Frederick Russell Burnham
|Frederick Russell Burnham
May 11, 1861|
Tivoli, Minnesota (Sioux Indian territory; near Mankato, Minnesota)
|Died||September 1, 1947
Santa Barbara, California
|Buried at||Three Rivers, California (Coordinates: )|
|Allegiance||Scout for the British Army in Southern Africa; U.S. citizen.|
|Years of service||1893–1897, 1900–1901|
|Commands held||Chief of Scouts under Lord Roberts|
|Other work||messenger, Indian tracker, gold miner, wealthy oil man, American spy. Father of the international Scouting movement, Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America, and a close friend of Robert Baden-Powell.|
Frederick Russell Burnham, DSO (May 11, 1861 – September 1, 1947) was an American scout and world traveling adventurer known for his service to the British Army in colonial Africa and for teaching woodcraft to Robert Baden-Powell, thus becoming one of the inspirations for the founding of the international Scouting Movement.
Burnham had only a little formal education, attending high school but never graduating. He began his career at 14 in the American Southwest as a scout and he served as a civilian tracker for the U.S. Army in the Apache Wars. Sensing the Old West was getting too tame, as an adult Burnham went to Africa where his background proved useful. He soon became an officer in the British Army, serving in several battles there. During this time, Burnham became friends with Baden-Powell, and passed on to him both his outdoor skills and his spirit for what would later become known as Scouting.
Burnham eventually moved on to become involved in espionage, oil, conservation, writing and business. His descendants are still active in the Scout Movement.
Early life 
Burnham was born to a missionary family on an Indian Reservation in Tivoli, Minnesota. His father Edwin Otway Burnham was from Kentucky whilst his mother had immigrated to America from England. As a toddler, he witnessed the burning of New Ulm, Minnesota, by Taoyateduta (Little Crow) and his Sioux warriors in the Dakota War of 1862. During the uprising, his mother, Rebecca (Elizabeth) Russell Burnham, hid the not-quite-two-year-old boy in a basket of green corn husks and fled for her life. Once the Sioux had been driven away the mother returned to find the house burned down. Her young son was safe, fast asleep in the basket and protected only by the corn husks.
The young Burnham attended schools in Iowa and there he met Blanche Blick, who would later become his wife. His family moved to Los Angeles, in 1870. Two years later his father, the Rev. Edwin Otway Burnham of Kentucky, himself a long time pioneer and missionary along the border of the Ho Chunk (Winnebago) Indian reservation in Minnesota, died. Burnham was only 12. While his mother and his then 3 year old baby brother Howard Burnham returned to Iowa, the young Burnham stayed in California to make his own way.
For the next three years, Burnham worked as a mounted messenger for the Western Union Telegraph Company in California and Arizona. On one occasion his horse was stolen from him by Tiburcio Vasquez, a famous Californio bandit. At 14, he began his life as a scout and Indian tracker in the Apache Wars. He traveled in northern Mexico and the American Southwest, including Texas and Oklahoma, earning a living as a buffalo hunter, cowboy, and prospector, and he continued working as a scout. The young Burnham eventually went on to attend high school in California but never graduated.
In 1882, Burnham returned to Arizona and was appointed Deputy Sheriff of Pinal County, but he soon went back to cattle and mining interests. He joined the losing side of the Tonto Basin Feud before mass killing started, and only narrowly escaped death in Arizona. He returned to Prescott, Iowa, to visit his childhood sweetheart, Blanche, and the two were married on February 6, 1884. That same year, he and Blanche settled down to tend to an orange grove in Pasadena, California, but within a year he was back prospecting and scouting.
In the 1880s the American press had been popularizing the notion that the West had been won and there was nothing left to conquer in the United States. This idea changed Burnham's life. Ever the soldier of fortune, he began to look elsewhere for the next undeveloped frontier. When he heard of the work of Cecil Rhodes and his pioneers in building the Cape to Cairo railway in Africa, Burnham sold what little he owned and, in 1893, set sail to Cape Town, South Africa, with his wife and young son. He soon joined the British South Africa Company as a scout and headed north.
Military career 
First Matabele War 
Burnham's first major test in Africa came in 1893 when the British South Africa Company went to war with the Matabele King Lobengula. Leander Starr Jameson had hoped to defeat the Matabele quickly by capturing Lobengula at his royal city of Bulawayo. Burnham and a small group of scouts were sent ahead to report on the situation in Bulawayo. While on the outskirts of town they watched as the Matabele burned down and destroyed everything in sight. By the time the white troops had arrived in force, Lobengula and his warriors had fled and there was little left of old Bulawayo.
Shangani Patrol 
After he found that Bulawayo had been abandoned, Jameson dispatched a column of soldiers to locate and capture Lobengula. The column, led by Maj. Patrick Forbes, camped on the south bank of the Shangani River about 25 miles (40 km) north-east of the village of Lupane on the evening of December 3, 1893. The next day, late in the afternoon, a dozen men under the command of Maj. Allan Wilson were sent across the river to patrol the area. The Wilson Patrol came across a group of Matabele women and children who claimed to know Lobengula's whereabouts. Burnham, who served as the lead scout of the Wilson patrol, sensed a trap and advised Wilson to withdraw, but Wilson ordered his patrol to advance.
