2.25. Heart of Africa Mission

August 12, 2012

This map is taken from Love at First Tooth: Family and Missionary Politics in East Africa and Congo 1913-1934 by Robin Johnson, dedicated to Elizabeth Ann Thompson Flinn who joined the heart of Africa Mission in 1915.  Niangara appears near the top of the map just south of the Sudan border.

February 21, 1914 – April 5, 1914

Personnel at Heart of Africa Mission Niangara, Congo as given in an appendix to Norman Grubb’s Christ in Congo Forests (1945)

1913 1914
Mr C T Studd 1913-31
Mr A B Buxton 1913-27
Mr H Perkins 1914-15
Miss Irene Flangham 1914-31 (Mrs Davies)
Miss L Chapman 1914-28 (Mrs Buck)
Mr S J Richardson 1914-20
Mrs S J Richardson 1914-20
Mr A J Bowers 1914-14
Mr E W Coles 1914-18

First impressions are so important.

Twenty-two year old Alfred Buxton had interrupted his medical studies to join C. T. Studd in foundingThe Heart of Africa Mission in 1913.  On meeting him, Hayes wrote: “Buxton is a tall, callow youth, apparently out of place in the bush.  It is easy to see he knows his position of family and breeding is superior to most folks, and this will not sit well with me.”  (Buxton married Studd’s daughter Edith in 1917, but broke with his father-in-law in the 1920’s to pursue his own missionary work in Ethiopia and Somalia.)

C. T. Studd Africa 1910

Fifty-four year old C. T. Studd had renounced his family fortune and his place as foremost cricketeer in England to pursue missionary work for fifteen years in China, beginning at age twenty-five, then six years in India and finally, against doctors advice, in the Congo basin.  On meeting him, Hayes wrote:  “Studd, so called pioneer and founder of this  mission is decidedly a self-centered man.  He is about five feet eight inches in height, of sallow complexion and has a thin beard and the dreamy eyes of a fanatic.  One could easily imagine them as the eyes of an opium eater.”  (Studd, a regular user of morphine in his last years,  continued his zealous missionary work until his death at 70 at Ibambi, Congo.  The Heart of Africa Mission Studd founded persists under the name Worldwide Evangelization for Christ (WEC).)

Buxton and Studd together receive this summary:  “Both [Studd] and Buxton are aware of a special dispensation from the Almighty to evangelize the world, beginning with the Dark Continent, and do not propose to let anything stand in their way doing it.”  On his second day at the “splendid” location for the Heart of Africa Mission, Hayes overheard Buxton asking Studd “whether I (Hayes) should not be relegated to a table by myself.”  Three white men alone in the jungle working out seating arrangements according to London class lines – Hayes doesn’t say what they decided, but the conversation alone told him where he had arrived.

Nevertheless, three days later Hayes wrote, “What’s the use grouching?  Do the best you can boy.”  In London he made a two-year unpaid commitment to the mission and says that upon arrival he threw every pound he had into the community chest as a gesture of good will.  Now he sets about building tables and chairs from slabs rejected from a Belgian sawing operation nearby and organizing his half-dozen Azande workmen to clearing the brush readying the ground for planting.  By now Hayes is competent to direct the workers in the Bangala language.  “Buxton criticizes all I do with all the wisdom gained in 22 years of pink tea fights, under the supervision of nurses and governesses and at school.  The practical experience I have learned in a life time about the world means nothing.”

On March 8, Hayes wrote:  “Studd has been disciplining me this week.  To do this he put me on two meals a day, one at seven in the morning, the other eight at night,  me working at hard labor in between.”  From eating bananas “or anything I could get to satisfy my hunger,” and sleeping on a camp bed with “six inches of water under it,”  lumbago sets in.  Hayes is sure he could cure himself using his own head but “Studd seemingly considers me a human guinea pig to experiment on.”

A week later, endeavoring to throw off the pain of lumbago, Hayes hiked to a nearby Mangbettu village to visit Bukinda, a small chief contracted by Studd to build a new house for the mission.  “I photographed Bukinda sitting in the midst of fourteen of his wives.  His village is scrupulously neat and clean.  the houses are decorated with designs of red, white and black … these colors stand up well, and are arranged in every sort of design, with some sort of attempt to paint men and animals, especially leopards and horses, as murals on the outer walls.”  (I know of none of Hayes’ photographs surviving.)

With Hayes not traveling, his diary becomes a little disjointed.  A paragraph or two on European explorers to the region:  Benjamin Gosling, who traveled with Boyd Alexander, lies buried at Niangara, Schweinfurth, a Russo-German explorer came through in 1870. –  Then a bit about the history of African rulers:  Munza, who was “a sort of Napoleon in his way, for he gathered all the small tribes into his empire and made them Mangbettus,” was also a notorious cannibal. – Comparisons between the local tribes with whom he lives:   The Mangbettus are ingenious crafters who make fine chairs, houses, and musical instruments; contrasted with the Azandes who “are willing to work at anything to advance themselves.”  Hayes will hire only Azandes “much to the dislike of the Mangbettus who own this side of the river.”  – But entries always returns to carping about Studd and Buxton:  Studd paid Bukinda 150 francs, about $30, for 75 men working six weeks to build his house.  Studd got a fine house; Hayes got the fallout from the unpaid workmen:  “Every one of them reproaches me, for I supervised the work.”

By the middle of April Hayes writes “I am considering leaving this place when the next dry season comes.  No one could make it in the rains.”  As the roster above indicates, Hayes lasted at The Heart of Africa well into 1915 but not without considerable conflict with, “These two men [who] spend most of their time writing to London telling of their exploits, misrepresenting the country and in every way publicizing themselves to gain further fame.”

