Daniel Crawford was a Scottish missionary to Zaire. Born in Gourock, Scotland, he left school at 14 to work as a bookkeeper. His was a devout Church of Scotland family, and he taught in the local Sunday school. Despite this, he was converted at a Brethren meeting in 1887 and received adult baptism. He gave up work and became a freelance preacher, relying on God to provide for his sustenance, which was to be his way for the rest of his life.
At that time he influenced many who later became his base of support. Feeling called to Africa, in March 1889 Crawford set off as an independent missionary associated with the Plymouth Brethren of Scotland and England and spent the rest of his life in Katanga (modern Shaba, in southeast Zaire).
After some months working with others, he struck out alone and settled among the Nyamwezi. With headquarters on Lake Mweru, he itinerated constantly, preaching and setting up local schools, aiming simply at literacy in the local language. He married Grace Tilsley in 1896.
Crawford’s only absence from Africa occurred from mid-1911 to mid-1915, two years of which were spent pleading the cause of African missions in Europe and the United States. He was a brilliant linguist and by 1926 had completed the translation of the whole Bible into Luba. This and other languages he learned by living as the sole European among Africans, thus learning to “think black,” an attitude that made him something of an exception among missionaries of that era.
Félix Charles Edmond de La Panouse’s family was one of the oldest and most distinguished in France and he had distinguished himself in service with the French Navy and as A.D.C. to the Count de MacMahon, Marshall of France.
La Panouse had a relationship with the famous French opera singer, Marie Heilbron, which caused his family to disinherit him and after several speculative financial investments, he realised he was heavily in debt. The solution seemed to be to leave France quickly and recover some money in a new venture and the news in 1890 was that Mashonaland offered great opportunities for finding gold in “ancient workings.”
La Panouse travelled to London to raise funds to form a mining syndicate in Mashonaland. It is here he met Fanny Pearson. Pearson had moved to London as she obtained a job as a parlour maid at the Albany Chambers, now part of Piccadilly Underground Station. When the two met, they fell passionately in love and decided to head to Cape Town and elope. When they arrived, they learned that the British South Africa Company had imposed a strict rule that women and children were not allowed to enter Mashonaland as it was considered too dangerous.
Not being put off, Fanny travelled into Mashonaland masquerading as a man and changed her name to Billie. The story is that she travelled in a railway truck to stay out of sight, but got shunted off into a rail siding and then had to walk to the railhead to catch up with her husband before they travelled together by ox-wagon and reached Salisbury in November 1890.
Edmond and Billie spent a lengthy period of time gold prospecting for the La Panouse Exploring Syndicate and then mining on the Tatagura River in the Mazoe Valley, during which period they found little gold and came to realise their speculative venture was a dream.
In early 1894, James Hutchinson Kennedy, chief accountant for the British South Africa Company, and later Master and Registrar of the High Court of Southern Rhodesia, leased the Avondale Farm to Count Edmond de la Panouse. Over the next few years they gradually built up a thriving dairy herd of over three hundred head and began supplying Salisbury with milk, butter, eggs, chickens and bacon.
Soon, a Dramatic Society had been formed and Edmond’s name had been put forward for election as President of the Salisbury Club. But in order to avoid scandal, it was essential that Billie and Edmond be married, so in July 1894 they were married by Father Nicot at the Jesuit Mission Church at Chishawasha Mission and Hugh Marshall Hole recorded their marriage ceremony as the first in Salisbury.
But in 1896 a Rinderpest outbreak broke out which affected their farming activities. Edmond and Billie were left penniless and with their dairy herd wiped out, they could do little other than sell the livestock and look for other employment. Edmond was offered work as a transport contractor. About 16 June 1986 the First Chimurenga broke out and within four days all the Europeans to the east of Salisbury had either been killed or fled, with the exception of the Catholic fathers at Chishawasha Mission. Edmond narrowly escaped being killed as he travelled through Marandellas.
Late 1896 Edmond and Billie gave up their lease at Avondale farm and for a time managed Sofala Lodge, a boarding house near Pioneer Street in Salisbury. On August 27th, 1899, Fanny gave birth to a daughter christened Alice Rhodesia; but sadly eighteen days later the child died and it may have been this event which prompted them to leave the country where they settled near Paris.
Edward Carey Tyndale-Biscoe was born on 29 August 1864 in Oxfordshire. In 1884, he undertook his Lieutenant qualifying exams, coming third overall and by September 1899 he retired from the Royal Navy on medical grounds.
Three months later, he approached the British South Africa Company offices and soon learnt more about a proposed BSACo expeditionary force into Mashonaland to mine gold. Upon his arrival in South Africa, he was appointed as Lieutenant of C Troop and formed part of the Pioneer Column.
The column arrived at Fort Salisbury 12 September, and on the morning of 13 September 1890, Tyndale-Biscoe hoisted the Union Jack flag. On Saturday 27 September, Tyndale-Biscoe handed over his guns and the searchlight to the police and purchased two horses, in readiness for the disbandment of the Column.
