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A Letter from Africa

By Hugh Charles Maynard

August 10, 1910

 

 

Political Service

Ankpa, Bassa Province

Nigeria, Africa

Edited by,

Eugene E. Maynard

 

Hugh talks in his letter about how he enjoyed being under fire, maybe, just maybe people, were really like this 90 years ago!! A person could get killed this way!!!!!!

Back in the 1st World War, the soldiers would get their personal stores, each month, which included soap, toothpowder, toilet paper, shaving supplies, whisky, etc.. Things that made life livable, as often a person could not get these things locally.

Eugene E. Maynard

My Dear Temple, August 10, 1910

I have just had a rather exciting experience. I have often wished to be under fire, to see what it feels like! And I find it was just as exciting as I anticipated. (See editors notes.)

There is a paramount Chief of the Igara tribe, who has persistently refused to recognize us, who has hindered our work in every way, but chiefly by refusing to come in to the Native Court or to conform to its orders. Instead of coming into the Native court, he has been trying cases himself, and in many cases, by ordeal, which is prohibited by law - which enacts that any person dying under such ordeal, renders the giver of the poison or noxious thing - Is able to be tried for murder!

Well to cut a long yarn short in the bud, I know this old Chief, whose name is Oyigebbe, had been in hiding for some months, owing to three deaths, that he had caused in his town = and owing to two police raids (Of course, unsuccessful.) on his place. He had vowed never to look a white man in the face - so you can imagine his defiance of us was not a settling influence among the natives of humble rank.

On passing through Ofangwa district on my way to Bagana, I heard from the recognized District Head Man, that Oyigebbe had returned to his town, but he had two different villages in the dense bush and never slept in the same one twice in a row. However he had returned to the district area, and that was something. I told the District Head that I wanted Oyigebbe to think the matter was ended or that we had forgotten about it. This was not making judicial confidence because the District Head man had everything to gain in prestige. etc., by Oyigebbe's capture - and everything to lose in insults and intrigue by living so near and yet so far from him.

I passed through the district, without making any sign in the direction of Gbebe (The Chief's town.). but reported the Chief's return to Captain White at Ankpa

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