Advertisements

2.24 Aba to Niangara

August 5, 2012

Two Maps so you can see why Hayes has arrived at a place called The Heart of Africa Mission.  If you zoom in on the one showing the Welle river, you can see enormous stretches of white water.

February 8, 1914 – February 21, 1914

With fresh porters, Hayes made good time on the 50 miles between Aba and Faradje:  “I did it in three days. good time in Africa with heavy loads.”  This is lion country:  lots of tracks, lots of spoor, lots of roaring, but the porters laugh mimicking the lion’s roaring.  “This morning I was far behind the men, and a lioness emerged from the grass and sat on her haunches beside the road, looking like nothing more than a great Dane dog.    I stopped and returned her stare, and after a time she galloped away.”  The porters tell Hayes none of the lions in this area are man-eaters.

The great excitement for the Europeans at Faradje concerns an American elephant hunter named Pickering.  The Belgian officers at the post invited him to a friendly game of chemin de fer.  When Pickering learned that they had “combined against him,” first he shot the flagpole with his elephant gun.  Getting no results from that display, he shot toward the door of the station, “and after a few shots they hurriedly tossed out his goods, money boxes, ivory and all.”  Another pair of American elephant hunters, Pierce and Rogers, illegally shot an elephant in British territory and fled into Belgian territory where an over-zealous askari mortally wounded Rogers in the hip.  Hayes believes the British government paid Rogers’ family $60,000 compensation as they had no jurisdiction in the Belgian Congo.

At the tumble down Catholic mission at Faradje missionaries teach their faith.  “Naturally the people are wishful to add another god to their already numerous collection, especially one recognized by the superior musungus.”  Hayes notes that “musungu” has two meanings for the the natives of this area:  it denotes any white but also all strong intoxicants.  He writes, “I wonder if there be any connection between these two?”  (A friend just returned from Uganda says she was called “mzungu” there; “azungu” in Malawi.)

On February 10, 1914, his thirty-sixth birthday, Hayes records a travelogue of where he’d been on this date in previous years:  “The last one was in Southampton, and I had little thought of being in the middle of Africa.  The ones preceding were in Sydney, the Woodlark Islands, in New Guinea, Ellice Islands, NorthBend Oregon; at Little River, California; in Nigeria, at Seattle, and so on.  One shifts about.”

After two hard days march with “a wild turbulent crew” of new porters who also mock the lions – and Hayes’ fear of the wild roaring – the caravan arrived at “a vast wooded plain, with forest galleries on every stream” where the natives beg Hayes to shoot the marauding “mbongos” (elephants).  Based on the spoor, he estimates hundreds maraud in the vicinity but declines to shoot any – perhaps not properly armed.  He notes, however, “Ivory is the chief export of this country, but the white hunters will soon exterminate the herds if left to shoot as they are doing now.”

Areas infested by tsetse fly 1998

We know from his notes that Hayes received at least one bite from a tsetse fly: “These insects are scarcely equal to an American or Australian horsefly in size. They alight without bing noticed, and have driven their proboscis deep before one realizes their presence.  The bite is as painful as a red hot needle.”  Like any European traveler in central Africa in 1914, Hayes necessarily adopted a certain stochastic resignation:  “As few flies are infected with the germ of sleeping sickness, it is improbable any untoward happening will take place.”  He never subsequently reported suffering sleeping sickness.

If he wasn’t particularly afraid of tsetse fly, Hayes’ approach to the Heart of Africa Mission and C. T. Studd filled him with foreboding:  “I am drawing near my journey’s end and don’t like it.  There is an insistent warning of evil to come that will not be denied.… This always happens when I fall into hard places.”  In the center of the African continent what could one do with such a premonition but press on?

150 miles from Aba, after nine days “actual marching time,” Hayes and the safari arrived at the station at Dungu where the the Dungu and Kibali Rivers merge to form “the Welle, or Uele, as called by the Belgians.  Later on the river becomes the Makua, then the Oubangui of the French, or plain Ubangi of the British.  It is the great northern tributary of the Congo, and has a course of more than 2,000 miles.”  This is territory of the Azanedes; “They are a warlike people, hate the Belgians and would drive the latter out if they could.”

On a windy hill “above the fever” on the north bank of the Dungu River, two white representatives of the Africa Inland Mission direct construction of a new mission station.  “These men have recently been associated with Mr. Studd.”  They say Studd quarreled with the American, Charles Hurlburt, who heads the Africa Inland Mission and “suggest I will find Mr. Studd difficult to get along with.  This adds to my fears of strife to come, but it is too late now to remedy matters.”

Hayes had one last brief idyll before reaching Niangara and the Heart of Africa Mission.  “The Chef De Poste gave me a large canoe and a crew of Bakango boatman, so for two days we have been poling down the Welle.”  For the most part the men “dawdle and sing songs of the river.”  But approaching a stretch of wild water they put Hayes off to walk the shore, “saying they would be held responsible if a white man was lost, whereas nothing would happen if it was merely one of themselves.”  The reader gets the distinct impression that Hayes would rather have been aboard:  “These wild Bakangos stripped themselves of their scant clothing and drove the canoe into the white water.  Every man was crouched and yelling his best.  All knew their work, for with poles they warded off every rock thrust up through the surge of foam, kept their craft headed into the main channel and finally out into the boiling maelstrom and on into quiet water below… Triumphant yells rose high when they floated again in safety.”  (Welch, Conley, and Dimock cite Perkins as conversant with Buzz Holmstrom about African whitewater (incorrectly asserting Perkins made a small fortune mining in Africa) in The Doing of the Thing: The brief Brilliant Whitewater Career of Buzz Holmstrom.)