Tyndale-Biscoe soon formed a syndicate with the Hoste brothers. Shortly after lodging claims in Salisbury, he joined a punitive expedition against Chief Mutasa in Manicaland and subsequently was in charge of the fort at the Pungwe River passage. The lure of gold would keep him in Manicaland but, on hearing of his mother’s death in 1891, he returned for a short period to England. When he returned to Cape Town in 1892, he made his way to Mashonaland.
During 1892 Tyndale-Biscoe worked in Salisbury as a clerk of court. In October 1893, he was attached to A Troop as Lieutenant in charge of machine guns (Nordenfeldt and Gardiner), Salisbury Column, as part of the expedition to overthrow Lobengula. This volunteer position would be rewarded with the receipt of six thousand acres of land in Matabeleland, twenty gold claims and an equal share of half the cattle captured.
In 1895, Tyndale-Briscoe was part of an expedition lead by Dr J A Moloney on behalf of Rhodesia Concessions Ltd. The purpose of the expedition was to locate land north of the Zambesi to construct light railways under a concession that also granted land and mineral rights.
Shortly after the debacle of the Jameson Raid in December 1895, the amaNdebele rose in rebellion, forcing the Rhodesian Horse, of which Tyndale-Biscoe was still a member, to muster in Salisbury. With the rank of Captain, the force under Colonel Beal and including Cecil Rhodes, went to the aid of the beleaguered Bulawayo. Tyndale-Biscoe saw action in the Hartley area.
After the Rebellions, Tyndale-Biscoe continued to prospect in the Mazoe Valley, and further afield into the Bindura area where he worked the Phoenix Prince Mine. With the outbreak of the Boer War in 1899, he left his property to Skipper Hoste and set off for Durban, joining the British Naval Brigade in a besieged Ladysmith where he manned various gun emplacements.
He arrived back in England in April 1900 to a victorious welcome, highlighted by a parade in front of Queen Victoria. Mentioned in Despatches, he was promoted to the rank of Commander in the Retired List on 24 April 1902.
The outbreak of World War I found Tyndale-Biscoe in Kashmir, visiting his brother Cecil and recovering from a broken leg sustained in a vehicle mishap. He went on to serve as a Major in the Censorship Office in Delhi, retiring in 1920.
Tyndale-Biscoe kept in touch with the country he helped establish, retaining a small mining interest and being invited at the start of each decade, commencing in 1910, to raise the flag in Cecil Square, Salisbury.
Mary Anne Cosgrave [spelled Cosgrove in some accounts], pioneer nurse in Rhodesia and Dominican Sisters Prioress, was born May 1863 in Summerhill, County Meath, Ireland. She was the second youngest of four children. Both her parents died of tuberculosis when she was young. She was then raised by her father’s cousin, John Cosgrave, in County Wexford. She attended the Loreto Convent Secondary School in Enniscorthy until age 15. When only 17 years old, she responded to a call for postulants and traveled to South Africa to join the Dominican Sisters Convent in King William’s Town. She celebrated her final profession as a nun in 1882, taking the name Mary Patrick. Sister Patrick would spend the next nine years as a teacher in and around King Williams Town.
In 1889, Sister Patrick and a party of four other Dominican Sisters volunteered to provide nursing services in support of the “Pioneer Column” then being assembled by the British South Africa Company for the occupation of Mashonaland. Sister Patrick was appointed Mother Superior in charge. The sisters traveled separately from the main column, spending time at the hospitals in Mafeking and Macloutsie, Bechuanaland, before reaching Salisbury in July 1891, ten months after the Pioneer Column first arrived. At Salisbury, the sisters took charge of the rudimentary hospital that had been set up. In October 1892, Mother Patrick opened the Salisbury Convent, the first school in Salisbury and one of the first schools in Rhodesia. Mother Patrick and the Dominican Sisters were called upon again to provide nursing care when, in 1896, Southern Rhodesia was engulfed in the uprisings of both the Ndebele and Shona.
Two years later, the Rhodesian Dominicans were separated from the house at King Williams’s Town to form their own independent community, now known as the Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Although in ill health, Mother Patrick was unanimously elected Prioress of the new community in 1899. Her health continued to deteriorate, and she died of tuberculosis in July 1900 at the age of 37. Mother Patrick was highly revered. She was awarded the Order of the Royal Red Cross by Queen Victoria and her funeral, the largest held in the territory up until that time, was personally attended by Cecil Rhodes. In November 1970, Rhodesia issued a stamp in her honor, No. 4 in the Famous Figures Series.
Ernest Lawrence Sells was born April 1899 in Leistville, Ohio. He attended Asbury College, Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, New Jersey and Cornell University. Prior going to Africa as a missionary with the Methodist Episcopal Church, Reverend Sells was pastor at Methodist churches at Earlton and Verbank, New York.
