S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science




Watermeyer, Mr Frederick Stephanus (Snr) (advancement of science)

Born: 1797, Western Cape, South Africa.
Died: 31 May 1847, Cape Town, South Africa.

Frederick Stephanus Watermeyer, son of Gottfried Andreas Watermeyer and his wife Margaretha Joubert, was a well-known businessman and a prominent citizen of Cape Town who supported various scientific endeavours. In about 1823 he married Anna M. Ziervogel, with whom he had eight sons and three daughters. One of his sons was the surveyor Charles Philip Watermeyer*.

In June 1829 F.S. Watermeyer became a foundation member of the South African Institution, the first purely scientific society in South Africa, and was elected its first treasurer. During the Institution's first year he contributed "some fossils of the north-western district" to its museum collection. He remained treasurer of the Institution until it amalgamated with the South African Literary Society in 1832 to form the South African Literary and Scientific Institution. He was elected treasurer of the new Institution in July 1832, served in this position to about 1834, then as a member of council to 1841, and as treasurer again to his death in 1847. Around 1837-1838 he was furthermore a member of the Institution's Statistical Committee.

In 1833 the Institution initiated the Cape of Good Hope Association for Exploring Central Africa, which organised and financed an expedition into the interior led by Dr Andrew Smith*. Watermeyer was one of the shareholders of this venture. He was a member of the provisional committee of the Association, and was subsequently elected as a member of its managing committee. He also served on the committee that drew up instructions for the expedition in 1834. In March 1836 he was re-elected as a member of the new managing committee, on which he served until his death in 1847.

In 1838 Watermeyer subscribed 3 to the fund established for erecting a monument to commemorate the astronomical work of Sir John Herschel* at the Cape. He was one of the auditors of the Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society in 1840. In 1843 he was elected as a member of the council of the South African College, Cape Town, and remained a member to the year of his death.


List of sources:
Cape of Good Hope Association for Exploring Central Africa. Prospectus of a plan for an expedition into Central Africa. Cape Town: G. Greig, 1833. (National Library, Cape Town, SABP 4).

Cape of Good Hope Association for Exploring Central Africa. Instructions for the Expedition into Central Africa from the Cape of Good Hope, 23 June 1834. (Cory Library, Rhodes University, Grahamstown).

Cape of Good Hope Association for Exploring Central Africa. Abstract of proceedings drawn up for publication by direction of the managing committee of the Cape of Good Hope Association for Exploring Central Africa. Cape Town: G. Greig, 1833. (National Library, Cape Town, AC 968.034T/CAP).

De Villiers, C.C. Geslagsregisters van die ou Kaapse families. Hersien en aangevul deur C. Pama. Kaapstad: Balkema, 1981.

Ritchie, W. The history of the South African College, 1828-1918. Cape Town: T. Maskew Miller, 1918.

South African almanac and directory/ Cape of Good Hope almanac... (title varies), 1831-1847.

South African Commercial Advertiser, 25 June 1831, p. 2, South African Institution; 18 July 1832, p. 1, South African Literary and Scientific Institution; 30 March 1836, p. 1, Central Africa; 14 November 1838, p. 1, Monument; 1 April 1840, pp. 2-3, Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society.

South African Literary and Scientific Institution. Proceedings of a general meeting... held on the 19th March 1836..., Appendix No. 3: Report of the Expedition for Exploring Central Africa. (National Library, Cape Town, SABP 4).

South African Quarterly Journal, October 1829 - January 1830, No. 1, pp. 82-85: Proceedings of the South African Institution; April-June 1830, No. 3, pp. 315-324: Annual Report of the South African Institution.


Compiled by: C. Plug


 [PRINTER VERSION] [BACK TO PREVIOUS PAGE]  [RETURN TO MAIN MENU]