One more day watching crocodiles, hippos, and spur-winged geese while the boatmen loaf and sing before pulling into Niangara to be met by Buxton and Studd.


2.22 Rejaf to Loka

July 22, 2012

Finally!  On caravan, with porters, creaking ox carts, askaris with rifles, rumors of Lions, tsetse fly, sleeping sickness… – Hayes is living the image of Africa formed when he was ten years old hearing stories of Livingstone, Stanley, and Emin Pasha on the banks of the Coquille River in Oregon.

The terrain map shows Hayes approaching the African continental divide about to enter the drainage of the Congo River.

January 24,1914 – January 30, 1914

On his last night steaming up the Nile Hayes wrote:  “Eighteen days from Khartoum, every one of them filled with vivid interest.  I have lived more in these past eighteen days than in a year in a sawmill at Eureka or in Oregon.”

During these glorious eighteen days he had to provision for himself.  “It has been largely dates bought before leaving Khartoum.  Also fruits picked from some sort of tree on the Nile plains below the Sobat, these a strong laxative, even for Arabs, who warned me.”  Never mind that – “Now for the bush in its fullness. I am glad to see it, eager to learn what lies beyond.”

For the first time Hayes writes of traveling with porters.  He makes no mention of who pays the men or how much, but he roundly criticizes “the Bimbashi or major commanding the post [who] would not permit me to divide my large boxes into small loads fit for porters up to the Congo, this being against regulations.”  From reading Hayes’ diary thus far, one feels certain the thought of a bribe to the Bimbashi never entered his mind.  “I was entwined in the mazes of red tape until there was no escape, almost had to stay here for two weeks because of some slip in further red tape at Khartoum,” where authorities had neglected to certify him free of sleeping sickness.

Among several letters sent from Studd and Buxton, who are “350 miles west of this place” at Niangara, Hayes received “a small Bangala vocabulary, more than welcome, for I know not one word.”

Alfred Buxton

Charles Thomas Studd

Hayes’ apparent readiness to cool his heels for two weeks in sleeping sickness quarantine while learning the bits of Bangala Buxton had sent called the bimbashi’s bluff:  “Castle-Smith, the bimbashi, said the Khartoum officials were to blame for the lack of proper credentials, so passed me through the quarantine and I am encamped at the first rest house a few miles west of Rejaf.”  Once “All English speaking people are behind me now,” what does one say in Bangala to the caretaker of a Sudanese rest house after hiking all day through the bush?  Hayes tries:  “Ngai alingi kosumba koko.” (Hayes’ quote)  Without comment the master of the house brought a small chicken.  Very pleased with himself, Hayes next asked “Piastre boni?” and paid “Moko” (one) for his dinner.   “This gives me great encouragement, for these meaningless words set down here are a medium of communication between me and these people.  I will not forget that expression, and will learn many more as I proceed.”

Castle-Smith relented on the quarantine but not on redistribution of the loads.  “My porters are old men and mere boys.  One of my loads weighs 67 pounds, too much for a strong man.”  In fact, “All of them are heavy and I may not open one to lighten their burdens.”  Hayes is in charge – “As the lone European, I have the papers for the caravan” – maybe he thought distribution of loads would be checked at a subsequent rest house.  Though Hayes never described the full extent of his caravan, it included several wagons “drawn by bullocks, two to each cart.  A man leads each team, another by his side with a gun.”  Hayes writes that he’ll endeavor to put the 67 pound overloaded pack onto one of the carts.  Also walking with the caravan “is a comely Bari girl” – more to be said about this “temporary wife… billed as ‘Mr. Grogan’s servant,'” later.

Tsetse Fly

On a “dry stage of six hours from Moongo (elegant) to Gangi (bamboo)” traveling by night to avoid the heat and the tsetse flies “that carry the dreaded sleeping sickness,” Hayes and his convoy dug clean water from the sands beside a dry khor and passed a rusting steam truck abandoned by the Belgians.  “Leopold did what he could to exploit this country of its easily negotiable riches before turning it over to the British, which had to be done at his death.  As porters were difficult to obtain, he sent in several of these gigantic machines.”  [Hayes correctly identifies Leopold as personally exploiting this region – the Congo colony was Leopold’s private property.  Hochschild cites scholars who estimate roughly half the population perished during Leopold’s Free State period between 1885 and 1909 – about 10 million people.  Not surprising that Hayes could find only children and old men as porters in 1914.]

Five days out from Rejaf approaching the continental divide between the drainage of the Nile and Congo rivers, the column passed out of territory where “elephants, a few rhinos, eland, topi, waterbuck and many more” hid from the noisy caravan in the scrub or dry grass into country “all granite ridges with great prophyritic (sic) dykes crosscutting the quartzite reefs striking across country.  The soil is very poor.”  The few people living in this region eat mainly “dhurra, a sort of millet that is very nourishing.  My men carry a  bag of dhurra flower, from which they make a ball of cooked dough each evening.”  Hayes says fowl cost only five cents American; he can also get soggy sweet potatoes and a little rice, “so I live well enough.”

At Loka “chief station on the way to Yei,” Hayes see the first running water since leaving Rejaf 64 miles previously.  He records the date as January 30, 1914 – so the caravan had been making a little better than 10 miles a day.  The officer in charge of the station at Loka, Captain Vandelaar, passed them through “without too much trouble,” but warned of lions on the trail ahead.  No sign of them but Hayes writes eloquently about the feel of traveling at night on watch for lions, on caravan, in the southern Sudan, in 1914:

“There is something barbaric about this hamrah, or caravan.  To see each askari with a lighted torch of close wrapped grass beside the man who leads two bullocks, the fire lighting up the long horns of the animals and shining on the gun barrels; to hear the creaking carts, the cries of the men and sometimes the sad wail of a hyena gives it a touch of Africa not understood otherwise.”


