The Family History (the book being written)

This website is devoted to the history of the Molteno, Murray, Anderson, Stanford and Bisset families. It consists mainly of reminiscences, diaries, autobiography & other writings by members of the family over the past 150 years. It is already rather large, and will continue to be added to.

But many people would like an overall history of the family rather than just these disconnected pieces, however interesting  each may be. And to be able to have it as a book, or an electronic download, that they can both read and keep.

I have therefore started the task of writing it. As each chapter is done, I am putting it on the website.  But please remember that each chapter is only a draft at this stage. You may have corrections or comments that could help me improve the final version. I would greatly appreciate your help. You can do so by leaving a Comment below.

A couple of other things to say. Firstly, the draft chapters do not contain photographs. The book itself certainly will. Indeed, as  you can see elsewhere on this website, members of the family have made available to me a treasure trove of pictures which I shall draw on.

One more thing: you may notice that each chapter has copious footnotes. The reason is that, so far as possible, I wish always to be accurate in relating what has happened in the family over its long history since the 1770s, and for readers to feel confident that what they are reading is always based on evidence, and not speculation.

I hope you will enjoy reading these draft chapters. The whole text will hopefully be completed by the middle of 2016.

Robert Molteno


Table of Contents


  1. Family Origins – Medieval Italy, Milan and the Village of Molteno
  2. Anthony Molteno — Printseller of Pall Mall, 1780s
  3. Becoming English – Anthony and Mary Molteno’s children put down roots in London
  4. Prosperity to Bankruptcy – The eldest son, James Anthony Molteno, and his family
  5. Poverty and Migration – John Molteno’s early death in 1828 scatters his descendants
  6. Hawaii — Frank Molteno goes whaling in the Pacific
  7. Australia — Fred Molteno and ‘the young Paganini’
  8. Cape of Good Hope – John Charles Molteno makes good, 1830s and ‘40s
  9. Self-Government  – Hercules Jarvis and John Charles Molteno lead the struggle,  1850s and ‘60s
  10. The Politics of Power — John Charles Molteno, Prime Minister of the Cape, 1872-78
  11. Family Life at the Cape — the next generations growing up
  12. English Moltenos – Peckham, Guernsey and beyond
  13. Scottish Moltenos – Percy Molteno and Bessie Currie’s new clan
  14. The Boer War, 1899-1902 – Betty, Caroline, Percy and James play their part
  15. South Africa Undone – The Act of Union (1910) and the seeds of tragedy
  16. Kenya – Jarvis and Lenox Murray go farming
  17. The First World War, 1914-18 – The family engages
  18. A Post-War World – Not everyone goes farming!
  19. The 1930s – End of an Era
  20. World War Resumed, 1939-45 – The family pays the price again
  21. Divergent Paths in the Modern World
  22. Reflections – 200 Years of the Family’s History
  23. A Family Tradition?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

87 − 80 =