westbeech, George, b.5 Oct 1844, m. Cornelia Gronum 1875 d. 17 July 1888
Westbeech, Joseph, b.1847, d.1849 (enteritis)
Westbeech, Joseph (naval commander) c. 1758 - c.1811
Westbeech, Joseph (founder, mariner, tide waiter) c.1800 - c1848 (at sea?)
Weyers, Jan (Panda-ma-tenga) p137
Wilson, B. 'Matabele' p139, 141
Wood, George (trader) p86 d.1882
Zoldner (Sollner), Oswald (Austrian, Holub's party, killed) p115-17

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