2.19 Port Sudan to Khartoum!

July 1, 2012

Arriving by rail at Khartoum on the Nile preparing to board a steamer south; this segment and the next two might be considered the fulfillment of Hayes Perkins’ lifelong ambitions.

January 1,1914 – January 4, 1914

At Port Sudan, Brits run the town; Germans run the hotel:  “These people are ubiquitous in hotel life all over the East, a key position to give them the opportunity for information they relay to their home government.  Why one wonders, but Germany aspires to be next top dog for world power.”  Egyptians and Syrians hold the minor bureaucratic positions.  Nubian Sudanese hold the rifles and “It is easy to see they like their jobs, take real pride in keeping to the scratch.”  Arabs and Hadendowas (sic) populate the town.  Moslem pilgrims streaming through Port Sudan on Haj toward Mecca find a detention barracks surrounded by “barbed  and panel wire entanglements,”  rather than a German hotelier.  Pilgrims “rest” at the detention center on quarantine against plague.

Customs officials sent Hayes through a maze of red tape appropriating his “fine Savage rifle and 200 rounds of ammunition” to the Sudanese government.  He claims they charged him for wearing his fine London clothes through customs as well.  “But that is ancient history now [one day later], and we will forget it.”

The slow train climbing the mountain Range to Sinkat captured Hayes’ imagination just as it had Rudyard Kipling’s “because of the wars fought in its vicinity, when Dervish battled Briton and Fuzzy-Wuzzy contested with warrior Hybernians(sic) in a manner they both loved.”

The Royal Irish Lancers at Suakin, 20th March, 1885. It was here that the men of the 5th distinushed themsleves by charging and putting to flight the Dervish enemy. (Caption from the site of the 5th Royal Irish Lancers.)

In 1914, Sinkat had become “a peaceful little station” through which “Arab and Sudanese Negro” pilgrims continued their “two or four year” struggle “across the vast plains of the far Soudan (sic) from Sokoto and Kano or from far Dakar and Djenne.”  Hayes can almost understand the long trek for the male pilgrim who “obtains merit in the sight of Allah that endures for all eternity.”  The women though; “some authorities say she has no soul.”  Hayes sees her following her man, “trusting in the protection of Allah to save her from the dangers of the way.… With no hope of Heaven and doomed to slavish toil in this world, life holds little for her.”

Pyramids at Memroe

During the night Hayes’ train descended the mountains onto “a sprawling yellow plain seemingly without end,”  as a thin line of green gradually resolved into trees along the now-dry Atbara River.  At the town of Atbara, Hayes got his first look at the Nile.  It was the time of “low Nile” and the local residents were sowing grain “getting quick results in the rich soil of the river silt, sub-irrigated by the filtering water.”  Despite the grains, “one wonders how all these people lived, for there are vast ruins here.”  At Memroe, he sees “pyramids, ruined temples and even cliff dwellings.”

“Khartoum! How often have I looked on the map and wondered what this city might be like, little thinking I would ever reach it.”    [Stories of Charles George Gordon and the The Mahdist siege of Kartoum of 1884-1885 had fired the imagination of a young Hayes living on the Coquille River, Oregon igniting his lifelong fascination with the African continent.]  Another German hotel keeper let Hayes a “clean and ample” room where he sat on the roof overlooking the white houses amidst waving green palm fronds just as Gordon sat brooding on the roof of his palace overlooking Khartoum watching his diversion of the Nile, the city’s only defense against the overwhelming force of the Mahdists, dwindle into the desert sands.

On the Blue Nile 1913

“When the British retook this city from the Dervishes [in 1898], it lay in ruins. The zealous disciples of the Prophet abhorred anything pertaining to the Infidel, so moved the few remaining people across the White Nile to Omdurman.”  But, “Khartoum is a surprise.  In the fifteen years since the night of Mahdism has been dispelled a modern city has been created.”  Hayes admires the British efficiency: streets at right angles, a zoo of native animals, trees planted at regular intervals, and “a wide avenue border[ing] on the high bank of the Blue Nile.”

The two great rivers, the chalky White Nile and the transparent Blue Nile meet at Khartoum whose name Hayes says “signifies ‘proboscis’ or the trunk of an elephant.  And it is like that, a long cape dividing the two rivers, each keeping to its own shore far down river, refusing to mingle until compelled by swiftwater below.”  By comparison to other rivers Hayes has seen, “The Niles have none of the lilt and swing of the Yukon nor the sparkling blue of the St. Lawrence.  They are patient plodding rivers, uniting their forces here for a common purpose, that to conquer the desert.”

In early 1914, Hayes, nearly 36, has been traveling the hard avenues of the world for more than 20 years with one of the great disappointments of his life looming ahead at the Heart of Africa Mission in the Congo with C.T. Studd.  It’s nice to read at khartoum a little of the wonder of the ten year-old boy who fell in love with Africa on the south coast of Oregon.  He says of Khartoum:  “There is an air of enchantment and mystery about it all.”


2.18 London to Port Sudan

June 24, 2012

For my formerly British readers, a bit more about London of 1913: the aristocratic missionary families and the slums of Whitehall.

