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Figure Figure MAJOR JOHN J. HILL With Cecil Rhodes in Africa REDPATH Major John J. Hill After many years in the remote, unexplored portions of Africa, where the Bushman and the Cannibal make life interesting for the pioneer, Major Hill has returned to America to look after the education of his two sons. His spare time is being devoted to the lecture platform, under the direction of the Redpath Bureau. Someone has remarked that Major Hill's knowledge of Africa is second only to that of the historic David Livingston. This was made possible through his long years as civil engineer, contractor and soldier on the dark continent where that spectacular genius, Cecil Rhodes, was his patron and closely associated friend. Landing in Africa for the first time in May, 1891, as part of the Cape Town to Cairo trans-continental railway expedition, Major Hill took charge of the advance party, as interpreter. He visited the famous Kimberley diamond mining district and then went directly north into what is known today as Rhodesia. (At the time of the Rhodes expedition this was an unexplored country, inhabited by the wildest of African tribes.) During two and one-half years in Rhodesia the party of adventurers never saw another white man. Frequently a month's travel would net only three or four miles. Progress through the dense tropical jungle was both treacherous and difficult. Many of the African tribes did not take kindly to the white man's plan for bringing the iron horse through their lands, by rail. But after six years the party reached the lower edge of the Sudan, where dwell the pygmy tribes. It was then that the Boer war began and Major Hill hastened to the Transvaal. He served for two years with the British engineers, under Sir Baden-Powell, later head of the Boy Scouts. When the Boer war ended, he engaged in constructing a railroad in the Holy Land. Speaks Interestingly of Rhodes Sir Cecil Rhodes is described by Major Hill as one of the most spectacular figures ever known in the world of finance. At 17, Rhodes was the invalid son of a struggling English clergyman. Pitying parishioners sent the boy to Africa to regain his health. Five years later he secured sufficient capital to gain control of the Kimberley diamond mines—the largest in the world. When Hill first met Rhodes, the latter, although comparatively young, was a billionaire, heavily interested in many projects, and dreaming of a railway from Cape Town to Cairo. An expedition was organized, and for a few weeks Rhodes accompanied the party. Because of difficulties with the natives, it was necessary for the engineering staff to send an advance force to conduct negotiations. Hill was selected for this work and had many thrilling experiences. That Africa is a land of romance—a continent of opportunity—is the belief of Major Hill, and in his varied discussions he vividly portrays its entrancing history. Land of Fascination Africa is a land of endless fascination, when described by Major Hill. He knows that country from Cape Town and Zanzibar to the valley of the Nile. He served with the British army in five campaigns, starting as a trooper and working his way up to the rank of Major. During the World War he made 17 trips to America as a member of the British Intelligence Department.— Minneapolis Journal. Showing a deep interest and admiration for things African, Major Hill referred frequently to the great natural resources of the oldest continent in history, but about which there is yet so much to learn. The explorer even had nice things to say about the cannibals found in the central part of Africa.— St. Paul Daily News. A land where 12,000,000 human beings live on bark and roots, and resemble the baboon so much that they can scratch their heels without bending their knees; where 15,000 wild animals are killed in a single hunt by 20,000 natives,—that is Africa, as described by Major John J. Hill, the first man to go from Cape Town on the south to Cairo on the north, through an almost impassable interior. He told how the cannibals operate; how the native gets his wives; how the chief is bombarded with mud and rubbish before his election, but is subjected to no mud-slinging after his election; and revealed what he considers the secret of the fakir, as found in Africa and India.— Minneapolis Tribune. At the State Teachers' College, last night, Major John J. Hill thrilled his audience with vivid tales of the mysterious continent. He told of waiting in Matabela land, now Rhodesia, for a supply of small, brightly-colored beads, before he could secure rights for the Cape Town to Cairo railway, and of locating the Victoria Falls (previously discovered by David Livingston), with its 35,000,000 horsepower, as compared with Niagara's 1,000,000 horsepower. He described the African Bushman, with his 'click' language of 45 words, and related many tribal superstitions. His stories of the 'witch doctors' and their 'black magic' were humorous and astounding.