Ancestry of Johannes Wijnand Louw de Villiers.

JWL's ancestry:

  Father: Rocco (1838) > grandmother: Geertruida Catorzia (1819) > great grandfather: Rocco Catoggio (1790) > then in Italy: great-great-grandfather: Biase (1748), and his parents: Sebastiano Catoggio (1700) & Sebonie Pillay (1720)

Biase and Catarina had 7 children and Rocco was second oldest. The siblings were:

Biase had two younger brothers:

Biase's dad was Sebastiano b.1700 and his mother was Sebonie Pillay b.1720. Supposedly Biase was born in the harbor of St. Helena island. No confirmation either of Biase's mother or birthplace.

De Villiers

Cape of Good Hope
July 3rd, 1833

Dearest Father & Mother, Sisters & Brothers,

After so many years that I have longed to let you my news that I am alive & well. I have never had the opportunity until the present. A close German friend of mine, Mr C F Drege, a Naturalist & Specialist in Medicine, has promised to let you have this letter of mine, because we cannot send letters direct from here to Italy, as we can only pay the postage from here to London. There they stay unless we have a correspondent that will pay the postage from there to see that they reach their destination.

You must feel that I was ungrateful because I had not written to you more often or earlier than now. Dear Father & Mother, you know that after I left Armento on the 25th September for Naples, I went to Spain. Immediately afterwards I was taken prisoner and transported to England and forced to become a soldier in their service. After 3 month’s stay in England, my regiment was sent to the Cape of Good Hope and having served six years and three months and seeing that peace had been declared, I took my discharge. During the time I was in the service here at the Cape, I took up the trade of shoemaker, which was an advantage to me and when I took my discharge, I established myself in a town about 40 miles from the Cape and took up, not only the trade of shoemaker, but also that of a tanner. Thus, by the grace of God, with these two activities, I made a profit. I bought a property near where I was and another not very far away - one producing wine and the other grain. In addition, I have now started a butchery and a grain mill and with all these enterprises you can imagine that they resulted in quite a little fortune for me, for which I must always thank God for His great bounty.

With all of this, dearest relations, you must know that soon after my discharge, I married a Miss Caterine Charlotte Theron, who came from Mispa in Germany and God gave me a capable and good wife in 1818. As the fruit of my matrimony, God gave me a daughter, who I named after her Grandmother, Gertruda Caterina Catoggio and I spare nothing to accomplish everything that she should do to bring her up well. She is extremely good mannered and always gives joy to her father and mother, whom God has now blessed with someone that possesses everything that they can desire.

Except for relations, you would like to know the news form this part of the world. Cape of good Hope is a lovely city. It has 18 000 people, that is to say, slaves and freemen. The white inhabitants are, for the most part, of Dutch and French and German descent. The climate of the Cape in winter is moderate and the temperature is not going lower than 55 degrees F or 10 degrees C, but not often because we get East wind that sometimes is extremely strong, but we are accustomed to it and in addition it makes these parts healthy as we do not have epidemics. Here we have everything; there is wine in abundance, grain of all kinds and fruits in quantity. Everything is very agreeable with meat and fish plentiful and cheap, so that one who is industrious can live honestly and always have more than enough to meet his immediate necessities.

Many English people have established themselves in this country about 700 miles from the Cape, more than 5 000 of them and they are doing well. In the first years they had many obstacles to surmount – being settled near the country of the Natives that are called “Kaffirs.” They did not understand that here the season are changed, because the shortest day that you have, is the longest day here and similarly regarding the seasons, the winter here is your summer. This was the explanation for their many farming difficulties, but now things are going better, and they have flourishing trade with their products which consist of wool, hides, ox-horns, ivory and many other things that, with the passing of time are improving their affairs. Apart from this we have to let you know that at the moment we are expecting, any day, a decree from the English Parliament to liberate all the slaves which will play havoc with all of us, because here all the work is done by slaves and if they are liberated, they will not want to work anymore as before. I have four slaves and if they are freed, the Government will never give the price they cost, however will pay for their liberty. There are some here that cost 3 000 to 4 000 Cape dollars (1 000 Cape dollars are worth 2 650 Italian lire). This is an enormous sum compared with the value that the Government will give. Now we are in a different dilemma, not knowing what the result of this change will turn out to be.

So dearest relations, this is all I must tell you about the Cape of Good Hope and at the same time, I must explain that we may never see each other again in this world. It would be foolish to leave these parts where I have settled and where I am doing well. So, to you my dearest ones and my brothers and sisters, I renounce in every way my inheritance in favour of my brothers and sisters, and at the same time I must conclude. With all the esteem that I owe to a dearest Father and Mother, Brother and Sisters and wishing you all the joys of Heaven and Earth – hoping to be remembered in your prayers. May God grant you long life and health, both in mind and body. I will always have you in my heart and embracing you with all with greatest regard.

Goodbye all you dearest ones.

I am your affectionate son


PS I would like to give my greatest respects to the individuals hereunder:
My dear sister Rosa Lucia
My brother Simeone
My friends: Don Pasquale Cossino
Don Guliele Cossino
Don Colo Cossino
Don Guiseppe Mazziote
Don Vencenzo Mazziote
The family of Mrs Tortorelli
And all my relations and friends.

I beg a reply to this letter and ask you to address it as I have written hereunder, writing my name in the English manner. Goodbye.

Addressed thus: Aan De Heer R Catorzia
       Cape of Good Hope

Addressed to: Signor Braggio Catoggio
       801 – 1
       Nel Departemento di Napoli
       Provincia di Basilica

Pictures, Documents and Stories of the Early Family

Click to enlarge images.
De Villiers
Rocco Catoggio.

Catharina Charlotta Theron b. 12 Apr 1801 Tulbagh Cape d. 11 Apr 1872 m. Jan 1818 to Rocco Catoggio.

De Villiers
Rocco Catoggio b. 24 Aug 1790 Armento, Basilicata, Italia d. 8 Jun 1858 and grandson Rocco Catorzia de Villiers b. 27 Feb 1838 Paarl, South Africa, d. 21 May 1902

De Villiers
Abraham Matthijs de Villiers (1814-1888) and Geertruida Catharina Catorzia (1819-1902) and family.

De Villiers
Article (part 1) Abraham Matthijs de Villiers (1814-1888) and Geertruida Catharina Catorzia (1819-1902) and family.

De Villiers
Article (part 2) Abraham Matthijs de Villiers (1814-1888) and Geertruida Catharina Catorzia (1819-1902) and family.

De Villiers
Rocco Catorzia de Villiers (father of Johannes Wijnand Louw, and grandmother Geertruida, and brother, and nephew).

De Villiers De Villiers
Rocco Catorzia de Villiers (father of Johannes Wijnand Louw, and grandson of Rocco Catoggio).

De Villiers
Tomb of Rocco Catorzia de Villiers' paternal grandfather.