Vol. VI. No. 1.
Edmund Davis (1854-1939) by R. Murray-Hughes ................................................. 1
The Luanshya Snake by J. E. " Chirupula" Stephenson .........................................13
Some Waterfalls in the Northern and Luapula Provinces ................................... .17
Travel and Work in Central Africa 1910-30 by Frank Rushforth ........................ ... 28
The Memoirs of Henry Rangeley. Part I ............................................................... 35
Mwandi: Old Sesheke by F. M. Thomas and M. G. Billing .................................... 53
North-Eastern Rhodesia Constabulary: Two Photographs by Angus Cree........... 58
Aerial Surveys in Northern Rhodesia by G. D. B. Williams .................................... 65
Memories of Abandoned Bomas—No. 16: Mwomboshi by J. E. " Chirupula" Stephenson ....................................................................................................... 71
To Kalabo by River in 1932. Part I by Pat Law ..................................................... 73
Chinsali in 1920-22. Part II by E. Knowles Jordan ................................................ 82
A Dental Officer, W. F. MacKeown, in the 1914-18 War.
Part II by Eleanor Coffin. Annotated by H. A. Cripwell .................................87
David Livingstone: Two Accounts of his Death
and Transportation of his Body to the Coast
by Carras Farar and Matthew Wellington .............................................. 95
Notes ................................................................................................................ 104
Correspondence ............................................................................................... 121
Book Reviews ................................................................................................... 123
Lusaka Natural History Club ............................................................................. 132
Publication Fund ............................................................................................... 133
THE NORTHERN RHODESIA JOURNAL 13
The "Luanshya Snake"
By the late J. E. " CHIRUPULA " STEPHENSON
[In 1930 the late" Chirupula" Stephenson" exorcised" the monster or snake that reputedly lived in the Luanshya stream and that was responsible for considerable sickness and death among the workers on the Roan Antelope mine. The mine was getting a bad reputation and labour was not being so freely offered. The mining company realised that malaria was the root cause and had instituted a very thorough malarial control scheme which had begun to have its effect in a rapidly reduced incidence of disease. But a visit of "Chirupula" gave the mine an opportunity for a striking gesture.
This account is taken from an original manuscript in the files of the Rhodes-Livingstone Museum. There have been a number of versions published but this is probably the most accurate one.—EDITOR.]
AS few Europeans have ever been present at African religious ceremonies; and as many Europeans have preconceived ideas on the services—and these conceptions are mostly wrong—the following is an account of what actually happened in the exorcising of the mythical Snake, which cost the Roan Antelope Mine so dearly. The killing of the ox; and the drinking of the beer, took place after the "Blood Offering" and the "Meal Offering" and the Prayer. During which, please especially note, the Snake was never mentioned....
It is to be borne in mind, that the Roan Antelope Copper Mine was suffering terribly from the irresponsible African labourer. The number of labourers was daily decreasing, and the management was in despair. After an absence of twenty years, the writer paid a visit to the mine. At the conclusion of a business talk, Mr. D. D. Irwin, the General Manager, said: "If you can help us to get rid of that "snake" we should be very grateful to you. " whereupon the writer said, 'That is a matter in which no European can interfere; it is a Priest-King's sphere, and only the local Priest-King can help you!"
Some hours later, who should be met but Sanda-Wunga of the Lamba Royal Clan, nephew, and heir-apparent of Katanga. And after greetings long and hearty were exchanged this is the gist of the conversation:
(Sanda-wunga): "The Africans on this Roan Antelope Mine are dying in countless numbers, soon all Lambaland and the world will be depopulated, and nobody being left to dig holes for you Europeans, the countryside will be deserted."
(Chirupula): "True. Are you of the Royal Clan. Are you a Chief, Sanda-wunga ? ."
(S.): " I am, my royal Master."
(C.): "And have you, one of the Royal Clan, performed your royal duties, and prayed to the Almighty for help and succour, for comfort and support, in this sad time of tribulation ? "
(S.): " Alas, alas, we have not! "
14 THE NORTHERN RHODESIA JOURNAL
(C.): " Then what about calling up all the members of the many Royal Clans working on this huge mine, and from their mouths learn the dispositions of their hearts? "
(S.): "It is their bounden duty, they cannot refuse, but the Europeans for whom they are working might decline to allow the leave of absence."
Thanks to the services of the Officer Commanding the Police, the genial " Ginger" Dixon, about thirty mine workers were gathered by the police court. Some were in rags, some in calico gown, but every one was an Imfumu—a Priest-King. And, being Imfumu or, if you like, " Chiefs ", they could not possibly be (as Mr. Spearpoint asserts) " mainly sons of chiefs, because, the child's status among matrilineal peoples, is inherited through the Mother, whose husband can not be of her own " clan ", "totem ", or, mukoka. This is how the question as to expediency was propounded:
"Gentlemen, you know of the sad state of affairs on this Roan Antelope Mine; how sickness is rife; how people are dying. Do you approve of solemn African prayer-meeting, supplicating the Almighty for help ? "
Excepting the young chief in collar and neat tie, who ridiculously aped European style of dress, and who, faltering, slunk away, every one of the scions of Royalty un¬hesitatingly said: "I approve."