Soon afterwards, the patrol found the king and Wilson sent a message back to the laager requesting reinforcements. Forbes, however, was unwilling to set off across the river in the dark, so he sent only 20 more men, under the command of Henry Borrow, to reinforce Wilson's patrol. Forbes intended to send the main body of troops and artillery across the river the following morning; however, the main column was ambushed by Matabele warriors and delayed. Wilson's patrol too came under attack, but the Shangani River had swollen and there was now no possibility of retreat. In desperation, Wilson sent Burnham and two other scouts, Pearl "Pete" Ingram (a Montana cowboy) and William Gooding (an Australian), to cross the Shangani River, find Forbes, and bring reinforcements. In spite of a shower of bullets and spears, the three made it to Forbes, but the battle raging there was just as intense as the one they had left, and there was no hope of anyone reaching Wilson in time. As Burnham loaded his rifle to beat back the Matabele warriors, he quietly said to Forbes, "I think I may say that we are the sole survivors of that party." Wilson, Borrow, and their men were indeed surrounded by hundreds of Matabele warriors; escape was impossible, and all were killed.
Rhodesian colonial histories called this the Shangani Patrol, and hailed Wilson and Borrow as national heroes. For his service in the war, Burnham was presented the British South Africa Company Medal, a gold watch, and a share of a 300 acre (120 ha) tract of land in Matabeleland. It was here that Burnham uncovered many artifacts in the huge granite ruins of the ancient civilization of Great Zimbabwe.
Northern Rhodesia Exploration 
In 1895, Burnham went on to oversee and lead the massive Northern Territories (BSA) Exploration Co. expedition which first established for the British South Africa Company that major copper deposits existed in North-Eastern Rhodesia. Along the Kafue River in then North-Eastern Rhodesia, Burnham saw many similarities to copper deposits he had worked in the United States, and he encountered native peoples wearing copper bracelets. His expeditions in Rhodesia were so important that the Royal Geographical Society elected him a Fellow. Later, the British South Africa Company built the mining towns of the Copperbelt and a railroad to transport the copper through Mozambique.
Second Matabele War 
In March 1896, the Matabele again revolted against the authority of the British South Africa Company in what is now celebrated in Zimbabwe as the First War of Independence. Mlimo, the Matabele spiritual leader, is credited with fomenting much of the anger that led to this confrontation. Matabeleland defenses were in disarray due to the ill-fated Jameson Raid, and in the first few months of the war alone hundreds of white settlers were killed. With few troops to support them, the settlers quickly built a laager in the centre of Bulawayo on their own and mounted patrols under such figures as Burnham, Baden-Powell, and Selous. An estimated 50,000 Matabele retreated into their stronghold of the Matobo Hills near Bulawayo, a region that became the scene of the fiercest fighting against the white settler patrols.
Assassination of Mlimo 
The turning point in the war came when Burnham and a young scout named Bonar Armstrong found their way through Matobo Hills to the sacred cave where Mlimo had been hiding. Not far from the cave was a village of about 100 huts filled with many warriors. The two scouts tethered their horses to a thicket and crawled on their bellies, screening their slow, cautious movements by means of branches held before them. Once inside the cave, they waited until Mlimo entered. Mlimo was said to be about 60 years old, with very dark skin, sharp-featured; American news reports of the time described him as having a cruel, crafty look. Burnham and Armstrong waited until Mlimo entered the cave and started his dance of immunity, at which point Burnham shot Mlimo just below the heart.
The two scouts then leapt over the dead Mlimo and ran down a trail toward their horses. Hundreds of warriors, encamped nearby, picked up their arms and searched for the attackers. To distract the Matabele, Burnham set fire to the village. The two men got on their horses and rode back to Bulawayo. Shortly after learning of the assassination of Mlimo, Cecil Rhodes boldly walked unarmed into the Ndebele stronghold in Matobo Hills and persuaded the impi to lay down their arms, thus ending the Second Matabele War.
Klondike Gold Rush 
With the Matabele war over, Burnham decided it was time to leave Africa and move on to other adventures. The family returned to California where Burnham left his wife and young son Bruce with his mother. Soon after, he and his eldest son Roderick, then 12 years old, traveled to Alaska and the Yukon to prospect in the Klondike Gold Rush. Upon hearing of the Spanish-American War, Burnham rushed home to volunteer his services, but before he could get to the fighting the war was already over. Burnham then returned to the Klondike. Colonel Theodore Roosevelt regretted this as much as Burnham and paid him a great tribute in his book.
Second Boer War 
In January 1900, while prospecting in Skagway, Alaska, Burnham received the following telegram: Lord Roberts appoints you on his personal staff as Chief of Scouts. If you accept, come at once the quickest way possible. Although Cape Town is at the opposite end of the globe from the Klondike, he left within the hour. He would arrive at the front just before the Battle of Paardeberg. During the war, Burnham spent much time behind the Boer lines gathering information and blowing up railway bridges and tracks. He was twice captured and twice escaped, but he was also disabled for a time by his near-fatal wounds.
In a step that was unusual for a foreigner, Burnham was given a commission by Lord Roberts and the rank of captain. Burnham was first captured while trying to warn a British column approaching Thaba' Nchu. He came upon a group of Boers hiding on the banks of the river, toward which the British were even then advancing. Cut off from his own side, Burnham chose to signal the approaching soldiers even though it would expose him to capture. With a red kerchief, Burnham signaled the soldiers to turn back, but the column paid no attention and plodded steadily on into the ambush, while Burnham was at once taken prisoner. In the fight that followed, Burnham pretended to receive a wound in the knee. Limping heavily and groaning with pain, he was placed in a wagon with the officers who really were wounded, and who, in consequence, were not closely guarded. Later that evening, Burnham slipped over the driver's seat, dropped between the two wheels of the wagon, lowered himself and fell between the legs of the oxen on his back in the road. In an instant the wagon had passed over him safely, and while the dust still hung above the trail he rolled rapidly over into the ditch at the side of the road and lay motionless. It was four days before he was able to re-enter the British lines, during which time he had been lying in the open veldt. He had subsisted on one biscuit and two handfuls of "mealies" (i.e., maize).
