Whitfield Family Tree

Produced by

David Whitfield (Page D03)

John Whitfield

John Whitfield (B03)

Born 25/02/1828

Each family unit is drawn on a separate page, with the number of the page in the bottom right corner as the code of the Father of the family shown on the page.


In the left bottom corner is a reference to the page on which the immediate ancestor family may be found i.e. the Father, Mother & Brothers and Sisters of the head of the current page.


Above the left top corner of the box containing each Whitfield male is the page code on which that family unit is located. In this way a family line can be traced either forwards or backwards in time through the pages.


Shown left is my Great Grandfather, one of the sons of Charlotte Whitfield and John Brown


Family Tree Index

Family Tree Index

The index lists the page references for each person in the tree. The first reference given is the page on which the person first appears (either as a child or a spouse). The second reference is to the page on which that person's wife and children may be found.

The allocation of the page codes are in generation sequence, i.e. A is the first generation (Charlotte Whitfield and John Brown Page A01), B the next and so on. There is no significance in the numbering of the pages within a generation, they were simply allocated as the tree was built.

A Note about the Author

My interest in building the Whitfield Family tree was sparked by my Aunt Joyce Wallis Whitfield (Page C02)after she was approached by Frank Newnes, a member of the Historical Society who lived in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia. My Aunt was in possession of a number of items, including the Family Bible, which she had inherited from her Grandmother Ann Whitfield (nee Wallis). Through the years I have accumulated much information from visiting the various Masters of the Supreme Court where I obtained copies of many death certificates.

Most of the early history surrounding Charlotte Whitfield came from the records at the National Archive in Pretoria. Many other people have supplied me with additional information over the years as so I decided to preserve this collection in the form of a family tree which I have now published on the web.

I would welcome any other information that descendants of Charlotte may wish to provide. These can be emailed to me at david at Whitfield dot co dot za. Apologies for the encrypted email address but it is to hopefully protect me from bots on the internet whose sole purpose is to harvest email addresses. I would also welcome any photographs of individuals which I can add to the tree.

1.  The quest after Charlotte Whitfield

The enduring mystery during my early research was that while all information pointed to us being descended from the 1820 Settlers, there was no Mr Whitfield on the ships manifests that brought the Settlers to the Cape. The mystery was finally solved from records found in the National Archives in Pretoria which listed Miss Charlotte Whitfield as being a member of Clark’s party along with a Mr John Brown, his 25 year old wife Ann and their two children Elizabeth and Ann aged 4 years and 2 years respectively. It is believed that Charlotte was Governess to Mr & Mrs Browns’ children.

Mrs Brown and the two children disappear from the picture very early on and Charlotte then proceeded to have 5 children by Mr John Brown out of wedlock which she christened in her maiden name. The fact that she never married Brown can be corroborated by her marriage after John Brown died in the wars on the Eastern Front to a Mr Turkington. The wedding certificate listed her as a Miss Whitfield. She died on her son Leo Africanus Whitfields’ farm ‘Gum Grove’ on the slopes of Taba Ndoda between Fort White and Debe Nek and lies buried there in the private cemetery. (ref. ‘Quest after Charlotte Whitfield’ kindly provided by Mr Frank Newnes. Also a letter from the Albany Museum Genealogy Department 24th February 1984)

2.  The death of John Brown

John Brown was murdered on the Eastern Border of the Cape during skirmishes with the native population. The story of his sad end are described in a book called “Narrative of the Eruption of Kaffir Hordes into the Eastern Province of Cape of Good Hope” by Robert Godlonton. Robert Godlonton was an influential politician of the Cape Colony. He was an 1820 Settler, who developed the press of the Eastern Cape and led the Eastern Cape separatist movement as a representative in the Cape's Legislative Council. An excerpt describing John Brown’s death can be read here.

3.  Charlotte Whitfield’s Inheritance

Charlotte Whitfield had a brother William Lancaster Whitfield and a sister Belinda Whitfield. Belinda Whitfield died childless and unmarried in October 1827. The history is that William Lancaster Whitfield had moved to the West Indies where he made his fortune in the sugar business. When he died on 17th October 1826, he left his estate to his sisters Charlotte and Belinda. Belinda had already passed away and Charlotte could not be traced as she had moved to Africa and so the estate (over ₤4000) ended up in the Courts of Chancery in London.

The story I was told by the Aunts and Great Aunts was that the children of Charlotte did not want to try to recover the money when she died because they were illegitimate. I doubt that Charlotte ever tried to claim the money as the official existence of it only came to light during the winding up of her son William Henry Lancaster Whitfield’s estate. I have copies of the correspondence between Mr J A Neser, a Solicitor and Conveyancer in Klerksdorp, The Master of the Supreme Court in Pretoria, David Reuben Whitfield (son of William Henry Lancaster Whitfield) and Messrs. Forbes Hatten & McLean of London. This documentation is all available at the National Archives in Pretoria. The date of the first letter from J A Neser to the Master of the Supreme Court mentioning this money in Chancery is dated 26th February 1909. J A Neser was at the time winding up the estate of William Henry Lancaster Whitfield and so the only logical conclusion is that at least by that stage the family knew of Charlottes inheritance from her brother.

The Court of Chancery was only prepared to pay out a fifth of the money to the estate of William Henry Lancaster Whitfield who had died intestate. There was much correspondence about the difference in interpretation as to who the money was to be paid to and there is no correspondence confirming that the fifth portion was ever paid. Very likely the money is still locked up in the Courts of Chancery and in today’s money would be worth in excess of ₤110,000. However even if it was still unpaid, after legal costs and the great number of eligible people (both Whitfield and others) who might be due a portion, it would seem hardly worth pursuing the matter.

4.  The escape of Leo Henry Whitfield (Page C02) during the Boer War

Leo Henry Whitfield who was farming in the Zeerust District was taken prisoner during the Boer War. The story of his capture and escape can be read here.