S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Hobson, Mr William Carey (reptile collection)

Born: 10 January 1805, Cottesbrooke, Northamptonshire, England.
Died: 21 May 1870, Carlisle Bridge, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

William Carey Hobson (usually identified as Carey Hobson) was the son of William Hobson and his wife Ann Carey. He came to the Cape with his older brother, David, in William Smith's party of 1820 settlers aboard the Northampton. Carey married Susannah Bonnin of Grahamstown in 1825 and they had five children. In 1868 he married Nancy Ann ('Mary') Cooper. He farmed on Stoneyvale Farm in the Grahamstown district, but was also a well-known big game hunter, finding most of his game in the native territories beyond the eastern border of the Cape Colony. Both he and his brother were early breeders of merino sheep in the Eastern Cape, starting around 1826.

Carey was an intelligent observer of nature and in June 1869 was elected a member of the Albany Natural History Society (founded in 1867). He collected tortoises and snakes, mainly in the neighbourhood of Graaff Reinet, until he was accidentally killed in May 1870. His collection of tortoises was presented to the Albany Museum in 1870. It included almost all the known Cape species, many of them shown in their various stages of growth and development, as well as in their sexual differences. He also presented the museum with two snakes and some birds from Graaff Reinet.

Carey was described as a kind man. A bell in the Settler's Memorial Campanile, Port Elizabeth, has been dedicated to the memory of him and his brother.

List of sources:
Cape of Good Hope. Catalogue of the natural history collections of the Albany Museum, Grahamstown (Appendix to Parliamentary Report G24-'83). Cape Town: W.A. Richards & Sons, 1883.

Cape of Good Hope. Report of the committee of the Albany Museum, 1870.

Grahamstown Journal, 28 July 1869, p. 4 and 8 August 1870, p. 3: Albany Natural History Society.

Hockly, H.E. The story of the British settlers of 1820 in South Africa. Cape Town: Juta, 1948.

Pama, C. British families in South Africa. Cape Town: Human & Rousseau, 1992.

William Carey Hobson. http://www.1820settlers.com/genealogy/getperson.php?personID=I28814&tree=master as on 2017-9-18.

Compiled by: C. Plug