March 8, 1986

The Role played by Chief Clar in the establishment of the Sukoko Leprosy Colony in the 1940’s in Suakoko District, Bong County, Liberia, West Africa


Raymond Nalone Sumo, Ph.D.


The content of this article was compiled by the assistance of our late father Mr. Joseph Sumo, my grand Uncle Chief Namo, our Mother, Ma-Yamah Sumo through oral history, research by (POINDEXTER, 1949), and the late Dr. & Mrs. Heisey. Dr. Lowell Heisey came to Liberia with his wife as a Fulbright Chemistry Professor at Cuttington University College (CUC) in 1986. During her leisure time, Mrs. Hersey participated in Art Classes at CUC and she learned to tie-die t-shirts and other African Fabrics and she was a bird watcher. I remembered, when she used to feed the birds on the front yard of the Fulbright House on Cuttington University Campus.  I lived with the Hiesey’s on Cuttington Campus in their Fulbright House basement from 1986-1987 until they returned to the United States. During their stay in Liberia, I traveled with them to several Liberian Villages and Towns. We visited Monkey Village in Meleklie and Popo Village in Bong Mines. The Heisey’s (deceased) used to love nature and they were always happy to meet villagers and take pictures of birds, monkeys, vegetations and flowers, and other Liberian animals. In most cases, the villagers did not want to take pictures. On one of those visits, I took the Heiseys to visit the former Suakoko Leprosy Colony and I told them the role my grandfather played in establishing the colony. On our way back to Cuttington University, we stopped at my parent’s house in Thomas’ Farm. The Heiseys interviewed my parent about the Leprosy Colony, Clarta Village, and Phebe Hospital in March 1986.  I served as an interpreter for my parent and the Heisey’s.

The Heiseys were nice people to be around. They helped lots of students during their stay in Liberia. When the Heisey returned to Bridgewater, VA, they retired and after several years, sold their home and moved in a group home community where they remained until their death. Prior to their death, they gave some documents they had acquired and written while in Liberia to their daughter, Maylee Samuels. Their daughter, Maylee Samuels gave me these documents. While going through them, I came across this interview which the Heiseys had with my parent in Thomas’ Farm in 1986. I did not modify the content of the interview questions and responses. I have written them according to the questions and responses.

Oral History of the Sumo Family, Clarta Village, all images, and the Heisey’s interview is a Trademark of Raymond Nalone Sumo, Ph.D. and Land Administrators of Clarta Village in Suakoko District, Bong County.

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