anm document

Documents concerning employees of the Chemin de Fer Kayes-Niger
in ANM K 74, fonds anciens

Notes © 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.

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This files in this carton contain information about employees of the railroad. Files for the years 1890-1892, 1894, 1898-1900, 1902-1904, and 1908 are missing.


Capitaine d'Artillerie Marine Allion, "État nominatif du personnel Européen employé au Chemin de Fer du Haut Fleuve" (2 September 1888)


Capitaine d'Artillerie de Marine, Directeur de Chemin de Fer Klobb, "État numeriques du personnel ouvrier employé au service du Chemin de Fer à la date de 27 Janvier 1889" (Kayes, February 27, 1889)

This table shows the names of each of the French work crew supervisor and the number of Africans under their supervision, by type of work performed.

Supervisor Military workers Civilian workers
(skilled workers)
Foremen Interpreters Voluntary laborers Forced laborers
(at Kayes) 27 58 7 3 132 100
Huvenoit n/a 3 4 n/a 93 109
Rives n/a n/a 2 n/a 31 2
Huart 1 5 4 n/a 94 59
Gaspard n/a 2 3 n/a 54 110
Constancia 3 4 n/a n/a n/a 7
Oswald 2 12 n/a n/a n/a 35
Total 33 84 20 3 404 422


"Poste de Kayes, État des manoeuvres à fournir par les villages pour la campagne 1889-1890"

This document lists 48 villages in four regions around Kayes and shows the number of men, women and surveillants (foremen) that each was supposed to supply for work on the Chemin de Fer for 1889-1890, and the numbers of each type of worker that each region actually supplied in 1888-1889. This table summarizes the information:

Region Number of villages Workers expected Workers actually supplied
Men Women Foremen Men Women Foremen
Samé 4 22 0 1 36 3 1
Khasso 20 160 13 9 256 19 9
Logo 15 85 7 6 138 10 6 (located between Kayes & Diamou)
Natiaga 9 82 7 5 131 10 5 (located between Diamou & Galougo)
Total 48 349 27 21 561 42 21

Note: Médine has by far the largest numbers of any village in Khasso, the region that provides the largest number of workers of any of these four regions. In 1888, Médine provided 48 men, 4 women and 2 foremen. In 1899, Medine provided 70 men, 4 women and 2 foremen.

Additional note: The villages are grouped in twos and threes. Each group provides one surveillant and one or two women. There's no change in the number of surveillants required from one year to the next, but the number of laborers increased. Apparently, the French figured that one surveillant could handle as many as 36 people.


Capitaine d'Artillerie de Marine, Directeur de Chemin de Fer Klobb, "Demande du personnel officer pour le service du Chemin de Fer et Travaux Publiques pendant la campagne 1889-1890" (Kayes, 12 June 1889)

This was a request for four captains (including Klobb and Allion), five lieutenants (including Huvenoit, Bardol, Lagarde), sixteen gardes (including Stirling, Rode, Tézequek, Oswald, Gaspard and Huart), and an additional garde comptable.


"Situation a la date du 1 Juin 1893 du personnel du Génie sous les ordres de M. le Chef de Bataillon Joffre, Directeur"

This list only shows the names of European employees, who were distributed as follows: twelve at Kayes, four at Médine, one at Saboucire, two at Dinguira, four at Bagouko, five at Galougo, five at Bafoulabé, one at Dioubéba, one at Kita and one at Niagassola.


In the dossier for 1895, there is one item, a letter from Rougier to the Lt. Governor at Kayes (27 Octobre 1895). The letter reports on the insubordination of a European ouvrier- chaudronnier (boiler maker) named Boeuf.


Rougier, "État des ouvriers militaires, civils et indigenes employés dans le service du Chemin de Fer" (Kayes, 4 May 1896)

The following table shows the number and wages of different types of railroad workers in 1896:

Category of worker Wage scale (francs/day) Number
European military 2-4 10
European civilian 17-30 4
Indigènes (Africans) n/a 1,091

The following table shows a breakdown of the figures for the indigène (African) worker section. It indicates the number of employees with specialized job titles and the number of manual laborers:

Railroad Section Skilled workers Laborers
Voie Decauville 11 78
Bafoulabé 9 1
Exploitation des gares
(station personnel)
48 81
Travaux neuf
(New construction)
253 522
Huilerie (Oil press) 2 14
Traction et ateliers
(operating personnel
and repair facilities)
51 21
Total 374 717


"Situation mensuelle, 5° Regiment du Genie" par Rougier.

These numbers were taken from monthly reports and show the number of military employees on the railroad month by month from January 1896 to December 1897. They were never at their full strength, which was supposed to be about 70 men.

Month 1896 1897
January 64 51
February 61 49
March 63 49
April 56 41
May 52 47
June 51 48
July 49 48
August 42 41
September 43 45
October 41 39
November 53 47
December 54 42


In the dossier for 1897, there is a document with a list of the names of the French officers serving on the Chemin de Fer as of 8 December 1897: Colonel Rougier; Captain Guyot; Lts. Reynier and Baudran; Adjutants Lajoux, Gerdol and Regnaut; Sgt- Majors Bastian and Reyval; Sgts. Luciez, Barthe, Deschepper, Bergounioux, Baillon de Fontenay, Chabert and Reynal. There are a total of sixteen French officers.


L'administrateur commandant du cercle Raas, "État nominatif, par brigade, des travailleurs recrutés pour le service du chemin de fer" (Bafoulabé, 26 September 1900)

This sheet lists the names and villages for every member of each of 38 work brigades (brigade #37 is either missing or didn't exist). They also designate the leader of the brigade and at least one pileuse (literally "woman who grinds" but probably means cook) per brigade. Each brigade consists of people from the same province, although they are usually from more than one village. Mahmadou Racine has his name on all of these, making it appear that he was the one who actually collected all of the information.