November 19,1913 – December 31, 1913

In the hagiography C. T. Studd  Athlete and Pioneer, Studd’s son-in-law Norman Grubb describes Studd’s renunciation of his family inheritance as part of Studd’s missionary belief in radical reliance on divine providence.  Gauging by Hayes’ experience with Studd’s extended family in London, the renounced fortune must have been sizable:  Hayes marveled at the servility of British servants while at tea with Studd’s mother – “quite a lovely and gracious old lady” – at Hyde Park Gardens;  served as  “exhibit A” for  “a congregation of the froth and bubble of this great city” at Ashley Gardens in Westminster, and  stayed three days with Martin J. Sutton, 63 year-old husband to C.T. Studd’s 26 year-old daughter Grace at Wargrave Manor overlooking Henley-on-Thames.  Sutton graciously picked up Hayes’ hotel tab at the Wilton as well; in return, Hayes allowed Sutton to introduce him as the hyphenated Hayes-Perkins to the reverend Webb-Peploe – “but I think I’ll drop mine when I leave London.”

Hanmer William Webb-Peploe

When swimming in the cream of British Aristocracy threatened to overwhelm Hayes’ egalitarian sensibilities, first he tried chatting with the liveried staff.  Rebuffed by the butler, he went walking on the streets of London.  On his first walk he met a pair of “bunco men.”  A “presentable young man” introduced himself to Hayes as, Patrick Murphy, an Australian Sheep farmer.  Shortly, a “heavily walking man of great stature” dropped a package on passing by.  As the large man ignored their shouts, Hayes had to run him down to return the packet which turned out to contain 3,000 pounds in 5 pound notes.  From here Hayes’ account continues like the internet fraud popular a few years ago:  the large man’s brother, Dinny, “had emigrated to Ameriky and struck oil, died and left him $3,000,000 with the proviso that 50,000 pounds be given to charity, the recipient to say mass for the Brother Dinny’s soul.  Protestant prayers would be all right too, but the recipient had to put up 500 pounds to show sincerity.  If Hayes didn’t know from the start he was being scammed, a glance at Patrick Murphy’s hands made it clear to him:  “They were as smooth and soft as a woman’s, one who never soils her lovely palms” – decidedly not the hands of a sheep farmer.  Eventually Hayes offered to put up 10 pounds if he could go along to an audience with the pope.  The two film-flam men gave him up as “a dead one” and a few days later Hayes read in the morning papers that the pair had been arrested.

On his next walk, Hayes donned his “second best suit, not fit for the Wilton or elsewhere on the West End,” and slipped out for a tour of the London slums around Whitechapel.

Westworth Street. Whitechapel of London
From a Photograph by F. Frith and Co.

“The streets are narrow and twisted, covered with grime of centuries and filled with playing children of the slums.  It is as different as day from night, the contrast of Grace Sutton serving at one end of the table and her aged Nestor at the other, waited on by stiff backed servants in livery.  Here are 3,000,000 people never a week from want.  There are children with stunted, misshapen bodies and with faces like those of a hunted animal.”  Hayes continues for a couple of pages:  fallen women, ragged clothing, bloated barmaids, food of poorest quality, and always some wherewithal for “the cup that cheers and lies.”  Perhaps Hayes unintentionally critiques the mission work of his aristocratic hosts who travel halfway round the world to Africa with Whitehall within walking distance; he doesn’t write that critique directly, but on returning to the Wilton, then to some evangelistic services in the Wimbledon suburb, he does go this far:   “There, amid the enthusiasm of the better fed and better clothed sisters and brothers of the submerged where I had been, we listened to their peans (sic) of praise and songs of joy, forgetting the dingy East end and all its pathos.”

After outfitting at the Army & Navy stores in Victoria street, a flurry of dinners, that photography course, and a final meeting with Martin Sutton who, “is much at sea concerning his father-in-law’s [Grace’s father, C. T. Studd, ten years younger than Sutton] doings in Africa, and asks me to write him, telling what is actually happening there,”  Hayes finally got away from London on December 11 by taxi to Frenchurch St. Station, then by train to Tilbury, and onto there British India liner Golconda.

SS Golconda

Of course Hayes travels second class.  The Golconda carries only eight other passengers: “All men, so it looks like a good trip.”  The Lascar crew of 155 gather on the afterdeck wearing white jibbehs bowing, kneeling and standing in prayer every afternoon.  The crew looks foolish to the passengers, the passengers look destined for hell to the crew.  “What is one man’s meat is another man’s poison, all over the world.”

On a smooth sea through the Strait of Gibralter, Hayes “tried to get a snapshot of Tarifa as we passed, but it was too far away.”  A howling gale sweeping a raw drizzle down off the Alps welcomed the Golconda to Marseilles where news came of the sudden death of Martin J. Sutton.  Hayes had had a “certain premonition of ill tidings coming into port,” that he retrospectively attributes to the death of Sutton who had shown kindness to him in London.

Chateau d’if

Hayes’ tour of Marseilles included the Rue Cannibiere (sic) “dating from the time of Rome and Greece in their greatness… a show street if there ever was one,” and the Chateau D’if “where the prisoner of Chillon-no, some old-time captive was put on cold storage, and it was the right place for him; for how cold this place is, with the mistral sweeping down off the Alpes Maritimes!”

Leaving Marseilles, past Corsica, and Sardinia, Hayes falls in with fellow American passenger, Charley Fanton, who says he’s fifty but looks seventy, sailing toward Aden, “where he will set up an electric plant for the city.”  Fanton spent twenty years in Russia “acquiring nihilist ideals,” and has just come from oil company wars in Mexico where he fought for Standard Oil.  Before that he worked on the Madiera-Marmore Railway construction in Brazil where kidnapped Germans marooned there died like flies in the winter.  Of course, to Hayes, Fanton, a kindred spirit, “is a likable chap, a good buddy for a trip like this one.”  At Naples, Hayes and Fanton bypassed the dockside sirens and the glass houses with naked dancing girls in search of “real knowledge of Italian city life.”  Mostly they learned inhabitants of Naples ignore the ash regularly settling on the town from the volcano at Vesuvius “going their several ways as people do all over the world.”

