THE PITT / ROBERTS FAMILY CONNECTION.
The Pitt family came out to South Africa from Gloucestershire in two groups, both headed by sons of William Pitt who lived at Tetbury. These brothers may have been twins, since it is known that the one, Robert Pitt*, was born in 1777 and was a Settler with his wife, Lucy* and son, Robert Pitt* who was accompanied by his wife, Mary*; whereas, although the date of birth is not confirmed, it appears that the brother, William was also born in 1777 and he and his wife, Mary, having agreed on 7.5.1826 to pay half their fare, were enabled to join his brother in the Cape Colony. They came out in Shepherd's party in 1826, bringing with them five children, Sarah, William, James, Thomas and John Pitt. The latter was married to Sarah Pitt nee Roberts and this particular surname 'Roberts' has come down through the family as a Christian name for six generations to Paul Roberts Freemantle's son, James Roberts Freemantle, born 1967 and grandson, Warren Roberts Freemantle, born 2001.
The original Settler Robert Pitt* was a husbandman and turnkey; his brother William was a shoemaker.
William and Mary Pitt had six children:
(i) John Pitt (born in 1803 in Buckinghamshire), who married Sarah Roberts, and died in 1870. John Pitt and Sarah Pitt nee Roberts had seven daughters, one of these being Phillis Pitt, born in May, 1830. It has been suggested that she was born in London, but as the family were in the Cape Colony by 1826, this may not be so, although her Uncle William did return to England after coming out with the family. The names of her sisters were: (i) Mary (married Joseph Green); (ii) Elizabeth (married John Ashenhurst); (iii) Ruth (married Edward Dicks); (iv) Ann (married George Flannigan); (v) Sarah (married Samuel Wood; she died 6.7.1893); and (vi) Jane (married Henry Webster).
(ii) Sarah (born 1804);
(iii) William (born 1813, who returned to England);
(iv) James (born 1816, married 30.12.1837 to Penelope Short Grit);
(vi) Thomas (born 1819, married Dinah ? and died in Grahamstown; they had three children) and
(vii) John Pitt (born 1825). [Another John?] His wife was a nurse in Grahamstown.
Settlers in 1826 in Shepherd's party:
The John Pitt who married Sarah Roberts 'was a descendant of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham and Prime Minister of England during the reign of George III. William Pitt was also a witness signatory to the Will of Hannah Lightfoot, morganatic wife of George III and mother of George Rex, who was banished to South Africa and settled in Knysna.'
Pitt - William (1759 - 1806)
'British Statesman. He was the younger son of the Earl of Chatham (q.v.) and was called to the Bar in 1780 and entered Parliament the following year as member for Appleby. His success in the House was of unparalleled rapidity. He became Chancellor of the Exchequer at twenty-three, and in the following year attained the position of Prime Minister. He obtained an overwhelming majority at the General Election of 1784. His first measure was the passing of his India Bill. The establishment of the delusive scheme of a sinking fund followed in 1786, and his Regency Bill in 1788. The French Revolution now broke out and in 1793 war arose between Great Britain and France, a conflict which brought a heavy responsibility on Pitt. In 1800 the Irish Union was accomplished. In 1801 the opposition to the Irish Catholics caused Pitt to resign his post which he resumed, however, in 1804. Returning to power, he exerted all the energy of his character to render the war with France successful, and found means to engage the two great military powers of Russia and Austria in a new coalition, which was dissolved by the Battle of Austerlitz. The news of this battle caused his death.