Cecil Hoey and Hoey’s Bridge (now Moi’s Bridge)

Cecil Hoey and Hoey’s Bridge (now Moi’s Bridge)

  One of the first white residents in the Trans-Nzoia region was Arthur Cecil Hoey. Who was Hoey? He was born in Wimbledon in 1883 and baptised on 12 October that year, the son of John Hoey and his wife Matilda Jane, née Tront, who came from Dublin. In 1891 the family was living in Knaphill near Woking and Arthur Cecil had an older brother John and a younger brother William Henry. There was also an older brother Alfred Ernest who had left home, and who was later to join Cecil in East Africa in 1905 (he died in Nairobi in 1926), as did the younger brother William (who died at Naivasha in 1960). Their father John was working as a clerk. After education at Farnham Grammar School, Cecil had an adventurous youth. He was apprenticed to a sailing boat and went to sea. When his ship reached South Africa he left it to fight in the Boer War’s closing months. He stayed in South Africa when the war came to an end and learned something about breeding horses. He then embarked for East Africa, where he took up big-game hunting in 1904. He trekked through the Uasin Gishu plateau to the Nzoia River, marvelling at the huge herds of game, and becoming a proficient lion hunter. The American writer W.S. Rainsford sought him out to accompany him on a year’s safari to the Sergoit river. Since ivory hunting brought the greatest profit, Hoey shot many elephants until he had made a sizeable sum. In 1909 Cecil trekked from Nakuru to Addis Ababa, through unmapped country. The maps he...