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Name: RATHBONE, John Sylvanus 'Jack' 'Silas'

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Nee: born John Silas Rathbone

Birth Date: 16 May 1878 Eccleshall Bierlow, Sheffield

Death Date: 25 Nov 1963 Nairobi

First Date: 1914-18

Profession: KFA - opened the first 'duka' in Nanyuki and launched out into the Dewdrop Inn, for a while a meeting-place for the scattered ranchers and farmers. Later to become founder and editor of the Sunday Post. Sold his soldier settlement farm to W.S.S.J. Beale.

Area: Dar es Salaam, Nanyuki, Nairobi, Hut - partner with Watson Farm 914 Nanyuki, Founded Sunday Post

Married: 1. Emma Lucie Brenner b.1882 Germany, d.16 Sep 1949 Nairobi; 2. In S. Africa 1950 Olga Alferova b. 24.7.1896 Kursk, Russia

Children: 1. Alan Karl (1905-1928); Louisa Winifred (Eccleshall Bierlow 1906-1909 Guildford)

Book Reference: KFA, Foster, Stoneham, KAD, Red 25, Red 31, Hut, Red 22, Web, Barnes, Paice's Place

General Information:

Gazette 6 Dec 1938 Aberdare Voters List
KFA - Mr Rathbone, like the others, walked from Thika to his farm in North Kenya taking his worldly goods and a handsome map, provided by the Land Office, heavily veined with lines representing streams and rivers. So well watered did the farm seem to be that a clause in the lease forbade its holder to construct any wharves, landing stages or ferries. This provision was faithfully observed, since there turned out to be no rivers.
Red 25 - Township Stores, Nanyuki (Rathbone's)
Red 22 - Rathbone's Stores, Nanyuki - Millers
Red 22 - J.S. Rathbone, Nanyuki & Ndare - Motor Garage
Web - Obituary - John Sylvanus Rathbone, founder and first editor of The Sunday Post and founder of the English Press Ltd. who died last week, was born in Sheffield on May 16 1878. He was very proud of the fact that his grandfather was born during the Napoleonic Wars. From a quite a boy [sic], he always had a literary bent and once came out top of the list in a nation-wide examination in English.
At the start of the first World War, he joined the Army and came out to Dar es Salaam to fight in the German East African Campaign. Ever with his mind on such things he started at Headquarters an Army magazine called "Doing". On his staff were the late George Kinnear (afterwards editor of the 'East African Standard') and also "Pop" Binks Kenya's own astronomer. The latter contributed a column to this magazine entitled "What Binks thinks."
After the war and back in England, the call of Africa was too strong for Mr Rathbone, so he returned to Kenya as a soldier-settler in 1920 and walked up to Nanyuki with his ox-carts to take over his allotted farm. Later he sold this farm for only £500 and settled down in business. He assisted in building a great deal of Nanyuki where there is still a Rathbone Road. While there he edited another magazine with a Mount Kenya interest.
In 1935 he came to Nairobi to found and edit The Sunday Post, which he started off in a very small way in Government Road with a total staff of 3 persons. It was, of course, the only Sunday paper of those days and the circulation mounted rapidly, extra staff was taken on and its reputation was soon firmly established. He became a member of the Nairobi Municipal Council and later played a prominent part on the Town Planning Committee. In 1943 he started the famous "Sunday Post Officers' Club" which was on Queensway and later with funds from that was partly instrumental in building Haig House.
When the second World War was over, he decided that he wanted his own printing press and he founded The English Press Ltd. It all grew to such proportions that the present large building in Reata Road was bought, installed and occupied.
Mr Rathbone's first wife was a Miss Brenner of the famous Swiss family. Their two children died young. In 1950 he married again his second wife being Madame Olga Alferova from a very old Russian family. Mrs Rathbone nursed him devotedly until the end. He was a man of such varied interests that it is difficult to assess which were the most important. He was a gifted writer with great clarity of style. There seemed to be no limit to his studies which included engineering, archeology, history and science and he would enjoy books in French and German, both of which he spoke fluently. His crowded bookshelves testify to his many fields of activity. So passes an irreplaceable pioneer of Kenya, a wonderful host, an excellent raconteur, and - speaking personally - the most sympathetic friend and helpful adviser in the world. - K.L.R.
Barnes - Nairobi City Park Cemetery - J.S. Rathbone, died 25 Nov 1963 aged 84 AND Emmy L. Rathbone, Swiss, died 16 Sep 1949 aged 69, buried at Nanyuki
Paice's Place - J.S. Rathbone was perhaps the most successful of the district's shopkeepers. He owned a soldier settlement farm in North Kenya, established a store on it, another store in Nyeri, the Township Store in Nanyuki, and also owned the Dewdrop Inn  in Rumuruti. He lost his farm to his mortgagor and his Nyeri store went bankrupt in 1926 but Rathbone remained in Nanyuki. He was a member of both the Township Committee and a driving force behind Nanyuki's school, but significantly he was never involved in either the gymkhana or the Nanyuki Farmers' Association.
Gazette - 22/11/1922 - Application for Grocer's Liquor Licence - J.S. Rathbone, Nanyuki Township
Gazette - 10/5/1922 - Application for General Retail Liquor Licence - Mr J S Rathbone - Rumuruti
Gazette - 23/12/1925 - Wine Merchant & Grocer's Licence - Nanyuki, Mr J S Rathbone
Emma Lucy BRENNER b 1882 Germany. Swiss subject, the daughter of Carl Saul BRENNER (1856-1921) & Minna SENN (1858-1931) of the famous Swiss family. 5.5-7.9.1906 at the South Yorkshire "Lunatic" Asylum, 24, a teacher of languages - probably after losing her daughter Louisa. 2 children: both died young
Gazette 1 Nov 1949 1st wife's probate
Gazette 21 Jan 1964 probate
Gazette 8 Aug 1950 for 2nd wife's birthdate
Nanyuki cemetery: Emma Lucie Rathbone 1881 [sic] - 1949

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