On June 2, 1900, during the British March on Pretoria, Burnham was wounded, almost fatally. He had been scouting alone far to the east behind enemy lines looking for a critical choke point along the Pretoria-Delagoa Bay railway line. His objective was to cut-off the flow of Boer gold and supplies to and from the sea and to halt the transportation of British prisoners of war out of the Pretoria. He came upon an underpass of a railway bridge, an ideal location to disrupt the trains, but was immediately surrounded by a party of Boers. Burnham instantly fled and he had all but gotten away when his horse was shot and fell, knocking him senseless and pinning him under its dead body. When he awoke hours later, Burnham was alone and in a dazed state having sustained serious injuries. In spite of his acute agony, Burnham heroically proceeded to creep back to the railway, placed his charges, and blew up the line in two places. He then crept on his hands and knees to an empty animal enclosure to avoid capture and stayed there for two days and nights insensible. The next day, Burnham heard fighting in the distance so he crawled in that direction. By this time he was indifferent as to the source of the gunshots and by chance it was a British patrol that found him. Once in Pretoria the surgeons discovered that Burnham had torn apart his stomach muscles and burst a blood-vessel. His very survival was due only to the fact that he had been without food or water for three days.
Burnham's injuries were so serious that he was ordered to England by Lord Roberts. Two days before leaving for London, he was promoted to the rank of major. On his arrival in England, Burnham was commanded to dine with Queen Victoria and to spend the night at Osborne House. A few months later, after the Queen's death, King Edward VII personally presented Burnham with the Queen's South Africa Medal with four bars for the battles at Driefontein (Mar 10, 1900), Johannesburg (May 31, 1900), Paardeberg (February 17–26, 1900), and Cape Colony (October 11, 1899 – May 31, 1902), in addition to the cross of the Distinguished Service Order, the second highest decoration in the British Army, for his heroism during the "victorious" March to Pretoria (June 2–5, 1900). Nevertheless, Burnham received the highest awards of any American who served in the Second Boer War.
Burnham's most accomplished soldiers during the Second Boer War were Lovat Scouts, a Scottish Highland regiment, whom he described as "half wolf and half jackrabbit." These scouts were well practiced in the arts of marksmanship, field craft, and tactics. After the war, this regiment went on to become the British army's first sniper unit.
"Father of Scouting" 
Burnham was already a celebrated scout when he first befriended Baden-Powell during the Second Matabele War. Himself a brilliant outdoorsman, Baden-Powell was a distinguished cavalry officer, and reportedly the finest pig sticker in India. During the siege of Bulawayo, the two men rode many times into the Matobo Hills on patrol, and it was in these African hills that Burnham first introduced Baden-Powell to the ways and methods of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, and taught him woodcraft (better known today as scoutcraft). So impressed was Baden-Powell by Burnham's Scouting spirit that he fondly told people he "sucked him dry" of all he could possibly tell. It was here that Baden-Powell began to wear his signature Stetson campaign hat and neckerchief for the first time. Both men recognized that wars were changing markedly and the British Army needed to adapt; so during their joint scouting missions, Baden-Powell and Burnham discussed the concept of a broad training program in woodcraft for young men, rich in exploration, tracking, fieldcraft, and self-reliance. In Africa, no scout embodied these traits more than Burnham. While Baden-Powell went on to refine the concept of Scouting and become the founder of the international Scouting movement, Burnham has been called the movement's father.
Burnham later became close friends with others involved in the Scouting movement in the United States, such as Theodore Roosevelt, the Chief Scout Citizen, and Gifford Pinchot, the Chief Scout Forester. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) made Burnham an Honorary Scout in 1927, and for his noteworthy and extraordinary service to the Scouting movement, Burnham was bestowed the highest commendation given by the Boy Scouts of America, the Silver Buffalo Award, in 1936. Throughout his life he remained active in Scouting at both the regional and the national level in the United States and he corresponded regularly with Baden-Powell on Scouting topics.
The low-key Burnham and Baden-Powell remained close friends for their long lives. The seal on the Burnham — Baden-Powell letters at Yale and Stanford expired in 2000 and the true depth of their friendship and love of Scouting has again been revealed. In 1931, Burnham read the speech dedicating Mount Baden-Powell in California, to his old Scouting friend. Their friendship, and equal status in the world of Scouting and conservation, is honored with the dedication of the adjoining peak, Mount Burnham, in his honor.
Burnham's descendants followed in his footsteps and are active in Scouting and in the military. His son Roderick enlisted in the U.S. Army and fought in World War I France. His grandson, Frederick Russell Burnham II, was a leader in the BSA and a Vietnam War veteran. His great-grandson, Russell Adam Burnham is an Eagle Scout and was United States Army's Soldier of the Year in 2003.
Later in life 
Post war 
After recovering from his wounds, Burnham served as the London office manager for the Wa Syndicate. In 1901, while still employed by the Wa Syndicate, he left London to lead an expedition through Ghana and Upper Volta to look for minerals and ways to improve river navigation in the region. In 1902–1904, Burnham was employed by the East Africa Syndicate. He led a mineral prospecting expedition which traveled extensively in the area around Lake Rudolph (now Lake Turkana), and he discovered a lake of carbonate of soda in Tanzania.
