Featured biographies in 2009
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 (i.e., scoutcraft) to Robert Baden-Powell during the Second Matabele War, and becoming one of the inspirations to the founding of the Scouting Movement. Burnham had little formal education; attending but never graduating from high school. He began his career at the age of 14 in the American Southwest as a scout and tracker. In 1893, Burnham then went to Africa where this background proved useful. He soon became a scout for Cecil Rhodes and the British South Africa Company, serving in several battles in Matabeleland, including lead scout for Major Allan Wilson and the men of the Shangani Patrol (Burnham was one of only three survivors), and as lead scout for the Bulawayo Field Force and as the assassin of the Mlimo during the Second Matabele War. Burnham later became a Major and Chief of Scouts under Lord Roberts in the Second Boer War, during which he was twice captured and twice escaped from the Boer. Burnham later returned to the United States where he became active in the early conservation movement, serving as a founding member of the California State Parks Commission and founding two national wildlife refuges for Desert Bighorn Sheep in Arizona.