On the faithful Ford lorry, away went Sanda-Wunga to summon his uncle, the Royal Katanga, Priest-King, and Lamba parish priest. In that district, he alone could rightfully offer up prayer and supplication, none other, not even his nephew, could usurp his position. Such was, and is, the dictates of custom.
In the course of a few hours—he lived but eight miles away—Katanga came, accompanied by his sister, the Princess, the Priestess, the Royal Chalwe, probably verging on the eighties. With them was the Deacon, very much a senior Deacon, being nearer sixty than fifty years of age. Katanga and Chalwe were members of the Mishishi totem; but the Deacon was of the Imbwa—the" Dog " totem.
The formal yet friendly greetings were over, in reply to the query whether he would pupira (pray ceremoniously) said Katanga with forefinger erect in admonition: " Aash. Mwe Wasungu—You White men, that's what you should have done, long ago."
He wished to postpone the ceremony until the following day, but after persuasion—time meaning money—he consented to perform it then. So, according to ancient rite, a white fowl, some white meal, some white beads, and a piece of white cloth were procured, and Mrs. Dixon, the wife of the Police Officer, from her own stock supplied them. It is well to bear this in mind, as had she not made those sacrifices—the cockerel of her own breeding, the string of imitation pearls, and her linen handkerchief—Katanga would assuredly have gone away that day, and the writer too, when on the morrow there would have been no motor, transportation available, and it is possible, if not probable, the " Snake " would not have been exorcised.
With Priest-King Katanga on high, Priestess-Princess Chalwe, by his side, and young chiefs anyhow, the lorry drove past offices and workshops, through the mine until opposite the place where the surveyor's boy was last seen alive. Here, on a log, sat our twentieth century "Moses" and "Miriam", patiently awaiting the completion of the kalimba which is a conical altar made of sticks and saplings pyramidal in form, with an eastern and western entrance and exit respectively.
THE NORTHERN RHODESIA JOURNAL 15
At length, all was in readiness, the intervening space between the fallen tree upon which sat the Royal pair, and the holy place, was ankle deep in dry dust and blackened ash, and laborious was the passage through it, for remember both brother and sister were well advanced beyond the span of three score and ten.
Taking up a position in the west, Priest-King Katanga in voice deep and sonorous said, addressing his Deacon who knelt by the east, " Make a meal offering there, bow the head, say to the Royal Chembo in Spiritland, say to the Royal Mushiri in Spiritland, say to the Royal Nkana in Spiritland: Greeting. And after the greetings, tell them that I Katanga, their grandchild, of the same clan as themselves, I their relative, I who am they, and they who are me, I with all these congregated Imfumu from Lambaland, from Lalaland, from Wisaland, from Sewaland, from Ushiland, from Kaondeland, from bordering lands, from distant lands, so distant, that during my lifetime, the noise of their names have never reached my ears, with our Whiteman. Wa-Chirupula (J. E. Stephenson) are we congregated to ask your mediation and help. Into this country of mine have there come Europeans, digging holes in the ground, why, like ant-bears they dig holes, is their humour and their affair. They want copper-stone, and must want it desperately, because for such, they are paying Africans yards upon yards of valuable cloth, which we are using to bedeck our women, and even little children no longer run about naked. But for some unknown reason, sore sickness, dread disease, dire death, came, plagued, and decimated. Oh mine ancestors, ye who are seated in the Courtyard of X (the Ineffable, to whom reference is made by sign, of which more anon . .) intercede for us, let those who have come from afar no longer die, let all maladies vanish, let health reign. We know that X has innumerable countries to supervise, chalo nay chalo—and being but an insignificant part of the universe, we are just overlooked! But X the Merciful, onka inkumbu, will not fail. At a time when he is resting, when he is smoking his ` water-pipe ' eli Wa pepa imbokoma . . . without importuning . wilulukakatishya 'yo. . . , recall our distress and all will be well. That is how you pray on this occasion . .."
Thereupon, this Deacon of the Dog totem, nervously and with some trepidation, for were there not representatives from more countries than ever in his adventurous thoughts could, or did, exist, took a handful of white flour, and letting it drip through his right hand, form a cone at the porch or entrance of arched altar. Clearing his throat by dry coughs, he began as follows: " Oh Mkana Oh-er—", when from Princess Chalwe, like a wail wrung in agony, " That is wrong, that's all wrong. You do not say it like that. You have mentioned the junior before the senior, and one never does that, oh dear me, you have done wrong, you have done wrong. First, you must mention the senior (ancestor), then the second-born! Then, the last-born! And oh dear me! Here have you gone and mentioned the last one first, when he should be last. Oh dear me!" At this interruption most of the young chiefs so far forgot themselves and the occasion, as to chuckle, covering mouths with hands, and nipping noses with fingers, in endeavours to smother ill-timed mirth! And Chalwe, rocking to and fro, and wagging a wise old head, was only restrained when the writer laid his hand on her shoulder, she was squatting by his left side, and whispered to her: " Chalwe, dear Chalwe, don't feel hurt. This barker of a Dog Deacon, being a youngster knows no better, he is a mere child, unlike you and me, he has no sense, he has not yet arrived at the age of discretion." And as the old girl preened herself in pleasure and pride the Deacon made a fresh start. " Oooh Chembo! Oak Mushiri! Oh Nkana " "Ye-es! Ye-es! That's right! That's the way!" and as Priestess-Princess Chalwe of the wini Mishishi Royal Line nodded approvingly, and
16 THE NORTHERN RHODESIA JOURNAL
smiled to the congregation, taking all credit to her Royal self, she snuggled more comfortably on her knees and toes; and the prayer was said in due and regular form.