Burnham returned to North America and for the next few years became associated with the Yaqui River irrigation project in Mexico. While investigating the Yaqui valley for mineral and agricultural resources, Burnham reasoned that a dam could provide year-round water to rich alluvial soil in the valley; turning the region into one of the garden spots of the world and generate much needed electricity. He purchased water rights and some 300 acres (1.2 km2) of land in this region and contacted an old friend from Africa, John Hays Hammond, who conducted his own studies and then purchased an additional 900,000 acres (3,600 km2) of this land—an area the size of Rhode Island. Burnham together with Charles Frederick Holder, in 1908, made important archeological discoveries of Mayan civilization in this region, including the Esperanza Stone. He became a close business associate of Hammond and led a team of 500 men in guarding mining properties owned by Hammond, J.P. Morgan, and the Guggenheims in the Mexican state of Sonora. Just as the irrigation and mining projects were nearing completion in 1912, a long series of Mexican revolutions began. The final blow to these efforts came in 1917 when Mexico passed laws prohibiting the sale of land to foreigners. Burnham and Hammond carried their properties until 1930 and then sold them to the Mexican government.
During World War I, Burnham was living in California and was active in counterespionage for Britain. Much of it involved a famous Boer spy, Capt. Fritz Joubert Duquesne, who became a German spy in both World Wars and claimed to have killed Field Marshal Kitchener while en route to meet with the Russians. During the Second Boer War, Burnham and Duquesne were each under orders to assassinate the other, but it was not until 1910 that the two men first met while both were in Washington, D.C., separately lobbying Congress to pass a bill in favor of the importation of African game animals into the United States (H.R. 23621). Duquesne was twice arrested by the FBI and in 1942 he, along with the 32 other Nazi agents who made up the Duquesne Spy Ring, was sent to prison for espionage in the largest spy ring conviction in U.S. history.
During this period, Burnham was one of the eighteen officers selected by former U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt to raise a volunteer infantry division for service in France in 1917 shortly after the United States entered the war. A plan to raise volunteer soldiers from the Western U.S. came out of a meeting of the New York based Rocky Mountain Club and Burnham was put in charge of both the general organization and recruitment from the Southwest. Congress gave Roosevelt the authority to raise up to four divisions similar to the Rough Riders of 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry Regiment and to the British Army 25th (Frontiersmen) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers; however, as Commander-in-chief, President Woodrow Wilson refused to make use of Roosevelt's volunteers and the unit disbanded.
Oil wealth 
Although Burnham had lived all over the world, he never had a great deal of wealth to show for his efforts. It was not until he returned to California, the place of his youth, that he struck it rich. In 1923, Burnham struck oil at Dominguez Hill, California. In the first 10 years of operation, the Burnham Exploration Company paid out $10.2 million in dividends.
An avid conservationist and hunter, Burnham supported the early conservation programs of his friends Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot. He and his associate John Hayes Hammond led novel game expeditions to Africa with the goal of finding large animals such as Giant Eland, hippopotamus, zebra, and various bird species that might be bred in the United States and become game for future American sportsmen. Burnham, Hammond, and Duquesne appeared several times before the Committee on Agriculture to ask for help in importing large African animals. In 1914, he helped establish the Wild Life Protective League of American, Department of Southern California, and served as its first Secretary.
In his later years, Burnham filled various public offices and also served as a member of the Boone and Crockett Club of New York, and as a founding member of the American Committee for International Wildlife Protection (now a committee of the World Conservation Union). He was a founding member of the Save-the-Redwoods League, he helped lobby for and create the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge for Desert Bighorn Sheep in Arizona, and he campaigned for state parks in California. He was one of the original members of the first California State Parks Commission, serving from 1927 to 1934, and late in his life he was president of the Southwest Museum of Los Angeles from 1938 until 1940.
Personal life 
At 5 ft 4 in (1.62 m), Burnham was slight, but he was also muscular and bronzed, with a finely formed square jaw. He had a boyish appearance which he used to his advantage on numerous occasions. His most noticeable feature was his steady, grey-blue eyes. Contemporary reports had it that Burnham's gaze appeared to never leave those of the person he was looking at, and yet somehow could simultaneously monitor all the details of the physical surroundings. It was also said that Burnham's eyes possessed a far-away look such as those acquired by people whose occupation has caused them to watch continually at sea or on great plains.
Burnham would not smoke and seldom drank alcohol, fearing these habits would injure the acuteness of his sense of smell. He found ways to train himself in mental patience, took power naps instead of indulging in periods of long sleep, and drank very little liquid. He trained himself to accept these abstinences in order to endure the most appalling fatigues, hunger, thirst, and wounds, so that when scouting or traveling where there was no water, he might still be able to exist. On more than one occasion he survived in environments where others would have died, or were in fact dying, of exhaustion. To him scouting was as exact a study as is the piano, and it was said that he could read the face of nature as easily as most could read their morning newspaper. He was quiet-mannered and courteous, according to contemporaries. Their reports describe a man who was neither shy nor self-conscious, who was extremely modest, and who seldom spoke of his many adventures.