Arriving in Port Said on Christmas Eve 1913, “All the crowd are jolly tonight.  With usual regard for the birth of Christ everybody is celebrating with wine and song.”  Earlier in the day, Hayes had delivered gifts to some friends from Los Angeles working at a girl’s school, “training them in European culture and learning,” in Port Said.  Because they knew Hayes was “a Nasrani infidel,” the girls dined unveiled, their “dark eyes shaded by extra long eyelashes” watching his every bite.  If eating unveiled before ‘an infidel’ seems confused, the following explanation of the girl’s future reads as hopelessly ill-informed, nevertheless Hayes writes:  “The Americans told me they would soon enter harems, for all these girls are daughters of sheiks and emirs, or prominent business men of the Egyptian cities who have parental feeling for their children and wish to give them some instruction in the ways of the dominant Unbelievers who rule Port Said.”

Dining with 200 young women on Christmas Eve beat “the usual booze comedy” pulled aboard the Golconda steaming down the Suez Canal the next day hands down.

Port Sudan

On the last day of 1913, Hayes debouched from the Golconda once again stepping onto African soil at Port Sudan among “ragged pilgrims… swarthy Greek merchants… inky black Sudanese and suntanned Indian traders.”  After the typical shakedown at customs, in another week he’ll be steaming south up the Nile!


2.17 San Diego to London

June 17, 2012

Kayann, Does the hip in the Velasquez painting remind you of Edward Weston?  Can that have been intentional?  Maybe that’s just what hips do.  His one appreciation of culture in London high society.

I’ve included two maps this week.  The first shows his travels in the last half of 1912 and all of 1913 – about eighteen months.

This second map gets him from San Diego to London by way of Canada and across the Atlantic.  Click the title if the maps do not appear.

October 8, 1913 – November 17, 1913

“This Place [San Diego] is the place I have been looking for all my life.  For some reason the boss seems to like me, and the place is permanent.  It will take something good to get me away from here. I am almost forgetting about Africa even.”

Standard Oil Fire, 26th and Schley, San Diego CA 1913

Marred only by the Standard Oil fire that Hayes says burned 250,000 gallons of gasoline and another 1,500,000 gallons of other oil on October 5, 1913, San Diego is a sleepy little town with soft, balmy air off the Pacific Ocean tempering the heat of the sun.  Sharing a room with Fred Sidler, Hayes cooks meals in a small kitchenette, sleeps well in the cool evening air, and watches a rising sun darken the blue of the sea caressed by the cool morning breeze.

And yet: “Somehow I have a premonition of disaster.  I don’t see what could happen in a place like San Diego, but there is a haunting, sub-conscious warning of evil to come that thrills me like an electric shock.  I wake in the night wondering; I am almost afraid.”

October 20, 1913, the day after writing the preceding paragraph, Hayes received a wire from London asking him to report to the board of the Heart of Africa Mission.  If the interview in London goes well, the board will send him to the Belgian Congo.  “Will I go? Of course.  Perhaps this telepathic warning I have had tells me to stay away.  But it is Africa, and to Africa I will go regardless of warnings and all else.”

Three weeks after arriving in “the place I have been looking for all my life,” Hayes departed San Diego for Los Angeles, arrived in time for breakfast with George Studd, delivered and evening address to “a small crowd … at the big mission hall in Los Angeles,”  and left for Chicago at 9:00 AM on the morning of October 28th carrying gifts for George’s brothers: C.T. Africa and and J.K. in London.

Arizona is desolate; Chicago “is so cosmopolitan I feel a stranger in my own country;” Montreal is so cold with no heat in the hotel Hayes must sit all day in the moving pictures to keep warm.  “It costs five cents all morning, five more until bedtime, with a bit of entertainment between naps.”

Ausonia (1), Cunard line

On November 1st, Hayes sailed out of Montreal aboard the Ausonia, a cargo boat that carried passengers in “knockdown berths.”  Such boats are always full of immigrants on the westward trip, but the Ausonia sails east only half full of a few Russians retiring home to their slums with an “ample competence” earned in Canada and many “British who have failed in the new country.”  As the river widened at Lac St. Pierre the Ausonia stuck in the low water, “then we hauled off and we are on our way again, a howling blizzard behind us.  The men who broke the way into the wilderness of the St. Lawrence were made of sterner stuff than I am.”  Hard to imagine anyone made of sterner stuff than Hayes, but he says “I am getting all the hardships I want as a passenger on the Ausonia.”

Chateau Frontenac, Quebec

At Quebec, only a few passengers aboard the Ausonia “braved the howling gale to look at the city from the deck. The Chateau Frontenac looms high above its neighbor buildings from its vantage point on the bluffs.”  Labrador “is an icy desolation”;  Newfoundland “almost as cheerless as Labrador.”  Waves jumping the forecastle froze “the anchors, forward rigging and rails all [into] a sheet of ice.”  Passing out the Strait of Belle Isle Hayes saw a green and blue iceberg so large it had hills and valleys:  “150 feet in height, covering two or three square miles in extent.”  Leaving the shelter of Canada, the Ausonia’s crew secures the deck in preparation for heavy weather(!)

November 7 1913:  For three straight days a blinding gale rolled the ship on high irregular swells with seasick passengers huddled together for warmth “and on every hand could be heard wails of fear lest the ship be lost.”