When the remainder of the flour was strewn in the middle of the chamber, and the beads from the pearl necklace unstrung to accompany the former, a sacrificial knife, bright and sharp, was unsheathed. The fowl's head was cleanly severed, and as the blood spouted from the artery, the Deacon stood up, and solemnly dashed the bird against the altar walls—east and west, north and south. Just a moment before the bird expired, he flung it by the eastern gate into the arched altar, and as it flapped itself out by the western, all stood up, and raising their arms above their heads, as far as they could stretch, finger tips of one hand touching the finger tips of the other hand, cried in unison, one ecstatic shout "Ooooo!" and arms dropped to sides. And as the shout died away, Katanga the old, old Priest-King started a slow dance. Tucking up her skirts, Chalwe the older sister, copied his example. And all the young chiefs sedately joined in. It was a stately dance, the knees of each dancer rose, the toes pointed down, and the measure proceeded, slowly, and as deliberately as though they were dancing over an open grave.
In a few minutes, the two ancients stopped, smiled a blessing to the company, left the Deacon of the Dog totem to pick up his fee, the decapitated fowl, and shambled back through the ankle deep dust, safe to the motor lorry.
As Katanga was hobbling along this is what he said: "Now that is done, next you must kill a bullock, and let all eat and be merry. And as soon as ever possible, beer must be brewed, for after labour comes refreshment."
In those places in this narrative, where X appears the ineffable is referred to by sign. And this is the sign as given by an African pagan: arm from shoulder to elbow held horizontally; forearm from elbow to fmger tips held perpendicularly, pointing to the heavens. The common name referring to the Almighty was never once used, so it might not be taken in vain. What is surprising too, is the fact that not a word was said about the Snake, whose alleged presence had terrorised the Mine.
Some months later, when all " Snake " trouble was over, Prince Sanda-Wunga was fined his shirt. Mushiri, the chief of those Lambas, although in years much his junior, in hereditary rank was senior. And old Katanga of the old, old, school, had never worn, nor possessed a shirt, so it was no good fining him. But his nephew Sanda-wunga was wealthy, so he had to pay for the uncle's having exceeded his duty by holding the service without reference to Mushiri. Having got the shirt, Mushiri then demanded money, much money, which Sanda-wunga could never pay, and so the matter was referred to the writer. After some head-scratching this was the finding. (a) Katanga had done his duty. (b) Mushiri, admittedly Katanga's senior in hereditary rank, not having performed the ceremony, had no right to the blanket that the Roan Mine had bestowed on Katanga, after the prayer was said. (c) If Mushiri persisted in his claim, Chirupula would indict Mushiri in the Paramount Lamba Court, that of Serenje, and the indictment would be (1) manslaughter by not pupa-ing as a Priest-King should have done, if the Roan parish was in his keeping. (2) contempt of Serenje's jurisdiction by fining Katanga's nephew Sanda-wunga, when Serenje alone, should levy the fine--if leviable.
The matter was dropped abruptly. Katanga is now with God. Chalwe is frail and feeble, but still able to eat sugar.
[See also this article:- http://www.ecu.edu/african/sersas/Siegel400.htm ]
OLD TIMERS NO.12: "FRENCH MARIE"
"French Marie" was one of the best-known characters in both Southern and Northern Rhodesia during the first three decades of the century.
At the building of the Victoria Falls Bridge in 1904–05 she arrived with a wagon load of European girls for the entertainment of the workers. In the 1920s she was running transport at Shabani Mine in Southern Rhodesia. Her name cropped up in a debate in Parliament in Southern Rhodesia in 1961 and Mr Ian Dillon, M.P., recalled that she came from San Francisco with a troupe of girls and that she ran a "house of accommodation" in Pioneer Street, Salisbury. She also lived in Bulawayo and Gwelo. Mr Dillon, and others outside the House, paid tribute to her as contributing a great deal to life in the old, rough days.
Another Southern Rhodesia reference to her is – "French Marie of the Green Rose Mine in the Umshandige Valley, the only woman miner on record, who carried a stock whip – and used it."
She was French. She was a big woman who, in Southern Rhodesia, always wore riding breeches and a slouch hat. She was strong enough to change a wagon wheel that would make many a man strain under the weight. She was a wonderful horsewoman. There is a story of her galloping up to a house in Southern Rhodesia with two lions after her. The farmer refused to go out and shoot them so she borrowed a rifle, went out, shot the lions and then came back and horse-whipped the farmer. Although women were not allowed legally in bars in Southern Rhodesia, Marie always went in and no one dared try and turn her out. She would drink and play dice with the men but after a few drinks she invariably began to cheat.
She was well known on the Copperbelt during the construction years of the late 1920s and early 1930s as she ran transport for the building of the Kafue bridge and for the bridges on the Nchanga road. She always wore shorts in this country and was known to the Africans as "mfazi haputula" (the woman in shorts).
She finally left for Brazzaville.
