We have a transcribed partial copy of James Ricalton's
1909 Diary. Transcript is about 60 pages. Below is
a flash summary of some entries (dates are 1909 unless
noted). Most travel described in transcript seems to
be South Africa, Rhodesia, and Zimbabwe. Additional
data, by his daughter Kathryn (following transcript
excerpts), seems to confirm his passage through Kenya
- 1/2 -- Call at Underwoods to discuss photo possibilities
during prospective trip.
- 1/4 -- Order Rifle made by Winchester
- 2/15 -- Sold today to Metropolitan Museum of Art
Photo prints ... $120.80 ...
- 3/8 -- Ship 4 cases photo plates to Cape Town on
S.S. "Molktefels" .. Ship on same boat
... Tent, hammock, three guns.
- 3/9 -- Teddy Roosevelt goes to S. Africa. [JW --
I have Ricalton photo of Roosevelt]
- 3/16 -- Bought passage ticket for Southampton --
- 3/17 -- Leave New York for Southampton on trip
- 3/20 -- High wind and heavy seas -- log 446 miles.
- 3/24 -- Reach Plymouth at 9:00 am.... Leave for
Cherbourg in one hour. Reach Southampton at 10 pm.
- 3/28 -- At sea on Bay of Biscay.
- 3/31 -- Reach Funchal at 7:00 am. Anchor in harbor.
Go ashore and 24 exposures.
- 4/4 -- At sea off Cape Verde.
- 4/12 -- First Albatross appear today.
- 4/13 -- Reached Cape Town at 4:00 am. Went ashore
at 8:00 am. Took room at City Mansions Hotel at 25s.
(shillings) a week.
- 4/19 -- See Cooks about shipment of outfit to Livingstone.
- 5/14 -- At Grout [Groot] Schuur [Cape Town] --
day fine. Photo the Rhodes stature.
- 5/28 -- Start for Simon's Town at the 7:30 train.
At Simonstown ...
- 5/29 -- Leave Cape Point for Cape of Good Hope
at 10:00 am.
- 6/6 -- At Dassen Island.
- [Ricalton maintains apartment and returns to Cape
Town following these local journeys.]
- 6/10 -- Start for Cape Point with two Kafir boys.
[Ricalton sustains smashed-thumb injury and returns
to Cape Town]
- 7/2 -- At Cape Town. Nothing the worse after a
54 mile walk.
- 8/1 -- On train all day....[Fellow passenger] advises
me to go to Kazungulu, 40 miles est on Lingoter River
where are French Fathers .... Reach Bulawayo on Sunday
night and lodge at Palace Hotel.
- 8/2 -- Leave Bulawayo on Tuesday [August 3] ...
Reach Livingstone on Wednesday. All day on train....
Natives appear at station in primitive dress (no
- 8/4 -- Reach Livingstone at 8 am -- pass over great
bridge and have my first glimpse of the famous Victoria
- 8/5 -- Went to Victoria Falls ... My seeing confirmed
that it does not surpass Niagara.
- 8/7 -- At Livingstone, N.W. Rhodesia.
- 8/16 -- At Livingstone packing up in preparation
for start for Broken Hill.
- 8/17 -- ... Send to Mr. Edison cigar box containing
Kafir piano and bean pods; to Mrs. Edison Kaffir
basket and mahogany bean pod and other bean pods.
- 8/22 -- ...Reach Broken Hill at 8:15 pm. ... Wait
long at station before learning where I might pitch
my tent -- there being only a hotel consisting of
- 8/23 -- At Broken Hill ... Pitch my tent in the
infant railway town of central Africa.
- 8/28 -- Take 10 boys [servants/bearers] at 7s.
[shilling] each ... Leave Broken Hill at 2 pm for
Fort Jamison [Jameson?]. Make 20 miles to a river
where we camp for the night.
- 8/29 -- ... Saw one zebra and 4 roan antelope.
- 8/30 -- Trek at 7 am and make over 20 miles by
1 pm. Feet better but one big blister. Lunch at Lasempto.
- 8/31 -- The native village of Mkushi. Camp at night
3 miles west of Kimimbia.
- 9/2 -- 5th day from Broken Hill ends at 2 pm today
-- all well but one poor sick fellow, a skeleton
with dysentery. His wrap is blood-stained from hemorrhage.
- 9/3 -- ... Stop for lunch at Kamboko.
- 9/5 -- Arrive at Mlembo and camp.
- 9/7 -- Photo a Euphorbia tree with plantation workers
-- Alala tribe.
- 9/10 -- [Shoot and butcher/dry 3 hippopotamus.]
- 9/16 -- Leave Crosby's for Fort Jamison at 8 am,
with 23 natives.... Camp at Lukwiassi for the night.
- 9/17 -- Reach the east side of Muchenagas today
- 9/20 -- .... Entertain the villagers and Chief
with stereoscopic views -- they wonder much.... Pitch
camp here.... Within 9 miles of Petauke[-Mililo].
- 9/23 -- At Petauke.
- 9/25 -- Leave Umzimzara River camp at 5:45 am and
reach Sassare Gold Mine at 9:30.
- 9/26 -- Reach Luzingazi at 9 am. ... Leave Luzingazi
at 3:30 and pass over last range by moonlight and
reach Mgambi at 8 pm having walked during the day
- 10/1 -- At Fort Jamison [Jameson, also, Chipata.
- 10/13 -- Leave Fort Jameson at 7:45 am with 16
boys.... The son of Chief to accompany me to right
way towards the Luangwa. Stop at Zandile.
- 10/14 ... Make 26 miles by 2 pm to head of Rekuse
River [Rhodesia]. [JW -- Apparent photo for sale
-- see link.]
- 10/20 -- On the Rekuse ...
- 10/22 -- On the Rekuse
- [TRANSCRIPT ENDS HERE]
From "The Life of James Ricalton" by his
daughter, Kathryn Ricalton Murphy:
"In 1909 at the age of 65 James Ricalton took
a trip to Africa and walked from Cape Town to Cairo,
a distance of 1500 miles. Wearing out many pairs of
shoes and averaging 30 miles a day. He had a safari
of 20 natives to carry his baggage and to help him
hunt wild game. He shot many elephants, hippopotami,
antelopes, and wild buffalos, bringing home a great many
trophies to add to his large collection of curios gathered
from all his trips around the world....
"In 1912 Mr. Ricalton left for another trip under
Thomas Edison's direction, this time to experiment
with the famous inventor's moving picture camera. His
son Lomond accompanied him and while father and son
were in the jungles taking moving pictures of big game
Lomond contracted typhoid fever. Mr. Ricalton transported
him to the nearest British hospital, 50 miles away,
but the trip on rough jungle roads aggravated the boy's
condition, and after two weeks in the hospital, despite
the best of care, he died and was buried in Nairobi,
British East Africa. This tragedy ended Mr. Ricalton's