Brigade Chef (leader) Number of workers Province
(common village names)
Number of deserters
1 Kéfin Kanté 27 Barinta (Oualia) 0
2 Coumané Diallo 23 Guimbaias (Mahina) 4
3 Sidi Diallo 26 Guimbaias 1
4 Guimba Danioko 27 Guimbaias 0
5 Demba Sousoko 27 Makadougou (Touba, Kalé) 0
6 Oussoubi Sidibé 27 Pansamé? 0
7 Pamory Sousoko 26 Niambia (Dialakoto, Bandelima, Kobokoto) 0
8 Samba Diakité 27 Gangountéry (Karya, Dioukou-Dioukou) 0
9 Demba Sidibé 28 Savramé (Kabaya, Sanga) 0
10 Moussa Sousoko 26 Bétéa (Dioubeba) 1
11 Mamady Dembélé 28 Komakana (Bagny, Fatafi - S. of Bafoulabe) 0
12 Kenoran Cisoko 27 Bambougou (Manamkoto, Kourouba) 0
13 Makam Cisoko 17 Bambougou (between Mahina Oualia Kenieba & Koundian) 10
14 Mamady Cisoko 28 Bambougou 0
15 Bankolé Cisoko 24 Bambougou (Koundian, Diakaba) 0
16 Basiri Diawara 27 Dialafara (Diala, Savané, Koumbonté) 0
17 Baysanko Diawara 27 Dialafara (Falaise de Tanbaoura) 0
18 Abdoulaye Sousoko 25 Tomara (Kossaya, Sépé, Farina, Touba) 2
19 Ahmadou Taraoré 26 Tomara (Sokoro, Tama, Balamdougou) 1
20 Ddiéli Diallo 15 Tomara (Tintiba, Dialaya, Koumakary) 10
21 Fadiala Cisako 23 Bambougou (all from Gounfam, SSW of Bafoulabe) 0
22 Tambou Sousoko 27 Tomara 0
23 Mahmadou Cisoko 27 Tomara (Tourako near Medine) 0
24 Patoumané Dembélé 28 Bafing (Kenieba, Mahina, Goumbala) 0
25 Soury Dembélé 28 Bafing 0
26 Moussa Diara 29 Bafing 0
27 Famaka Dembélé 28 Bafing (Dialakouta, Samékouta) 0
28 Famakan Dembélé 29 Bouréa (Makadougou, Kalla, Faraba) 0
29 Moussa K”ita 27 Tringa (Dialaka, Lambatara, Diakamé) 0
30 Toudo Cisoko 28 Tringa (Maréna, Diakoné) 0
31 Mady Konté 28 Tringa (Maréna, Dialaka) 0
32 Moussa Diara 28 Kontella (Sabouciré, Fassala, Diabougou) 0
33 Sara Kanouté 28 Kontella (Tintiba, Kamassa) 0
34 Séga Kanté 28 Kontella (Tintiba, Faraba) 0
35 Mady Diallo 28 N'Diaye (Fatafé, Diédia) 0
36 Madimoussa Konté 27 Sorma (Sabouciré, Diédigue) 0
38 Mady Fofana 27 Nouroukrou (intended to replace deserters in other brigades) 0

These names occurred frequently among the workers, but never as leaders: Coulibaly (Bambara royal family), Keita (Soninke royal family), Kamara (Soninke), Cissé (Ségou), Sangaré (Peul or Somono). Among the leaders' names, I can identify the following groups: Dembele (Somono and Minianké from Ségou-Bani), Konté (Bambara ironmakers), Diawara (Khassonke nobles, possibly from Wassalou), Sisoko (Malinké), Diakité (Wassalou Peul) and Sidibé (Koutiala or Wassalou Peul).


Two other letters from railroad director Rougier to the Governor General's delegate in Kayes (1 December 1901 and 16 December 1901) each give the total number of workers at the end of 1901. There were 1,843 workers on 16 November, 1,860 workers on 1 December, and 2,301 workers on 15 December 1901.


"Sous-details des depenses du Chapitre 1er, Article IV"

This dossier contains four items, one for each section of the railroad. Together, they give a total number of workers on the railroad for 1905.

Section Number of Europeans Number of Africans
Traction et material 43 196
Voie et batiments 32 350
Exploitation et Service de Santé 14 200
Direction et comptabilité 16 48
TOTALS 105 794


"État du Personnel Civil et Militaire Actuellement en Service du Chemin de Fer Kayes-Niger" (Kayes, 14 Novewmber 1906)

This table shows the last names of French military and civilian personnel who worked on the railroad in 1906:

Section Military last names Civilian last names
Direction et comptabilité Digue, Lacour, Brunetaud (Sgt), Chesneau Beck, Jacquesson, Massis, Divetain, Menard, Beauger
Exploitation Dr. Beinet (Major 2e), Voirin (Sgt-Infirm), Delbary (Sgt), Manon (Sgt) Lacheze, Quet, Frissard, Michel, Larche, Gremillet, Catoni, Fages, Sechaud, Blaud
Traction Hugoni (Lt), Bouhier (Sgt), Bernard (Sgt), Lyot (Canonier) Bernard, Carichou, Gardes, Menage, Milsonneau, Roy, Besancon, Filippa, Mouchoniere, Ravel, Nachin, Abgrall, Demeglio, Limousin
Voie et Batiments Hurtz (Lt), Deneyrieux (Sgt) Yong, Villard, Grab, Hillaireau, Gruat, Rascol, Castel, Marcus, Eckmann