Burnham's wife of 55 years, Blanche Blick Burnham (February 25, 1862 – December 22, 1939) of Nevada, Iowa, accompanied him in very primitive conditions through many travels in both the Southwest United States and Southern Africa. They had three children together, but only one survived into adulthood. In the early years, she watched over the children and the pack animals, always careful to keep a rifle within arms length. In the dark of night, she used her rifle many times against lions and hyena and, during the Siege of Bulawayo, against Ndebele warriors. Several members of the Blick family joined the Burnhams in Rhodesia, moved with them to England, and returned to the United States with the Burnhams to live near Three Rivers, California. When Burnham Exploration Company struck it rich in 1923, the Burnhams moved to a mansion in a new housing development then known as Hollywoodland (a name later shortened to "Hollywood") and took many trips around the world in high style. In 1939, Blanche suffered a stroke. She died a month later and was buried in the Three Rivers Cemetery.
Burnham's first son, Roderick (August 22, 1886 – July 2, 1976), was born in Pasadena, California, but accompanied the family to Africa and learned the Northern Ndebele language. He went to Skagway, Alaska with his father, and then to a military school in France in 1900. In 1904, he attended the University of California, Berkeley, joined the football team, but left Berkeley after a dispute with his coach. In 1905–08, he went to the University of Arizona, joined the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, played the position of running back, and became the captain of the football team. He attended the Michigan School of Mines (now Michigan Technological University) in 1910, became a geologist, and worked for Union Oil as Manager of Lands and Foreign Exploration helping to develop the first wells in Mexico and Venezuela. He took time off from his job to serve in the U.S. Army in World War I and fought in France. He and his father became minority owners of the Burnham Exploration Company, incorporated in 1919 by Harris Hays Hammond (the son of John Hays Hammond, Sr). In 1930, he and Paramount Pictures founder W. W. Hodkinson started the Central American Aviation Corporation, the first airline in Guatemala.
Nada (May 1894 – May 19, 1896), Burnham's daughter who was the first white child born in Bulawayo, died of fever and starvation during the Siege of Bulawayo. She was buried three days later in the Pioneer Cemetery, plot No. 144, in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Nada is the Zulu word for lily and she was named after the heroine in Sir H. Rider Haggard's Zulu tale, Nada the Lily (1892). Three of Haggard's books are dedicated to Burnham's daughter, Nada: The Wizard (1896), Elissa: The Doom of Zimbabwe (1899), and Black Heart and White Heart: A Zulu Idyll (1900).
His brother Howard (1870–1918), born shortly before the family moved to Los Angeles, lost one leg at the age of 14 and suffered from tuberculosis. As a teen he lived with Fred in California and learned from his brother the art of Scoutcraft, how to shoot, and how to ride the range, all in spite of his wooden leg. Howard went to Africa and became a mining engineer in the gold mines of Johannesburg, South Africa and later wrote a text book on Modern Mine Valuation. He traveled the world and for a time teamed up with Fred on Yaqui River irrigation project in Mexico. During World War I, Howard worked as a spy for the French government, operating behind enemy lines in southwest Germany. Throughout the war he used his wooden leg to conceal tools he needed for spying. From his death bed, Howard returned to France via Switzerland and shared his vital data and secrets with the French government: the Germans were not opening a new front in the Alps and there was no need to move allied troops away from the Western Front. Howard was buried at Cannes, France, leaving behind his wife and four children. He had been named after his second cousin, LT Howard Mather Burnham who was killed in action in the American Civil War.
His first cousin Charles Edward Russell (1860–1941) was a journalist and politician and also a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The author of a number of books of biography and social commentary Russell won a Pulitzer Prize in 1928 for his biography: The American Orchestra and Theodore Thomas.
Burnham was a descendant of Thomas Burnham (1617–1688) of Hartford, Connecticut, the first American ancestor of a large number of Burnhams. The descendants of Thomas Burnham have been noted in every American war, including the French and Indian war.
Burnham died when he was 86 on September 1, 1947 of heart failure at his home in Santa Barbara, California. At a private ceremony he was buried at Three Rivers, California, near his old cattle ranch, La Cuesta. His memorial stone was designed by his only surviving child, Roderick. Also buried at Three Rivers cemetery are his first wife, Blanche Blick Burnham, several members of the Blick family who had also pioneered in 19th century Rhodesia with Burnham for a time, his son Roderick, his granddaughter Martha Burnham Burleigh, and the Montana cowboy "Pete" Ingram who survived the Shangani Patrol massacre along with Burnham.
In 1899, Frank E. Fillis brought his circus and stage show Savage South Africa along with Zulu performers to the Empress Theatre at Earls Courte, London, England, as part of the Greater Britain Exhibition. Twice-daily the actors dramatically played out famous battles from both Matabele wars. One of the shows, Wilson's Heroic Stand at the Shangani River re-enacted the battle of the Shanagani Patrol. Frank Fillis himself played the part of Major Alan Wilson, Peter Lobengula played the Matabele King Lobengula, and Burnham was played by the American 'Texas Jack' Jr., the adopted son of Texas Jack Omohundro and a man best remembered for running a Wild West show in South Africa where he gave Will Rogers his start as an entertainer. In September of that year, the re-enactment was filmed and sold to movie houses around the world as Major Wilson's Last Stand.
Ernest Hemingway acquired the rights to produce a film version of Scouting on Two Continents in late 1958. CBS immediately contracted Hemingway to produce the film for television, with Gary Cooper expressing an interest in playing the part of Burnham. Hemingway was already behind schedule in his other commitments and never started on the film when he committed suicide in July 1961.
On My Honor, an epic film conceived and begun by Cecil B. DeMille, was to document the founding of the Scouting movement but was left unfinished because of the legendary producer's untimely death in January 1959. In the screenplay started by Jesse Lasky, Jr., the film would have focused on Baden-Powell and the Scouting pioneers who were a major influence on Baden-Powell, including Burnham. Even after DeMille's death, associate producer Henry Wilcoxon continued to invest substantial work on the film until 1962, and Sydney Box was hired to assist with the script. Starting in 2001, producers Jerry Molen and Robert Starling began work to finish DeMille's project, including an updated screenplay by Starling based on the earlier work of Lasky and Box.
