Thomas Meikle (1862 - 1939) MP

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Strathaven, South Lanarkshire, Scotland
Death: Died in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)
Managed by: Leith Barnes
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About Thomas Meikle

Thomas Meikle

Aso known as Tom, was one of the three Meikle Brothers who founded the firm of Meikle Brothers in Southern Rhodesia. He was considered to be a man of vision and energy.

He was born in 1862, the eldest son of John Meikle of Strathavon (Scotland) and Sarah of Avondale. The suburbs of Strathavon and Avondale in Salisbury (Harare) were named after their respective birth places.

John Meikle was a master builder by trade, and studied mathematics at the Edinburgh University, He went to South Africa Natal in December 1868, aged 6. Other children on the voyage were Jeannie, Stewart and John or Jack as he later became known.

1898 he moved to Bulawayo with his mother Sarah and his sisters after the death of his father John. Thomas Meikle married Winifred Hubbard on 27 April 1908 (from his ZIM DN 53/234) and had four daughters,

  • Marjorie Moxon,
  • Peggy Thompson,
  • Joan Hampshire and
  • Jane Redrup.

He died on 8 Feb 1939 and was buried at Mabukuwene Gardens. Mabukuwene is a tranquil place of indigenous trees and granite boulders in the suburb of Burnside, Bulawayo, it is run by the National Trust of Zimbabwe.

He did a lot for the development of Rhodesia ( Zimbabwe). His legacy is renowned to be the Thomas Meikle Trust and Investment Company, is prominent in stores, hotels, ranching and tea production.


Reference - http://www.bulawayo1872.com/history/meikle_thomas.htm

"Early in 1883, Harry Culverwell came upon them where they were panning and, after pegging his own claims, spread the word. The news spread through the valley like wildfire and soon a little tent-town was established, named Jamestown, after the discoverers. Among the more successful of the new arrivals were George Taylor, Shepherd, Campbell and Tom Meikle.

The Meikle family immigrated from England in 1868 when John Meikle and his wife Sarah, with their children Tom, Jeanne, Stewart, and baby John, later to be known as Jack, sailed with the Umgeni and landed in South Africa in March 1868. The Meikles farmed on their farm Avondale, near Mooi River in Natal, and in 1883 the 21 year old Tom, set out with a scotch cart, six oxen and a partner, a Russian car­penter, for the newly discovered alluvial goldfields at Jamestown. They pegged their claim and soon unearthed the biggest nugget, of 58 ounces, found there to date.

The Russian spent his spare time hunting, and during a bush fire burnt his hands and face badly and was confined to bed. One Sunday Tom visited friends who lived some miles away. When he returned he found the box, in which he kept the nugget, forced open and both nugget and partner missing. The Russian sauntered back to camp eventually, but from what one gathered of Tom Meikle's temper one can imagine the scene that ensued. The partnership broke up on the turn and the Russian returned to Natal. But the thief found it impossible to dispose of the nugget and decided to return it. A letter arrived at Avondale; addressed to 'Master J Meikle, and when Jack opened it, it contained a rough map of the homestead and its surrounds, with a large tree, which stood at the back of the yard, marked in. 'The attached letter had been composed with words and letters cut from newspapers and pasted together on a sheet of paper to form the message: 'Tree gold dig find.' The excited family rushed out there and then, and by lantern light began digging. They did indeed find the nugget. The sale of it realised £200, and it is typical of Tom that, despite all the circumstances, when he met the Russian some time later he duly paid the man his half share. It was in mid 1892 that the three young Meikle brothers, Tom, Stewart and Jack made the arduous 700 mile (1120km) trek from Natal to open their stores in the new land and later, to build their hotels, sink their mines and establish their ranches. The name 'Meikles' it was said, was one of the first words a newcomer to early Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) heard. In fact, it was a well-known name north of the Limpopo River even before the country had been formally christened, and for many years it was a stock joke that Rhodesia consisted of Meikles and the white ants (Whyte, 1975)".

Extract from http://www.umjindi.org/pages/history/history_discovery_of_barberton.htm

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Thomas Meikle affectionately known as Tom, was born in 1862, he was the eldest son of John Meikle of Strathavon (Scotland) and Sarah of Avondale. The suburbs of Strathavon and Avondale in Salisbury (now known as Harare) were named after their respective birth places.


Tom was one of the three Meikle Brothers who founded a company in Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe), he was regarded as a remarkable man, a very astute businessman and undoubtedly the driving force in the firm of Meikle Brothers. At some point Tom moved to Bulawayo and in 1894 he opened a Branch and built a house in the suburb of Hillside.

~~~

"The first Meikle Store in the then Rhodesia was opened in Fort Victoria (Masvingo) in 1892, when Thomas Meikle, with his brothers Jack and Stewart, saw a business opportunity to supply a starved market and moved across the border from South Africa. The businesses grew rapidly, with Stores being opened in quick succession countrywide." http://ir.meiklesinvestor.com/meikles_stores

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Thomas Meikle's Timeline

1862
December 4, 1862
South Lanarkshire, Scotland
1908
April 27, 1908
Age 45
Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)
1939
February 8, 1939
Age 76
Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)
????
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe