Dear Sir,

I hereby write to you, regarding an article I came across on your Website. The title of the article is Thornton and Rumsey of Mbesuma Ranch by Capt R.W.M Langham M.C. I cried as I read the article because for the first time in my life I was connected to a grandfather I only knew by his name. Richard Thornton was my grandfather, whom I did not know much about until three days ago when I read the article. You have given me a wonderful gift because now I can complete the missing dot to my family tree.

Do you know where I can find additional information about my grandfather Richard Thornton or if you know where I can obtain a picture of him?

I live in Seattle WA and would very much like to connect with individuals that are interested in erecting a memorial for Thornton and Rumsey.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for bringing my grandfather to me.

Your sincerely

Bridgette Exteen

Hi Bridgette

Yours is the kind of letter which makes me carry on with this website!

I am not aware of any further information about Richard Thornton at the moment but am hoping to soon receive another 13 Northern Rhodesia Journals and will keep an eye open. Have you read Roy Williams’ story yet? He knew
Frank Rumsey in the middle years of the century and therefore knew of your grandfather. The NRJ actually dated from 1960 so I am afraid that the efforts to erect a memorial are unlikely to still be taking place - I wonder if a memorial was in fact erected as a result of the article?

I am very happy to make the lives of these two pioneers more widely known and am delighted to have filled in such a large gap for you.

Best regards

Ian Singer

PS I know that Roy Williams will be interested in your discovery so I am
taking the liberty of copying your email to him. IS

Dear Ian,

Thanks for responding to my e-mail. I have read Roy Williams article on Frank Rumsey and Richard Thornton. The article had information on how my grandfather died and the year that he died, which may be helpful in my search.

I know years have passed by and the hope of finding additional information of him from Northern Rhodesia articles may not exist. I will however maintain faith that someone knew my grandfather and his brothers, and may have additional information to share someday.

Thanks once again for the information and please keep up the wonderful work you are doing by sharing the history of the people that made a difference in Northern Rhodesia. The future generation should know of the pioneers that came to the country.


Have a nice week!


Hi Ian,

Just thought I'd share and forward the joys you have brought to members of my family. My two young sisters for the first time were able to take a journey to visit my mothers birth place as well as visit my grandfathers grave site. My entire family are greatful to you for supplying the bit of information that lead us to trace our roots. Thanks! Have a great day, Bridgette

From: yvonne teladia

Subject: greetings from Zambia
Date: Fri, 15 Nov 2002 00:38:03 -0800 (PST)


We arrived last night and isn't if a relief to be back home. We had first gone to Chinsali boma, the man was very helpful and stamped the documents, with those documents we will have to take them to Lusaka and we will be able to get a birth certificate for mummy. We actually went to Mbesuma Ranch, it must have been a very beautiful place, but it has been vandalised. The structures are still up and were built with bricks that obviously came from europe. The roofs, doors, and windows have all been vandalised. We had past through a village to get there. We spoke to some women there, we just managed the name Thornton, then they came out with Rhoda, Maggie and Jack. We had a bit of language problem, but they said there was a Rumsey woman that stayed there, but was out in the field. We hoped we would talk to her on our way out but she had not come back and it was late. It was touchy to know that maybe those could have been mummy's sisters or cousins. The road was terrible it was amazing that we did not get stuck. We also managed to see where dad had his accident in Mpika.

We then proceeded to Kasama and seen Mr Thronton's grave. The cemetary is being maintained by the Heritage group in Kasama. Just when you enter there is a big billboard of the names with corresponding no's to the grave. Mr Thornton is no 1 as he was the first to be buried there. It was a emotional experience for Lynette and I, I even shed afew tears to know that that was our grandfathers grave. Lynette took some photo's, it was just unfortunate that we had forgotten the video camera. We went to see the heritage group, and we were told that the cemetary was just cleaned up and a wall build round it recently, as one of the relatives of someone buried there had come and donated 2,500 pounds to have the place done up. We didnt think of asking them who the person was, but now we have decided to try and contact them to ask. Maybe the person who donated the money would know something about the Thorntons. They actually asked for the information that you sent, as they are carrying out a research of the people that are buried there. When we had just said we were Thornton's grand children they were very welcoming and helpful.

After that we proceeded to Mbala to Kawimbe Mission where mum did her preschool. It was right up the hill, and the road extremely bad. I think God, mum and maybe Mr Thornton's spirit's were with us, for us not to get stuck. The mission doesn't exist anymore, but is now a basic school. There was a man that actually schooled there who was born in 1927, he didn't remember mummy, but knew of Mr Thornton. We later spoke to a man that was born in 1915, he is now blind by age, but he remember that Mr Thornton had a very big farm and alot of cattle. Noone had cattle like him. He said all the colored children were taken care of by the missionaries and were later sent to Mbereshi Mission.

It was an adventure going to all these places and everyone said we would be blessed for trying to trace our roots. I must say Henry had alot of patience to take us to all these places despite the state of the road. By any chance is there a way of trying to trace the author of that book where you had got the information? Maybe then we can find out alot more. Now we have to wait for Regi to send the birth certificate and we have to get a document from the chief stating that mummy and daddy were married under customary law. Who knows we might have to even go back to Kasama for the same documen tstating that our grandparents were married.

Bridgette once again thanks for digging out all that information it is through you that we even took a plunge to go to Chinsali and Kasama.

Please do keep in touch.
Love Yvonne