Family History – South Australian Origins

               Jesse Mewett                                                              Rhoda Mewett (nee Giddings)

The birthplace of Edward John (Ted) Mewett was Mount Pleasant, South Australia, where his father, Jesse Mewett, was working as an agricultural labourer in June 1863. Generally, family activities were more restricted to an area comprising Kersbrook, Chain of Ponds, Gumeracha and Forreston (North Gumeracha), about 30 kilometres north-east of Adelaide in the Torrens valley.

Jesse was born in the English village of Willingdon, near Eastbourne in 1835. His parents, Samuel and Martha Mewett and their five children were emigrating to South Australia on board the Platina when Jesse turned three years of age. After a short stay in Modbury, the family was moved to the Gumeracha-Forreston district as tenant-farmers for the South Australia Company. Meanwhile, four more children had been born into the family. In 1852 Samuel purchased 80 acres of land to farm at Kersbrook and the family settled there permanently.

On 7th February 1856 at the Mewett property, Park Farm, Jesse, aged 21, was married to Rhoda Giddings, also aged 21; she had arrived in South Australia with her parents, William and Ann Giddings, and family in the previous year on board the Punjab. This extended family included grandparents, John and Mary Giddings, daughter Rhoda, and seven younger siblings.

Jesse and Rhoda lived at Park Farm with his parents until 1861 or 1862. Two surviving children, Sarah Ann and David William had been born in 1859 and 1861. The first-born child was David who died at 9 months from dysentry. It was a custom to name a later-born child after a deceased child. After Ted, five other children were born to Jesse and Rhoda.

The research into the Mewett family history by my cousin Bob Mewett in the 1970s revealed to me the names of our great-great-grandfather, Samuel, and my great-grandfather, Jesse, and I suspected they were biblical characters. I approached a fellow worker who was something of a Bible student, asking him where could the names of Samuel and Jesse be found. Without hesitation he replied, Samuel 1, chapter 16.

In this passage God tells Samuel, a prophet, to go to Bethleham, to a man named Jesse, because God has chosen one of his sons to be king of Israel.  Jesse calls each of his seven sons in turn to face Samuel, but God through Samuel says “No” to each of them. Then the youngest who is out tending the sheep, is called in. God says to Samuel, “This is the one – anoint him!”  Samuel takes the oil and anoints David.

– almewett

Published in: on June 29, 2011 at 10:28 am  Comments (5)  

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  1. Hi Al, stumbled across your site. Great reading! My G,Grandfather ( Albert Edwin Trestrail) was married to Jesse’s daughter Sarah Anne Mewett. My other G.Grandfather Arthur Norsworthy I believe purchased Trevale (originally the Trestrail home) from Jesse. I’m seeking any old photos, info from Williamstown etc. (and with a particular search for a photo of Cpt. James Trestrail (1821-1882) Any of your help would be greatly appreciated. Sue

  2. Came across your blog when searching for Giddings family and it is great. Do you mind if I use some of your photo’s in my ancestry family tree? My tree is private, so if anyone else wants to use them they have to ask. My gg grandmother was the cousin of Rhoda. Keep up the good work.

    • Deb, I do not mind if you use photos from my blog for your ancestry family tree. I’d really like more information from you about your g g grandmother who was a cousin of Rhoda, I would be very interested.

      • Thanks Al,
        If you let me know your email, mine is I will send you some information on my great great grandmother Betsy Giddings who was Rhoda’s cousin. Betsy md William Stephenson and spent all her married life at Kersbrook on the Stephenson property ‘Wattle Farm’.

  3. My maiden name is Lyndal Doman and I am connected to the Mewett family via Harriet, daughter of Samuel and Martha who married my great,great grandfather James Doman. The Mewett family up until a few months ago was a complete mystery to me. My father (a Doman from Port Macdonell) moved to Victoria with the Navy when young and met my mother, married and settled in the western suburbs of Melbourne.
    Your site has been enormously helpful filling in some gaps in my tree. Much appreciated.

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