Captain Benjamin Moodie, SV/PROG 1

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Benjamin Moodie, SV/PROG 1

Birthdate: (67)
Birthplace: Melsetter, Orkney Islands, Scotland
Death: April 2, 1856 (67)
Westfield, Whitesands, Cape, South Africa
Place of Burial: Westfield Farm
Immediate Family:

Son of Major James Moodie, 9th Laird of Melsetter and Elizabeth Dunbar
Husband of Marjory Malcomson, SM/PROG and Susan Moodie
Father of James Benjamin Moodie, SV1b1; Henriette Marshall, SV1b3; Thomas Moodie, SV1b2; Donald Moodie, SV1b4; Isabella Guthrie (Moodie) SV1b5 and 3 others
Brother of Thomas Moodie; Lieutenant Donald Moodie, RN; Jessie/Janet Moodie; Henrietta Moodie and John Wedderburn Dunbar Moodie
Half brother of Lieutenant James Moodie, RN

Managed by: Sheila Anne Gordon
Last Updated:

About Captain Benjamin Moodie, SV/PROG 1 (pp 53-57)

Captain Benjamin Moodie, 10th Laird of Melsetter.


From 'A concise history of Port Beaufort & White Sands (also known as Witsand) including Family Trees White Sands & Port Beaufort' by John McGregor

In 1817 Benjamin and his partner, Hamilton Ross,were to bring out 10,000 Scots to South Africa. After the first 50, Ross pulled out. Moodie brought in approximately 200 settlers, many of them artisans, to Port Beaufort which now lies in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The Scots were to pay Moodie the 20 pounds back before or after the trip. If they couldn't they had to work for Moodie for 18 months. In 1820 Benjamin established the Port Beaufort Trading Company and built a warehouse. Credit must go to him for first enticing the vessels to cross the bar regularly for mercantile purposes. It was also in this year that he noted the advantages given to the 1820 Settlers, so he claimed them for himself for his earlier efforts. Benjamin Moodie was given the farm "Westfield" just east of the Breede River mouth. On the 10th October 1831 the farm "Westfield" No. 478 Swellendam, 5257 morgan government ground was granted to Captain Benjamin Moodie by Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole as a reward for his efforts in bringing 200 Scots into the country. It was on this farm, "extensifve erf", that he built his warehouses. In 1832 the Westfield homestead was built. Over the years various people had erected accomodation next to the river mouth on stands obtained by the Moodie familty of Westfield. The village of White Sands near Port Beaufort was laid out on that part of the farm Westfield called White Sands held by Benjamin and DD Moodie, under cartificates of registered title date 30 December 1908. By 1841 Benjamin's venture had for all practical purposes disappeared. Until 1843 he lived on the farm "Groot Vaders Bosch" In 1856 Benjamin died at "Westfield" and was buried on his farm.


Within a few years the Moodies had become one of those pioneering families whose story is interwoven with the history of Southern Africa in the nineteenth century. The settlers travelled on 3 vessels - 'Brilliant' (sailed March 1817), 'Garland' (sailed May 1817, arrived August) and 'Clyde' (sailed end May 1817, arrived 27 September).

He initially settled on the farm 'Grootvadersbosch' in the Swellendam district and later moved, with his brother James, to the Bethlehem area.

Dunbar Moodie (grandnephew of Benjamin) led the Moodie Trek to Rhodesia in 1892 and founded the town of Melsetter at an altitude of 1586 m in the Chimanimani Mountains.


From Genealogy World


On 14 June 1817, one of the forerunners of organized immigration to the Cape, Benjamin MOODIE begged leave to acquaint the colonial public 'that, under the sanction of Government, he has arrived from England with a number of mechanics and labourers consisting of smiths, carpenters, cabinetmakers, turners, coopers, masons, tanners, stonecutters, ploughmen, gardeners etc, and that ... he proposes hiring part of them out for such periods as may be agreed upon.' This party arrived on the ship Brilliant. Later the same month he announced that a further 50 were on their way to the Cape, on the Garland, which duly landed at Table Bay on 23 August 1817. They were followed by another group on the Clyde on 24 September 1817. The men were Scottish artisans, about 200 in all, brought out under indenture to Moodie.

This experiment wasn't an unqualified success. The indentured immigrants were dissatisfied with the conditions of service and a few ran away to become outlaws in the Knysna forests. Some of Moodie's settlers married into Dutch families.

Moodie himself was 9th Laird of Melsetter (pronounced Meltster), Orkney. Born 1 January 1789 he married Margaret MALCOLMSON in 1816. Shortly after that the idea of taking indentured settlers to the Cape, and of settling there himself, took strong hold of Moodie's imagination and he applied for purchase of suitable property. His brother John Moodie also decided to settle in South Africa and arrived on the Mary in 1819. In 1829 he produced a book, 'Ten Years in South Africa', before emigrating to Canada. Another brother, Donald Moodie, also later came to South Africa.

