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Newspaper Cuttings from the Eastern Cape

Newspaper Cuttings from the Eastern Cape - E


Weekend Post, 25 Oct 1986
Gweneth, 91, will brighten reunion of the EDWARDS clan
Weekend Post Correspondent

Grahamstown - One might call Miss Gweneth EDWARDS of Bedford a maverick Methodist were she not a staunch Presbyterian who, in her 91st year, still plays the organ in the church.

As the oldest living descendant of Methodist missionary John EDWARDS, who arrived in South Africa in 1832, she is to unveil a plaque to his memory in a Methodist Church Hall in Graff-Reinet and grace the first ever EDWARDS family reunion. The event takes place in Graaff-Reinet where the missionary established the Church in 1870.

The Rev. Arthur ATTWELL of Welkom, a great-great-grandson of John EDWARDS, is to preach in the morning service and an evening communion service. The morning service it to be followed by refreshments in the newly-built hall, converted from old stables and cut-buildings by the incumbent, the Rev. N. B. KOK.

It is then Miss Gweneth EDWARDS, as she is known, a great-granddaughter, will unveil the memorial plaque. There will then be a meeting if the EDWARDS' family followed by a family luncheon. Mr. KOK, who is minister of the Trinity Methodist Church in Graaff-Reinet has made most of the conversions himself.

It is not known how many descendants of John and his wife, Jean Elizabeth, will be present, but the marriage of their eldest daughter, Sarah to Samuel Bonnin HOBSON, a "farmer of Kamdeboo Ruggens", and their 11 children have swelled the ranks in the Eastern Cape. A glance at the Family Tree reveals the names, among others, of


Miss EDWARDS still does needle work and knits socks for the family.
John and Jane EDWARDS are both buried at Salem, near Grahamstown.


EP Herald, 25 Sep 1984
by Keith SUTTON

Examining the souvenir programme of the centenary excursion of the Grahamstown and Port Alfred Railway, I was attracted by the decorative map reproduced. Who, I wondered, is the J. M. ENGLISH whose signature appears modestly in the bottom left-hand corner? Research reveals he is a Grahamstown man who has at various times retired from farming, driving Dakotas around the world's skies and being something of a specialist in the storage of mealies.

John Mayne ENGLISH, who now practises in Grahamstown, tells me he was born in England in 1933. "My father had a farm near Figtree but was recuperating in England after being cut up while serving in the KRR [King Royal Rifles - 60th Rifles] at Ypres, so I was born there. I was at school at Stowe, but left at the age of 15 to join my father as a learner farmer.

"My parents were wondering what to do with me. "Well, he's always drawing and scribbling, why not an architect?" So I was enrolled at a school of architecture, but by then my father had died as a result of his First World War wounds and the Second World War was on.

"The Empire Air Training scheme had started in Rhodesia, so I joined the RAF and became a pilot, flying Dakotas. First it was around the British Isles, then the Near East and then to India. Finally, I helped ferry South Africans home from Egypt on the shuttle service." "No, I was not commissioned. I was always at variance with authority, so I ended up a warrant officer - a wonderful rank to hold."

"After the war, I did architecture at the University of Cape Town where I met my wife, Joan SPENCER-WATSON, who was a fellow student. Thence to Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia as they were. After the break-up of Federation there was so little confidence in the future that building stopped. I joined the Department of Agriculture and became involved in the engineering side of mealie control. We moved to Johannesburg in 1962 and a couple of years later came to Grahamstown."

"I have always dabbled in cartography, illustrating and cartooning. It's in the blood I suppose. I have a map drawn by my father of our Figtree ranch. You know the sort of thing, "Saw kudu here and almost trod on a puffadder here."

"My most ambitious effort so far has been an immensely long Family Tree going back to Adam by way of Tamar of Galilee, and the Scottish and Irish Royal families.

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