Sharing Northrup McMillan’s Millions

Sharing Northrup McMillan’s Millions

Sharing Northrup’s Millions by Judy Aldrick   I always enjoy receiving feedback and discovering new information.  It makes writing about East African history all the more worthwhile for me. Imagine my surprise when several years after my book about Sir Northrup McMillan had been published(Judy Aldrick, Northrup: The Life of William Northrup McMillan, 2012, Old Africa Books) I received a mysterious message on my Linked In network.  A retired lawyer, Mike Cronan, wished me to get in contact as papers relating to Northrup had come into his possession, which he thought might interest me.  I sent him my contact details. A week or so later a parcel of papers arrived in Kent from the USA.  It was the details of a lawsuit brought in 1929 by a McMillan relative against the St Louis Trust Company and Lady Lucie McMillan, Northrup’s widow.  Mike Cronan had been researching the life of a prominent Missouri lawyer and politician called James Reed and had come across the information amongst his papers. Reed had represented Lady Lucie in the case brought against her. Cronan did not include the McMillan affair in his book about Reed, as after Reed had filed a preliminary motion, the case was dismissed. Alice Warfield, a cousin of Northrup, brought charges against Lucie McMillan, claiming that she had been defrauded of her inheritance.  William McMillan, Northrup’s father, had died in 1901 a very wealthy man and left his fortune to his wife and only son, however, with certain strings attached. He was a cautious man and did not want his wife and son to spend his hard earned money all at...
Tea for Breakfast

Tea for Breakfast

About 1910 my father W.J. Dawson, known always as W.J., bought the Plains Dairy, that vast flatland where the Nairobi Airport is today. He and three other young Scotsmen had great times in the corrugated iron house he built there. The others were George Taylor, Will Jaffray and Sandy Milne. One morning my father, who was always particular about his early morning tea, spat out the first mouthful in disgust at the taste. He went outside and asked George Taylor if he thought the tea undrinkable. Taylor replied, “I hadna’ noticed.” Father called the servant and asked where he had obtained the water for the tea. Imagine my father’s reaction when the servant pointed to the tin bath in which all four men had bathed the evening before! Belle Barker, Hermanus, South Africa This story appeared in the October 2007 Only in Africa section of Old Africa If you enjoyed this story, consider purchasing Leopard in the Kitchen, our book of short stories....
Climbing Mount Longonot

Climbing Mount Longonot

Soon after the outbreak of World War II we boarders from the Prince of Wales School were moved to the old Sparks Hotel at Naivasha because the military required our school building at Kabete for a military hospital. We boys regarded our time at Naivasha like a long holiday, but they required us to work at our lessons as well. The spacious school grounds extended down to Crescent Island Lake. Sunday afternoons we could roam where we wished – only the dukas in Naivasha town were out of bounds. One Sunday afternoon three of us decided to climb Mt Longonot. As soon as lunch ended, we left the school grounds and crossed over the South Lake Road. We headed across a vast empty plain for Mt Longonot, miles away on the horizon. We set off at a fairly fast but sustainable run. There were no roads or tracks to follow but the grazing Tommies, Grants, and zebra had kept the grass down and the going was easy. By mid afternoon we reached the base of Longonot. We looked up the bush-covered slope and decided to give it a go to the rim. We climbed up a steep ridge following a game track. We paused near the rim when we heard the crashing of bushes. Several buffalo galloped down past us on an adjacent ridge a few yards away from where we stood. Soon we stood on the rim of the crater and looked down its bush-covered walls. We didn’t spend long there but turned our attention to the return journey. We couldn’t see the school, but we made out...
Alone in the Desert

Alone in the Desert

Our safari company tried out a new route from the southeastern end of Lake Turkana to Marsabit National Park through the Koroli Desert. We were halfway across the 30 mile sandy stretch of the Koroli Desert, and the driver had not seen another vehicle all morning and there was only one set of tire tracks in the sand. In the heat haze ahead he saw a typical mirage, which seemed to change from a small black stone into a black boulder. On approaching the object, it turned into an elderly American lady in a blue safari suit, sitting in the sand alone in the middle of the inhabited, scorching hot desert. She arose as our vehicle pulled up beside her and inquired most politely, without showing any sign of relief or pleasure, “Excuse me, but would you be going anywhere near Mar-say-bit.” Had we not decided to take that route, she probably wouldn’t have seen another vehicle for a week and faced a horrible death from thirst. Obviously this good lady had not the faintest idea of the danger of her situation. She was one of a group of six safari clients in a Volkswagen Combi that had stopped for a pee on their way to Marsabit Lodge. The car had accidentally driven off without her some three hours previously and nobody had missed her! We eventually got through to Nairobi from Marsabit, and told her tour company we’d picked up their guest in the desert. They sent an aeroplane up for her as there was still no sign of her VW Combi. Dick Hedges, Nairobi This appeared in...
Locating a Lion

Locating a Lion

My mother Shelina Popat worked in the Maasai Mara in tourism as a 22-year-old. One day a VIP guest, a middle-aged woman, arrived from England. She was very eager to see a lion. After her first game drive, the woman went to Shelina and explained that she really wanted to see a lion and she was only staying for three nights. Shelina told the woman not to worry, since lions were frequently seen. But for some reason the Mara’s lions went on strike that week and by the woman’s last night, she still had not seen a lion. The woman kept complaining how she came all the way from England to see a lion and how disappointed she was. The woman had only one more game drive the next morning. When she came back from her last game drive, she still hadn’t seen a lion. Feeling very dissatisfied, she went back to her tent to prepare to leave for the airstrip. Shelina drove the woman to the airstrip to drop her off. However, on the way to the airstrip the woman needed to relieve herself. Shelina drove her to a location known for being deserted with no wild animals roaming about. She stopped the car in front of a large bush. The woman got out to go pee, while Shelina waited in the car. A loud scream erupted from behind the bush. The woman appeared, running towards the car with her shorts around her ankles, screaming, “Lion!” Shelina couldn’t help but laugh. The woman was terrified but also delighted. She finally saw a lion, even though not in the...