THE QUEENSTOWN GANG Assorted research/data capture notes. Work in progress. Family tree formatting might be faulty


Chapter Nine of Gordon Le Seur's book "Cecil Rhodes", published in 1913, gives an account of some of the aides Rhodes surrounded himself
with. Le Seur was himself one of them, and as a secretary travelled extensively with Rhodes. "He collected a sort of bodyguard of young men in
whom he was interested, and who were chosen on account of various and varied qualifications.
"Those most closely connected with him at different times were Neville Pickering, Harry Currey, R.T. ("Bob") Coryndon,
John R. Grimmer ("Jack"), Harry Palk, Philip ('Flippie") Jourdan, and myself. Of these only Palk was born out of South Africa.
"We were all much more companions than secretaries in the ordinary sense of the word......
"There were others of those whom he called his "young men," and in whose careers he took an interest , such as
E. Law Brailsford and J.G. McDonald [* ]; and there were the members of what he called the "Queenstown Gang," including Percy Ross,
Harry Huntley, the four brothers Fynn, and others, who were all farmers and hailed from Queenstown, Cape Colony, or thereabouts........
..........."The Queenstown Gang" were all farmers, and were nearly all related to one another. Rhodes settled Harry Huntley on a farm in the
Matoppos, and Percy Ross on his own farm, while the Fynns settled at the Bembezi near Bulawayo...." [Le Seur]

And in Chapter Ten, regarding the siege of Kimberley: "There were thousands of natives shut up in the town, and the question of
feeding them was a serious one, until an expedient was hit on by W. D. Fynn (one of the "Queenstown Gang"). He had a unique
knowledge of natives, having spent all his life amongst them, and he had a number of educated natives who did nothing but espionage.
Some of these latter he sent out to the chiefs from whose kraals most of the natives came , and it was explained to the chiefs that they
were to go to the Boer commandant (Cronje), and say that they and their people were anxious to assist the Boers, but that as long as
their people were shut up and being shelled in Kimberley they were unable to do anything.
The chiefs did as they were told, and Cronje, completely taken in, told them that if they could communicate with their people and get
them to come out they would be escorted through the Boer lines. This was communicated to Fynn, and accordingly trains loaded
with useless consumers of much-needed grain were nightly run out a few miles, and then the natives made for the Boer lines, through
which they were allowed to pass; but there is no record that assistance promised to Cronje was ever afforded". [ Le Sueur pp 239]


FYNN Family

Followed by heavily pruned family tree.

* Report: Fynn given black wives by Shaka Zulu from Natal Witness, 2002

* Photo: Bertie Fynn - Giffords Horse

* Photo by Louis Herscovitz: a Fynn grave on Induba Farm, not far from the homestead. The inscription is almost certainly:

"Erected [?] to the memory/of/Henry Tempest Fynn/ ...............1894 [?]/ Date of birth.... check/ Died 31st January 1919[?]" [? But Bertie died 1943]


Bertie was Sheila Fletcher's godfather. (?) The Fynn brothers, their sister Bliss, and Percy Ross were cousins of Annie, Ida and Bob (etc etc) McDonald. Flora Ness McDonald was also a cousin of them all. (?) Also Harry Huntley and Murray family (& others?)


Re: The Fingos.

Twenty six Fingo families were given freehold title to a block of land at Bembesi by Rhodes. This block extends from near the railway on
the east where it bounds Zimbile Farm. Its other main neighbours are Ntabazinduna Reserve, Battlefield Ranch and Clonmore Ranch.
Fingo women used to sing when riding on a wagon, or working together. One of their songs was a short refrain, repeated endlessly:

"Imota ka Feni ... Wafel? emgwagweni?. "

which , without the lyrical beauty of the original, is: "Fynn?s car broke down (lit. "died") in the road ....."[NF]