Burnham was portrayed by Will Hutchins in Shangani Patrol (1970), a feature film by David Millin. Filmed on location in Bulawayo, Rhodesia by RPM Film Studios, 35 mm copies of the film are now preserved by the National Film, Video and Sound Archives, Pretoria, South Africa.
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- Burnham, Frederick Russell (1899). "Northern Rhodesia". In Wills, Walter H. Bulawayo Up-to-date; Being a General Sketch of Rhodesia. Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. pp. 177–180.
- Baxter, T.W.; E.E. Burke (1970). Guide to the Historical Manuscripts in the National Archives of Rhodesia. p. 67.
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- "Killed the Matabele God: Burnham, the American Scout, May End Uprising" (PDF). The New York Times. June 25, 1896. ISSN 0093-1179. Retrieved September 28, 2007.
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- "England's American Scout" (PDF). The New York Times. May 5, 1901. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 28, 2007.
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- "FinestHour" (PDF). Journal of the Churchill Center and Societies, Summer 2005. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved August 2, 2007.
- "Southern California by Towns and Counties: Fred Burnham now a Major in British Army; Recovering from His Injuries". Los Angeles Times. August 4, 1900. ISSN 0458-3035.
- "Burnham's Services Brought to the Attention of Parliament: He Maintains His Well-known Modesty. His Injuries Received in Africa. Now Living in a London Suburb". The Los Angeles Times. March 2, 1902. ISSN 0458-3035.
- Shippey, Lee (February 2, 1930). "Lee Side o' L.A.: Personal Glimpses of Famous Southlanders". The Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035.
- "More South African Honors: Lady Sarah Wilson and Major Burnham, the American Scout, among those decorated" (PDF). New York Times. September 28, 1901. ISSN 0362-4331.
- Plaster, John (2006). The Ultimate Sniper: An Advanced Training Manual for Military and Police Snipers. Paladin Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-87364-704-5.
- West, James E (1937). 10108 H.doc.18. U.S. Congress, House Committee on Education. p. 472.
- Baden-Powell, Robert (1908). Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship. London: H. Cox. xxiv. ISBN 978-0-486-45719-2.
- "Great Canadian Heritage Discoveries". Biographical sketch. The Canadian Anglo-Boer War Museum. 200. Archived from the original on March 12, 2007. Retrieved March 31, 2007.
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- Prichard, Hesketh Vernon Hesketh (2004). Sniping in France, 1914–18: With Notes on the Scientific Training of Scouts, Observers, and Snipers. Solihull, West Midlands, England: Helion. ISBN 978-1-874622-47-5.
- Forster, Reverend Dr. Michael. "The Origins of the Scouting Movement" (DOC). Netpages. Retrieved October 2, 2007.
- DeGroot, E.B (July 1944). "Veteran Scout". Boys' Life (Boy Scouts of America): 6–7. Retrieved July 16, 2010.
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- "Fact Sheet: The Silver Buffalo Award". Fact sheet. Boy Scouts of America Troop 14. 1936. Archived from the original on April 29, 2006. Retrieved November 28, 2006.
- van Wyk, Peter (2000). Burnham: King of Scouts. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4122-0028-8. Retrieved March 30, 2007.
- "GNIS: Mount Baden-Powell". USGS. Retrieved April 17, 2006.
- Burnham, Frederick Russell (1944). Taking Chances. Haynes. pp. xxv–xxix. ISBN 978-1-879356-32-0.
- "Dedication of Mount Baden-Powell". The Pine Tree Web. Retrieved April 23, 2006.
- Everett, Mary Nixon (July–August 1952). "Dedication of Mount Burnham". The Masterkey (Southwest Museum) 26 (4): 117–119.
- "GNIS: Mount Burnham". USGS. Retrieved April 17, 2006.
- "Best Warrior Competitor Continues Family Tradition of Military Excellence". United States Army. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
- Preston, Kenneth O (2003). "Sgt Major, US Army". U.S. Army. Archived from the original on April 19, 2006. Retrieved April 22, 2006.
- "A New Eldorado: Discoveries in West Africa by Major Burnham, England's American Scout" (PDF). The New York Times (London Mail). August 12, 1901. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 28, 2007.
- Tough, Alistair (1985). "Papers of Frederick R. Burnham (1861–1947)". History in Africa (African Studies Association, Hoover Institution Archives) 12: 385–387. doi:10.2307/3171734. ISSN 0361-5413. JSTOR 3171734.
- Holder, Charles (1910). "The Esperanza Stone". Scientific American: 196.
- Fort, Charles; Liveright, Horace (1919). The Book of the Damned. Horace Liveright. chap. XI. ISBN 978-1-870870-53-5.
- "Guarding Morgan Mines: Burnham's Force also at Guggenheim Properties is report" (PDF). The New York Times. April 23, 1912. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 28, 2007.
- Hammond, John Hays (1935). The Autobiography of John Hays Hammond. Farrar & Rinehart. p. 565. ISBN 978-0-405-05913-1.
- Burnham, Frederick Russell (1944). Taking Chances. Haynes. pp. 11–23. ISBN 978-1-879356-32-0.
- Lott, J. "Jack" P (March 1977). "Major F. R. Burnham, D.S.O". Rhodesiana Magazine 36. ISSN 0556-9605.
