Back to search results
Name: HALL, Francis George 'Frank'
Nee: a nephew of Lord Goschen 'Bwana Hora'; 3rd son of Col. Edward Hall of 52nd Bengal Native Infantry
Birth Date: 11 Oct 1860 Saugor, India
Death Date: 18 Mar 1901 Mbirri, blackwater fever
First Date: 1892 - formerly in South Africa
Last Date: 1901
Profession: 1896 Official at Fort Smith, later 1st DO at Fort Hall
Area: Fort Hall, Fort Smith
Married: In Staines 1898 Beatrice Letitia Mary Russell b. 29 Mar 1866 Shepperton, d. 5 May 1924 Plymouth. She arrived in EA 1896, sister of Edward John Henderson and John WIlliam Pemberton Russell, later married in 1903 Dr. William John Radford 1866-1951
Book Reference: Gillett, Best, Hobley, Ainsworth, Watt, Boyes, Fitzgerald, Flashlight, EAHB 1905, Hut, North, Curtis, Kiewiet, IBEA, EAHB 1906, Nicholls, Matson Bio, EAHB 1904, Chandler, Kenya Past and Present
School: Sherborne, Tonbridge
Fort Hall named after him
Hobley - 1892 - At Fort Smith we met Frank Hall, a gallant soul, who did more than any living man to establish the pax Britannica among the Kikuyu, who were then a very turbulent and treacherous tribe. He was a nephew of the great Lord Goschen, and started life in the Bank of England, but his adventurous spirit could not tolerate dull routine, so he soon relinquished an office stool and went out to South Africa, where for many years he led a very varied life. He eventually turned up in EA, and was sent to assist Captain Eric A.E. Smith in Kikuyu, later on being given charge of the district. He was a charming personality, a mighty hunter and the prince of good fellows. He was badly mauled by a rhino and later on by a leopard, which encounters left him lame. A few years later he founded a station in Northern Kikuyu and unfortunately died there, this station being named Fort Hall in his memory. ..............…..
Ainsworth - when the Govt. took over in 1895 - he was District Officer at Fort Smith with Edward Russell as his assistant ............... He built Fort Hall and his death there on March 20th 1901 was a serious loss to the service and the country.
Watt - Welcomed Stuart and Rachel Watt at Fort Smith in 1893 ................... nearly lost his life and sustained injuries from which he never fully recovered. Seeing a rhinoceros in the distance, he fired at it with his heavy express rifle, and the animal, catching the scent, immediately rushed for him with that impetuous drive which is so difficult to stop with even the largest rifle a man can lift to his shoulder. Mr Hall kept firing at the oncoming brute, but without in any way affecting its headlong rush. Remembering at the moment how my husband had been saved, Mr Hall took off his helmet and threw it at the monster, but all to no purpose. The rhinoceros, tossing him in the air, got his horn right through the officer's thigh and ripped it up, fortunately missing the femoral artery, but just by a bare line. The horn of the enraged brute tore down the limb and removed the tight-laced shooting boot from off his foot, and then plunged forward leaving the man prostrate. During many long and painful months he lay at the very brink of the grave, and though he made a marvellous recovery he never really got over the results of that sad accident.
Boyes - Arrested John Boyes for waging war, setting shauris [disagreements, problems], personating Govt., going on 6 punitive expeditions and committing dacoity! [see John Boyes]
Fitzgerald - Meteorological observations at Fort Smith in 1894
Flashlight - Mr Hall, the commander of Fort Smith in Kikuyu, a man of most attractive personality, is one of the most experienced of African hunters, and is a sportsman of the right sort ........ Shortly before our arrival Mr Hall had been tossed three times by a bull rhinoceros at which he had shot. Three of his ribs had been broken, and for months he had been obliged to keep to his bed. After his recovery from this he had an encounter with a leopard, which he had also shot and wounded. One of his askaris saved him by a timely bullet from this dangerous assailant, which left him an undesirable memento, however, in the shape of several wounds and a long-continued stiffness of one leg ..…..