Keyi at Zimbile once told me with great relish about a Fingo long ago who had a tame or chained-up baboon. Fynn, perhaps the story
went, heard about the animal and sent a message that baboons were not meant to be kept, or something like that. But the Fingo
persisted in keeping it, and one day on hearing Fynn?s car approaching hid the animal. When Fynn demanded ?Where?s the baboon??,
the Fingo replied ?Aziko mfeni lapa?. ( mfeni = baboon in Fingo.) [NF]


Peter used to say that when he rode through the Fingo to see Bertie Fynn at Battlefields he envied the sweet grass growing all the way,
and wished Zimbile had hayfields like these. But the Fingo later became a luna landscape.
But in 2009 JPF said he drove through the Fingo and was amazed at the recovery. Probably the donkeys, goats and cattle were eaten
during the Great Flowering of the Westminster System. [NF}


Related Files

* Drawing of Henry Fynn. In the Old House Museum. Durban

* Annie's letter from the Bulawayo laager. The Fynn boys. Harry Huntley.
* Letters: Kenneth Annie

* Photo: Bliss and Ben on steps of the "not Umvutcha" house.

* Bliss later went to England, for a while??, after WW 1 ???

Some Blissful threads:

Annie Kept Me In pps 3&1
Annie Kept Me In pps 4&2
Annie Takes Them to U.K.
Bliss in London, injured knee

* emails re graves, GPS for Bertie's, etc

Info from Craig Halsted. (See emails below)


HARRY HUNTLEY "Lilian lived with her brother Harry (Huntley) on a farm. She supervised the kitchen. Harry was very fond of roast chicken and one evening when they had guests he was carving and asked each one what part of the bird they would like. When it was Lilian's turn she said she would not have any. Harry was suspicious and later quizzed the servants who revealed that the bird had been dropped into the slop bucket, and Lilian had just washed it off and put it back in the oven for a bit.
Harry married late, a very nice and good looking woman called Bona, and they had a little girl Ann(a?). Harry was very lucky to find such a nice woman considering what a reprobate he had reputedly been previously. They visited Patty and I when we were at Rustenberg School.
Lillian went to live in a room at the Grand Hotel. She used to dress in all her jewellery and during the war when the Air Force chooms came out to learn to fly they used to sit around and listen to all her stories of the early days..." [N.F.]
* Link ex Wendy Lilliam Huntley article


* J.G. McDonald. [But was he related?? ] He was signatory for CJR to the Agreement between Rhodes and Teddy Hull [husband of Flora Ness McD.] concerning the Matopos estate. See copy ex Wendy Nolan. Also in the group photo with Rhodes.
Le Seur was also related to the Queenstown Gang.?
Janet Eliza McDonald (1891- 1985) married Howard Somerset Le Sueur. According to Wendy- ask her again for source
The Rhodes grass. The farm near CT. and Peter's story [ The sisters (Annie, Ida met Rhodes when they were young and he asked them to collect grass seed for him. But Rhodes Grass is indigenous to Rhodesia? Maybe they were asked to collect seed for Rhodes' Cape farm? Check again in one of the books.
ex Wendy Flora McD article. Ida came with her in 1900?

This Section Last Modified: 18 March 2009 ============

Temporarily append here file of emails:
Fynn Data Capture FYNN - Data Capture Page. File Created: April 2007. Work in Progress. Submissions invited.

re: FYNN GRAVES. Information from Craig Halsted:

21 April 2008

Dear Craig
................ I often heard from Don Rigby, Pat Wesson etc that my grandmother's cousin Bertie Fynn was buried in a dwala on Battlefields.
I never went to see the grave. But some while back Louis Herscovitz showed my wife a grave at Induba which had Fynn on its
headstone. Shortly before he died last year he sent me a photo scan of the grave and one can certainly make out the name Fynn,
but not the first names.
Now I am uncertain whether I really did hear about the grave at Battlefields. But I seem to recall driving with Pat around the farm and him
pointing out a hill and saying Bertie Fynn was buried on it. I also recall hearing from Don that Fynn's grave had been opened by the invaders, circa 2002.
Do you know anything about the matter?......