Northern Rhodesia Journal, Volume 6 Number 2, page 243
Further anecdotes about "French Marie" were posted here, with this Subject :-
"Any info re 'French Marie' Zimbabwe from 1893"
See also here.
Posted: 2 Sep 2014 8:53AM GMT
Surnames: Clement, Lemistre, Baines,
I am looking for any/all info re 'French Marie' -also known as Miss Clement, Mrs.Baines, Mrs Green & Ma Broeks by the locals. She arrived in the country in 1893 as Mrs Baines. She was born in France - possibly Orleans but went to America where her daughter was born before travelling to S.Rhodesia (according to info passed down the family). She had 3 children that we know of -
Louise Germaine Lemistre who married John May in Gatooma 1914,
Madge who married x 2 - (1st-Barrabal, 2nd Boult).
She also had a son, Cecil, who died young after being kicked by a horse.
I did have a copy of a letter from a Mike Hawke/s of Harare years ago saying that he had some documents/photos of 'French Marie' which had been from a relative who was related to Madge through marriage. Mike had eventually found a marriage certificate for 'French Marie' and John(Jack) Baines. I have not been able to make contact with Mike. 'French Marie' died in 1952 in Salisbury while staying with her daughter Madge. She was buried in Salisbury under the name Mrs Baines. Can anyone help me?
To the family, French Marie is still an enigma - no one knows much about her - just lots of stories. Her daughter, Louise May died in 1988 in Harare. She spent her last few years in Nazareth House. I was sure her maiden name was Clements but didn't have any proof. I found that a witness to Louise's marriage to Paddy May was A Cladides and I found a death notice of Adolphine Cladides(formerly Bazin) who's maiden name was also Clements. She was Born in France and died in Gwelo. We know that French Marie visited a sister in Gwelo until about 1935.
In the 1993 the family received a letter from a Mike Hawkes-Harare in reply to the queries about French Marie. She was the mother of his step-grandmother. He had several photos of her including the one of her on horseback in her 20's/30's. His curiousity grew so he did some research and came up with her marriage certificate to John(Jack) Baines on 23rd June 1909.
Her last marriage in 1926 would have been to a Mr.Green - he either died or they divorced. She then went back to her previous married name - Baines.
I cannot thank you enough for answering my query as no one in the family has any info and any papers regarding her ie birth certificate/baptism, travel etc have all disappeared. Her daughter, Louise, is supposed to have been born in USA but I can't find any info anywhere.
None of the family are in Zimbabwe any longer so getting info from there is very difficult.
My husband, Peter, is one of French Marie's GGrandchildren through Paddy(John) and Louise.They had 4 children - Patrick was Peter's father.
Here's the coordinate for John Baines Death record, died 20 Feb 1919.
Not much there, and no indication of where he died (do you have any idea?), just "Military D/C Files" (whatever that means).
I had a look through 1919 death notices for Gwelo and Gatooma, and he's not in either of those.
The notes might interest you; it took some time to close his estate.
John Baines, died 20 Feb 1919, appears to have been South African Infantry service number 22988, buried Newcastle-under-Lyme cemetery.
and the D.R for Marie's second daughter's (Margaret's) former husband could be D.R.486/54, Walter Eric Barrable, died 9 Mar 1954 Grahamstown, married in Johannesburg, wife Margaret (but the rest pretty illegible, perhaps you can decipher it). Click >here<
Re Margaret (Madge) - I will see if any family member who knew her a bit can add any info.
As you say, the rest of the document is pretty illegible. Will see if I can decipher some of it.
Louise Germaine just must be Germaine Louise 'Semistre' (sic) born 24 Feb 1895 Chicago, Cook, Illinois, daughter of Louis Semistre (sic, age 25, b. Paris) & Marie Clement Semistre (age 25, b. Brangeney),
Now according to LDS she must have had a twin sister, Yennanie L. Semistre (sic), born on the same day to the same parents. I had a brief hunt for her death, but didn't find anything - the permutations of how her name could be recorded are daunting.
According to LDS there was a L.L.Lemistre of the right age, born France, who arrived at New York/Ellis Island 22 Jan 1894 from Southampton, but Ancestry has a record of a more likely Louis Lemistre, b. France abt 1869, arriving from LeHavre 20 Mar 1893 on the ship 'La Champagne', given to be bound for Chicago.
Here's the transcript of that Louis Lemistre who arrived USA 20 Mar 1893, filed in a strange place, he was a 'clicker' (cut shoe leathers): https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KDQT-346
Could Maria Clement's arrival in USA have been this one, on the ship Rugia 19 May 1888?
passenger list image here:
Thanks for the further info. I will be contacting one of the family members who knew Louise Germaine better and ask if she knows Louise's birthdate. We know she was born in 1895 - I thought in August but I may be wrong. From what I have been told French Marie's first marriage was to Louis Lemestre in France.She was listed as entering Southern Rhodesia in 1893 and listed as Mrs Baines (Lemestre). This info is on the list of women pioneers. As you can see there are some gaps/questions that need to be filled/answered. We know she with others walked from Umtali to Salisbury in 1896 to escape the rebellion. At that point she had a baby/toddler with her on that long walk which would be Louise Germaine. We have always been told that Louise G was born in Chicago before they left for Africa. Have no idea where Louis Lemestre went but if French Marie only married John Baines in 1909 maybe by that time Louis lemestre had died or divorced her! More questions than answers!.