But on the 9th, the sun broke forth, the passengers forgot their woes and some even broke out a gambling table in the cabin directly beneath the sign reading “Gabling Forbidden.”  Hayes’ berth mate lost $100 using a surefire winning scheme but Hayes eschewed the table worrying more about the larger gamble of his return to Africa:  “I usually get the bad place, and wonder if this will be an exception.  I hope to accept the result, whatever it may be, with equanimity.”

The Ausonia docked at Plymouth where passengers transferred to trains arriving in London on November 12th.  To economize, Hayes took a room in Edgeware Road, “a slightly dingy part of town.”  But was transferred to the Wilton “not far from the House of Parliament and from Buckingham Palace,” after meeting with James Ingram and Martin J. Sutton, “who are heads of the mission that proposes to anticipate Islam in Africa.”

Priscilla (Stewart) Studd

From the Wilton, Hayes launched straight into the whirl of England’s aristocracy.  First he met with “Mrs. C.T. Studd” and her four daughters (two unmarried) at their home near Crystal Palace.  Hayes writes: “We had the usual pink tea fight, and later came another at the Wingfields at Ashley Gardens in Westminster.”  (I wonder if a reader familiar with the phrase “pink tea fight” might send a definition.)  Feeling very much at sea “among these grandees,” Hayes allows his name to be hyphenated:  “I am now Mr. Hayes-Perkins.  This adds infinitely more tone than to be just common Hayes Perkins, as I used to be.”  At these fêtesHayes can manage English men, but the “primped and bedizened dowagers who stare at one through double barreled lorgnettes give me the creeps” – though “they do have some handsome daughters.”

Venus, Diego Velázquez

The following day Hayes escaped to the Natural History Museum at South Kensington.  “This is more in my line, for I love animals, and saw many, including rare ones now extinct.”  For some culture, he revisited Mme. Tussaud’s wax museum (no longer the wonderland it was for Hayes the 21 year old boy, but “it is still good”) and the National Art Gallery where Velasquez’ Venus slashed by suffragette Mary Richardson alone caught his attention:  the rest “might have been beer chromes as priceless art in my eyes.”

Hayes will be in London high society for another month.  The “handsome daughters” make the time bearable and he attends to at least one practical matter as tantalizing to me, his first cousin thrice removed, as any recorded in his diary:  “This afternoon I was at the Army & Navy Stores taking a course of instruction in photography, for the board wants some pictures of inner Africa.”

Anyone have an idea where those pictures taken for the mission board might have ended up?  I’d like to see them too.


2.16 Bandon to San Diego

June 10, 2012

During this “calm” time while Hayes gets money together for travel, one is impressed by the extraordinary physicality of the work he seeks.

June 21, 1913 –  September 30, 1913

After leaving the Donaldson family dairy at Bandon, Hayes came up the Oregon coast returning to the familiar mills of North Bend where he knew he could get steady employment toward earning a road stake.  He and a buddy George Savage, a fallen theology student formerly at Princeton, work the end of the sorting table heaving and shoving the heaviest timbers onto trucks, ten hours a day for $2.25.  In a backhanded compliment to dairy workers, Hayes writes:  “Nothing to do here but to be one of the social set who play in their spare time.”

And, if one were so inclined, play would be interesting here.  “There are many lovely girls, there are in every little town from Maine to Oregon.  These have a certain charm for a red blooded man, an appeal that is hard to deny.”

But, of course, Hayes does deny himself.  For Hayes, one either settles in one place to marry a woman, “unthinkable to a real adventurer,” or takes a sequence of temporary wives, “But it is not the honorable way, so I won’t.”  Look no further than George Savage to confirm of the dangers of consort with women:  “he met a fair maid, who tempted George and he did eat.  Consequently he is here on the end of the sorting table with me, instead of discoursing before learned audiences on how to be good.”

On July 23, just before quitting the mill at North Bend, Hayes “took great interest in watching the forcible deportation of an I.W.W. organizer.”  Edgar and Louis Simpson, the sons of L.M. Simpson, basis for the Cappy Ricks character mentioned in section 2.5 of this blog, and “several of the leading citizens took this wretch on board a launch, hoisted the American flag on high to proclaim to the world their 100% Americanism, took him down to the sandhills across on the north side of the bay and told him to hike for it.”  Given the wretched working conditions at sawmills of the time, union organizing quite naturally follows; surprising though that Hayes, who was sternly critical of the corrupt San Francisco unions, writes with a hint of sympathy for the I.W.W.:  “The only union that has ever done any good whatever for the laborer in this northwest part of the U.S.A. is the same I.W.W.  Nuff said.”

Assignment to the end of the sorting table had been a promotion.  Hartman, the yard boss had seen Hayes and George Savage easily keeping their middle section of the table clean of the lighter boards, so “honored” them with the heaviest work at the end.  “I have learned the men who sit quietly along its sides and do little draw $2.5o per day, while my wage is $2.25.  The hardest job draws the least pay, so I tendered my resignation, to be effective at once.”  No union organizing for Mr. Perkins; if a job’s unfair, go find another one down the road somewhere.  George Savage doesn’t care:  “He has reached a place where so long as booze money comes it makes no difference.”

