Philip Robinson (1819-1885)

The last of the family to be born in England, Philip had his first birthday aboard the ship taking his family to the Cape; six weeks after leaving home and just 18 days before his brother William was born. There probably wasn’t cake.

The fourth child of Robert and Martha, he was came into an uncertain world on 30 March 1819 at Minster on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent. His early childhood was spent in various settlements; Albany, Somerset East, and possibly even Swellendam, before the family settled in Cradock where on 7 February 1841 Philip married Martha Elizabeth Cornelia Beytell at the Dutch Reformed Church. Martha was from a family of German immigrants who had been in the Cape since the 1780s.

Philip and Martha lived in Cradock where they had thirteen children, although a few are not thought to have survived infancy. After the birth of their youngest child in 1868 they moved to Kimberley, probably as a result of the Diamond rush where his youngest brother, Joseph Benjamin Robinson (later Sir JB Robinson bt) was doing well.

Philip died in his own house in Newton on 1 August 1885. His original death notice describes him as a retired digger [MOK 1/1/3165]. He left £59 to his surviving spouse [MOK 1/4/2,39 dated 29/3/1899 at Kimberley]. The lateness of this Succession Account is due to the later discovery of two Erven (plots of building land) in his name and explains an extra death notice filed in 1897 [MOOC 6/9/371-3384] and its erroneous birthplace (Wales) and his possibly original occupation in Cradock of Wagon maker. Martha survived until 1911, dying in Krugersdorp at the house of one of her sons.

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