From: Craig Halsted
22 April, 2008

Dear Neil,

...............You are absolutely correct that Bertie Fynn is buried on a little granite dwala on Battlefields. The grave was very well know to us
and I could take you there even now with my eyes closed. It was on a low outcrop of granite, next to a little dam and it had a
beautiful polished granite headstone. Each year, a pair of redbill teal would breed on the dam and I had always thought that
Bertie had picked a wonderful place to be buried. I do recall being told that the ?vets?/invaders had opened it at about the date that
you suggested but I do not know the exact details. We were all run off about then and we were pretty grumpy and saddened by
the wanton destruction. The only difference between what happened to you and to us at that time was that we were fortunate
enough not to have been put inside a couple of times, and that was only because the Police could not find an appropriate Halsted
to lock up to make an example of.

As matter of interest, I am fairly sure that Bert Fynn would have died in about 1942, as that was the year that my family bought
Battlefields. Strangely enough, both my father and my mother clearly recall attending the dispersal sale; my father was nine years
old and my mother was four. They recall being there, as they both were accompanying their parents who were bidding at the
auction and they had to camp out for a couple of days. I think that the camping was what they most recalled!...............
Best regards

23 April 2008

Dear Craig

Many thanks for your informative letter.....Co-incidentally I spoke to Don Rigby on the phone last night. He says everything on Clonmore
has been stolen, but the house is still standing. It seems one or two of the other farms (Alicedale?/Formona?) are leased, and he still has
some cattle out there somewhere. He confirmed also that Bertie is buried on the dwala ("paddock no.13 I think - but there are no fences any more..."). When I asked him about the grave being opened - which Elwyn also remembers him telling us about shortly before we left -
he seemed now a little less certain about the fact of the matter. He said he was going out there today and would try and take a photo of the
So it seems the other grave on Induba with Fynn on the headstone is a one of the other relatives. A number of Fynns followed Rhodes to
Bulawayo from the Eastern Province and became his henchmen, I suppose you could say.
...........Elwyn seems to remember Louis talking about "Miss Mabroek" when they went to see the grave there. My father said she was a
Miss Popham/Poppim or something like that. She might have lived on Induba. Ever hear of her?
[Note 4 March '09: I am now almost certain the grave on Induba is that of Henry Tempest Fynn, Bertie's brother. At first I did not
have his first names, but knowing them now it is possible to read them in the photo. N.F. ]


I am afraid that I have not heard of a Miss Popham/Poppim, so I cannot help with that one.

["Miss Mabroek", so called because she wore trousers in an age when most women did not, lived in the Induba/Grangebrook Mine area
near Queen's Mine/Bembesi River, as I recall from early childhood. My father said she looked as though she had swallowed a roll of
barbed wire. Peter told that he once received at Zimbile an urgent message from her. He rode over on his Indian motorbike, quite a
way in those days, to find that she had become stuck in her bath. N.F.]


17 February 2009
To: Craig Halsted
Are you able to give me the GPS co-ordinates of Fynn's grave from GoogleEarth.?

Unfortunately, the view of the area is just outside the high definition Google map, which is probably a good thing, as I would otherwise be
more grumpy than I am at seeing those obsequious no-hopers? grubby little huts plonked in the middle of our lands.
I am 99% sure that I have got the right place, as I can also see a copse of trees which surrounded a permanent spring that was situated just
below the dwala on which Bertie?s grave was located.
The exact GPS coordinates are:
Lat: 19?50'50.08"S Long: 28?54'39.48"E
Insert wendy email here

From:NF February 26
Hi Wendy. What was the story/source of the Fynns and Tshaka and the Zulu maidens (?)? N

