Gunning for the Dixons

For many years we have been puzzled by some Dixon family connections in Namibia.

We are interested in the Morris and Stewardson families, and we know that a Morris family (related to us) went to Damaraland (now part of Namibia) in 1843/44 with a Dixon family, and each family built a house at Sandfontein on the Kuiseb River, near Walvis Bay.

Mary Elizabeth Morris gave birth to a daughter there, whose name was Sarah Annie Kuisip Morris — named after the river where she was born. All this we know from estate files and divorce papers in the Cape Archives and various printed books.

Sarah Annie Kuisip Morris’s aunt Frances Morris arrived soon afterwards, with her husband Frank Stewardson, and they had three sons and four daughters. We have no idea what happened to the sons, but the daughters married Oscar Lindholm, Axel Eriksson, John Gunning and Frederick Green. Fred Green was Val’s great great grandfather.

Frederick Green’s first wife was a Dixon — Kate Stewardson was his third wife. But we don’t know his Dixon wife’s first name.

And two Gunning girls —  Charlotte Annie Gunning and Catherine Elizabeth Gunning — married Dixons. But we don’t know the first names of those Dixons.

This is where things begin to get complicated, because it appears that there were at least two, and possibly three or four different Dixon families in Damaraland in the period 1840-1880.

They were:

1. The Ben Dixon family
2. The Peter Dixon family
and possibly
3. The Sidney Dixon family (Sidney may be an alias for Ben)
4. Another Peter Dixon family

A book has recently been published on the Ben Dixon family. We are havingdifficulty in getting a copy because of the post office strike, but have been in touch with one of the authors.

We have collected a fair amount of information on the Peter Dixon family, mainly in the Cape Archives, and the author of the Ben Dixon book has told us that none of the names in the two families match — they really do seem to be two entirely different families, with no links at all.

We’re hoping to go on a research trip to Namibia later in the year, and tie up some of these loose ends, but in the mean time we’re trying to .sort out what we know of the Dixon families, so that if we do discover which Dixons married the Gunning girls, we’ll know which Dixon family they belonged to — it would be funny if one married into one family, and the
other into the other family.

Of the Peter Dixon family we know that he married twice, first to Wilhelmina Hendrikse, and second to Annie Cloete. The children of his first marriage are listed on his death notice in the Cape Archives, but those of the second marriage weren’t known — presumably they stayed in Damaraland and never went to the Cape.

It is through his son Daniel Esma Dixon (there are lots of Daniel Esma Dixons in this family) that we know that Fred Green married a Dixon — in testimony in a court case in Windhoek in 1911 he said that he had arrived in Walvis Bay from Cape Town in 1861 with his brother in law Fred Green, at the age of 14. His sister had died the year before, and Fred Green was cohabiting with a Herero woman (she later gave evidence in the same court case, and her name was Sarah Kaipukire) Daniel Esma Dixon then went to his father in Walvis Bay, and returned to the Cape for a while. He later farmed at Ubib, near Karibib. We seems to be the most probable father of the Dixons who married the Gunning girls, but we’ll probably have to wait till we get to Windhoek to find out.

I’m just wondering if anyone else has connections with Dixon families in Namibia.

10 Responses

    • John William Gunning and Charlotte Caroline Stewardson were my great grandparents. I can tell you a lot about the Gunning family but I don’t know anything about Charlotte. I would particularly like to know as much as possible about her.

      looking forward to hearing from you
      Geraldine Goncalves (Ainslie/Green/Gunning)

      • We would love to hear more about the Gunning families, especially which Gunnings marri8ed Dixons, and what eventually happened to themk! And your side of the family too.

        • Hi, my great grandfather was daniel esma dixon, farmed at farm ubib, karibib district, namibia

          • Hi Nita
            John Gunning came to Cape Town from Parstown Ireland and married Rachel Sarah Hermina Timmerman. Their joint grave is at St Pauls Rondebosch Cape Town.

            Their son John William who traded in SW
            Africa married Charlotte Stewardson.
            They had 1 son Arthur and daughter Rachel my grandmother who married Harold Green a.trader in Walvis Bay.

            Daughter Charlotte Annie b26.6.1879 m. Daniel Esma Dixon who died in Angola. Their children were George David Dixon and Agnes Doreathea.

            Daughter Agnes married August Zimmy so that leaves Catherine as the remainig Gunning daughter who by default would be the other Gunning who married a Dixon.

            If anyone knows of any misinformationhere please let me know


            Geraldine Rachel Goncalves

  1. […] about 1860. We don’t even know her name. There’s more on this in the earlier article Gunning for the Dixons. On the Stewardson side of the family, there are several descendants in Namibia, mainly of the […]

  2. […] Chasing Namibian fam… on Gunning for the Dixons […]

  3. Geraldine Goncalves — did you ever get the e-mails I sent you with more family information?

  4. I have just transcribed Charles John Andersson’s diary for March 1850-January 1852, which has some relevant references.

  5. Hi, my name is Nicole Dixon and I think my family might be the descendants of Peter Daniel Dixon and his second wife – Annie Cloete. My greatgrandfather’s name was Daniel Arthur Dixon and he lived in Steinkopf, Namakwaland. I wonder if there is a way to find out if Peter Daniel Dixon was related to my grandfather?

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