- Wood, Clement (1932). The Man Who Killed Kitchener: the Life of Fritz Joubert Duquesne. New York: W. Faro. OCLC 1071583.
- "FBI History: Famous Cases". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved May 5, 2007.
- "Burnham, FR". Anglo Boer War. Retrieved August 13, 2007.
- "Enroll Westerners for Service in War; Movement to Register Men of That Region Begun at the Rocky Mountain Club. Headed by Major Burnham. John Hays Hammond and Others of Prominence Reported to be Supporting Plan" (PDF). New York Times. March 13, 1917.
- Roosevelt, Theodore (1917). The Foes of Our Own Household. New York: George H. Doran. p. 347. LCCN 17025965.
- "Roosevelt's Army Has Not Lost Hope; Colonel's Aids from All over the Country Meet and Leave the Future in His Hands" (PDF). The New York Times. May 20, 1917. ISSN 0362-4331.
- Hammond, John Hays (1935). The Autobiography of John Hays Hammond. Farrar & Rinehart. p. 754. ISBN 0-405-05913-2.
- "May Import African Animals to Solve Meat Problem" (PDF). The New York Times. April 17, 1910. Retrieved September 28, 2007.
- "Animals from Africa: Maj Burnham Will Import Wild Beasts for Western Plains". The Washington Post (reprint from New York Herald). March 3, 1911. ISSN 0148-2076.
- Bryant, H. C (April 1915). "Organizations Defending Wild Life". California Fish and Game: 123. ISSN 0008-1078.
- "The Fauna of the British Empire". Science 71 (1838): 308. March 21, 1930. doi:10.1126/science.71.1838.308.
- "Maj. Burnham and Family Depart for Africa: Angelenos to Tour World". The Los Angeles Times. May 14, 1929. ISSN 0458-3035.
- "Scientific Notes and News". Science 71 (1847): 536. May 23, 1930. doi:10.1126/science.71.1847.533. ISSN 0036-8075.
- Arizona Department of Transportation (1941). "Arizona National Wildlife Refuges". 17. ISSN 0004-1521.
- Coates, Peter A (2007). American Perceptions of Immigrant and Invasive Species: Strangers on the Land. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-24930-1.
- Colby, William E.; Olmsted, Frederick Law (April 1933). "Borrego Desert Park". Sierra Club Bulletin. XVIII: 144. Retrieved July 29, 2007.
- Thrapp, Dan L. (1991). Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography. University of Nebraska Press. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-8032-9418-9.
- Haggard, H. Rider (1926). The Days of My Life Volume II. Retrieved 2012-06-08.
- Bradford, Mary E.; Bradford, Richard H. (1993). An American Family on the African Frontier: The Burnham Family Letters, 1893–1896. Niwot, Colorado: Roberts Rinehart Publishers. ISBN 978-1-879373-66-2.
- van Wyke, Peter (2003). Burnham: Chief of Scouts. Victoria, Canada: Trafford Publishing. ISBN 978-1-879373-66-2.
- "A Young South African". The Los Angeles Times. June 6, 1896. ISSN 0458-3035.
- "Californians Develop Venezuela Oil Fields". The Los Angeles Times. June 19, 1927. ISSN 0458-3035.
- "Plane Line Saves Weeks: American Air Service in Guatemala Carries Odd Passenger List over Hard Country". The New York Times. January 17, 1932. ISSN 0362-4331.
- Cubé, Caroline. "Finding Aid for the W.W. Hodkinson Papers, 1881–1971". University of California Los Angeles, Special Collections, Young Research Library. Retrieved October 15, 2007.
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- "Rider Haggard's Tribute". The Atlanta Constitution. November 21, 1896. ISSN 0093-1179.
- Montgomery, Ruth (1967). A Search for the Truth. New York: Fawcett Crest. ISBN 978-0-449-21085-7.
- Burnham, Frederick Russell (1944). Taking Chances. Haynes. ISBN 978-1-879356-32-0.
- Burnham, M. Howard (1912). Modern Mine Valuation. London, C. Griffin and Company, limited. ISBN 978-1-151-74631-3.
- Weideman, Christine. "Guide to the Frederick Russell Burnham Papers". Yale University Library. Archived from the original on September 6, 2006. Retrieved September 11, 2007.
- Elliott, John (2004). "King of Scouts Honored at Gravesite". The Kaweah Commonwealth Online. Retrieved August 27, 2004.
- "Classified Advertising". The Times (London, England). Saturday, Apr 29, 1899. p. 1.
- Barrett, Cathy J.; Heather Valiance (October 1999). "The wild west show: socio-historic spectacle and characters as circus". Australasian Drama Studies: 125.
- MacKenzie, John M (1986). Imperialism and popular culture. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. p. 97.
- Major Wilson's Last Stand at the Internet Movie Database
- Osborn, Henry Fairfield (June 29 1933). "Serbelodon Burnhami, a new Shovel-Tusker from California" (PDF). American Museum Novitates (639): 1–5. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
- Hemingway, Ernest; Hotchner, A. E (2005). Dear Papa, Dear Hotch: The Correspondence of Ernest Hemingway And A. E. Hotchner. Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press. ISBN 978-0-8262-1605-2.
- Birchard, Robert S (2004). Cecil B. DeMille's Hollywood. University Press of Kentucky. p. 372. ISBN 978-0-8018-6275-5.
