William Cotton Oswell
The Nimrod of South Africa
27 April 1818-1 May 1893
 William Cotton Oswell
William Cotton Oswell was born in Leytonstone, Essex in 1818. He attended Haileybury, which was the training college for the East India Company. In 1837 he secured a position with the East India Company in Madras through his uncle John Cotton, who was a director of the company. He spent ten years there, learning Tamil and other languages and studying surgery and medicine.
Oswell contracted malaria in 1844 and decided to sail for Capetown in hopes of finding a healthier climate. Trekking into the interior with his friend and hunting partner, Mungo Murray, he hunted with a horse and muzzle loader. They spent two years and went as far as the Limpopo River where they encountered a starving tribe of natives for which they shot meat. It was during this trip that they met the famous explorer, Dr. David Livingstone. Hunting was wild and crazy in those days and Oswell and his horse were tossed twice by rhinoceroses as well as having close escapes from lion and elephant. The species Rhinoceros oswellii was named for him, though this name is no longer used in modern taxonomy.
Having heard rumors of a great lake in the Kalahari desert, Livingstone, Oswell, and Murray went to explore and discovered Lake Ngami. This proved that the "impassable" Kalahari desert could be crossed by oxen and wagons. Dr. Livingstone freely acknowledged that without the help of Oswell's guide and supplying the camp with meat during the trek, he would have not been able to devote his attention to his scientific study and surveying of land and animals that was recorded in his books. One of Livingstone's children was named after him in gratitude, William Oswell Livingstone.
Oswell returned to England around 1855 to marry and raise three sons and two daughters. He settled in Turnbridge Wells and died there in 1893 at the age of 75.

To read more information on this famous explorer, World Wide Hunting Books has the very interesting biography of Oswell's life story. Livingstone declared Oswell was "the best friend he had in Africa."
The Story of His Life with Certain Correspondence and Extracts from the Private Journal of David Livingstone, hitherto unpublished.
by W. E. Oswell
 William Cotton Oswell Hunter and Explorer
1900 London, 1st edn, 2 vol, 267pp & 289pp, many illus, fold-out maps. A great set, very good plus in all respects, book plates of previous owner.
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