EAHB 1905 - IBEA Co. General Africa Staff - appointed 7th April 1892
North - arr. Mombasa from England 9/6/1892; employed on road construction, Kibwezi to Fort Smith, Kikuyu; Appt. Acting Supt. Kikuyu Aug 1893; wounded by rhino 11/12/1893; mauled by leopard 17/3/1895, invalided home; Appt. direct to EAP 1/7/1895, District Officer Kikuyu; Collector at Fort Smith end of 1896, Aug 1897, June, July 1899 with wife; Collector Machakos Dec 1899; "To open new station at Mbirri in Kenia District", OG 15/9/1900; d. 18/3/1901, Mbirri Station - blackwater fever
Curtis - Letters to his father from Mombasa in the 1890s ........... Hall amused himself at weekends by organizing the first sailing races off the island with his friend Mackenzie and the bank manager. But his wish to get away was soon granted, and he was sent up to Kikuyu with a donkey caravan. He got back to the coast in December  to find that Mackenzie had meanwhile died. .….
Curtis - p. 35 - Life at Fort Smith - '........ Francis Hall, posted there in 1893, had orders to make a road between that place and Machakos, the station of his nearest colleague, John Ainsworth ... [it took him 4 months with 50 men] ............. Since all the caravans going up-country stopped at Fort Smith and made constant demands for supplies, trading cloth against food with the frontier Kikuyu, Hall thought he had better experiment with crops to supply the station and possibly assist the local cash crops. ........ [more]
Kiewiet - Fort Smith - In 1894 the Superintendent, now Francis Hall, settled upon an expedient whereby he was able to keep the Kikuyu at bay. About 1000 starving Masai were settled near the station. The Masai promised protection to Hall in return for permission to raid the Kikuyu crops for food.
Nicholls - Hall was a young man admirably suited to Victorian imperial life. Born in India of military parents, and educated at Sherborne and Tonbridge schools, he had served with the Bechuana Field Force and worked in the South African goldfields before joining IBEAC. His experiences had taught him how to deal forcibly with dissentient Africans while inviting their trust.
Nicholls - Just before Christmas 1894 Frank Hall was tossed by a rhino, which badly damaged his leg. Then a few months later a leopard he was grappling with sank its teeth into his knee. The first his colleague Russell knew of this was to be handed a pencilled note reading: 'Dear Russell, Send a few men out to help my fellows in. A leopard is responsible this time but nothing very serious.' He found Hall approaching Fort Smith on a litter, having been carried by his men for 3 whole days. He was in a very bad way, and Russell immediately plied him with half a bottle of champagne before applying forty leeches to his hugely swollen leg. Russell sent a runner to Felice Scheibler, who was shooting game with his wife on the Athi plains, requesting more champagne. He sent another messenger to Machakos, asking for a prayer book, for he did not think that Hall would live. The Scheiblers and an IBEAC official at Machakos, Thomas Gilkison, hurried to Fort Smith, to find that Hall had now developed bedsores. Although Mrs Scheibler made him a round cushion to relieve the pressure, by 6 April Hall's bed was a pool of pus. Happily at this point the very unpopular Dr. William John Ansorge arrived on his way to Uganda as medical officer, and operated under chloroform to excise dead flesh from the leg. On 20 June Russell took Hall to the coast on a stretcher, arriving on 9 July. After a sojourn in Mombasa hospital Hall was sent home to England: it was a close-run thing but he survived the ordeal to return to his post in Fort Smith, with one leg permanently straight.
Nicholls - When Edward Russell arrived to be Hall's assistant in 1894 Frank Hall became less lonely, for the two men got along famously. Hall found Russell 'always happy and jolly and takes kindly to the work'. On home leave in 1898, Hall married Russell's sister Beatrice and brought her out to Fort Smith the same year.
Nicholls - Hall's social snobbery was uppermost in his dislike of Ainsworth - 'These fellows, brought up behind a counter, get too big for their boots and make life unbearable for others.' Mrs Ainsworth's sister was the wife of Hall's cashier at Machakos, and as thus was not considered a fitting companion to Hall's wife Beatrice, though how the two women avoided each other in so small a place is a mystery. ……… He contracted dysentery and died at Mbirri on 18 March 1901, with Beatrice and Dr William Radford, recently summoned from Nairobi, beside him. His last words to his wife were 'How bright!'. 'His memory', wrote Radford to Hall's father, 'will live long among the Kikuyu as a man to be feared, respected and loved.' Other friends wrote, too, saying Hall was loved by everyone, being the most popular man in the region. J.H. Patterson ….. said 'He was a most lovable man, with a thorough knowledge of the Kikuyu nation. These people knew him as Bwana Hora, and although he often chastised them, they came to love him in the end as they have loved no white man before or since.