Rev. Sells and his wife Dorothy arrived in Southern Rhodesia in 1927 and he would go on to serve for over 35 years. During that time, he served as superintendent at Mrewa (1929-33) and Mutambara Missions (1938); for a total of 22 years, he was superintendent of the Umtali District and pastor of St Andrews Methodist Church in Umtali; and beginning in 1956, he served as pastor and school principal back Mrewa Mission (Mrewa Methodist Center) where he over saw over 1000 students.
He also served on the central advisory board of the Rhodesian Government’s Department of African Education, as secretary of the Rhodesia Annual Conference of the Methodist! Church; and director of the Central Africa Christian Film Library.
Rev. Sells retired in 1964 and returned to the United States. He died September 1972 in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina.
Louis Pedrotti was born in England in 1863. He was married to Annie Pedrotti (1880-1936). He was a photographer living in Bulawayo in the Williams Buildings.
In 1902 his photos appeared in Ancient Monuments of Rhodesia. He also took a number of photos from the funeral of Cecil J Rhodes of which twelve plates appeared in The Late Right Honourable Cecil John Rhodes: A Chronicle of the Funeral Ceremonies from Muizenberg to the Matopos (Cape Times, 1905) and also The Graphic (1902). Further photos appeared in publications by John Muir, naturalist and champion of preserving the wilderness, around 1904.
In 1905 his photographs of Victoria Falls were featured in the Royal Geographical Society of London’s The Physical History of the Victoria Falls. Nine photographs were on display at the Society’s office in London between January-June 1905, presented by A J C Molyneux, a geologist with the British South Africa Company that visited Rhodesia between 1894-1900.
In the same year the photos also appear in the National Geographic. Philpott & Collins, either as sellers or publishers, a selection of postcards featuring these images. He also self-published his own albums. In 1914 his photos were published in Guide to Rhodesia: For the Use of Tourists & Settlers.
He died 18 September 1932 of liver cancer, his wife dying of breast cancer in 25 February 1936.
Dwight Lamar Sherertz, a Methodist Episcopal Church missionary to China and Southern Rhodesia, was born March 1893 in East Radford, Virginia. He received a B.A. from Roanoke College, an M.A. from Princeton University, and a honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Roanoke in 1945. He married Margarita Mary Sherertz (1889-1973) in October 1919, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. William Hector Park and a niece of Bishop Walter R. Lambuth.
In 1918 he began teaching English and religion at the junior and senior high schools in Soochow, China, a position he held until World War II when he was interned and then evacuated. Sherertz returned to China in 1945 and served as a liaison officer between Chinese and American troops. He continued to teach at Soochow University from 1946 until the Communist takeover in China in 1950.
Forced to leave China, Rev. Sherertz and his wife went to Southern Rhodesia in 1952 to work at the teacher training school and as an assistant minister at Old Umtali Mission until his retirement in 1957. Rev. Sherertz died January 1970 in Silver Spring, Maryland. His wife died three years later in 1973.
Dr Margaret Mitchell started her career as a doctor in the casualty department at Coventry and Warwickshire hospital and became a renowned specialist in the treatment of eye diseases.
Dr Mitchell’s interesting life started at the age of 22 when she was awarded the Croix de Guerre for her services as a volunteer with the Red Cross in France in the World War 1. In the 1920’s she answered a call for medical missionaries in India and took up a post in the Himalayan Kingdom of Kashmir when it was under British Crown.
Before the start of World War 2, she went to Persia to take charge of a mission hospital. She returned to Allesley and established a first aid post in the village. As President of the Women’s British Legion she organised the local Poppy Appeal for more than 40 years. She took a particular interest in the Christian Medical Hospital at Vellore in Southern India and for years helped raise funds to support it.
Frances “Lois” Jessop was born in Chadwell, England March 1913. She came to the United States in 1929. After graduating from the Chicago Evangelistic Institute she enrolled at Asbury College, but interrupted her studies to service as a missionary with the Methodist Episcopal Church’s Old Umtali Mission in Southern Rhodesia beginning 1937. There she taught in the Bible Institute, edited a journal for the mission and assisted the mission director. After three years she returned to Asbury to finish her degree.
In 1941, she married Maurice E. Persons whom she had met as a fellow student at Chicago Evangelistic Institute and who had also been in Southern Rhodesia. A year later, the Persons returned to Africa as Methodist missionaries where Mr. Persons served in a number of capacities between 1947 and 1968 in Liberia and the Congo.
Mrs. Person served as a high school teacher, conducted classes for the development of African women and taught Swahili to new missionaries. They return returned to the Congo in 1977 where they served until retirement in Phoenix, Arizona in 1980. Mrs. Person died June 2003. Mr. Persons died 2004.
William Rausch was born in Cape Colony, South Africa in 1862. Eventually he made his way to Bulawayo where established himself as a photographer. His earliest photos date from 1895. He is one of four photographers listed in Matabeleland during this time: C. Hines, C. H. Newberry, J. Parkin, and W. Rausch.
The Rhodesia Scientific Association (1899) lists Rausch as having won a prize for his Rhodesian photographs.
He died of pneumonia at Memorial Hospital on 24 September, 1900. H A de Beers was appointed as executor and his estate was finalised 24 January 1901.