From: Wendy

THE FYNN LINE.doc (1009KB), ElizFynnDescendency.doc (382KB), HENRY FRANCIS FYNN.doc (29KB), ElizaFynnDescendency.doc (397KB)
Neil, this is what I have, and you will see the source at the bottom of one of the "Henry Francis Fynn" document and "The Fynn Line" document.
The other two documents are a list of the descendants of Eliza and Donald - sort of snapshot, and a few generations short, ie not updated for quite a while.
I got them off the internet, so I'm sure if you did a search you would find it, and more - Wendy.
PS Had an email from Bun a few days ago and I believe he has been working with a Fynn descendant at Ruckomechi Camp: "... Jim Barker's son
married Tamsin Fynn who is Jack Fynn's granddaughter. Tamsin is the late Kerry Fynn's daughter. Kerry was in National Parks and later joined the
Rhodesian Airforce and became a helicopter pilot. He was killed in a collision with another helicopter during the war. Strange how things all fit in
isn't it? Di and I are going around tomorrow to Jim and his wife Judy for tea, and at the same time will get him to sign our copy of his book "Paradise Plundered".
================= From: Wendy Nolan To: NF

Neil,I have just phoned Mum and put in a few things from her below. Have you got a copy or photo copy of the McDonald family book
by Mercy Murray (with photo of Eliza and Donald)? I thought you had, but maybe you only viewed it, and it would need a lot of
updating now. Also, I believe there are a few Fynns (or Fynn connections) living in Perth. The book "Twin Trails" that I have
mentioned in the past would have a lot of information but, like our Fletcher book, it's not the sort of thing that could be found easily.
I will probably need to contact some of these people for information, or borrow the book and photocopy what is relevant. It
is fascinating how so many Rhodesian families are intertwined, though not surprising when you think of how the country started
from scratch as a colony, and peaked at a population of a quarter of a million 'Europeans' over eighty odd years.

Fynns - Bulawayo, Hillside School Dad's friend was Willie. Had a government issued farm near Banket which was always getting flooded
and had to keep a boat to get from one side of the farm to the other So he was given a replacement farm near Harare.
Jack Fynn was known as a 'character' and my Dad was in the army with him. He used to borrow money on the 'ever-never'. Married and
had a few sons ... maybe one was Rob Fynn who used to run Fothergill Island in Kariba. Perhaps Kerry who died in the plane crash
was his brother. Jack lived the bush for a period of time, or else for spells ... story is that after a lion had made a kill and eaten
enough, Jack went and carved himself a few bits from what was left.
Harry Huntley - connection with McDonalds Lived with his sister Lilian until he married 'Bona' late in life. Had a daughter named Anne
(and son?). Mum thinks there some Kenneth/Harry anecdotes ... says to ask Mickey. Maybe Winkie or Raye would know
something? Lilian - I think I have given you a couple of pieces about her, one from an old book and another from Mum ... how
the troops got to know her from the Grand Hotel where she lived, how she entertained them with her stories, how they nicknamed
her 'The Duchess', always dressed up to the nines etc. Mum says Boo was friendly with Lilian.

Le Sueur Janet was the sister of Flora Hull (nee McDonald, my grandmother) and Mum says they did live near Cement Siding. A son
committed suicide in their back yard. Daughter married a Polish man. Chud met 'Aunt Janet', and in fact I must ring Chud and ask
him a few things. He is an incredibly busy man so I think he would do better on the phone than try and get an email written.
I think Chud and Con must have quite a bit of knowledge about many of these people and events. The only thing Mum recalled about
Janet was that she did not wish to acknowledge her brother 'Johnny' and would avoid him in the street. I think I have mentioned to
you before that he worked in the Native Department and was involved in a labour recruitment scam which was exposed ('everybody
was doing it' sort of thing). The story goes that he was unfairly made an example of and sent to jail for it. From then on he refused
to work and lived in a boiler on a vacant plot in town. He had a family of coloured children by an African woman.
Flora cared for him, took him food and nursed him until he died of consumption, in her arms. [Append story
of the Coloured families that used to put flowers on his grave at Woodville, and the building of the dairy over the gravesite. NF]
I must also ring my cousin Barbara who lives in Somerset West as I think she knows plenty about Hull/McDonald things, and also Bourdillons,
from Aunt Stella.


