Burnham, Frederick Russell

Burnham, Frederick Russell

(1861–1947) explorer, scout; born in Tivoli, Minn. He moved west with his family and became a horseback messenger with Western Union Telegraph Company at age 13. After two decades of ranging in the Southwest and Mexico, he went to Africa (with his wife and three children); he worked closely with British imperialist Cecil Rhodes who granted him 100 square miles of land in present-day Zimbabwe. He was chief of scouts in the field for the British army during the Boer War and won the admiration of Sir Robert Baden Powell (founder of the Boy Scouts). In 1904 he returned to the U.S.A. and led archaeological and mineral-prospecting expeditions in Mexico before he retired to a cattle ranch near Sequoia National Park (Calif.).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.