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Pioneer Treks to Rhodesia - Others

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These are 3 smaller treks to Rhodesia - the Hulley-Cawood 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." Carruthers trek details from Jack Carruthers biography, Harare National Archives.

More information will be added as it is found.

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Somerset East ~ Carruthers trek 1893

On meeting Mr. Rhodes at Kimberley January 1893, at his expressed wish Jack Carruthers organised the Somerset East trek party consisting of thirty seven people under special conditions, (grants of farm land). The advance party travelled from Vereeniging via the rail terminus and journeyed up through the Transvaal around May 1893, others joined later.

  • Bob Carruthers 1872-1946
  • Edwin (Dick) Bradfield 1869-1951
  • F H and Charlie Paddock
  • J R, A G and J P Cumming
  • Thomas Joseph Lynch
  • Walter Edward Parkin
  • G H Balshaw
  • John and Titus O’Connor
  • Forrester Rorke
  • R Godfrey
  • Herbert Leppan
  • Alvan Stock
  • Henry Leonard
  • John Plover
  • Charles Benist
  • Hans Rentz
  • John Pillens
  • John Hughes
  • Ronald Stewart
  • T C and M A Botha
  • Maurice Connor
  • Alfred Webb
  • Jan Botha
  • Charlie David, Walter, Reginald, Reuben Oliver and H? Hiscock
  • Theodore Robert Casperuthis who shared the Hiscock wagon They were joined by Major Eyre and Richard Davies a well set Welshman. At Pietersburg they replenished supplies and bought fresh cattle as the donkeys gave in. From this point they took the old hunter’s road to the Maxebba Drift. Following notes by Jack Carruthers:

Early in July we crossed the drift, the following evening we out-spanned on the um’Zingwani River. Our next out-span was just beyond Gongs-Poort where we had caught up with Tom Meikle’s wagons loaded for Salisbury. Travelling with him was Jack Robinson, destined to be one of the last of Wilson’s stand, near the Shangani River. There were also the Nortons travelling up to Salisbury in their-own turnout. Some transport riders and trek members were turning back on hearing rumours of unrest among the Matabele, many discarding their loads. Tom Meikle transporting a heavy load of merchandise asked me what I intended doing. I told him I meant to get to Victoria at any cost. Our advance party arrived at Fort Victoria early August, just before the Matabele war began. I pegged my farm Oatlands surrounding and incorporating the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, the greater part of the farm stretched out towards the north-east. My trek outfit was not required so I left it at the ruins, held by me under occupation farm rights to await my return. After the war I found the farm boundary had been altered and Zimbabwe left out of the survey. The fact remains that for however short the time, I was very nearly the owner of this historic relic. If we had not shown any one those beads and trinkets, Zimbabwe would have been mine!"

Carruthers, Botton, Stuttaford~1895

Following the Rhodesia disturbances of 1893, Jack Carruthers sent to his family in Somerset East, glowing accounts of conditions in general. He stressed the splendid opportunities afforded for the right type of worker for making good in the new country. He felt that this idea merited some consideration and went on to suggest that if his father James Carruthers was impressed, then they should make arrangements to move up to Bulawayo, lock, stock and barrel. At that time James Carruthers was a first-class shoemaker and running his own business in Somerset East. Arthur Botton, Jack’s brother-in-law was occupied as a carpenter and wheelwright in the same town. The small 1895 trek party included Jack and his sister Marion and her husband Arthur Botton, with their four children: Hilda, Oswald, Vivian and Claude. There were also

  • Chris Sparrow destined for Solusi the twelve thousand acre Matabele Mission
  • Botha was got up to assist Bob Carruthers at Matalusi, sixty miles south of Belingwe
    • Baartman was also given a lift with the thought that his services could be made use of in Salisbury. They joined up with the transport rider Alec Willmore and his party that included
  • Richard and Mary-Ann Stuttaford from Vredefort, others joined later along the trail

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.

Ernst du Plessis

Hendrik du Plessis

Wife - Johanna

Jan Human

Abraham Spies

Hans Talgfaard

Du Plessis Trek II:

Urtecht 2nd May 1895 - 11th October 1895.

Ernst du Plessis

Wife - Magdalena

Louw Kleyn

Wife - Deborah

Diederick Engelbrecht

Wife Lenie
Child - Jan Engelbrecht

Frikkie Stopforth

Wife - Dinah Maria and child - Frans Ignatius

Hendrik Pikstere

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"

Richard Anthony Hulley b. 27 May 1850 Somerset East.

Wife - Elizabeth Charlotte Webster b. 1858.

James Smith Cawood b. 1849

Wife - Elizabeth Ann Moriah/Marian/Maria Hulley,

Aunt and Uncle of Dick Hulley ( Elizabeth being the daughter of Edward John Hulley and Mary Gradwell

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)