15 March, 2009 1:49 AM. From: "Wendy Nolan" .THE FYNN LINE-for.neil.doc (749KB)

Neil, I have spent hours upon hours looking for the site where I got that Fynn table from but can't find it. I have edited the original, as
attached, some information of which you will find irrelevant but I just put my own comments in anyway about people I know.
Now I have gone cross-eyed and my brain is numb so have called an end to it. As you say, it can be taxing and not so

user-friendly I find, travelling across a computer screen for long periods. I have taken a fair bit out of this table
(ie HFFII's 'Zulu maidens' and generations after, as well as the three 'Zulu Maidens' of his brother Frank, and their subsequent generations).
HFFIII I don't think we have associated with, and I think also there is little or nothing on the three remaining youngest siblings
(Alfred, Matilda and 'Miscellaneous') so have minimised them. So the two significant people are Eliza and her younger brother by a year,
William, both of whose descendants went to Rhodesia, and that is where Sir Percy and two of his sons, Willy and Jack fit in.
Anything after that is 'hearsay' such as Bun's latest.


Shows that Sir Percy Fynn was in the 1934 general election, as was Rob.

Is this the site (in the subject box of this email) where you saw the HFFII portrait? It shows clearly the three generations of
HFF's I II and III.

From: NF To: Wendy Nolan . March 10, 2009

Yes we have the Mercy Murray book.
But the Fynns you spoke about the other day. Are they/how are they connected? They are descendants of Eliza's brother William
McDowell Fynn (a year younger than herself) and his wife, Margaret West - see the attached table. I don't know the details of
who came to Rhodesia when, but the Fynns I spoke of the other day, through Bun, come from this line. The book "Twin Trails"
will have it.
How/is Willie Fynn connected? (A Willy is mentioned in the "Dear Bliss letter, is it not?) I'm not sure at this moment, but remember
we have to take into account repeat-names in relation to the dates.
Ditto for Jack. Is he related.? I don't have documentation to back this up, other than the table. Jack was Willie's brother, who are sons
of Sir Percy. This Willie was born in 1916, the same year as my dad, and they were friends, and I know his older brother was Jack.
Last year I had a long phone conversation with Rosalie and she told me the same things about Huntley. Also about the roast chicken.
But did not mention "The Duchess". My father always said Annie was called "The Duchess". Maybe they both had that name -
Mum stands by Lillian as being nick-named "The Duchess" and also, I have heard her mention that a few times, going back quite
some years.
Le Sueur: cannot find the Janet sister connection with Flora in the tree you sent me. Can you check again. Janet Le Sueur is in the
McDonald book by Mercy Murray as Flora's sister. Note that she is 'Flora Ness' as there are a few Floras. Sorry to be a bother
about the address of the extended Fynn family tree you sent. You said its address was at the bottom, which I probably was, but when
I got it I converted it to plain text file in Notebook, and that information might have got lost.I would like to post a short
version to the site, with a link to the main version for those who might like to see it. That is why I need the internet address. The
following is the original source of the table: "This site powered by The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding ?, written by
Darrin Lythgoe 2001-2004, and TNG Nuke Add-on ?, written by Robert Penrose 2003-2004.

Incidentally I came across some Fynn family homepage in UK. No relatives as it turns out, but they had a portrait drawing of the
original SA Fynn who had the Zulu maidens. It is in an some Old House in Durban. I will put it on our Fynn page. I have seen this, and
also Fynns that are not related.

Will post a draft of the Fynn Page shortly. Then I will probably not spend further time on research myself....but will be glad to receive
ready material from others.