— Mankato, Minn., Daily Free Press. Makes His Story Real Speaking from personal knowledge of the great continent, based upon his long residence there, Major Hill created a personal interest in the men who have been the 'makers of Africa.' Listening to him, as he tells of that far-away region, we realize to some extent the dream of Cecil Rhodes and other great pioneers. We see the Cape to Cairo railway slowly reaching across the wilderness; we stand in a we before the unlimited riches of Kimberley; we learn something of the inner workings of the mind of the witch doctors; glimpse the beauty of the great rivers and the vast forests; marvel at the growth of the cities and the expansion of their industries. Mr. Hill speaks in a conversational tone, with no attempt at oratory, and holds the attention of his hearers from start to finish. His material is original, and for that reason is a delightful relief after hearing so many 'canned' lectures and travel talks from men who have gathered their facts from books and the efforts of others. In my judgment Major Hill's lectures are of real value to the people of America, where so little is known about the 'dark continent.' —Rev. Clair B. Latimer. High Spots of a Thrilling Career Born in Halifax, N. S., of Scotch parentage. Educated in Quebec—Laval University. Joined engineer's staff of Cecil Rhodes in Africa, in 1891. Pioneered Cape Town to Cairo railroad. In Matabele war of 1926. Boer war, 1899 to 1902. With Sir John Gibson on Trans-Siberian railway construction, 1903-1905. Directed construction Quinze dam on Ottawa river, Canada. British Army from 1914 to 1919. Speaks six languages and many native dialects. Fellow of the Royal Colonial Institute. Contemporary of John Hays Hammond, Dr. Leander Starr Jamieson, Sir Henry Johnson and Sir Charles Metcalf—all closely identified with the expansion of Africa. Popular, entertaining and instructive speaker since returning to America in 1923 Available Lectures With Cecil Rhodes in Africa . Kimberley and the Diamond Mines . Johannesburg and the Gold Mines . The Boer War . Tribesmen of Central Africa . Stanley and Livingston . Mohammedan Northeast Africa . The Modern Jew and Modern Palestine . Lord Kitchener . Cairo . My Experiences with Native Bushmen and Cannibals . Random Comments Major Hill paints a vivid, living picture. —H. W. Small. The most fascinating narrative we have ever heard. —William E. Steckel. One of the most worth-while educational talks we have had. —C. A. Nash. An instructive and unique lecture, punctuated with humor. —P. C. Tonning. A great contribution to the study of the world and its people. —George H. Rieff. An interesting, first-hand talk—far better than the traditional travel lecturer. —Irving W. Jones, University of Minnesota. Grade pupils, as well as high school students and adults, can appreciate and profit by Major Hill's intimate stories of the mysterious continent. —J. D. Thomas. An interesting and stimulating story. Faculty and students were enthusiastic, although lectures are our daily fare. A wealth of information was slipped in with the fun, like the proverbial pill in a spoonful of jelly. —Belle Carrington. Major Hill spoke to 900 high school and grade students who took home such thrilling reports that we brought him back the following week for four more addresses to which the public was eligible. Any school or other organization that can get him had better take him on his own terms. I will vouch for him absolutely. —J. C. West, President Minnesota Association of School Superintendents.
|Title||Major John J. Hill|
|Topical Subject (LCSH)||
|Personal Name Subject||Hill, John J.|
|Digital Collection||Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century|
|Contributing Institution||University of Iowa. Libraries. Special Collections Dept.|
|Archival Collection||Redpath Chautauqua Collection|
|Rights Management||Educational use only, no other permissions given. U.S. and international copyright laws may protect this digital image. Commercial use or distribution of the image is not permitted without prior permission of the copyright holder.|
|Contact Information||Contact the Special Collections Dept. at The University of Iowa Libraries: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/contact/index/|
|Number of Pages||4|
|Digitization Specifications||Scanned at 600 dpi, 32-bit color. Master image available in tiff format.|