Mystery grave found in veld near Benoni

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What is believed to be the oldest grave in Benoni has been dis- covered in the veld to the south of the old railway line that passes. the Country Club,

It was pointed out to Benoni historian, Mr D. Humphriss, by Mr L. Breytenbach of Rynfield, who noticed the grave when he was out walking.

The grave is that of Annie

Mr D. Humphriss said that it England. She died on September 13, 1889, at the age of 28.

On the plinth of the broken cross is the inscription: Beloved wife of J. X. Leslie.

Dr D. Humphriss said that it was a mystery to find the grave. of an English woman in Benoni first local at that date a Mr and Mrs.

pioneers were

Derecksen who arrived in 1886. There was no record of anyone else arriving until three years later.

Neither the name Hardy or the name Leslie appeared in early records.

The grave appears to lie in a small family burial ground close to a farm. The stumps of very old fruit trees can still be seen. There are also the remains of water furrows, out-houses and a cattle kraal.

Mr Humphriss believes that the farm might have belonged to a Mr Hahn, a German who planted the trees which now shade the Country Club golf course, and who planted an extensive orchard on his farm.

A peculiarity of the tombstone is the high quality of the masonry of the cross and plinth -now broken in two and lying near the grave. As far as is known there were no stone masons capable of. such skilled work in the Transvaal in 1889. Gold had only been dis- covered there two or three years earlier and the only inhabitants were farmers and miners.

The tombstone weighs between two and three hundredweight and is of a hard sandstone often used for English churches.

Mr Humphriss said his only ex- planation of the grave was that Annie Hardy was the wife of a mining engineer who came to Benoni to start up the Van Ryn Mine. When she died she was allowed to be buried in a farm burial ground as there was no other cemetery at that time.

Any pioneers who may be able to throw more light on the mystery are asked to write to the City Times, P.O. Box 494, Benoni.

24 Apr 1959