'Yennanie L.' is probably 'Germaine Louise' transcribed by someone who couldn't read what had been written in another ledger.
How would one have sailed from North America to South Africa in those days - via Europe? Or was there direct passage?
I think that most people sailing from North America to SA would probably sail via england/Scotland. Most of the ships from UK were from London, Liverpool, Southampton etc. I understand that people from France usually went across to England and caught ships from there - something to do with it being easier than from french ports.
Marie's daughter indicated that Louis Lemistre/Lemestre died about 1900.
A chap named Greef transcribed the first 1000 of the Rhodesian (Zimbabwian) death notices some years ago (the ones dating from 1890) into an Excel chart,which was on his website (but is no longer there). However, I had the foresite to record his list and have checked it; there is no Louis Lemistre/Lemestre (or anything like it) within those first 1000 names.
My grandmother's step-grandfather is on that list, and he died in 1906, so I think it is fairly certain that EITHER Louis Lemistre/Lemestre died elsewhere, OR that if he died in Rhodesia his death wasn't recorded, OR that he died sometime between 1906 and the date Marie married Baines (and that if the record is in those untranscibed Zim D.R.'s, that his name has been miswritten).
Haven't found any any death record of anyone that could fit elsewhere either.
The boy (Cecil?), who was kicked by the horse- do you know what his surname would have been, and when and where he died?
I don't think that Louis Lemestre came out to Rhodesia. In the Rhodesian Women Pioneers list Marie is listed as coming into Rhodesia in 1893 as Mrs Baines (lemestre) which suggests her first husband didn't come in to the country. It looks like she met up with Baines and called herself Mrs Baines ( for decency?). Where she met him is a mystery. We are still trying to find out where she landed in Africa - whether through Mocambique or one of the ports in SA.
The boy (Cecil?) - we don't know his surname - kind of presumed it would have been Green which was Marie's 3rd husband. We have heard that he died when kicked by Marie's favourite horse on a farm at Lalapanzi which is in the Gwelo district. She shot the horse. That could point to a surname of Green.Not sure when he died.
For a woman who was a well know figure in the country especially in the Gwelo area etc there is so little on her!!!
Her death notice has quite a lot of information:
Marie Victoire Baines, nee Clements, divorcee born Orleans, France, parents deceased, age 83, condition in life prior to death - Trader, no surviving spouse, deceased spouses Lois Lemestre d.abt 1900, Jack Baines d. abt 1918, place of last marriage Gwelo 1926, died 3 Apr 1952 Salisbury, usual place of residence Rkwesa mine, Karoi, children: #1 Margaret Bridge Bolt, b. Limestre, married without community of property to Charles Harold Edwin Boltt of Rkwesa mine, Karoi, #2 Marie Louise May, b. Lemestre, married without community of property to Paddy May of Hartley (Box 3). Informant: M. Boltt, daughter, on 7 April 1952.
She was definitely well known in both countries. She did bring in European girls as she had seen that there were't many European girls in the country. She and the MP for Gwelo were discussing asking Parliament to legalize 'Brothels' as they could see that due to lack of European women there could be an expanding population of mixed race people. We did see the article that was shown to us by a friend but we didn't take a copy of it.
and the doctor's certificate here, giving cause of death:
Well 'French Marie' is mentioned in this paper:
...and that gives the reference from which that was taked as being "White, Shanties Part 2", elsewhere in that document referred to as "White, Shanties and champagne, Part 2".
It would be interesting to find that source!
Actually I did wonder if she might have been French Canadian? (In Rhodesia she might have simplified her past; after all she obviously reinvented herself a few times.) There is that proximity to Chicago.
There was a Marie Victoire Clements baptised 18 Jun 1879 in Orleans, Ontario (the French speaking area of Canada) ....and Orleans was stated on her death record.
See Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967 for Marie Victoire Clement, my French is not good enough to read the full text, but it doesn't seem to give her birth date, but even born that same year she would have been old enough to have a child in 1895
Likewise there was (what has been transcribed as) an Alolphe (sic) Clement baptised Fournier, Ontario in 1867 - in the same record collection. I wonder?
I would have thought that lad (Cecil's?) death would have been recorded. The indices to those D.R's only start about 1904, but if he had died before that he should be in the transcribed 'first one thousand' list. Have to have another look.
I had forgotten about that paper - had seen it some years ago.
I had looked at French Canada and had found the reference to the birth of a Marie Victoire Clement - also for Adolphine.
The death record for Adolphine Clement does state she was born in Blais, France. I haven't found that name in France yet.
We have always understood that the lad, Cecil, was younger than the 2 daughters so could have been the son of either John Baines or Mr Green. He was apparently a young boy when he was killed - maybe between 6 - 11 years old.
1. Son of John Baines - would have been born after their marriage in 1909
2.Son of Mr Green - would have been born after their marriage in 1926
So far haven't found any reference to a young Baines/Green's death.
One of the family who had more to do with Madge has said that French Marie's birthday was 21st August - another 'red herring' given out or the truth?
Trying to think 'out of the box' for a moment....
It would appear that Marie Victoire Lemistre/Lemestre's one daughter, Germaine Louise (aka Germaine Louise, aka Marie Louise) was born 1895. (I imagine she must have been the first born.)