Huntley/McDonal connection. 17 March, 2009 . From:Wendy

2.THE FYNN LINE.reduced for neil.doc (749KB)

? Neil, you asked how the Huntleys were connected with the McDonalds. Lilian and Harry were Annie's, Ida's, my grandmother Flora's etc
first cousins. Their records appear in both the Mercy Murray book and the Fynn tree - except in the latter they are displayed as
"Heutley". There are quite a few errors, some obvious, some marginal, others who knows?

Attached is a reduced version of the previous one I sent, with just Eliza and William since they were, to my knowledge, the two families
whose descendants went to Rhodesia. I have shown where the Huntleys are fit in, plus some other things. A lot of the
Mercy Murray book can be matched with and filled into this Fynn table. I didn't realise how closely intertwined all these families are.
So I have just left it at this, but you can see, if you get all three sets of records out (Fletcher book too) that it would be a lengthy
exercise to link them all up.

I thought you'd once made a query about "Bertie Fynn" - see last paragraph (taken from Mercy Murray book) but I haven't got as far as looking for
where he might be hiding in the tree.

Do you know if people named "Henry" were sometimes called "Harry"? I have come across this possibility a few times.

3 Janet Elizabeth McDonald b. 15 Sep 1847 d. 1908 (DAUGHTER OF DONALD & ELIZA)
+ Henry I. Huntley [*Shown as Henry Ferras Huntley in Mercy Murray (MM)]
4 Lilian Constance Huntley b. 10 Oct 1870 [MM records say d.1959] (LILIAN AND HARRY WERE ANNIE/IDA'S etc FIRST COUSINS)
4 Henry George McDonald Huntley b. 10 Mar 1890 [***This birth date is obviously wrong, presumably taken from a badly written 7.
Why is he down as ?Henry?? (Perhaps baptised ?Henry? after his father). [MM records say d.1959]. Harry?s wife and family as per Mercy
Murray are as follows:
+ Lilian Forman (born Earl)
5 Ann Huntley
+ James Naismith Hawthorne
6 Ann Trevor Benson
6 Ann Trevor Benson

The following is from the Mercy Murray book, with some additional notes I have made to clarify:

"Janet married Captain Henry Ferras Huntley of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. Not longer after their marriage, they went to live at Preston in
England. He died soon after, leaving her with (1)two young children so she decided to return to her homeland, where she went to live at (2)
Peuleni with (3)Henry, and her (4)mother and {5)sister . Many years later, after the death of Henry and her mother, she and Eliza settled in
Queenstown. Janet's son Harry was among the early pioneers who followed Cecil Rhodes to Rhodesia, where he was granted the farm Inyeti near
Bulawayo. Her daughter, Lilian, did not marry, and after her mother's death she made her home with Harry until his marriage some years later."


(1) Harry and Lilian
(2) "Peuleni" was Henry's farm in the Queenstown district near the Transkei border.
It was renowned for its hospitality, where many of the family visited for holidays.
(3) "Henry" (Henry Hugh born 1835) was Janet's unmarried older brother.
(4) Eliza McDonald
(5) Janet's unmarried sister Eliza

FROM THE MERCY MURRAY BOOK (On the Henry Hugh McDonald page)
In 188...('something') Henry McDonald took three of his nephews, Charles Smith, Harry Huntley and Berty Fynn on a trip to Europe, America and
Canada ... and were later joined by another nephew, Lex McDonald. Not long after this Cecil John Rhodes visited Henry at Peuleni and recruited a
number of the young men from thereabouts as pioneers to go with him to Rhodesia. Among them were some of the McDonalds, Fynns,
Rosses, Fletchers, Webbs and Huntleys. At Henry's death the farm was sold and the purchaser, Richard Weir, subsequently married one of
Henry's nieces, Elaine McDonald, and whose family still resides on a property that has been in the family since the first white occupation.
Related Files:

McDonald_Fynn_Ross etc Family Tree (severely pruned)

Filename:QT Gang.html
Last Modified: 18th March 2009