Apart from the source offered here - 'Moodies of Melsetter' by Edmund H Burrows - some details of Benjamin Moodie's immigrants can be found listed by surname in Peter Philip's 'British Residents at the Cape 1795-1819'.

ALLAN, John ANDERSON, George, Robert and William ARMSTRONG, John ARNOT, David BAIN, Colin BARTY, John BARTHGATE, John BAXTER, William BEGBIE, Peter BELL, James BERTRAM, John BLACK, John BLAIK(I)E, James (Also William) and Robert BURNS, Peter BUTTERS, Edmund CAIRNCROSS, James, John and William CAIRNS, Alexander CAMERON, James CARR, Thomas CARSE, George CLARK, Andrew COCKBURN, George COLLIE, Kirkpatrick COULTHERD, James COUSIN, James CRAIL, Robert CUMING, Niman CUNNINGHAM, Alex. CURDIE, Michael CUTTING, W. and John DARLING, James DAVIDSON, Alexander and Adam DAVIS, John DODDS, Archibald DONALD, George DOUGLAS, John DOWNIE, James DRYDEN, John EDINGTON, Andrew EDWARD, Hugh ELLIOT, George FLEMING, William FOTHERINGHAM, J and W FRIER, Robert GENTLE, Alexander GIBBY, James GORDON, James GRAHAM, Andrew GRAY, John and William GRUAR, David and John GRUBB, James HARDY, James HAUTON, James HAY, John HENDERSON, John (1) and John (2) HILL, John HOGG, James, John and Robert HUME, David HUNTER, Thomas JACKSON, James JACOBS, William JARDINE, Robert JARVIS, William JOHNSTON, John and Patrick KATER, Thomas KAY, James KERR, Archibald and William KILPATRICK, Alex. KINCAID, Charles LAIDLER, John and Thomas LAING, John and Peter LEARMONT(H) John (Jamie) LILLIE, Allexander LISTER, Jeffray LOW, James and Robert LOWRIE, Allan and James LYALL, William McDONALD, Alexander, Donald, and Thomas McGREGOR, John McHARDIE, Charles McHENDRICK, James McKENZIE, John McLACHLAND, Alex. and Philip McLAUGHLAN, John McLELLAN, Alex. McLEOD, Murdoch McLUCKIE (Also McLUSKIE), William McNEIL, Donald McPHAIL, Alexander and James MATHIESON, Job MEIKLE, James MILL, William MILLAR, Robert MITCHELL, Thomas MORRISON, Alexander and William MURCHISON, John MURRAY, Andrew MUTER, John and Robert NASMYTH, John NEILSON, George NICOL, George (Also William) NORVAL, Archibald, John Senior, John Junior and William OGILVIE, Robert OLIVER, John PARKER, James PATERSON, Archibald, and David PENNYCOCK, William PRENTICE, Thomas REID, James ROBERTSON (?ROBSON), James RODGERS, David ROSS, Andrew, George and Robert SANDERSON, John SCOON, James and Robert SCOTT, George, John (James), Thomas, William (1) and William (2) SELKIRK, James SHARP, Archibald SIMPSON, Archibald and James SMALL, James SMITH, Anstruther, George, and James SPENCE, Thomas STRATH, Scott STEPHENS, James STEPHENSON, George, and John STEWART, Archibald STRACHAN, John (1) and John (2) SUTHERLAND, Robert SYME, John SYMINGTON, James TAIT, Alexander and Thomas TAYLOR, James B. TESTER, John THOMSON, Robert and Walter TOLMIE, James VAWSER, William WAIT, James WAITER, John WALLACE, Alexander, David and James WATSON, Andrew WATT, James and Peter WEATHERHEAD, G. WEIR, John WHITELAW, John (1) and John (2) WILSON, John WILKIE, James WINTER, George WRIGHT, John YOUNG, George"

Although the following is titled 'Probate Record' the link follows through to Benjamin's DN:

Probate Record:

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Captain Benjamin Moodie, SV/PROG 1's Timeline

January 1, 1789
May 26, 1819
Age 30
April 29, 1824
Age 35
South Africa
Age 36
Cape Colony, South Africa
December 29, 1826
Age 37
Swellendam, South Africa
November 18, 1828
Age 39
Swellendam, Overberg District Municipality, Western Cape, South Africa
October 23, 1830
Age 41
Swellendam, Overberg District Municipality, Western Cape, South Africa
October 23, 1832
Age 43
Cape Colony, South Africa
March 29, 1834
Age 45
Suurbraak, Overberg, Cape Colony, South Africa