Corys who emigrated to South Africa

The earliest Cory (that we have in Cory records) to depart these English shores to try their luck in South Africa was one William Cory, a carpenter, aged 20, who joined Wait’s Party, Barker’s Division. The party left from Deptford on the Zoroaster on 12 Feb 1820, arriving at Simon’s Bay, South Africa on 30 Apr 1820. From there William boarded the Albury for passage to Algoa Bay, arriving on 15 May 1820. The settlers were then transported by ox wagon to their allotted land on the Eastern Frontier of the Cape Colony, where some time later William became the innkeeper at Fort Brown, Cape of Good Hope.

Grahamstown
In 2016, the Cory Society received a request to help find the place of birth of this William Cory, believed to have been born in London, and married on 5 February 1825 to Sarah Beale, from Yorkshire, at St. George’s Church, Grahamstown, Albany. William and Sarah went on to have 5 children; William George (1827-1856); Mary Elizabeth (1828-1908); John Newhouse (1831-1921); Catherine (1833-1860); Alfred (1836-1910). Sarah died in 1837 at Fort Brown. William did not marry again until about 1845. He married Mary Ann Henman, with whom he had a son, Robert Henman (1844) at Grahamstown, and a daughter, Carole Maria Beale (1848). It seems strange that the daughter from William’s second marriage should have his first wife’s name of Beale as one of her names. Perhaps Mary Ann Henman was related to Sarah Beale?

Click here for the pedigree table for South Africa: Tree Beale 

Names of the children and grandchildren came with the initial inquiry, but there are many more posts from other descendants on the Internet, and there are some differences in the information posted as sometimes happens, but all wanted to know the birth place of William Cory, born about 1800.

I found  two records in London,  both were earlier than 1800, and one in Hampshire.

  • In 1792 at Christ Church, Commercial Street, Spitalfields, William and Martha Cory brought their 25 days old son to be baptised on 4 November 1792. William’s father was a cheesemonger living in Brick Lane. Further research in census documents of 1841 and 1851 show another cheesemonger called William Cory was living in London; he was born in London in 1799 or 1801. Possibly the son of  William and Martha but he cannot be William of South Africa, as he was still in England. See London page for more on this family.
  • William Gertcken Cory baptised 18 May 1795 at St Pancras, London, son of John and Sarah Cory. Nothing more known.

The nearest in date, is for 1801 but at Gosport, Hampshire, where William Cory, son of Elizabeth Cory was baptised on 24 February. There was no name entered for the child’s father. Nothing more known.



There are 3 Cory lineages in South Africa that have their origins in Cornwall:

  • John Cory Marshall born 1845/5 in Lanivet
  • Philip Tamlin Cory born 29 November 1878 Cornwall
  • George Edward Cory was born at Stoke Newington about 1862.

Sir George Edward CorySir George Edward Cory was born at 9 Palatine Place, Stoke Newington, and baptised on 3 June 1862 at Stoke Newington, London. He was the son of George Nicholas Cory, born in Ripley, Surrey in 1835 (his father was from Altarnun, Cornwall) and Susannah Emma Flowers, born 1834, Marylebone. On his marriage George Nicholas Cory  was a ship brokers clerk, of 14 Hemingford Terrace, Islington, London. He later went into business with  Alexander Stiefbold, at 96 London Wall, London.  The business in the name of Stiefbold and Cory, general merchants and importers, went bankrupt in 1870. At this time George Nicholas and his wife had three more sons: Ernest Octavius; Bertrand; Albert W.

It seems that after his bankruptcy, George, Snr., according to the 1871 census, became a commercial traveller in stationery and in the 1901 census, he said he was a book canvasser. He died in 1909 aged 74 in Hackney. His wife Susannah, was not with him in either of these census documents, in fact in 1891 she was working as a sick nurse for a family in Reigate; she had given her marital status as widow.

Perhaps this explains why her son, George Edward Cory, was said to be of an unhappy home and broken marriage. He started out as a page in 1875 at Lancing College, servitor, and later scholarship holder at St John’s, Hurstpierpoint.  He worked for Siemens for three years.  Then taught at a number of schools, the last of which was in Cambridge when he was able to enrol as a non-collegiate student of the University. He read Chemistry, Physic and Comparative Anatomy B.A. in 1888. Employed as a demonstrator, he became a member of Kings College.

George Edward Cory married Gertrude Blades in 1896 at Trinity Church, Port Elizabeth, Cape Province, and they had 5 children. (Trees Altarnun 5B; South Africa S2)

His career in South Africa was as follows:

  •  1891 George became Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Cape of Good Hope University and Vice Principal of Grahamstown Public (State) School.
  • In 1894 joined St Andrew’s College (an Anglican private school.  In 1904 Professor of Chemistry at Rhodes University College (since 1951 Rhodes University) and held the post until he retired in 1925.
  • Author of “The Rise of South Africa” in 6 vols. The collection of his papers and his two diaries are held in the CORY LIBRARY for HISTORICAL RESEARCH Rhodes University Library, P.O.Box 184, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa.
  • On a return trip home he was welcomed at Cambridge University where they
    conferred the LL.D. on him.  He was knighted after 1921 by General Smuts.

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