Matson Bio - In background, upbringing, career and attitudes of mind, Hall was a typical product of the class of Victorian society into which he had been born. He was a gentleman. Although he rubbed shoulders in South Africa with scores of colleagues who made no pretensions to this character, Hall remained openly contemptuous of people who did not qualify for gentlemanly status. Conveniently forgetting his own short stint in a South African store, Hall referred slightingly to John Ainsworth, his immediate superior in the IBEA Company's service, as a 'counter man'. He was also indignant when he found that another of his superior officers, Clifford Craufurd, had been a sergeant in a line of foot regiment. ……… As he grew older - and particularly after his marriage in 1898 - Hall became less snobbish and critical in his attitude towards his colleagues. He even began to feel respect for Ainsworth's character and ability, and noted with approval the manner in which the 'counter man' had improved through association with such gentlemen as Dr Hinde and Captain Harrison. Hall also suffered from an unfortunate antipathy towards missionaries, and declared himself to be particularly wary of the ladies from the CMS at Mombasa, who were bent on the 'hooking of a decent hardworking administrator'. He tried to dissuade Stuart Watt from penetrating into the Kikuyu District in 1893, and was much relieved when 'the raving lunatic in the missionary trade' left, with his wife and 5 small children, for Ainsworth's headquarters at Machakos. ………. [much more] …… story of Hall's being tossed by a rhino suffering multiple injuries and later being mauled by a leopard …….. journey to coast and convalescence in England where he met his future wife, his assistant Edward Russell's sister ……………. [excellent potted biography, 24 pages based mainly on Hall's letters and diaries]
Kenya Past & Present 7 - 1976 - Reflections of Early Kenya - Josiah Njonjo - 'Mr Hall came to our village because my father's elder brother was a headman. After Waiyaki, a leading senior warrior from our area, was deported, headmen were chosen and my father's brother Njubi Njonjo was one. Mr Hall used to come and see him. Mr Hall was very cunning. He gave his headmen red blankets and umbrellas to show that they were chiefs, big people. A chief who went around with an umbrella could get everything freely, like goats, and even nice girls. Mr Hall cheated them in a nice way. We used to call them "anene wa Wainyahoro", big men of Bwana Hall, or "Horo" as people pronounced it. Mr Hall left here before 1900 and went to Fort Hall to build a fort. He died there and that is why they call it Fort Hall.
Ainsworth - took over from Purkiss at Fort Smith. At end of 1899 instructed to proceed to the northern part of Kikuyu and endeavour to establish Govt. influence and authority there.
Mills Railway - As Francis Hall, who was older than most of his fellows, put it in a private letter, the administration was too concerned with "precedence, brass buttons and bugle blowing". .…… Hall was but one aho died in office at Fort Hall, which was named in his memory. He left his widow in such straitened circumstances that the Uganda Railway took her to Mombasa free of charge on her way back to England after his death.
Mills Railway - In his search for the best alignment Blackett received considerable help from Francis Hall, District Officer at Fort Smith, who probably knew the country better than anyone else from his many safaris through the District
Gazette - 1-4-1901 - It is with extreme regret that I have to announce that Mr Francis G. Hall the District Officer at Mbirri, Kenia District died at Mbirri Station on the 18th instant from a prolonged and severe attack of dysentery.
In Mr Hall's death this Administration loses an Officer of great experience and one who was ever popular with Europeans and natives alike. He entered the service of the late Imperial British East Africa Company in 1892 and joined the Government service when the country was taken over by the Foreign Office in 1895.
As an Officer for pioneer work the late Mr Hall had few equals and this Province in particular is a severe loser bu his untimely death and to myself and the other Officers of this Province his loss is felt as a personal one.
My own sympathies as well as the sympathies of all that knew the late Mr Hall are extended to his widow in her affliction. - Signed John Ainsworth, HM Sub-Commissioner.
Web - Probate and Administration - Francis George Hall of Mbirri, Kenya, East Africa protectorate died 18 March 1901 - Probate, London 27 September to John Foster Hall, stockbroker - Effects - £1505 3s 9d
Barnes St James and all Martyrs Murangaa - he is buried there
Mombasa Cathedral plaque: sacred to the memory of / Francis George Hall / District Officer East Africa Protectorate / who died at Fort Hall in the / Kenia District 18th March 1901 / aged 40 years also of his Brother-in-Law / Edward John Henderson Russell / Assistant District Officer East Africa / Protectorate who died at Shimoni / in the Vanga District 31st May 1900 / aged 28 years / this brass is erected as a tribute of / regard and affection by their numerous / friends in East Africa
Back to search results