So let's assume French Marie was at the lower age range when she had that daughter, say 15 years old, in which case she was born sometime before 1880. If she had been born in 1880 she would have been 46 in 1926 when she married C.R.Green - that would have been at the upper age for when she could have had that son. If she was born anytime earlier she would have been older, so even less likely that the son could have been born after 1926.
On the other hand her death certificate said she was 83 when she died, and another information written on the web by a great-grand daughter in the BSAP Outpost said she was 85; that would have put her birth date between 1867 and 1869, in which case she would have been at least 57 when she married C.F.Green in 1926 - hardly having his son at that age,so I think any son must have been born much earlier.
There was a C.F.Green something to do with St Faith's mission, Rusape; I wonder if he could have been her third husband?
Regarding timeframe. Overland travel in Africa in those days took weeks, and sea travel back and forth across the Atlantic weeks and weeks. It's difficult to imagine that French Marie went back and forth; I think it's more likely that she came to Africa once, and stayed.
There was a comment written that French Marie had arrived in America via San Francisco (?); the Panama canal was only inaugurated in 1914, so travel to the USA's west coast would have had to be 'the long way around' - so highly unlikely I think.
The information on French Marie's death certificateon was provided by her daughter Margaret Boltt, who named herself nee Lemestre. Where and when was she born? I would imagine she must have been born sometime after 1896 (otherwise French Marie would have been carrying two infants from Umtali), but before Marie married Baines in 1909 (otherwise Margaret would have been a 'Baines' not 'Lemestre'.)
Hi, I agree, thinking 'out the box' is probably the way to go here.Much of what you have said is what we thought too.
I have gone back on my records/info and it seems Marie Victoire came into the country as Marie Victoire Lemestre - later marrying Baines then Green which then poses another question -what happened to Mr Lemestre? Did he come in as well but later died - if so that would explain Madge calling herself Lemestre. That puts Louise Germaine's place of birth in question? I am waiting for replies from a couple of the older family re Madge & French Marie. Unfortunately my in-laws died in 2004/2007 and they are the last of that generation.
I do have some notes my father in law wrote years ago about his life when he was young - included French Marie. In the notes he says that French Marie came into Rhodesia in the early 1890s (which is correct) but says that she came in with her 2 daughters! That doesn't match anything. Of course he was only a kid and when he was writing the notes he was in his early 80s. I need to try and get French Marie's marriage to Baines to see if there is any additional info on it. Of course that may take time. We know that he was living at Eiffel Flats, near Gatooma at around the time they were married so will start from there.
Yes, I also regret not having had the sense to ask questions when those that could have answered them were still alive - ho hum.
If you have a Latter Day Saints (Mormons) reading room near you, you might try and get a look at the scan of the original birth record for Germain Louise Semestre (sic) 24 Feb 1895 Chicago, FHL Film Number: 1287979. That might have detail that hasn't been transcribed.
Also, if Margaret's final surname and time/place of death is known, it would be worth looking at her death record too.
I will see if there are any LDS reading rooms here in N.Ireland - also will keep searching deaths and see if she comes up at all. The family seem to be at a loss about information re French Marie and very little about Madge. I did notice that on Marie Victoire's death register Madge calls herself Margaret Bridge Boltt nee Lemestre. Will see if I can find her death register. That may clear up some questions.
Thanks for that sites - interesting reading. I have found a death register of a Lusienne Lemistre Clement age 5yrs 3 mths. Born Bulawayo (about 1897) and died in Gwelo in 1902. Parents are listed as Louis Lemistre and Maria Clement - too much of a coincidence? The dates/years are compatible with French Marie's movements and really don't think there were many Louis Lemistre/Lemestre's entering S.Rhodesia in those days! Will keep going through the death register as I am also looking for different members of my side of the family. Have already found a few and have been able to fill in names of children etc.
Have also been reading up on early Rhodesian history especially on transport-wagon/coach/train.
Well how about that! So it would be interesting to know when Margaret was born, if I was a betting man I'd bet 1899. My father's mother was also born in Bulawayo in 1897, March. She never had a birth certificate, or it couldn't be found, so if you ever get round to finding a certificate for this child born 1897 I'm all ears. When I was last in Zim a couple of years ago I found just about all the family graves in Bulawayo's Athlone cemetery, the earliest being 1906 that of my gran's step-grandfather, engraving still very clear. The cemetery's record office was a shambles, but with some monetary persuasion I was allowed to leave through the card index and found the plot coordinates (bar one). With a bit of luck the same could be true of Gwelo (if you're ever out that way). The other place I found useful was the Pioneers and Early Settlers Society, their office 130a J.Moyo street, I found stuff in their files related to my gran's parents. Non of their stuff has been computerised, you'd have to go there. So where did Louis get to; I expect you'll stumble across his DR under some strange misspelling. There is a public project to transcribe those Zim DRs, anyone can participate, I have the rules somewhere if you have the time and interest?
"French Marie" a.k.a "Mfazi Kaputula" is mentioned in the book 'The Best of Lawrence Green', the digitised text of which is here:
He says she moved to Brazzaville in her old age.
