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Edward C Tabler Books

Edward C Tabler (1916 - 1977) was a well-known American historian and author who primarily researched and published writings on the early history of South Africa and Rhodesia. He was also interested in collecting Africana, antiquarian and big game hunting books. He corresponded with descendants of early explorers and settlers in order to trace family correspondence, diaries and accounts of southern Africa, a number of which he subsequently edited for publication.

Zambezia And Matabeleland In The Seventies

Zambezia And Matabeleland In The Seventies: The Narrative Of Frederick Hugh Barber (1875 & 1877-8) And The Journal Of Richard Frewen (1877-8) by Frederick Hugh Barber, Richard Frewen, edited by Edward C Tabler (1960) describes Frederick Barber's 1875 trip towards the Zambesi River when he hunted elephant, buffalo, rhino, giraffe and numerous antelope. In 1877 he travelled into Matabeleland after more elephant and met King Lobengula. Richard Frewen is described as the man who annoyed Lobengula and so caused the consequent deaths of the Colonial government emissaries on their way to the Victoria Falls.


Frederick "Freddy" Hugh Barber (1847 - 1919) was a big game hunter, trader and artist. He spent years in an ox-wagon, hunting, travelling and prospecting in nearly every country south of the Zambezi. He became a great friend of Chief Khama III of the Bamangwato people of Botswana and spent three months on a friendly visit to Lobengula, King of the Ndebele in 1877-1878. Read more about Frederick Hugh Barber

Richard Frewen (1852 - 1896) was an aristocratic English traveller and adventurer who stirred up much trouble in Matabeleland and was responsible for worsening British-Matabele relations. Read more about Richard Frewen

To The Victoria Falls Via Matebeleland

To The Victoria Falls Via Matebeleland: The Diary Of Major Henry Stabb 1875 edited by E C Tabler (1967) is a detailed account of Major Henry Stabb's arduous hunting and exploratory expedition taken from his diaries. It includes much hunting and tales of the various traders and other characters, such as Lobengula, the the second king of Matabeleland, that he met along the way.


Major Henry Sparke Stabb (1835-1888) served as a commissioned ensign in the 32nd Foot (Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry) and rising through the ranks, saw action during the Indian Mutiny and the Zulu Wars in South Africa. He was promoted to Major during his journey Matabeleland and the Zambesi Valley. After his return from Africa, Stabb was further promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel commanding the 2nd Division, 32nd (Duke of Cornwall’s) Light Infantry in June 1881 and then to Colonel in June 1885.

Major Henry Sparke Stabb
Major Henry Sparke Stabb

He kept a meticulous diary covering his time in Zululand including a detailed account of the battle of Ulundi. His diary also included the events of a hunting and exploring trip he took to Matabeleland and the Victoria Falls. He was the first European to take the far interior route from Gubulawayo to the Falls via the Umguza, Insuza, Bembesi river valleys to the Gwayi river.

He travelled with a fellow officer, Captain James Jocelyn Glascott in March 1875 in an ox-wagon drawn by twelve oxen, a wagon driver and voorloper (the person who walks with the lead oxen to guide them) and two soldier-servants of the 32nd (Duke of Cornwall’s) Light Infantry. Read an interesting article about Stabb and his journey.

Sport And Service In South Africa: The Diary Of Lieutenant Robert Arkwright 1843-1846

Sport And Service In South Africa: The Diary Of Lieutenant Robert Arkwright 1843-1846 edited by Edward Tabler (1971) contains descriptions of a time when "elephants and game were thick on the ground". The book describes Arkwright's fox hunting with hounds sent from England and private hunting expeditions into the interior of South Africa during his leave from the army. He did a second more extensive elephant hunting expedition beyond the Vaal River during which he met David Livingstone.


Robert Wigram Arkwright (1822 - 1888) served as an officer in the 7th Dragoon Guards doing four years of campaigning in South Africa from 1843 to 1847. His diary includes almost no personal information, but he described fellow-hunter Cumming as "an old Eton acquaintance of mine".



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