Dr. Robert Moffat

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Robert Moffat

Birthdate: (87)
Birthplace: Ormiston, East Lothian, Scotland UK
Death: August 9, 1883 (87)
Leigh near Tunbridge-Wells, Kent, England UK
Place of Burial: England UK
Immediate Family:

Son of Robert Cunningham Moffat and Ann Moffat
Husband of Mary (Gray) Moffat
Father of Mary Livingstone; Ann Fredous; Robert Moffat; Helen Moffat; James Moffat and 4 others
Brother of Alexander Gardiner Moffat; William Moffat; Richard Moffat; Helen Moffat; Ann Smi Smith and 1 other

Occupation: Missionary
Managed by: Alison Liddell Muller (Griffiths)
Last Updated:

About Dr. Robert Moffat

Robert Moffat (1795-1883) was a Scottish pioneer missionary to South Africa who arrived in Cape Town in 1817. He opened mission stations in the interior, translated the Bible into the language of the Bechuanas, and wrote two missionary books on South Africa: Labors and Scenes in South Africa and Rivers of Water in a Dry Place. His oldest daughter Mary, married David Livingstone.

Dr. Robert Moffat was born in Ormiston, East Lothian, Scotland, the Son of Robert Moffat and Ann Gardiner. He arrived in South Africa on 13 Jan 1817. Died 8 July 1883 Leigh, Kent, England.

In "The Story of Rhodesia" - Robert Moffatt started life as a gardener before joining the London Missionary Society. He married Mary Smith on 27 Dec 1819 - she was from Manchester ,born 1795 died 1871


1. Mary born Moffat 1821 Died 1862 Married David Livingstone

2. Anne born Moffat 1823 Died 1893 married Jean Fredoux born 1823 Died 1866

3. Robert born Moffat 1825 died 1825

4. Robert born Moffat 1827 Died 1862 married Ellen Platt

5. Helen Moffat born 1829 died 1902 Married James Vavasseur

6. Elizabeth Moffat 1831 - 1832

7. James Moffat 1833-1839

8. John Smith Moffat 1835-1918 married Emily Unwin


8.1. A Son born in 1858 Beaufort West, South Africa

8.2. Livingstone Moffat born April 1860 Inyati, Southern Rhodesia Died 1942 married Mary Francis Pringle

8.3. Mary Meta Moffat born in 1862 Inyati, Southern Rhodesia, the first Rhodesian born girl. Married J.S.Loosley

8.4 John Bruce Moffat born 1863 in Bloemfontein South Africa

8.5. Emily Ruth Moffat born 11 11 1864 Inyati, Southern Rhodesia – Lady Tredgold – married Sir Clarkson Tredgold about 1894

Their Children -

  • 8.5.1 Helen born c 1896 Southern Rhodesia. Married Arnold Bramwell Shaw born c 1895 Grahamstown – possibly re-married 6 4 1920 died in Canada
  • 8.5? Robert Clarkson born 2 6 1899 Bulawayo married 1 10 1925 Doris Keller
  • 8.5? Barbara

Emily Ruth Moffat returned to Rhodesia in 1898 with her husband Sir Clarkson Tredgold. Sir Clarkson’s grandfather was secretary to the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society and is associated with Thomas Clarkson – liberator. They had a daughter Barbara.

8.6-8.9 followed by 4 sons after the Moffats left Inyati. They all became notable men – one the Rhodesian Premier H. U. Moffat C.M.G.In 1867 at the ages of 7 and 5 Livingstone and Mary Meta Moffat were sent from Cape Town to England. Their parents left Matabeleland in 1865 to assist Rev. Robert Moffat at Kuruman. In 1887 John Smith Moffat returned to Matableleland as British Representative. Emily did not accompany him and she died in Cape Town in 1902.

9. Elizabeth Lees born 1839 Died 1919 married Roger Price 10. Jean Gardiner born 1840 died 1927

Sources: South African Genealogies Volume 6 page 641 and "First Steps in Civilising Rhodesia by Jeannie M Boggie 1940

See also http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~swilson/livingstone/moffat2.htm

I also personally find the following very powerful:

There was once an elderly preacher who was rebuked by one of his deacons one Sunday morning before the service. "Pastor," said the man, "something must be wrong with your preaching and your work. There's been only one person added to the church in a whole year, and he's just a boy." The minister listened, his eyes moistening and his thin hand trembling. "I feel it all," he replied, "but God knows I've tried to do my duty." On that day the minister's heart was heavy as he stood before his flock. As he finished the message, he felt a strong inclination to resign. After everyone else had left, that one boy came to him and asked, "Do you think if I worked hard for an education, I could become a preacher--perhaps a missionary?" Again, tears welled up in the minister's eyes. "Ah, this heals the ache I feel," he said. "Robert, I see the Divine hand now. May God bless you, my boy. Yes, I think you will become a preacher."

Many years later an aged missionary returned to London from Africa. His name was spoken with reverence. Nobles invited him to their homes. He had added many souls to the church, reaching even some of Africa's most savage chiefs. His name was Robert Moffat, the same Robert who years before had spoken to the pastor that Sunday morning. Lord, help us to be faithful. Then give us the grace to leave the results to you. - Unknown.

The world may not know YOUR name; they may not realize YOUR worth or recognize YOUR effort ….BUT JESUS DOES! And if He does, isn’t that all that matters?

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Dr. Robert Moffat's Timeline

December 21, 1795
East Lothian, Scotland UK
April 12, 1821
Age 25
Griquatown, Cape Colony, South Africa
March 31, 1823
Age 27
Lattakoo, Bechuanaland
January 28, 1827
Age 31
Kuruman, South Africa
February 2, 1829
Age 33
Kuruman, South Africa
Age 37
March 10, 1835
Age 39
South Africa
March 16, 1839
Age 43
Table Bay, Cape Colony, South Africa
August 19, 1840
Age 44
Flixton, Lancashire, England