On the same theme see also this old Rootsweb message (note spelt as 'Lernestre'):
Thanks for the info/links. Both are very interesting reading. Re French Marie - it seems that facts are mixed up with embellishments. The one comment that she was a tall woman is definitely false as she was between 5ft & 5ft 1inch & not particularly slim - definitely not tall in anyone's book! We have a photo of her driving a car-one of those early ones but not sure what make it was. She did travel to Belgium Congo but definitely didn't leave Rhodesia to go to Brazzaville in her old age. I can see why there is so much confusion about her and her life. Thank goodness that death records have been found which have listed some of the information that was needed. Still a few gaps but we are certainly breaking through all the 'myths' of her. I guess anyone who met her had a different view of who she was-depending on the circumstances. Both articles do give a broad insight into what life was like in the early days which is great as those generations are long gone. My father-in-law (French Marie's grandson,Pat) died in 2004 and it was only in his last few years that he made some notes and chatted about his Grandmother & the life he remembered as a young boy (he was born in 1916.
I had a look at DR 45/47 (Gwelo 22 Apr 1935) of her sister, Adolphine Cladides, estranged wife of George Cladides, formerly married to A. Bazin, nee Clement. From that she would have been born abt Feb 1859, perhaps in Blois?, France (near Orleans). The informant was her sister, M?V.Green, (aka Marie Victorie Green, formerly Baines, formerly Lemestre, nee Clement).
I found the doctor's death notice here:
I can't see any trace of her offspring, Louis George Henri Clement & Victoria Lamalle (married surname?), both adults and both still living in 1935.
Yes, she was born about 1859 and yes, her sister is French Marie. Peter's dad remembered visiting her in Gwelo when he was a teenager. Went with his Grandmother.
I found Adolphine Cladides from Marie Louise's marriage certificate. Adolphine was one of the witnesses. I am still going through the death registers of Zim - I am up to 1970#1401-1712. Still a way to go to the end but I am getting there. Once I have done those I will go onto the death notices - town by town ( I have done some of the towns). Hopefully I will come up with Madge's death in the remaining death registers!
So far I haven't come across any reference of her offspring. Still trying to decide if one or both children have the same father - I think they are both the children of Bazin but can't be sure. Only time will tell.
In 'The Pioneer, Volume 3 - Journal of The Rhodesian Pioneers' and Early Settlers Society', published 1975, there is an article on pages 42-45 titled 'The Town that Fought Two Rebellions', rememberences of Martha Oosthuysen. In the last paragraph she wrote "I knew John Austen of Que Que, and I also knew French Marie, who cured his horse after it had been mauled by a lion at Lion Spruit."
Then, in the same issue, on pages 81-86, there is an article titled 'He Beat a Lion with a Sjambok - Incidents from the life of John Austen by his daughters Myrtle, Rose & Ivy'. (Austen was an anglicisation of his original Finnish surname , said to be Osterland but was probably Österlund.)
It tells of how he was attacked by lions (which he beat off), and a chunk of flesh was ripped from his horses rump. He managed to reach Gwelo convinced that he was going to have to shoot the horse. "However, there was a woman in Gwelo who was known as French Marie, and she said she could heal it. So John left it in her care and she did indeed succeed in saving it." The last paragraph states that John Austen had eight children, and that the place on the main Que Que-Gwelo road was marked with a signpost "Lion Spruit" (long since removed).
I've seen copies of 'The Pioneer, Volume 3' on Amazon, etc.
Oh yes, regarding Martha Magtiretha Oosthuysen, nee Botha.... she was an 1895 pioneer, and her reminiscences were translated from Afrikaans by her son J.H. Oosthuysen. At that time she was 87 years old, and her brother, Adam Botha of Que Que, and sister Leina Nel of Gwelo, were still living. If any of their descendents are still around they might know have something to say about French Marie.
Very interesting, thank you. Amazing where these little 'tidbits' of information on French Marie come from. I will see if I can get a copy of 'The Pioneer, Volume 3' from Amazon. I have been trying to get hold of the 'Pioneer Society' in Zim but haven't had any reply yet. They or one of their members may have some further info on French Marie and /or some relatives on my side who came in as pioneers.
Thought I would bring you up to date with my research on French Marie and her daughters etc.
You were spot on with the birth year of Madge Lemestre - she was born in a tin shanty(standard accomodation in S.Rhodesia in those days) in Gwelo in 1899! She married in South Africa in 1922 to a Claude Barraball but they divorced in 1924. I presume that would be when she moved back to S.Rhodesia. Her 2nd husband was Edwin Harold Charles Boltt but only in 1951 about a year after his first wife died. Seems to be a lot of questions about the time in between the marriages since she knew Charlie Boltt from the time she was in Gatooma - she was then known to be in the Karoi area. From what we have found out she also lived her life as she wanted - just like her mother. We were able to make contact with 2 of Charlie Boltt's grandsons a couple of months ago and they have so much info and photos of both French Marie and Madge which we are slowly being sent. It may be a fairly long process as the one grandson in particular has just opened a B&B in France so is rather busy. In a letter of Madge's to a person who wanted to know about French Marie she mentions that there was another sister born in Bulawayo (Lusienne) who died young. Of course we had found the death info already but it was good to get confirmation. Edwin Harold Charles Boltt is supposed to have been born in Bute, Montana but there is some doubt about that - at least with regards the place of birth. Even his surname is in question!! I guess this is what happened with a lot of people in those times.
