S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Beste, Rev Dr Wilhelm C (meteorology, insect collection)

Born: Date not known, Place not known.
Died: 1907, Cape Colony, South Africa.

Reverend Dr. Wilhelm C. Beste of the Berlin Missionary Society arrived from Germany in 1864 and settled at the Society's Bethel mission in Stutterheim, Eastern Cape. From 1897 he manned a second order meteorological station there under the auspices of the Cape of Good Hope Meteorogical Commission. From 1899 he also maintained an evaporation station, one of only seven that supplied observations to the Commission. During this year the Commission furthermore supplied him, on a pound for pound principle, with a "Jordan twin semi-cylinder sunshine recorder". This made his station only the third sunshine recording station in the Cape Colony, the other two being at the Royal Observatory in Cape Town and at Kimberley. He continued to provide observations to the end of 1905.

Beste was a member of the South African Philosophical Society in 1906 and 1907, but although he is recorded as having joined the Society in 1894 his name does not appear on earlier membership lists. During the Ninth Frontier War, in 1877, he adopted a child, but she died in 1891. He wrote a pamphlet about her, Nellie, eine liebliche Frucht der Mission in Kafferland, which was published by the Berlin Missionary Society.

In the Museum fuer Naturkunde in Berlin there are Coleoptera (beetles) that were collected in South Africa by "Beste", presumably Wilhelm.

List of sources:
Cape of Good Hope. Report of the Meteorological Commission, 1897-1905.

General directory of South Africa, 1890/1, 1903, 1908.

Malherbe, D.F. du T. Family register of the South African nation (3rd ed.) Stellenbosch: Tegniek, 1966.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Wilhelm Beste.

Robertson, H. Biodiversity explorers. http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/people

South African bibliography to the year 1925. London: Mansell, 1979.

South African Philosophical Society. Transactions, 1894-1907, membership lists.

Compiled by: C. Plug