By August 6, 1913 Hayes had work on the planer at Hammond’s mill in Samoa across the bay from Eureka.  “Hammond’s is the worst place in the redwoods, perhaps the worst on the Coast.”  Hammond’s explains the millworker’s receptivity to the I.W.W..  Just as Hayes described with regard to the Yukon gold fields, ads in San Francisco newspapers keep Humbolt County full of unemployed lumberjacks who’ve paid $2 a head to be shipped north ready to replace any man who collapses on the job as “the various machines in the mills are speeded up until the man behind it is going at top speed all the day.”  At the job interview, Hayes saw, “Guns, knuckle dusters, black jacks, handcuffs and all other paraphernalia usually found in police headquarters and penitentiaries.”  The pay was $1.75 for ten hours a day.  “Flunkies” with stars on their shirts enforce silence in the “vast barn-like hall” at meal times.  $2.50 a week goes back to the company for a bed already fully occupied with vermin and Hammond’s takes another $6.50 from the first paycheck for “poll tax, road tax, hospital fees and whatnot.”

But Hayes takes the job:  broke, it keeps him from begging and, because Samoa is so near Eureka, he can easily spot the first ship sailing anywhere other than here.

After only twelve days on the job at Hammond’s, Hayes collected his $10.10 paycheck, “ten hours a day, and only that, less than a dollar a day,” and sailed out of Eureka on the F. A. Kilburn to San Francisco, then on the Hanalei to Los Angeles with “Big Bob Black – the Australian [who] has Mexico on the brain.”  While Hayes and Big Bob check the Los Angeles street gossip about Mexico – “all say it is futile” – Hayes falls in with a missionary crowd “including the Fergusons,” who suggest “that I go to Africa to build a line of mission stations from the upper Nile to Lake Chad.”  Hayes decided he’d better go to Mexico:  “[The Fergusons] might as well offer me a place on the moon or Mars, it is about as easily obtained.”


John Edward Kynaston Studd, Charles Thomas Studd, George Brown Studd

Two nights later, accepting an invitation to speak at a mission hall, Hayes “took them through West Africa, the Solomons and New Guinea,” after which, “George Studd asked me to dine with him.”  George Studd, formerly with the Ferguson’s Peniel Mission in Los Angeles, was now doing advance work for his brother Charles Thomas (C. T.) Studd‘s mission to Africa.  George said C. T. was already in Africa and “An experienced man is wanted to go to him and build stations in that country for the new mission.”

To Hayes this is more of the same moonshine: he and Big Bob “took the train to El Centro in Imperial Valley.”

Where Hayes had hiked nine years previously, “now is eighty feet of water”; the Salton Sea “began filling soon after my trip across.” Big Bob still presses Mexico but Hayes thinks Big Bob needs to learn how to work:  “He has always rode in on the shirt tail of his parents, spending money others earned instead of fighting his own battles.”  Now Big Bob wants Hayes to “finance a prospecting expedition into Mexico.”  Citing “insurrectos … barging about a few miles away hating Gringos, and all others who do not see eye to eye with them,”  Hayes signs on as a teamster pulling a Fresno Scraper working “on a new canal known as the high line ditch.”


Teams pulling Fresno Scrapers


Fresno Scraper

Big Bob got drenched in a heavy thunderstorm the first night on the job and promptly quit, but Hayes stayed on working “mules and broncos … savage as wild horses. One must watch their teeth and heels, yet when once hitched they work well.”  Low paid, inexperienced Mexicans and Indians drive most of the other teams on the job with little regard for the health of their animals.  Hayes and a few other Americans are kept on at higher pay to hitch all the teams.  “The mules know enough to do the rest.”  Of course, a “caste line” develops:  “No American is expected to show courtesy to a Mexican or an Indian, and these proud aboriginals resent it.”  Typically, Hayes defies caste conventions:  “Often I sit with the Mexicans in the cook wagon, chat with them and am learning a modicum of their language.  We get on quite well with the few words in common we have, and they all appreciate it.”

Three weeks in the ferocious heat, flies, and mosquitos and Hayes has been on the job longer than any American still there, “but some of the Mexicans can take it easily.”  When the “corral buck” quit, Hayes was given his extremely dangerous job:  “Some of these broncos and mules are as savage as tigers.  I keep a long chain dangling to their halters nightly.  On entering the corral they often charge me ears laid back and teeth all showing.  I leap over the feed boxes, catch the chain with an iron hook and tie them to the boxes.  Shoving a tame horse beside them, it is easy to harness them across the back of this docile animal.  But it would be suicide to place one’s self alongside these brutes.”

One more week and “Clark, the boss, decided wages were too high, so imported a lot of city bred Italians from Los Angeles.”  Hayes and the few remaining experienced men quit the job rather than accept the pay cut Clark offered.  “I stayed long enough to save a few lives, for the mules were in their element trying to kill some of the unfortunate Romans who had collars on upside down and could get no further.”

Hayes and all the men leaving the job came through Brawley “88 feet below sea level,” and on to El Centro.  “Even the Mexicans quit with us.  They showed their appreciation of my interest in them while at camp.  If I had permitted they would have bought out the town’s ice cream supply….  After all, men are alike under their skins.”

Construction at Balboa Park circa 1915

At El Centro, Hayes caught a fortunate ride:  “A man with an automobile was going across the ranges to San Diego, was looking for passengers to pay his way.  For seven dollars I made a seat and here we are.”  Back in San Diego after a little more than a month in the desert wrangling wild horses Hayes runs into an old friend, Fred Sidler, from back in the gold rush at Cripple Creek.  Fred has work on the construction team at Balboa Park and gets Hayes on:  “all I have to do is to dump a two-horse scraper, another man driving the team.  It seems ridiculous after handling four wild broncos in the desert all alone.  The pay is better, too, and I am considering Staying on here the rest of my life.”

Ha!  In three weeks he’ll be on his way to the moon – or to Mars – or maybe to that mission job he thought equally improbable with C. T. Studd in Africa.