Madge loved cars so a lot of the photos we now have are her with different cars. There is talk of her losing a child then never having more although she did bring up a son of Charlie Boltt so on Charlie's death notice it says Robin Boltt son of 2nd marriage - but it wasn't. Charlie died in Port Alfred,SA (presume on holiday) in 1960. His normal residence was Kent Farm, Karoi.S.Rhodesia. Madge never married again. Her step grandsons think she died in the late 1977s. By the sound of it Madge was a lovely person and loved by her step grandchildren. It sounds like she was much more relaxed than her sister, Marie Louise Germaine. So for now we are a couple of steps forward in our research on this side of the family. I also was given a copy of the marriage certificate for French Marie and John Baines in 1909. On the certificate it states that French Marie was 'a Spinster' - another untruth - one of so many. As they were married in Gwelo she would have been known there so she could have put 'widow' unless of course she wasn't legally married to Louis Lemestre. With French Marie anything can happen!!!!!
Thanks for the bit on FM in the Northern Rhodesian Journal notes. We had an idea she was also known in N.Rhodesia at some point but weren't sure. If she travelled to Belgian Congo to 'be able to speak french' then it was logical that she would have travelled to N.Rhodesia since she did do transporting in her truck.
Another bit of info from a letter from Madge was that French Marie's first husband died around 1900 in Broken Hill, N.Rhodesia (Madge's father).
That is an interesting bit of info you have found re a Marthe Lemestre - Madame Sphinx. I see the entries are from 1976 & 1981. I know when I was searching on Ancestry24 (the SA version) I had found references to the surname Lemestre. I did send a message to the person who was researching their family which included Lemestre but never received a reply. I will see if I kept a note of who was doing that family tree. Unfortunately Ancestry24 was sold to Ancestry.com and they are supposed to be putting those records on their site. There was so much information on that site so it's a pity they haven't yet been put on line.
Thanks again for your input.
I will let you know if or when I come up with some new information. I do have a lot of photos of both French Marie & Madge that were sent to me from the Boltt grandsons.
Re Charlie Boltt's first wife, Isabella - I was also surprised that on her death notice she was listed as a widow (which she wasn't legally). I have an idea Madge and Charlie were already an item and had been for a long time before they married. Charlie had had an affair with another lady who gave birth to a son, Robin, then died in a motor accident. Madge apparently brought him up and 'adopted' him. Robin was an adult before he found out that Madge wasn't his birth mother.
She could have gone to San Francisco for girls - would have to find that info on shipping lists although having said that she could have gone home to France or England. Don't think we will ever know.
She was French, we have since found out about her life from birth in France through the French records. She was born in 1870, the last of 6 children. She was about 5ft tall but in later years was rather large in weight.She was strong and tough (she wouldn't have survived if she hadn't been.) FM was an excellent horsewoman, did mining, farming,transporting and was very capable in treating animals when no vets were available. She also was able to handle a 16 span ox Wagon (her one grandson was able to confirm this as he was born 1916 and when a few years older was able to go with her into Gwelo, outspan outside the town,sleep the night, spend the day with his brother in town, sleep the 2nd night outside the town then on to where they lived.)
FM was generally accepted by the men as 'one of the boys'.
She may have left the Copperbelt to visit Brazzaville but she didn't stay there. She returned to S.Rhodesia and when a bit older started up a butchery at Makwiro near Halfway which her daughter and son-in-law ran.She died in 1952 aged 82. We have some of my father-in-law's notes on his recollections of his grandmother.
It is a very interesting article and does add a few bits of info we didn't have. FM certainly stands out as one of the best known characters of SR & NR in the early days. Having read some other comments we have come across, she was loved by many as she had a heart of gold but not liked by those who crossed her!! We are slowly gathering together all stories that we can find about her plus of course, any facts that we can put on Family Tree we are doing.
Jenny & Peter May
Barry Brown posted: 20 Feb 2017 1:27AM GMT
Here's another anecdote about Doul Zeederberg's buisness acumin. (It took me a little while to find, as I thought I'd read it in one of Tony Tanzer's books, but I found eventually that I'd read it in 'Bulawayo: Historic Battleground of Rhodesia' by Oliver Ransford, published 1968 by A.A.Balkema, Cape Town - in itself an extract from Marshal Hole's book, 'Old Rhodesian Days'.)
'Bulawayo: Historic Battleground of Rhodesia', extract from page 70...
"...... A good story illustrating his business instincts has been told by Marshal Hole in 'Old Rhodesian Days'. 'It was related', he writes,'that after the Matabele war, when a contract for a mail-coach service between Bulawayo and Salisbury was under consideration, Jameson (Leander Starr Jameson) at first wanted a tri-weekly service and offered him (Doul Zeederberg) a substantial Government subsidy if he would undertake it. Doul realised that his resources in mules and rolling stock were not equal to this, but he was prepared to provide a bi-weekly service for two-thirds of the price. This seemed to Jameson a fair compromise and the agreement was concluded by an exchange of letters. It was only after the bargain had been struck that Jameson discovered that, whereas "tri-weekly" meant three time a week, "bi-weekly" ment once a fortnight. Doul (Zeederberg) had already made sure of this by looking up the words in a dictionary."