- "On My Honor". LDSfilm. August 18, 2004. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
- Shangani Patrol at the Internet Movie Database
- Davis, Clark (2001). Company Men: White-Collar Life and Corporate Cultures in Los Angeles, 1892–1941. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 111, 219. ISBN 978-0-8018-6275-5.
- Ehrenclou, V. L (May–June 1925). "Major Burnham — The Scout". Union Oil Bulletin: 1–11, 19. OCLC 12064434.
- This article incorporates public domain material from a 1906 biography of Major Burnham: Davis, Richard Harding (1906). Real Soldiers of Fortune. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. ISBN 0-87364-239-2.
- Burnham, Frederick Russell (1926). Scouting on Two Continents. Doubleday, Page. ISBN 978-1-879356-31-3.
- Burnham, Frederick Russell (1944). Taking Chances. Haynes. ISBN 978-1-879356-32-0.
- Bradford, Mary E.; Richard H Bradford (1993). An American family on the African frontier: the Burnham family letters, 1893–1896. Niwot, Colorado: Roberts Rinehart. ISBN 978-1-879373-66-2.
- Burnham, Frederick R. (1927). "The remarks of Major Frederick R. Burnham". Historical Society of Southern California 13 (4): 334–352.
- Frederick Russell Burnham Papers. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University. A large collection of Burnham's documents: Correspondence, 1864–1947. Subject Files, 1890–1947. Writings, 1893–1946. Personal and Family Papers, 1879–1951. Photographs, ca. 1893–1924.
- Frederick Russell Burnham Papers, 1879–1979, Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Stanford University. Another large collection of Burnham's documents: Correspondence, speeches and writings, clippings, other printed matter, photographs, and memorabilia, relating to the Matabele Wars of 1893 and 1896 in Rhodesia, the Second Boer War, exploration expeditions in Africa, and gold mining in Alaska during the Klondike gold rush.
- Burnham Footage of Southern and Eastern Africa, 35 min. silent b&w video. Footage shot in South Africa, Rhodesia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and eastern Africa during a family trip. Smithsonian Institution archives. call# 85.4.1; AF-85.4.1 (1929)
- Brown, Curtis (November 1901). "Burnham, the Scout". Pearson's Magazine (London, England): 546–553. OCLC 1645313.
- Davis, Richard Harding (1906). Real Soldiers of Fortune. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. ISBN 978-0-87364-239-2.
- Real Soldiers of Fortune at Project Gutenberg
- West, James E.; Lamb, Peter O. (1932). He-who-sees-in-the-dark; the Boys' Story of Frederick Burnham, the American Scout. illustrated by Lord Baden-Powell. Brewer, Warren and Putnam. OCLC 1710834.
- van Wyk, Peter (2003). Burnham: King of Scouts. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4122-0028-8. Retrieved March 30, 2007.
- Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John (1900). Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: Gale Research. p. 249. ISBN 978-1-85506-957-2.
- James E. Homans, ed. (1918). " Burnham, Fredereick Russell ". The Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: The Press Association Compilers, Inc. pp. 249–251. OCLC 81277904.
- Hammond, John Hays (January–June 1921). "South African Memories: Rhodes — Barnato — Burnham". Scribner's Magazine LXIX: 257–277.
- Britt, Albert (1923). "Burnham, the Last of the Scouts". The Boys' Own Book of Adventurers. New York: The Macmillan company. OCLC 4585632.
- Ehrenclou, V. L (May–June 1925). "Major Burnham — The Scout". Union Oil Bulletin: 1–11, 19. OCLC 12064434.
- Haggard, H. Rider (1926). The Days of My Life Volume II. London, New York: Longmans, Green and Co. Chapter XVII is on Major Burnham; Letters in chapter XIII dedicated to Burnham's daughter, Nada. OCLC 476006. Retrieved 2012-06-08.
- Banning, William; George Hugh Banning (1930). Six Horses. New York: Century. Foreword by Frederick Russell Burnham. OCLC 1744707.
- Shippey, Lee; A. L. Ewing (1930). Folks Ushud Know; Interspersed with Songs of Courage. Sierra Madre, Calif: Sierra Madre Press. p. 23; Chapter on Major Burnham. OCLC 2846678.
- Grant, Madison; Davison, Charles Stewart (1930). The Alien in Our Midst; Or, "Selling Our Birthright for a Mess of Pottage"; the Written Views of a Number of Americans (Present and Former) on Immigration and Its Results. New York: Galton Publishing. pp. 44–48. OCLC 3040493.
- Burnham, Frederick (1931). "Scouting Against the Apache". In West, James E. The Boy Scout's Book of True Adventure: their own story of famous exploits and adventures told by honorary scouts. New York: Putman. OCLC 8484128.
- Grinnell, George Bird; Rppsevelt, Kermit; Cross, W. Redmond et al., eds. (1933). "Taps for the Great Selous". Hunting Trails on Three Continents; a Book of the Boone and Crockett Club. New York: The Derrydale Press. OCLC 1624738.
- "In My Fathers House Are Many Mansions". Sunset Club Yearbook. May–June 1951. EPH.061.9494.11.
- American Council of Learned Societies (1928-58). Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Scribner. ISBN 0-684-80631-2. OCLC 4171403.
- Money, R. R. (January 1962). "Greatest Scout". Blackwood's Magazine v291: 42–52. ISSN 0006-436X.
- Lott, J. P. "Jack" (September 1976). "Major Burnham of the Shangani Patrol". Rhodesiana Magazine. ISSN 0006-436X.
- Bradford, Richard H. (1984). "Frederick Russell Burnham, the British Empire's American Scout". American Historical Society Annual Meeting. Washington, D.C.
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