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Pioneer Treks to Rhodesia - Others

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These are 3 smaller treks to Rhodesia - the Hulley-Cawood trek has no listing in "Many Treks Made Rhodesia" by S.P. Olivier and details have been taken forn Jeannie M Boggie's "First Steps in Civilizing Rhodesia."

More information will be added as it is found.

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Ernst du Plessis

Ernst du Plessis was on the Moodie Trek of 1893 and pegged his own farm, Clearwater, helped others peg theirs and then returned to the Free State on 7th June to fetch his own Trek and supplies (cattle, horses and implements which he had left behind. When he arrived at the Free State he found others wanting to go to Rhodesia.

Having settled the first of his parties he then returned to South Africa to fetch his bride., This time he walked to Chimora and from there to beira and went to Durban by boat, which made him very ill and he decided the sea was not for him!

He married Magdalena Maritz, a daughter of Gerrit Maritz, the Great Trek leader. His second trek arrived at his farm in October 1895. Ernst du Plessis died in 1953.

Du Plessis Trek I:

Reitz, 26th May, 1893 - 12th August 1893.


  • Jan Human
  • Abraham Spies
  • Hans Talgfaard

Du Plessis Trek II:

Urtecht 2nd May 1895 - 11th October 1895.

  • Ernst du Plessis and Magdalena
  • Louw Kleyn and Deborah
  • Diederick Engelbrecht and Lenie


  • Jan Engelbrecht
  • Frikkie Stopforth and his wife and child
  • Hendrik Pikstere and his wife and children
  • Andries Breytenbach
  • Jacob Breytenbach

Hulley and Cawood Trek

Got lost - ran out of water and food, found by natives.

From Jeannie M Brodie's book "First Steps in Civilizing Rhodesia."

"The worst trekking experiences which have as yet to come to the notice of the writer happened to HULLEY and CAWOOD families who trekked to the Chipinga district of Melsetter to take up farming in 1896.

Mr Dick Hulley first went to Melsetter with the Moodie trek in 1892 and then returned to Pretoria for his wife and family in 1896. The main points of this trying journey were the ravages of hunger and thirst rinderpest and travelling through Mashonaland quite unaware that the Matabele and Mashonaland rebellion was raging.

The party consisted of 13 people - Mr & Mrs Hulley, three daughter and two sons and uncle and aunt who may have been Mr & Mrs JAMES CAWOOD with four sons.

Their wagon with 13 of them was drawn by 14 donkeys. They set on the journey unaware of the rebellion and rinderpest, and water problems.

They hunted, searched for water, and just on the Old Hunter's road before Tuli Road someone informed them about the rebellion

Mr Hulley was given a medal for his part in the rebellion and James Cawood who also took part in the fighting no medal mentioned.

They remained in Fort Victoria for 6 months until it was safe to continue the trek.

Hulley's farm was near where Chipinga township stands today. The went on a route "as the crow flies" to Umtali .....having reasons for not taking MOODIE's route because of crossing the Sabi river with donkey transport.

Mrs Hulley gave birth to Rhoda. Mrs Hulley was very ill but still able to feed baby.

Because of debts the donkey wagons were sold, but after such bad luck they hitched a lift to Mount Selinda their farm called Hartebeest Nek, which adjoined Kenilworth which belonged to Dunbar Moodie who was married to Sarah Moodie at Fort Victoria.

Zillah Hulley wrote thses notes, she married Mr Carey of Castle Carey, Gwelo"

Ellen Stanton transcriptions - Microfilm# 1560911

  • Methodist Parish Records
  • Somerset East Christenings: 1842-1866
  • Item 24
  • Entry #274
  • Child: Ann Maria HULLEY
  • Parents: Edward and Mary
  • Born: 3/10/1853
  • Baptized: 5/1/1853


Richard and Ann were brother and sister and were children of Edward HULLEY and Mary GRADWELL

Source - "The Cawood File" by Barlow. (Russel Shaw in 2003 on Rootsweb)