Clifford Ramsey Cannell

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Clifford Ramsey Cannell

Birthplace: Lower Albany, Cape Province, Grahamstwn, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
Death: December 27, 1905 (45)
Melsetter, Rhodesia (Failure of heart action)
Immediate Family:

Son of William Thomas Ramsey Cannell and Rosetta Cannell
Husband of Maria Meltina Cannell
Father of Reginald Ramsey Cannell; Alice Ramsay Cannell and Arthur Ramsey Cannell
Brother of William Cannell; Mona Exton; Emily Higgins Cannell; Rosetta Isabella Spackman; Harry Featherstone Cannell and 6 others

Occupation: Farmer/Store Trader
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Clifford Ramsey Cannell

PLEASE NOTE: ANCESTRY24 Website has erroneous entries on the Marriage Record of Clifford Cannells marriage to Maria Meltina Mollett. His name is listed as "Connell, Clifford Zamsey". His correct name (source: birth certificate) is: CLIFFORD RAMSEY CANNELL.

Clifford was a man of medium height and very quick in his movement. He had brownish hair which later turned grey, and brown eyes. He was a very sharp business man and was totally fearless.

He married Maria Meltina Mollett (Molly) and they lived in Edenburg, Orange Free State. While they lived in Edenburg, Clifford was the Manager of a trading store named the Fickard and Auldom Store.

In 1893 Clifford journeyed up to Rhodesia with Groenewalt and Swanepoel to establish the feasibility of moving his family up. Cecil John Rhodes had been calling for settlers to move to Rhodesia and about four treks had already taken place. After his first visit, Clifford started making arrangements for what was to become known as "The Edenburg Trek" which took place in 1894.*

  • In a transcript of an interview between Alice Ramsey Cannell (Clifford's daughter) and D. Hartridge on 18 June, 19 June and 3 September 1970, "Clifford organised 'every bit' of the trek to Rhodesia - contrary to a book by S.P. Olivier titled "Many Treks Made Rhodesia"

Thirteen families went up to Rhodesia with Clifford in the Edenburg Trek. Members of the party included, Clifford Ramsey Cannell - Leader, Maria Meltina (Molly) Mollett Cannell - his wife, Reginald Ramsey Cannell, Alice Ramsey Cannell, Arthur Ramsey Cannell - their children, Frank Douglas Cannell - Clifford's brother, John and Eddie Scott family, Dirking family, Groenewalt family, Gifford family, Nel family, Herbst family and others.

Paul Kruger, President of the Transvaal at that time, wouldn't allow them to cross over his territory to get to Rhodesia. This meant that the trek had to move from Edenburg to Kimberley; then through Macloutsie and Tuli; from Tuli they branched up to Fort Victoria; then to Sabi Drift. Just after they crossed the Sabie River, they were met by Boyce Moodie, Dunbar Moodie's nephew, a young fellow of about 17 and he led them on to Moodie's farm, after going through Waterfall and finally to Gazaland where their farms were allocated.

Clifford was allocated a farm called "Ramsey" near the present Espungabera, which partly fell in Portuguese territory. Frank, his brother's farm "Douglas" and the Groenewalt's farms and "Maroma" which belonged to Dirking, all fell into Portueguese territory. Machado, the President of Mozambique was involved in the transaction.

After he got his family settled on the farm, Clifford moved up to Melsetter and started a trading store. It was the first store in Melsetter. Clifford was at this stage "well-to-do". When the store was up and running, the family followed. The store was a pole and dagga place, just below the present Government offices. The store mainly stocked food and groceries and a little clothing.

Clifford used to get his stock from the Portuguese Territory. Clifford used to take about sixty Africans and walk all the way there and back with them carrying the stock on their heads. On all his trips he never carried a gun, only a stick "in case he met a snake"!! The trip took him from Melsetter, through the Chimanimani Pass, across to a place called Chimoio. It was in Chimoio were he did his trading as the railway line was built from Beira to Chimoio.

Travelling up north was extremely difficulat. The Blacks along the way were hostile and those that weren't hostile, refused to trade for money. They would only trade for material - "limbo / straight", as they called it. This they wrapped and twisted around their loins. Food was also a problem.

One day they had absolutely NOTHING to eat. Alice and Arthur were crying for food. Clifford and his brother Frank went out with the coloured driver, Klaas (oxen) but came back empty-handed. Late that afternoon, with everyone near collapse from starvation, Clifford grabbed the gun and shortly after that, came back with the only animal he ever shot - a buck! By that stage they were so starving, they virtually ate it raw! This incident happened in Portuguese territory near the present Espungabera, near Mount Silinda.

On the way, in or near Macloutsie, Clifford's team was delayed for a period of time. He had been accused of cattle rustling!! The cattle they used in the trek were branded "CC" for Clifford Cannell and the authorities thought it was the brand "CC" used by the Chartered Company! (The branding looked exactly the same!) However, Clifford managed to prove it was his cattle and the party could continue on their trek!!

Going up over the pass, it took three teams to pull each wagon, and, one by one the wagons were dragged up.

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Clifford Ramsey Cannell's Timeline

November 17, 1860
Lower Albany, Cape Province, Grahamstwn, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
December 17, 1860
Wesleyan Methodist , Grahamstown, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
August 1, 1888
Edenburg, Orange Free State, South Africa
April 22, 1889
October 23, 1891
December 27, 1905
Age 45
Melsetter, Rhodesia