Catalogue - Reprints (Africana - Hunting)

The Recollections of an Elephant Hunter: 1864-1875
By William Finaughty

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J.B. Lippincott, Philadelphia, 1916.

Reprint: xxviii, 244pp., 9illus., 1 map; new frontispiece, new Publishers' Note and new Publishers' Introduction, and new Foreward by Edward C. Tabler..

ISBN (Std) 0 86920 229 4, (Dlx) 0 86920 230 8


When William Finaughty, a member of an 1820 Settler family from Grahamstown, made the first of his hunting trips to Mzilikazi's Matabeleland in 1864 at the age of twenty-one, the land teemed with wild life.

In the winter of 1866 he began hunting for ivory in Mashonaland and during the next five years is credited with killing over five hundred elephant. By 1871 the herds had withdrawn to the safer tsetse fly areas into which men such as Finaughty, who preferred to hunt on horseback, were less likely to penetrate. For eleven years covered by his Recollections he traded and shot for ivory, mainly in the south-west of Rhodesia and in Botswana.

Skilled in bushcraft, fit and fearless, he hunted on horseback, using an old muzzle loader. His book is full of incident and encounter - with contemporary hunters, missionaries, traders and explorers, among them Jan Viljoen, Henry Hartley, Thomas Baines, Chapman, Francis, Sam Edwards, Leask, Phillips, Mauch, Mohr and many others.

Garnish is added to the hunting fare by his stories of the Matabele (he met Mzilikazi and Lobengula), of the crafty bushmen, of of veld lore. His unadorned descriptions of the harsh realities of bush life, of the ever-present danger from marauding lions, of fever, the lack of water and the tsetse fly impress and well as inform and entertain.

He renounced muzzle-loading, smooth-bore adventure for trading, and by 1894 he moved with his family to Rhodesia.

His Recollections were recorded by R.N. Hall who originally published them as a series of reminiscences in the The Rhodesia Journal, AWeekly Newspaper of Rhodesian Information, in 1911. George L. Harrison, a visiting American hunter heard of his exploits and after visiting him in 1913 returned home with almost complete set of the journals. (one chapter was missing) He had them published in a limited edition of 250 copies by the J.B. Lippincott Company in 1916. A second edition including the missing chapter was printed in 1957 by A.A.Balkema of Cape Town. The book was reset and with additional sketch map, illustrations and notes was published by Books of Rhodesia, Bulawayo, in 1973.


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